Indies peddling an emission-free approach to business
WHAT'S ON | 23/9/2019
Cambridge indies peddling an emission-free approach to business
In 2017 the BBC noticed that Cambridge was home to a ‘cargo bike boom’, with Dutch brand Bakfiets revealing that they sell more cycles here than in any other place of similar size outside the Netherlands. Two years later, the city’s love for box bikes and cargo trikes shows no sign of waning and our forward-thinking, environment-conscious indies are very much part of scene.
Local foodies can enjoy a return to the days of the ice cream trike and butcher’s bike with edible delights including freshly-baked bread from Stir, pizza from Charlie’s Coffee Company, Mac n Cheese from Mac Daddy (winner of the Cambridge News Food & Drink Award for Best Street Food in 2018) and ice cream from Jack’s Gelato, Aromi, Sina and Verrecchia. Coffee cycles include Beanissimo, Caf-fiend and Tribecca. Tribecca’s owner Rebecca Chong can often be found serving coffee in the beautiful grounds of Anglesey Abbey and even uses pedal power to grind the coffee beans!
If you see a keg full of beer pass you in the cycle lane, it probably belongs to Thirsty, or Calverley’s Brewery who have a fleet of three cargo bikes in lieu of a van. Andrew Hall (aka The Sensitive Gardener) cycles a small shed on wheels, while Steve Puleston of Bespoke Carpentry transports all materials using a longtail bike and trailers. Employees at Wintercomfort’s social enterprise, Overstream Clean, use a cargo bike to travel to jobs around the city, and local estate agent Cooke Curtis & Co cycle smartly-branded Elephant bikes between city viewings. And if you haven’t seen one of the Zedify cargo bikes zipping across the city you haven’t been looking hard enough: their team of cycle couriers together cover hundreds of miles each day, delivering consignments for businesses including Fitzbillies, Hot Numbers and the Cambridge Cheese Company.
Inspired by all the cargo cycles reducing emissions on the city’s streets, last year local charity Camcycle came up with an innovative idea to celebrate World Car Free Day. Over 70 cyclists joined them for the first Cargo Carnival, a parade and celebration of pedal-powered cargo, from toddlers in trikes to beehives on bikes. Local families and businesses could try out cargo bikes from specialists such as Outspoken Cycles, Power to the Pedal, The School Run Centre and Circe Cycles. The event was part of the first Cambridge Festival of Cycling, a month-long celebration of the city’s cycling culture featuring social rides, talks, exhibitions, films and other events to encourage more people to discover the joy of cycling.
This autumn, the festival and the Cargo Carnival return and Camcycle is looking for more businesses and families to join the fun. Join the parade, sponsor an event or host your own; any cycle-themed activity taking place during the month of September can be promoted on the Cambridge Festival of Cycling website (cambridgefestivalofcycling.org) and the charity would love to see those who already use cargo bikes encourage others to try them out too. With the government currently offering up to 20% off the cost of electrically-assisted cargo bikes through their eCargo Bike Grant Fund, it’s a great time to discover the benefits that business by bike can bring. Cargo cycling delivers low-cost, lower-emission deliveries and a reliable journey time through the Cambridge congestion. It also helps create more pleasant streets for those who live and work here, leading to more walking and a higher footfall for local independent businesses. The secret to thriving communities is already here – and it’s growing one box bike at a time.