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Your next car could be a cargo bike - the climate friendly alternative

Half of the total number of car trips, is shorter than 5 km. In urban communities around 80 percent of the car trips are shorter than 3-4 km. Where  a normal bike or a bus might not be a convenient alternative, an electric cargo bike could very well to the job.  Click at the film above to get an idea how you could use a cargo bike.


Photo stripe with three photos of cargo bikes in different situations



“People often ask me curious questions”


Lara feels she get lots of attention as she drives her new cargo bike through Greifswald city. After driving it now for more than 100 kilometers Lara feels comfortable and has a lot of fun riding her bike and getting into conversation about it while parking somewhere in the city.

– People often ask me curious questions or at least greet me with a smile, says Lara.


It all started when Lara Schulze came in contact with the free to rent La.Ra cargo bike service offered by the University of Greifswald after reading about it in the local newspaper. By trying the available cargo bikes, she was fascinated right from the beginning by the new possibilities and positive experiences for her family. A cargo bike combines fun and usefulness by riding it; except for the challenges of the rainy and stormy weather – a cover for the children is an essential must have.


Therefore, she decided together with her husband to buy a cargo bike for her family. It was easy to make the decision, but not so easy to find the right bike. They tried many different models and finally fell in love with an electric 3-wheeled turquoise Bakfiets with a wooden box. After several months of waiting for their cargo-bike to be delivered, they now use it nearly daily to bring both kids to the kindergarten, for grocery shopping or even to go to the nearby beach during summer months. Since then the family uses the car only for long distances.


The bike became a big fun factor in Lara and her family’s life and is a great success within her circle of friends. Lara would like the whole city to become a car-free zone.

– For young, sporty and courageous persons a cargo bike is the perfect way to move within the city, says Lara and hope that more persons follow her way!


Cargo bike ride to the wedding


For Tino and Susanne Nilolai it was a huge surprise on their wedding day 08th of August 2020 in Greifswald: a good friend of both of them, Matthias, picked them up at home to drive them to their wedding at the civil hall with the rickshaw. He knew about the possibility to rent the rickshaw by a article in the local newspaper. Tino grew up nearby Greifswald  and Susanne just moved here from the South of Germany last year. They knew each other for several years and after living together they also decided to get married.


usanne stated “we were very happy about the surprise Matthias gave us! The rickshaw is a very special and furthermore also very ecological way of transport. This fit in perfectly with our little wedding. It was very comfortable and nice to by driven this way through the city. We enjoyed the view and the fresh air! It was lots of fun. It was a very special way to go to our wedding and we are very happy that Matthias and his wife decorated the cargo-bike in such a lovely way.” 




Animal rescue in a cargo bike



The animal rescue association in Greifswald, Germany,  wanted a cargo-bike, because they have a motto of  “animal welfare does not only start directly in the way you treat the animal, but also by contributing to climate protection.” Ecology is a main driver for them and the usage of a cargo bike therefore a consequence. Especially during the upbringing season from May to October the animal rescue association get’s daily calls from the whole region by persons who found an injured mammal or bird, police who needs someone to take care of a wounded dog or even from persons who need help with a wild animal not leaving their house or from relatives who can’t get access to a flat of a person who had to go to hospital, because the cat/dog is still inside.


The association only has one car to use, which is not enough to fulfill all tasks. Now, with the additional cargo-bike, they have a second option to drive to assignments, but also to buy food or first aid material and deliver it to private persons, the local zoo, veterinarians or to transport donations like dog food to the place of usage. If they drive to rescue missions for animals, they put all equipment and also an animal transport box inside the cargo bike.


While driving the bike the member of the association Anja Hübner is always surprised how many people ask her curious questions like “Where can I buy such bike?” or “How does it feel to drive it?”. Interest in the bicycle leads to interest in the animal rescue association, so it is a perfect win-win situation. “People really like it, they even recognize it again as I drive through the city and I guess it is a real eye-catcher”.  For the future Anja has the hope that “as much transport as possible will be conducted by cargo-bikes or maybe we can even share it during low season with the humane society!”


News archive


Makerspace loaning cargo bikes led to multiple effects in Greifswald, Germany


Since April 2020 the local makerspace uses a cargo bike financed by the CoBiUM project for their goods of transport. It all started with the idea of printing 3D visors at the makerspace workshops to distribute these to hospitals and medical practices all over the city by using the cargo-bike during the COVID-19 crisis.


After the success of this attempt two related developments happened, namely the owner and founder of makerspace, Ernst Heil, bought an own cargo bike for his bar “Huschecke” to buy all kinds of beverages with it and the members of makerspace kept their cargo-bike to arrange their daily transport in an alternative way. The makerspace bike is a non-electric driven Bullitt and therefor can only be loaded up to 50 kg. Still they use it to drive to all the way from their place to the local hardware store to buy colors (for artists of the urban art festival to paint the front of the workshop hall) and tools for renovation of the workshop halls and their daily work. The 27 members of maker space now think about an online booking system and a key box for their bike to make the handover process for all members more comfortable.


Ernst uses his own bike instead of a car and he is more than happy with the Urban Arrow L. He drives mostly within the city to buy all sorts of things for his bar, like several beer crates and cartons of liquor.  He even thinks about buying a trailer for the bike to enlarge the volume of transport. The only things he really misses are a blinker and a camera in front of the bike to make the daily handling at the street easier. So, these two bikes contribute a lot to a more sustainable way of transport, especially in innovative business developments within the city. 


Ernst in his newly bought cargobike  Urban art festival  Ernst delivering 3D visors from the makerspace workshops

From left: Ernst in his newly bought cargobike. Urban art festival. Ernst delivering 3D visors from the makerspace workshops. Photos from University of Greifswald.


A rolling success in Växjö


While the simplicity of an ordinary bike is attractive for many, the fact is that a bike can be limited compared to the loading capacity of a car. Heavy shopping bags, several children or a retired washing machine destined for the recycling centre are hard to fit on a bike. This is when a cargo bike comes in handy, solving the needs and helping the environment at the same time.

The bicycle library (cykelbiblioteket) in Växjö opened in April 2019, giving Växjö residents the opportunity to test different types of bicycle including cargo, electric, folding, and gravel. As a cargo bike is a bit of an investment, the idea of the bike library is to let people test them for an extended period. The three weeks lending, free of charge, gives people interested in buying a cargo bike an opportunity to test how it might work out in their ordinary life situation. And to try different kind of bikes, as the library has several different models from different brands, both two- and three-wheel cargo bikes. 

First results

Only two days after the opening event in April, all eight pre-defined periods were fully booked including right through to the colder months of November and December. That was a total of 168 bookings in two days, with cargo bikes and electric assist being the most popular. In addition, positive feedback from a participant survey further confirmed the demand and necessity for such a service in Växjö.

In the survey, 141 respondents reported they could reduce car travel for commuting, transport of goods, travel with children or a combination of the three. Of the participants, 39% said they were considering purchasing the same or a different model.

Some participants reported that they would prefer to test other models before deciding, particularly cargo bike models that can cost between 4000 and 7000 euro. Others preferred to lease a bike; a new service further developed at one of our participating shops. For the bike shops, involvement in the project has given them the opportunity to test new markets, including bike types and manufacturers that would not otherwise have been considered. New industry contacts were developed, and new customer segments established.

Strategies for turning the bicycle library into a permanent and more self-sufficient service beyond EU financing are being investigated, including a fee structure for borrowers (refunded with the purchase of a bike) and the possibilities of bicycle-pool spin-offs for housing complexes and neighbourhoods.
The bicycle library is helping Växjö to grow into a cycling city, and results and experiences from the project will be reflected in the municipality’s new transport plan to be published in 2021.  
Colin Hale, Växjö municipality 


The bike library are made possible with the help of the EU projects CoBiUM and SUMBA.
Read more about the bike library in an article at UBC from May 18th,2020.


A single cargo bike replacing a diesel transporter saves 5 tons of CO2 per year

Research from the CityChangerCargoBike (CCCB) project reveals that cargo bikes outmatch traditional delivery vans in almost every respect. While urban delivery trips account for 15% of all urban trips, their share of energy use currently amounts to 30% of all urban transport energy consumption. Cargo bikes, on the other hand, are a zero-emission transport option powered by humans.


Read the article on last mile deliveries on ECF hompage (2020-02-06)


Read the article on the German bike library at the UBC website from 2020-05-14

Photo of the start of the free cargo bike system in front of the city hall


Easy access to all areas


The media and promotion unit of the city of Gdynia are often out and about in the city, making film or taking pictures. During the summer of 2019 they borrowed one of the CoBiUM cargo bikes to see if it could make their job easier.


"A cargo bicycle gives us an estimated saving of at least several minutes", says one of the pleased employees. "Getting to the place of a larger event is much easier, because we get virtually to the destination, saving a few hundred meters of hiking in the heat with video equipment, which weighs a few dozen kilos in total! The problem of a lack of parking space for larger events, where in fact we need efficient transport over a short distance, disappears."


The places the media team often visit is easy accessable through bicycle paths, which ususaly go by nice places, so from a user's perspective the journey is much more pleasant than by car. So for a quick recording in the middle of the park, the team would quickly get to the place and have all the equipment at hand.


"The reactions of people we meet along the way are very positive, the cargo bike arouses interest, attracts attention, evokes a smile and curiosity." summarized the employee.


The team not only transported their equipment with the cargo bike, they also used  it for interesting shots with the camera person riding in the box as they filmed.



The cargo bike - an important part of the everyday puzzle


During the fall of 2019, Ida and her family borrowed an electric cargo bike from Växjö Municipality, Sweden,  for three weeks. The bicycle became a complement to the car the family of five, three of them children, usually use to solve the life puzzle.
It is through the Bicycle Library that Växjö Municipality has lent different types of bicycles to residents in the municipality. The bicycle library is jointly created as a part of the EU projects Cobium and Sumba.

Less car driving

According to Ida, the loan of the cargo bike has been a success for the family. It has lead to that they often leave the car at home. Especially in the evenings when it was used to move the two older children to and from their leisure activities, which often occur at the same time and at different ends of town. With the cargo bike the parents were able to drive each child separately instead and thus reduced driving around. The parents drove one child with the car and the other with the cargo bike. They also been taking trips to the store or to the playground with the cargo bike.



Borrowing a cargo bike to test is a success

Ida found out about the possibility of borrowing a cargo bike through advertisements in the local newspaper Smålandsposten and on Instagram.
The family has borrowed an electric cargo bike by the brand Christiania Light, which the say has been very easy to use. The family was a little cautious at first as the bike has no foot brake. However, there was just a short period of use, according to Ida, before the habit sat.

The bike has meant another opportunity for the family as they wanted to test the bike to see if it was anything that could suit them in their life. The loan has really proved successful as the family now is looking at both new and used bikes to buy.Having an electric cargo bike for the family has eliminated extra transport for some of the children as they would otherwise have to take the bus for the logistics to work. The family's view is that more environment than time is saved, which in itself is a big win.

Cargo bikes beat cars in Bisserup, DK


This summer the chairman of the yacht club and the chairman of the harbour in the small village of Bisserup in Denmark got the opportunity to borrow two cargo bikes. So instead of driving their cars with goods and tools to the harbour, they use electric cargo bikes.


The trial period has been a success. The two chairmen, Freddy Dahl Thomasen and Jens Christian Eskjær Jensen, use the cargo bikes almost every day and often many times per day. The cargo bikes are easy to use and can be parked close to the harbour. With the cargo bikes it is easy to get around, bike at small trails and to make shortcuts. It is also easy to stop and have a talk to the people they met.


The two men likes that they also get some exercise, and as bonus, they can bring their grandchildren with them. The cargo bikes each have a bench in the cargo hold for the children to sit on. The two chairmen lives about 2 km from the harbour in Bisserup and instead of using their cars between their home and the harbour, they now use the cargo bikes to bring tools or goods back and forth.

The borrowed cargo bikes are part of a CoBiUM pilot arranged by Slagelse municipality.



Clothes delivered by cargo bike i Slagelse


For about five months the clothing store called Klunsbar have been using a cargo bike to deliver clothes to their customers in Slagelse City.


The two owners of the clothing store, Christian and Martin, had a vision of a sustainable store. One example is that the store use secondhand fixtures they got from another store. The store started a web shop in the spring 2019 and the idea was to deliver the clothes to their customers in Slagelse City by themselves. They first planned to use a car to deliver the clothes, but when they heard about the opportunity to use a cargo bike, they immediately jumped on board.


There is a big potential to use a cargo bike instead of a car for deliver goods to the customers, especially in Slagelse city. Parking problem is a big issue in the centre of Slagelse and it is often easier to make a short cut with a cargo bike. Another good thing using a cargo bike instead of a car is that you can ride a cargo bike without a driver’s license, and when you are under 18 years old.


The borrowed cargo bikes are part of a CoBiUM pilot arranged by Slagelse municipality.

European interest


CoBiUM is featured on the FEDARENE web page, where the CoBiUM film is promoted. See the article.

Release of the CoBiUM film


One of CoBiUM missions is to show that electric carbo bikes can be a real and convenient alternative to fossile-fuelled vehicles for many people living in urban areas. This film hopes to convey that in with a tongue-in-cheek sort of way. 

Cargo bike promotion in south Baltic cities 



Several cities around the southern part of the Baltic sea are currently in the process of procuring electric cargo bikes. The bikes will be lent out to businesses and private persons for a limited trial period or used in municipal services. The purpose is to let people find out how a cargo bike can work for them in their life or business, by being able to borrow a cargo bike for a couple of weeks. Another purpose is making the cargo bikes a regular feature of the cityscape, as municipal employees ride their cargo bikes around town. 

In the cities of Greifswald, Slupsk, Gdynia, Slagelse, Växjö and Guldborgssunds municipality cargo bikes will be a visible mode of transport the next couple of years, as the South Baltic Programme financed project CoBiUM promotes electric cargo bikes as an alternative to fossil fuelled transports.

Long ago cargo bikes were a common sight in many cities, but they disappeared when cars became prevalent in the 1950's. Today, with more electric models to choose from and a wish for greener deliveries, the cargo bikes are again on the rise.

According to Swedish national statistics, 51 percent of all motorized trips in cities occur along such short distances and with so little cargo that they could be done by cargo bike. An electric cargo bike will easily cover a radius of 15-20 kilometres and are suitable for transport of small quantities of goods or equipment for commercial or repair companies. Or for commuting to work, shopping, or travel to sports activities.

- In large cities cargo bikes are common nowadays, but we think that there is a great potential also in a medium-sized city, says CoBiUM lead partner Amanda Johansson, Växjö municipality. Electric cargo bikes are a greener transport alternative, an alternative that both saves money and the climate, with a bonus of added health value.


Social media

Follow us in social media - look out for the hashtag #CoBiUM 

Project progress

Feb 2018 - Project startsGroup picture of CoBiUM project participants in Växjö foto Johanna Wallin

March 2018 - Kickoff takes place in Växjö

April 2018 - Project partners visit the cargo bike fair at Velo Berlin 14-15 April

April 2018 - Research and stock-taking in the field of cargo bikes. Creation of the project steering group.

April 2018 - The web page at is published.

June 2018 - Stock-taking is completed, now follows analysis to serve as foundation for the creation of pilots.

September 2018 - Preparations for procuring cargo bikes to the pilots has started.

January 2019 - Production start of pilot campaign material.

Feb/April 2019 - Several pilots starts.

May 2019 - Project partners met in Greifswald discussing the pilots and the evaluation.

June 2019 - Production of film and graphic tool box.

July 2019 - Release of the CoBiUM cargo bike film

September 2019 - First stories from pilots were compiled and published. 

October 2019 - Partner meeting in Slupsk focused on peer review of the pilots.

November 2019 - Work with midterm evaluation.

December 2019 - collection of news stories for the web page.

February 2020 - First analysis of pilots compiled. Planning for pilot period 2020 are under way.

March 2020 - The planned partner meeting and study visit to Copenhagen had to be cancelled due to the corona virus. The partner meeting and workshop were transformed to an online event.

April 2020 - the Covid-19 pandemic causes a halt to most of the pilots, while some other like the bike library in Växjö still runs without any disturbances.

May 2020 - Development of the joint event format and the guidelines begins in ernest.

August 2020 - As societies open up a bit more, the cargo bike pilots are starting up again, where they before were hindered by the pandemic.



Baseline report Ex-ante evaluation study (update with results from the data survey 2019-02-18) D 3.1




Better knowledge and increased use of cargo bikes in urban traffic!


CoBiUM (Cargo bikes in urban mobility) aims at reducing the number of fossil-fuelled vehicles in urban mobility in the partner cities by promoting cargo bikes as transportation alternative. Short distances in the urban environment are ideal for shifting trips from car to bike. For distances up to 5 kilometres the readiness of people to use their (non-electric) bike is highest. With pedelecs this distance goes up to 15-20 kilometres. We assume that these numbers do not differ for cargo bikes; the problem is rather that cargo bikes are not very well known and considered to be something very special and not for ordinary use. Through pilot applications, communication and campaigning CoBiUM wants to contribute to a better knowledge about cargo bikes and effectively an increased use among the different target groups.


CoBiUM will focus on three thematic areas: private users, municipal services and business logistics and offer innovative and sustainable solutions, helping municipalities in the South Baltic area to integrate cargo bikes into their urban mobility concepts. 

In CoBiUM the partners will carry out pilots (with small scale-investments) in one or more of the three thematic areas (private use, municipal services and business logistics). The pilots themselves as well as the accompanying communication and campaigning will take into account the different levels of advancement in the respective country with regard to cycling culture and mobility behaviour. The project will result in guidelines and campaign material for municipalitys wanting to replicate the actions of CoBiUM.


In CoBiUM eight partners from four countries comes together in joint cross-border efforts to improve the quality and environmental sustainability of transport services in the South Baltic area;


City of Växjö
Danish Cycling Tourism

University of Greifswald

City of Slupsk
City of Gdynia
Energy Agency for Southeast Sweden
Municipality of Slagelse
Municipality of Guldborgssund

Associated partner

University and Hanseatic City Greifswald




CoBiUM (Feb 2018 - Jan 2021) is part-financed by the South Baltic Programme, which supports joint cross-border efforts to improve the quality and environmental sustainability of transport services in the South Baltic area.
The contents of this web page are the sole responsibility of the author[s] and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union, the Managing Authority or the Joint Secretariat of the Interreg South Baltic Programme 2014-2020.