Friday, January 10, 2014

Why cargo bikes should say thank you to mobile delivery apps

Just as email and apps like Docusign have put the coffin in the bike messenger business, mobile technology is opening the door for the return of the milk man. Not just milk, more like full loads of groceries, laundry, lunch and just about anything else you don't have the time or desire to get yourself. It took nearly 100 years, now the bike has a chance to once again reign supreme in the neighborhood commerce.


Because of file sharing an e-signatures bike messengers are called on less and less to move paper documents across town at a moments notice. A long time staple of the industry was the legal field. Now courts are going paperless leaving track bike wielding satchel wearing street racers in the lurch. While one door is closing mobile apps like Zipments, Postmates, and Washio have the potential to breath new life into biking for commercial transit.

In recent years there has been a renaissance among load bearing bicycles in the U.S. Mostly used by reasonably affluent parents to haul kids around town in the Pacific North West and other select locales in America. With the emergence of delivery on demand cargo bikes can make an even bigger splash on the national cycling scene.

Bikes with the ability to carry loads up to 600 lbs. and electric assist for a full days work can be great alternatives to Smart cars and Fiat 500s for quick city deliveries. If you sign up as a delivery person with one of the on-demand delivery apps imagine of your cost advantage over competing motor vehicles. Parking, gas, registration, oil changes are not part of your cost structure. Given the load carrying capacity of some models you can compete directly with cars for the same job. Cyclist, here is your chance to breathe new life into cycling for commerce.

What do you see for the future of bikes for business in the U.S.?

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