The Return of the Cargo Trike

The New Amsterdam Project in Cambridge, Mass., recently debuted a fleet of pedal-powered cargo tricycles, aimed at clients who want to reduce their carbon footprint.

China, India, and other developing nations have long utilized bicycle-based delivery for many goods – but are shifting toward engine-powered vehicles. Across North America, bicycle delivery services exist in several cities. Yet pedal-powered hauling for cargo has been largely a no-show in the United States.

That makes NAP stand out for its sole focus on human-powered cargo delivery, says Andrew Brown, the company's founder and CEO. A psychiatrist by training and lover of all things bicycle-related, Mr. Brown launched the company last fall and now finds himself dividing time between cycling to companies where he counsels workers – and making deliveries.

"We're getting trucks off the road, that's one of our goals," says Brown. "Each time we make a delivery, we demonstrate that there's a better way – a system that is less expensive, better for their products, better for the environment, and for their community."

Actually there are many goals for this windmill tilter. An encounter in an Amsterdam coffee shop in 2005 – in which a local man regaled him with stories about his nation's bicycle culture, a place where politicians and even the queen ride regularly – set the wheels in motion.

Full Story: Cargo trikes nudge delivery trucks in Cambridge, Mass.

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Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

UPS Adds Bike Haulers (the carrier isn't UPS brown though)

"After a pilot run in 2007, United Parcel Service is once again adding bicycle carriers to meet its holiday demand... each U.P.S. bike delivery system (typically a $350 mountain bike pulling a custom trailer) can haul only 15 to 20 packages a trip" [From NYT, 12/19/08: "Latest U.P.S. Fuel-Saving Strategies: Leg Muscles and Hydraulics"]

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

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