Cargo bikes are quiet and emission-free and take up less space than a car. They improve the atmosphere in a city in so many different ways. No wonder that they're becoming ever more popular with the general public. According to ZIV (the German bicycle association), over 100,000 cargo bikes were sold in Germany last year. Manufacturers such as the Bremen company Velo Lab, which has its production facility in Überseestadt (the New Harbour District), are close to running out of capacity and are often booked out for months ahead.
However, these versatile two-wheelers are also making their presence felt in commercial applications. They offer a real alternative to cars for the stationary retail trade, tradespeople or the hospitality industry, whether as a means of delivery or for purchasing goods. You no longer have to search for a parking space when a cargo bike can be brought directly to the shop door for loading or unloading. There's no parking charges to pay and you can get around the town centre more quickly on a cargo bike than in a car.
"I deliver wine on a cargo bike three times a week", said Diane Boldt, owner of the "Gluck Gluck" wine shop in Bremen Neustadt. She uses the bike-sharing service provided by the Bremen company Cycologic to do so. "I've never had my own car, and I like using the bike. It's also important to me, and to my business, to avoid using a car unnecessarily and reduce emissions."
She is now taking part in a pilot project in Bremen, called "Wir satteln um aufs Lastenrad" (we're switching saddles to a cargo bike), together with five other sole traders in her district. They have clubbed together to buy an electric bike trailer, and plan to use it when they're delivering or purchasing goods in future. They want to pool their resources because cargo bikes or electric bike trailers are often expensive to buy. The project is being backed by the Senator for Business, Work and Europe.