The cargo bike business is booming, as is Bremen bike manufacturer Velo Lab. With a new production facility in the New Harbour District, and innovative bike designs, its founder Stathis Stasinopoulos is truly in tune with the times. A "test drive".
The first time you ride a cargo bike, you'll notice the difference. It handles very differently from normal bikes, because the front wheel is around a metre in front of the handlebars. But, even after just a few metres, you'll get the hang of manoeuvring it and start riding smoothly rather than wobbling about. That's also thanks to the help provided by the compact electric motor that quietly drives the rear wheel. In front, you see a roomy cargo area with enough space for your weekly shop, including a drinks crate. And, if you look slightly further ahead than normal, when riding, there's no real difference from a normal bike.
Velo Lab best seller: The "Kàro" model
This Bremen company can supply electric motors on request, but if you want to rely exclusively on your own physical "drive units" (your legs!), choose the standard version of the "Kàro" model. Then you'll be the proud owner of the world's lightest cargo bike, which weighs in at a mere 18 kilograms without accessories. Some Dutch bicycles are much heavier. You'll really notice the difference, particularly on longer journeys.
Among other things, it's the lightweight aluminium frame and patented steering system, which uses Bowden cables instead of a clunky steering bar, that make this Bremen-built bicycle such a pleasure to ride. Using this innovative system, the front wheel can turn much further than any of its competitors, because steering bars are simply not as manoeuvrable as cables. The "Kàro" is as supple as an eel.
The cargo box is available in two sizes. The larger can easily accommodate two crates of beer. What's more, everything is built by hand, in the middle of Bremen's New Harbour District.