A cargo bike is a bicycle that has been designed to carry heavy loads. This might include your weekly shopping, children or pets, furniture, tools, equipment, or anything else.
Some cargo bikes also come with an electric-assist feature which helps with carrying heavier loads and getting up steep hills.
Cargo bike hire scheme
In May 2022 we partnered with Our Bike to offer a cargo bike hire scheme as an affordable, sustainable alternative to motor vehicles.
The cargo bike hire scheme was initially launched in Teddington, Hampton, and East Sheen for residents and businesses to use.
As all cargo bikes have been designed to carry children, families in Richmond have already switched some of their trips and deliveries from a car or van to a cargo bike. This reduces their carbon footprint, improves air quality, and contributes towards improving their physical and mental health.
Following demand in other parts of the borough, the scheme expanded in July 2023 to St Margarets, Kew, Ham, Twickenham, Whitton, and Richmond Town Centre.
Cargo bikes are available for local residents, businesses and traders to use. Visit Our Bike to register to hire one of the community cargo bikes in the borough or to find out more about the scheme. The first 60 minutes ride is free for all new users.
Try Before You Bike
We have partnered with Peddle My Wheels to enable businesses and residents in the borough to hire a bicycle, e-bike, cargo bike, e-cargo bike, or trailer with the option to buy the bike at the end.
Find out more about the Try Before You Bike scheme.
Cargo bike on-street parking
We plan to provide parking spaces for cargo bikes near destination points for young families, i.e. primary schools, playgrounds, and libraries. We are hoping to do this by converting 15 existing parking bays across the borough in the coming months. Local councillors, schools, and residents are being consulted and we intend to install these bays under an experimental traffic order for the 12 months. Feedback will be monitored before a decision is made as to whether the bays are made permanent.
A lack of dedicated street parking space for cargo bikes near home is also a significant barrier to ownership and use. The parking of a bike on the pavement is permitted provided that it does not cause obstruction. The parking of a bike in the road is also permitted, excluding spaces reserved for specific users (e.g. disabled and doctors bays). However, we know it is difficult to park a cargo bike on the pavement in many streets without it causing an obstruction, and leaving a bike in the road also risks damage or theft unless it is able to be suitably anchored and protected.
On-street parking trial
To address the lack of on-street parking, we are currently investigating further how we can support households to park their cargo bike safely on the highway close to home. If you already own a cargo bike and do not have access to an off-street parking space and wish to take part in a trial, please email email@example.com.
Cargo bike maintenance
The maintenance requirements of cargo bikes may appear daunting to potential purchasers, but in reality they require the same maintenance as regular bikes. You do not have to be a mechanic to take good care of your cargo bike, and you can easily do a lot of maintenance yourself. This takes little time and ensures that your cargo bike lasts much longer! Here are a few tips which you might find helpful.
Daily maintenance should include:
- Making sure your cargo bike is as dry as possible
- Is the cargo bike wet? Removing water from the frame and drying the box
- Cleaning the bike after a ride on sandy, scattered, or snowy roads
The monthly maintenance of your cargo bike takes about 15 minutes, and should include:
- Checking that the tires are properly inflated
- Lubricating both the chain and other moving parts
- Tightening the box-bolts properly
- Giving the cargo bike a quick clean-up
Six month check
The six month check takes about 30 to 90 minutes, and should include:
- Checking the chain
- Checking the pedals and bottom bracket
- Checking the tires (both for profile and to ensure they are fully inflated)
- Lubricating the lock
- Securing and greasing the stem
- Checking the front brake and adjusting if necessary
- Checking the rear brake and adjusting if necessary
- Checking the gears and adjusting if necessary
Professional cargo bike maintenance
It is recommended that you have your cargo bike checked by a professional mechanic for major maintenance once a year.
This service is available at one of the businesses listed below:
- Cycle Race in Sheen
- Crown Cycles in St Margarets
- London Green Cycles in Camden (call out repairs service)
See how e-cargo bikes are already being used in the borough.
Bori Kiss, sheen resident
"I’ve wanted to have a cargo bike for a long time, but I had no opportunity to try one so I wasn’t sure if they were right for me. The council scheme – Peddle My Wheels - made it possible for me to trial an electric Babboe Curve for three whole months, and I was hooked. I mostly use it on the school run, making our 30-minute walk in 11 minutes door to door, and with the addition of a rain tent for my 8-year-old and rain trousers/overshoes for me, we make this trip twice every day, in all weather.
"The maximum cargo weight is 100 kilos, so I have used the bike to ferry my tween and teen daughters to their orthodontist appointments and I regularly do the weekly supermarket shop with it. It’s great because we’re never stuck in traffic, we can always find a place to park, and it’s also environment friendly”.
Barnes Common Ltd
The charity has been using an e-cargo bike funded by the Energy Saving Trust grant which the council bid for back in 2021. Susie, who’s leading the Barnes Community Gardeners says, “The cargo bike has changed the way we do things.
"We use it regularly and it is fantastic. I can carry my tools to the gardening jobs and carry the garden waste away. I love the fact that I can use a bike to do a green activity like gardening. I would be lost without it!”
Charlotte Baker, Kew resident
"Two years ago, we moved back to Richmond from the countryside, and sold our car. We had a couple of older road bikes and a trailer, but realised that we were missing the capability to carry heavier loads and travel places together.
"We decided to purchase a Tern longtail cargo bike. We chose this model because it is more like a regular bike and fits more easily in our bike hangar in front of our tiny Victorian terrace.
"Since acquiring our Tern, we haven’t looked back. It’s our date night vehicle of choice (one of us cycles there, the other cycles back!), it’s hauled large furniture, and runs to the dump with rubble, garden waste, chunks of wood and more. During a period of ill health where I struggled to walk far, it enabled my partner to take me to hospital appointments, just as he previously would have with our car.
"Our Tern has travelled to Yorkshire, Devon, the Isle of Wight and more on the train and ferry, the perfect holiday vehicle for exploring a new area. Friends are amazed by how much fun it is, and love jumping on the back when they visit!
"We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend getting a cargo bike, either to fully replace a car or to replace short journeys. We sail past queues of traffic all over London, the e-assist and battery capacity making it an easy job, even with heavy loads. We can go right to the door of shops, and nip all over the place collecting bits and pieces, without worrying about parking spaces".
Up to: Cycling (active travel)
Updated: 21 September 2023