No Grocery Shop Too Large For The Cargo Bike

Cargo bike available for customer use in grocery store in Malmo's West Harbor mixed-use development. (Click to expand)

Cargo bike available for customer use in grocery store in Malmo’s West Harbor mixed-use redevelopment zone. (Click to expand)

This week, Walkable Princeton is running some stories from our recent overseas vacation. Previous posts in this series are here and here. Our regular local content is back after Labor Day.

If you want to live a ‘green’ lifestyle, or if you just like regular exercise, using your car less is an excellent idea. But we can’t walk everywhere, right? Ahat about those trips that require a car, like trips to the supermarket? For those who shop in industrial sizes and quantities, a car, maybe even a truck, is necessary. But at least one grocery store in southern Sweden is offering customer’s free use of a nifty ‘cargo bike’ (pictured above) to haul away their shopping. It’s actually a trike, with a gigantic bucket at the front, large enough to fit most anything. Think it’s not big enough? They’ve got an even bigger one:

Extra-heavy-duty cargo trike at 'Green' market in Malmo. (Click to expand).

Extra-heavy-duty cargo trike at ‘Green’ market in Malmo. (Click to expand).

What’s more, this supermarket, ‘Green Matmarknad’ (click here for a link – Swedish) appears to be giving customers a rebate of 10% for using their cargo bike! My Swedish is a little rusty  basically non-existent, but this sign seems to promise a discount for cargo-bikers. (If you speak Swedish, please confirm!!).

The writing in gold may offer 10% off to customers taking advantage of Green Market's cargo bikes. (Click to expand). Full translation would be much appreciated!

The writing in gold may offer 10% off to customers taking advantage of Green Market’s cargo bikes. (Click to expand). Full translation would be much appreciated!

A short ride in a gleaming Scandinavian train across the beautiful Oresund Bridge, and we  come across the mother-lode of cargo bikes: the Christiania Bikes workshop (click here for website). For over 30 years, these guys have been building cargo bikes to Danish standards:

Entrance to the Christiana Bikes workshop, just outside Copenhagen, Denmark. (Click to expand)

Entrance to the Christiana Bikes workshop, just outside Copenhagen, Denmark. (Click to expand)

Christiania is a famous / notorious place, a near-indescribable enclave of hippies, libertarians, and eco-warriors. A sign at the entrance states ‘You are now leaving the EU’ and marijuana is openly sold from kiosks around the commune. The place is regularly threatened with being closed down permanently. One of the quirks of the commune is that private cars are forbidden. Cargo bikes are therefore particularly in demand and are ‘exported’ throughout Denmark.

Here are two of the most popular styles: on the right, the cargo trike, similar to the one seen in the supermarket in Malmo. On the left, a long wheelbase two-wheel model:

Cargo bikes in Christiania. (Click to expand)

Cargo bikes in Christiania. (Click to expand)

Around the paths and rudimentary streets of Christiania, cargo bikes are everywhere. These guys test the limits of what can be transported by bicycle. Here is somebody hauling a keg of beer:

A keg on wheels in Christiania. (Click to expand)

A keg on wheels in Christiania. (Click to expand)

If you are thinking “well, that’s only a small keg”, then check out this machine, which appears to be designed for transporting two full-size kegs, or possibly furniture:

Monster custom cargo bike in Christiania. (Click to expand)

Monster custom cargo bike in Christiania. (Click to expand)

On re-entering the normal side of Copenhagen, loads of people can be seen using cargo bikes. What’s the most popular thing to transport in a cargo bike?? Children. All around the city, kids are being moved around using cargo bikes, and they seem quite at home here too. Smiling babies, or sometimes even sleeping babies can be seen hurtling down major streets in the basket of a cargo bike. Some cargo bikes even feature cushioned seats, canopies and safety belts for added comfort and security of passengers!

Danish guy cycling a cargo bike containing a young girl through the streets of Copenhagen. (Click to expand)

Danish guy cycling a cargo bike containing a young girl through the streets of Copenhagen. (Click to expand)

Could the use of cargo bikes catch on in Princeton? To some extent they are already here! Whole Earth Market owns a special bike trailer, which is used for transporting large quantities of food or supplies with zero carbon emissions. However, this is technically a trailer, not a true cargo bike.  Princeton is not the best town for cycling; a lack of useful bike infrastructure has made cycling a niche activity. Cargo bikes are available in the US– in fact you can even get a Christiania cargo trike through Adeline Adeline in New York. Thinking outside the box, either the town of Princeton or owners of large apartment complexes could provide these kind of bikes on an hourly rental / loan program, to make it easy for Princeton residents to use them. Soon people might be saying ‘My Other Car is a Cargo Bike’!!

OK, this isn't a cargo bike, it's just a cute Danish doggie on the move. (Click to expand)

OK, this isn’t a cargo bike, it’s just a cute Danish doggie on the move! (Click to expand)

Would you ride a cargo bike? How practical do you think it would be to fit a week’s worth of groceries into one of these things? Leave a comment below!

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This entry was posted in Alternative Transportation, Biking and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to No Grocery Shop Too Large For The Cargo Bike

  1. Pingback: Exploring Sweden’s Walkable Answer To Princeton | walkableprinceton

  2. Pingback: Wayfaring Signs: A No-Brainer For Increasing Walkability | walkableprinceton

  3. Pingback: Who Needs A Car To Haul A Christmas Tree?? | walkableprinceton

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