Revolution travelled to Vienna, Austria, last week to participate in the European Cycle Logistics Conference 2017 as representatives of manufacturer Cycles Maximus, our partners in cycle logistics since 2004. The conference was held in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire royal horse stables, which turned out to be grander than most quarters meant for royalty themselves!
The latest and greatest products, services, and systems for the burgeoning cycle logistics market were well represented. One standout new development to us was thin cargo trikes no wider than the footprint of your typical cargo bike. Turns out E.U. regulations mandate 80 cm (~31 inches) as the maximum allowable width for bike and trike wheelbases in bike lanes. This threshold may be driving the development of this micro-niche market, though it’s just a guess.
Makers of battery technology for motor-assist bikes and trikes were few and far between; however, Green Pack presented an impressive system that is worth considering for its performance and user friendliness not to mention safety considerations.
We saw more monster trike makers in one room than ever, with evolo leading the way size-wise. The cargo bays set on the rear of worktrike chassis seem to be growing more vertical now than horizontal, possibly due to regulatory limitations. Other players represented besides evolo and Cycles Maximus in this sector of cycle logistics were Radkutsche and Urban Arrow.
As for cargo bikes, this blogger found Riese & Mueller to be a fine if limited addition to the long-john mix: Featuring full suspension and Bosch e-drive, the ride of the bike is unparalleled; however, the cargo capacity compared to, say, Bullitt or Urban Arrow doesn’t quite measure up.
Of course the manufacturers and service providers were but one aspect of the conference, which offered dozens of topics for review on the presentation front. We managed to slip into a few of the presentations to catch their flavor. UPS received significant floor time in more than one presentation; they’re in the midst of piloting pedal-cargo programs in Hamburg and Amsterdam at the moment. Outspoken! Delivery, a micro-cargo delivery service and Cycles Maximus operator based in Cambridge, England, saw its CEO present a vision in which all 7.5 ton diesel vans (standard issue for UPS, e.g.) were eliminated from city centers in an inspired moment. Another presenter, pitching them to activate cargo bikes in local schemes whenever possible, suggested repeatedly to municipalities “Try before you die”, seemingly in reference to climate change issues.
The “Minimus” triketer-trailer prototype featured in our booth turned out to be the biggest hit. It sports an eight-foot trailer and a potent Lynch motor assist system. The chassis slightly smaller and thinner – 99 cm – than the standard 119 cm wide Series 900 chassis. At least one enamored municipality requested CM participate in its open Request for Proposal (RFP) for city sanitation services executed via cargo trike. As well, the Minimus rolled Monday evening as a city-style hay ride! Eight conference participants traveled to the mid-convention soirée (the Minimus sports a 500 kg load capacity!) on it. CM’s own Shroomin’ Stu pedaled us all safely through the streets and bike lanes of central Vienna to the event.
The AeroTrike made its debut, as well. Available only in the European market at the moment, it’s designed to move heavy items on a longer Series 910 chassis. It features gull wing hatch doors and a sporty low profile. The AeroTrike seems optimal for beverage cycle logistics programs within city or other districts, for example.
Despite a one-day delay during our return trip to NYC due to a cancelled connecting flight, Team Revolution returned to N.Y.C. full of renewed energy and inspiration. The convention was oversubscribed. Industry participants we met from across Europe shared stories and experiences mirroring many of ours in the cycle logistics sector. Our biggest shout out goes to Florian and his inspired Heavy Pedals cargo-bike store and delivery operation in Vienna. Many others are just as deserving of singling out, though we’ll demur. That noted, we got to meet Maxpro maestro Andrew. He said the Revolution founder and the operation itself are “famous”! Apparently, our humble newsletter has followers on both sides of the pond. We’re officially humbled.