Exhibition about the development of the cargo bike
A highlight at abf 2023 is the exhibition on the subject of cargo bikes in the Bicycle & Outdoor theme world in Hall 23: Numerous models show the development in this segment over the last 100 years.
Cargo bikes, or as they say today CARGOBIKES, have been around since the 1890s, about as long as cars have been around. In the past, these bikes were known by names such as transport bike or business bike and were used almost exclusively for commercial purposes. It all began with a railroad strike in San Francisco on July 7, 1894. A resourceful American bicycle manufacturer built the first transport bicycles to carry mail and merchandise shipments by bicycle couriers along the railroad line that was on strike.
In Germany, the Bavarian Johann Baptist Ruhdorfer is considered the cargo bicycle pioneer, who transported his goods in the Munich area using a converted penny-farthing bicycle starting in 1896.
What followed were two-wheeled cargo bikes, which became popular under the name LONG JOHN, and three-wheeled cargo bikes with transport boxes, which were used by the post office, bakers, hairdressers, coffee sellers and even the fire department.
In the middle of the 20th century, the cargo bikes became quiet. With the increasing motorization of transport, the wheels disappeared more and more. It wasn't until the oil crises (1973 & 1979) and the subsequent car-free Sundays that cargo bikes came back into vogue. During this time, the Christiania cargo bike from Copenhagen should be mentioned, which was almost the only "professional" cargo bike on the market at the time.
In the late 1980s, a few more providers of cargo bikes joined the scene, and the profession of bicycle courier also took on a new lease of life. Several courier services rediscovered the cargo bike and, with technical progress, cargo bikes became more and more efficient.
With the rise of the eco-movement and the desire to be mobile without a car, a real boom in cargo bikes began in the early 2000s. The "I'm replacing a car" campaign in Berlin and non-profit cargo bike initiatives whetted people's appetites for cargo bikes. The Hannah cargo bike project of the ADFC Region Hannover encouraged many people to buy their own cargo bike.
More and more people are buying cargo bikes for private purposes. In this area, transporting children is taking over from transporting goods as the number one application. Canopies, safety belts and baby seats are part of the coveted range of accessories. Even models for dog transport find their buyers.
A real booster were the electric pedelec drives, which made a completely new riding experience possible. Loads can be transported with ease.
Today, the cargo bike is an important component in the transportation revolution. In municipal administrations, the cargo bike is preferred as a means of transport for the "last mile" in inner cities, and the logistics industry also relies on the bicycle and is constantly developing it further. At the bicycle logistics conference, bicycles with modular container systems and payloads of several 100 kg of freight can be marveled at.
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