Freight bicycle

Submitted by admin on Fri, 2006-12-29 14:40.

Freight bicycles or Freight tricycles or cargo bikes are human powered vehicles designed and constructed specifically for transporting large loads. Vehicle designs usually include a cargo handling area consisting of an enclosed box (cabinet), a flat platform, or a wire bracket basket. These may be mounted between parallel wheels at either the front or rear of the vehicle. The frame and drivetrain must be constructed to handle loads several times that of an ordinary bicycle. Other specific design considerations include operator visibility and load suspension.

Historically, freight bicycles were heavy-duty standard bicycles, typically with heavy carriers at front or rear. During the early part of the 20th Century these were commonly used by tradespeople for local deliveries (in the UK this style is still sometimes known as a butcher's bike, although the Post Office have by far the largest fleet). Modern freight cycles vary much more widely, often being tailored to particular applications.



Non-motorized vehicles are particularly attractive where motorized vehicles:

  • would become stuck in congested traffic
  • would create air pollution problems (e.g. enclosed warehouses and industrial plants)
  • would create safety problems (e.g. crowded pedestrian areas)
  • would be prohibitively expensive to operate at a profit
  • would be limited by fuel availability
  • would be limited by the availability of on-street parking
  • are restricted for environmental reasons (e.g. protected lands)
  • prove inefficient for short order production or distribution schedules or for the last mile phase of a delivery.

Non-motorized vehicles do not generate spark (no electric components or combustion engines), therefore, they are used in refineries, chemical, petrochemical, and many other industries where due to fire hazard and presence of combustable checmicals, only non-motorized bicycles or tricycles can be used for transportation.

Common Usages


Common usages include:

  • delivery services in dense urban environments
  • food vending in high foot traffic areas (including specialist ice cream bikes)
  • transporting trade tools, including around large installations such as power stations and CERN
  • airport cargo handling
  • recycling collections
  • warehouse inventory transportation
  • mail (The UK post office operates a fleet of 33,000 bicycles, mainly the Pashley MailStar)

Because of the strong economic advantageous realizable by widespread proliferation of freight bicycles, Oxfam has designed the OxTrike and established local production at community workshops in non-industrialized countries for use in non-industrialized countries worldwide. Dangdang, China’s biggest online bookseller, uses 30 bicycle courier companies in 12 cities to deliver goods and collect payments.

456 Kg - 1000 lbs of freight