Common Cargobikes, or ‘Forum Freie Lastenräder’ (Forum For Free Cargo Bikes) is a German bike-sharing initiative aimed at getting more people on a bike and making transport easier for people who don’t have access to a car. When we heard about the initiative the commitment to accessibility and social mobility, as well as improving road safety really stood out to us. We were all too happy to make a donation to such a worthy cause!
Also known as freight bicycles, box bikes, carrier bikes or carrier cycles, cargobikes share the same features as normal bikes; two wheels, two pedals, handlebars and a frame. However, there’s a key difference in the shape; the frame is elongated, with a big storage container between the handlebars and the front wheel. This storage space looks almost like a trough, and it’s big enough to fit anything from your weekly shop to two small children with tired legs.
As well as the convenience of the storage space, cargobikes bring a number of benefits to the rider and the people and places around them. Firstly, a bike is the most eco-friendly transportation method around, aside from walking; this makes the bike ideal for shopping or being used for short-distance deliveries by couriers.
Certain city centres have vehicle restrictions, from London’s Congestion Charge zones to pedestrian and cyclist-only roads in other cities. A cargobike is exempt from any vehicle charge, and it can still use these restricted roads and cycle paths – this makes them ideal for cycling through town or delivering packages to places where a van or truck cannot.
The main aim of the Common Cargobikes initiative is to push the notion of ‘community-based’ transport, whilst simultaneously increasing the availability and popularity of sustainable transport and movement. The community aspect of the initiative is underpinned by the use of communal locations as pick up spots; cafes, social spaces and even other people who are finished with a bike – people can pick up these bikes from anywhere, sharing the transport with their neighbours.
The ‘Common Cargobikes’ initiative is used across Germany, Austria and Hungary, with thousands of members, 119 schemes and 338 bikes. The schemes use open-source booking software which allows businesses and social associations to make themselves available as pick-up and drop-off locations. These elements, from the bikes themselves to the accessibility of booking and registering as a part of the scheme, make Common Cargobikes a real shining example of community-based transport and sustainability progress.
If you’d like to lend your backing to Common Cargobikes, you can join The Windscreen Company in donating by clicking this link. You can also read more about the movement here – be sure to select the ‘British English’ option in the top-right corner if you don’t speak German!
While bikes have no need for windscreens, we’re very proud to be supporters of such a fantastic push for social mobility, and we’re looking forward to seeing it gain more support around the world.
The Windscreen Company are proud providers of windscreen repairs and replacements for vehicles of all kinds in Ipswich, Essex and the South East. If you’d like to know more about us, or for more information about our services, contact us today.