11 things you never knew you could carry on a bike

From multiple children to industrial fridges - with a cargo bike, the possibilities are endless.


When most people think of a bike, they imagine something like this.

A white bike leaning against a blue-painted wall

That’s the picture Boris Johnson probably had in his head when he said “of course you can’t deliver a fridge-freezer on a bike”. This idea – of cycling as a hobby, rather than a serious form of transport has held sway in the UK for decades. 

But seeing bikes as toys has stopped us from seeing what they’re really capable of. And that’s led people to think we need cars and vans more than we actually do. 

The endless possibilities of a cargo bike

The ‘standard’ one-person upright bike is a brilliantly useful tool, even without fridge-carrying capabilities. But for those who are able to cycle, cargo bikes open up a whole world of other possibilities. 

Cargo bikes can range from regular two-wheelers with a basket added on, to heavy-duty electric powered juggernauts with multiple seats and monster trailers.

If we used them to their full potential, cargo bikes could eliminate more than half of all goods-carrying car and van journeys in cities. If that happened we’d all feel the benefits of cleaner air, calmer streets and less climate change.

Here’s real-world proof of the weird, wonderful and wildly useful things you never knew could be carried on a bike:

1. Multiple children

Living car-free with kids is perfectly possible – if you’ve got the right bike.

2. Furniture

Carting a chest of drawers across town is a classic need-a-car situation, but it doesn’t have to be.

3. Multiple dogs

Is there a higher form of happiness than this? 

4. A week’s worth of food

Cargo bikes make light work of the grocery shop, or even a run to the food bank.

5. Building and construction materials

From DIY at home, to contractors carrying tools around town, builders are starting to embrace cargo bikes.

6. Everyone’s parcels

For delivery companies looking for the quickest route around town, cargo bikes make perfect sense.

Parcel giants UPS and DHL are already doing this in a few places, and companies like Green Link have been delivering parcels in York and Darlington for well over a decade.

7. An industrial fridge

Sorry Boris Johnson, you most definitely can carry a fridge on a bike.

8. Ten thousand covid care packages

In late March 2020, as the UK went into lockdown, Lambeth Council enlisted Pedal Me to help deliver thousands of care packages, full of essential home products and food, to people in need.

A rider carrying large plastic crates containing Covid care packages on a cargo bike with a trailer attached

In total, the Pedal Me fleet covered over 20,000km to distribute nearly 10,000 packages, moving around about 150,000kg across Lambeth.

9. Urgent medical supplies

Meanwhile, Copenhagen’s famous ‘sperm bike’ rushes deep-frozen samples to fertility clinics all over the city.

A rider pilots a cargo bike with a sperm-shaped cold storage unit mounted to the front

10. The DJ booth

Never change, Berlin. Never change.

11. Literally all your possessions

Moving house by bike. It’s a thing. The Pedalme app lets Londoners book a cargo bike with a monster trailer to carry your bed, that wobbly wardrobe and legions of pot plants to your new place. They’ve even got rain covers for wet weather!

Cargo bikes for everyone

The truth is that using a private car is total overkill for most day-to-day journeys. And as these examples show, driving isn’t even necessary for many heavy-duty tasks. 

Imagine how much better the streets would be if everyone could use a cargo bike to carry heavy shopping or take the kids to nursery. 

That world is still a long way off at the moment, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Councils and the government could help by supporting local bike-sharing schemes, subsidising purchases for people on lower incomes, and providing more secure bike storage on every street.

If you’d like to see all that in your area, join the campaign to transform transport and we’ll work together to make it happen.

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