Bike for delivery: Are bikes becoming the new delivery vans?

As you have surely noticed, cargo bikes are booming. Whether it is to transport children, animals, heavy and/or bulky loads, individuals and professionals are increasingly attracted to this new means of transport.
But when it comes to deliveries, there are many ways to transport loads: trucks, cars, vans… Very often, they come down to motor vehicles that consume lots of fuel and pollute our cities.
This pollution, whether it be noise or air pollution, disturbs urban residents’ daily life.
But is there a sustainable, ecological, and economical solution to replace these means of transport?

Yes, there is: the bike for delivery!

A little history lesson: since when do delivery bikes exist?

We all know that before cars existed, people used to use bikes quite a lot, it was one of the most popular means of transport! But how did they carry loads or deliver packages?

Bike for delivery: the only way people carried loads in the past

Cargo bikes have been used for business purposes for decades.
Initially, these early means of transport consisted of a box at the front or back of the bike to hold goods, loads, objects, or food, they were also used as a bike for delivery!
In the 20th century, when cars were not very accessible and developed, the cargo bike was the most popular means of transport for deliveries.
But little by little, motorised vehicles started to become more popular and replaced the bikes and tricycles.

What is happening with the delivery bike nowadays and why?

Today, the bike for delivery is making a come-back! More and more people are choosing bikes over vans or cars for professional purposes. How is that possible?
With ever-increasing car traffic and the development of cycle paths, the delivery bike has many advantages:

  • The end of traffic jams: the development of cycling infrastructures makes it easier and faster to travel by bike. Cyclists’ safety is also improved as they are riding on dedicated lanes and not necessarily in the usual road traffic.
  • Easy parking: naturally smaller than a van, the bike for delivery requires less parking space.
  • Cycling is beneficial for your heart: even if the cargo bike is an electric bike, you still have to pedal! And that’s good for your health.
  • An undeniable ecological impact: as you can imagine, the cargo bike doesn’t need fuel, you are therefore protecting the planet.
  • Positive effects on brand image: if you use this non-polluting means of transport daily, it automatically sends out a positive, modern, and ecological image to your customers and prospects. By using a bike for delivery, you can even advertise your company! People are not used to seeing a delivery bike, it’s atypical, they will tend to look at your bike more than a van, so it’ll attract their interest.

In a nutshell, 

Using a bike for business trips is beneficial for both the entrepreneur and his/her customers. For example a plumber: he can easily make 5 deliveries in an hour compared to 3 in a van. He can therefore intervene quicker in case of an emergency. And the cost of travel is cheaper so the bill will be 40% cheaper on average (no petrol, cheaper insurance, lower maintenance and repair costs)!

It is also perfect for the Last Mile Logistics, the final step of the delivery process from the distribution center or facility to the end-user!

But how to choose a delivery bike from this wide range?

What delivery bike you should choose according to your needs

There are many types of cargo bikes that you could use as a delivery bike. From a small box to a fridge, with two wheels or three wheels, there are options for everyone! A cargo bike can easily carry more than 100 kg or 16 stones therefore plumbers, physiotherapists, restaurant owners and even removal workers choose this means of transport. If all the different options seem unclear at first, take a moment to read our article on the differences between all of them. These types of bikes each have their own advantages and disadvantages. First you probably need to know the difference between normal bikes and tricycles:

Normal cargo bikes

These have two wheels and generally have a box between the handlebars and the front wheel (it’s very rare that the box is at the back). They offer a big load capacity which is why you could use it as a delivery bike. It is very easy to handle but is relatively long therefore heavier and less stable!

Cargo tricycles

Tricycles have three wheels and have a box at the front or the back. The three wheels make them very stable and offer more storage capacity: perfect for a delivery bike. However, they are not very easy to handle and are wider than a bike, it might be more difficult to adapt to an urban environment.
Delivery bike distribution of parcels door to door during quarantine in UK

copyright: Freddie’s Flowers delivery by

To quickly sum up,

The choice between a tricycle or a bike for your deliveries will only depend on your riding preferences. Do you prefer being stable but have a harder time taking turns? Or do you prefer a normal bike but loose stability? It’s up to you!

There are other types of delivery bikes as well:

The trailer

The trailer can be added to the seat post or to the rear wheel axle of your bike and it changes it into a delivery bike just like that! Easy!

This option is more economical if you already have a bike because you only have to buy the trailer and not the whole bike. It is also lighter, but its storage capacity might not be as big, depending on the one you choose.

The longtail

The longtail allows you to carry loads on the back of the bike. It is shorter than other cargo bikes, which makes it easier to ride and park. An example of a longtail is our U-Cargo that can carry 80kg or 100L at the back and 20kg at the front!

And remember that what you are carrying must not prevent you from seeing the road!

The AddBike+ with the Box Kit could be the perfect delivery bike!

delivery bike Box Kit being uncharged from parcels

The AddBike+ with the Box Kit

In just a few minutes, your classic bike becomes a delivery bike thanks to AddBike’s Box Kit! You just have to replace the front wheel of your bike with the AddBike+ frame. Onto this frame you can add different modules but the one we are going to talk about today is the Box Kit. This module was designed to help you transport any type of load on your bike: bulky loads, large loads with a volume of up to 110 litres or 35 kg. Travel miles with your stuff without losing manoeuvrability!  It also has many practical features such as:
  • Shock-Resist: rigid metal frame
  • See-Me: reflective strips for more visibility
  • Rain-Blocker: waterproof cover that will protect your loads in case of rain or wind
  • Clean-Canvas: large white area that can be customized with stickers
  • A lid that you can close to secure your loads
  • Tilt lock lever on your handlebar: stabilizes the AddBike+ when at standstill which makes it easier to load or unload it and get on and off the bike.

However, it has tilting wheels, so the Box Kit isn’t suitable for people looking for stability. 

If you have a doubt, one of our users has tried it out and gave their opinion!

One of our Box Kit User’s opinions

There is nothing better than one of the Box Kit user’s opinions!

We interviewed Gauthier and Thomas who work for the Council’s technical department in Hulluch, Pas-de-Calais, France after they tried the AddBike+ out to transport their tools. 
They said that the delivery bike allowed them to get around quicker than a car. They cycle a lot in Hulluch as it has 21km of road so it allows them to be athletic and enjoy their passion at the same time! As far as the tilting wheel system is concerned, they specified that it was quite difficult to get used to at the beginning as they didn’t try it out before (which is why we recommend you try it first so that you get the necessary advice) but once they got used to it, it was a very practical system they couldn’t do without it now!

Discover the full interview!