Remember the Hovis bread boy? Pushing his bike up cobbled Lancashire streets, handlebar basket laden with loaves, he’s a symbol of a less motorised bygone age.
Now his place has been taken by white van man, cutting up other drivers and cyclists as he hares around on his morning delivery run. But one man wants to change all that.
Mike Reeves of Norwich in the UK has set up a blog extolling the virtues of work bikes. At One Less Van he waxes lyrical about the multitude of bikes available for both human and commercial cargo, and urges companies to consider the alternatives to four wheeled deliveries.
Mike, 42, got his first bike trailer in 1992, when he used it to deliver newspapers and catalogues.
Writing on One Less Van, he said: “I didn't earn a lot from that job so the freedom from car tax, insurance and fuel was a godsend.
“The problem with the trailer was that is was ridiculously easy to roll over. Too tight turns into driveways would flip it every time. On one occasion I managed to invert it while on the way to the bottle bank. Glass all over the road! What fun!
“Eventually I got another car and principly due to lack of storage space I sold my bike and trailer, an action which I have regretted ever since.”
Mike now has a Camcart trailer but is also saving up for an ad-bike, for another means of bringing home the bacon.
Work bikes have seen a growth in popularity in the UK in recent years, with pedal rickshaws attracting some controversy in London, and green-thinking parents using kiddie-trailers for the school run instead of piling their offspring into a SUV each morning.
Of course, work bikes don’t come cheap, with Pashley’s traditional Deli Bike coming in just short of £700. But they’re a snip compared to £10,000 on a delivery van, and also come free from the burdens of tax, insurance, MOT and speeding tickets.
In cottoning on to the attractions of cargo bikes, the UK still has a lot of catching up to do with cycling-friendly Holland, where Bakfietsare a common sight.
You can read more about the practicalities of using a cargo bike for family travel at a Bakefiets Cargobike blog here.