Of course, pedal-powered delivery is nothing new in North America. Bike messengers are a common, if dwindling, breed, but pedal-powered freight delivery is rare. It’s less rare abroad. In Paris, for example, private package carrier DHL delivers by cargo trike, as does a company called TNT elsewhere in Europe. In fact, national postal services in both Denmark and the United Kingdom include bike delivery. Urban planner Alyse Nelson (who helped research this post) photographed this official Danish postal bike (along with an impressive variety of other cargo bikes in Denmark (Flickr set here).
She also shot this picture of a Danish postal cargo trike.
Speaking of delivery, pizzas are starting to travel on bikes. In my neighborhood of Ballard, in Seattle, Snoose Junction sends its pies out on two wheels. Zaw Artisan Pizza does the same from two Seattle locations. In Oregon, so do at least some locations of Old Town Pizza, Hot Lips Pizza, and Pizza Schmizza. I imagine other Portland shops do, too.
(Readers: please fill us in! The time may soon come when it’s impossible to list all the pizza places in the Northwest that deliver by bicycle, but that day has not yet arrived. So help me update this list. Vancouver? Victoria? Eugene? Spokane? Corvallis? Bellingham? Boise? Which pizzerias offer non-petroleum-based pie transport?)
The national submarine sandwich chain Jimmy John’s delivers by bike from at least some of its Northwest stores. (Don’t be surprised that a chain store would do so. In China, even Dominoes Pizza delivers by bike!) And then there’s SoupCycle—a subscription soup, bread, and salad bike delivery company in Portland that supports local farmers. In Port Townsend, Washington, the Recyclery delivers purchased goods from the farmers’ market to people’s homes, and Bob’s Bagels delivers by bike all over town.
Urban homesteader Patrick Barber of Portland is a pioneer in cargo biking and in-town agriculture. (He’s also a gifted photographer. Check out this set of trike photos. And these.) He and his partner Holly use their cargo trike like minivan. “We don’t own a car, so we use the trike to carry our daughter, and all her/our associated stuff, to most places that we go in the city. To the farmers market, the grocery store, the park, grandma’s house … the library, the garden store, doctors’ appointments,” he says. They even use the trike to pick up and transport out-of-town visitors, such as Patrick’s mom.
Q19, a home cleaning business in Portland, uses box bikes to haul their cleaning supplies around the city.
Cargo biking seems to bring out the adventuresome side of urban dwellers—a point best made through pictures rather words. For example, some freight bikers like the challenge of carrying challenging and and oversized loads, like a gardening enthusiast riding a Portland-made JoeBike long john:
And this door hanger riding a Yuba Mundo:
And this teamster on a Bullitt long john:
And this lumber and corrugated cardboard on a Eugene-made CETMA long john:
And this apartment mover on a Yuba Mundo long tail:
And this mover:
Meanwhile (not pictured), there’s this gentleman who pulls a sailboat on a trailer.