Cycling brands gear up for rapid growth in UK market

“On the cusp of a revolution” – the Guardian reports on surging cargo bike usage in the UK

Cargo bike popularity is booming across the UK as a result of lifestyle changes supported by local and national financial incentives to ditch cars and vans.

Around 4,000 cargo bikes were sold in the United Kingdom last year for both private and commercial use, with this figure expected to jump by another 60% in 2021 thanks to sales-boosting initiatives at both local and national levels. “It feels like we are on the cusp of a revolution,” said Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, as everyone from families and small tradesmen to Cross Rail are increasing the demand for cargo bikes.

This sudden spike in demand has resulted in Raleigh, one of the world’s biggest bike brands, which is based in Nottingham, to develop a new e-cargo bike model after its own sales increased by 75% in 2020. Lee Kidger, Raleigh’s UK managing director highlighted the potential for growth in the current UK market by pointing to impressive 2020 cargo bike sales figures in Germany and France,which lie at approximately 100,000 and 50,000 units sold, respectively.

“The last 16 months has changed people’s habits and life forever. We are at a crossroads and if we act now, we can really support change for a more sustainable future,” Kidger is quoted as saying.

Raleigh is now teaming up with other companies to trial entire fleet rollouts. Together with the Jones Dairy company and the National Trust, they are targeting urban deliveries, aiming to transport equipment and staff around 11 large sites.

James Fitzgerald, of the specialist logistics group, e-cargobikes.com, also believes in the potential for urban deliveries. Specifically, grocery delivery, with the company currently completing thousands of deliveries each week with a fleet of just 50 e-cargo bikes. Their ambition is clear, however, with this figure set to expand to more than 1,500 bikes by April 2023.

E-cargobikes expects to be using more than 1,500 bikes by April 2023. Photograph: E-cargobikes

“It’s faster, easier and cheaper,” says Fitzgerald. “The opportunity is massive.”

The UK government’s £250m investment in walking and cycling infrastructure is set to support this current surge in cargo bike usage. As will the availability of more loans and grants, such as those provided by the Energy Saving Trust’s £2m fund in England last year, as well as grants being made available in Scotland to small businesses and local authorities to help with the initial cost of purchasing a cargo bike. The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) has compiled a financial incentives tool of all such available regional and national incentive schemes available for commercial and private use that can be checked here

Increasingly the creation of local delivery hubs, where delivery vehicles can drop large amounts of goods for onward delivery by bike, are also being touted as an effective strategy to reduce congestion and further aid the take-up of cargo bike logistics by businesses. Such innovations are helping to meet demand for lower-carbon deliveries from both consumers and businesses with environmental targets to hit and is also driving the market with up to 14% of small van journeys easily replaced by cargo bikes.

Read the original article in the Guardian here.