- Regional organization in a cooperative structure -
longdistance-cargocycling.org is a not-for-profit initiative for freight transport by cargobike from city to city. Founded in Spring 2019 by Lars Stemmler, the objective is to trigger a rethinking of our established consumption and transportation patterns. For this, he moves organic foodstuff for friends, colleagues and companies directly from the producer to their homes and offices – by cargobike.
He places collective orders at the producers´ and distributes the goods to the final recipients. All this free of charge, to create awareness how comfortably we live with supermarkets offering even seasonal food all year round delivered by trucks causing congestion, emissions and other external effects.
In cities, the cargobike is a good alternative to avoid congestion. However, over longer distances from city to city? This is the challenge Lars put to himself. “Sure, I can´t move the world with my bike, but I can make others to move”, he explains. A good load to move by bike moves 25 kg; a truck takes 25 tons. A typical tour from his home-base at Bremen, in Northern Germany, might well take him a full day. “My favourite is a 200km-run to fetch 30 odd glasses of honey from a bee-keeper located in a national park near Bremen”, he adds. “Even with good wind, the load slows you down so that the round-trip takes some 12 hours.”
Obviously, there is no match to the perceived efficiency of a truck. Nevertheless, it is not the objective to achieve this. “Let´s start reviewing where our food comes from. And let´s start thinking about how we move those precious goods without damaging the equally precious environment”, Lars summarises his vision. Trips are normally reserved for weekends, as he works full-time; so he can´t make it on Fridays either.
Organic food is only sustainable, if it is at the same time produced in an environmentally friendly way and transported as such. Transport is one of the remaining industrial sectors, which has not been able to reduce its CO2-footprint. Transport is still inherently fossil fuel driven reflected by heavy trucks moving all sorts of goods across Europe and beyond. Freight trains on the continent with far less emissions than trucks, just achieve a meagre 10%ish market share. International shipping even accounts for approximately 4% of global CO2-emissions! Time for a rethink.
If you want to start your own cargocycling project, it is easier than you think. All you need is a good bike that can take heavier or larger loads than normal; friends, family, colleagues or companies who are interested in organic food and a portfolio of producers, which are within your mileage capacity.
More information on his blog at http:// longdistance-cargocycling.org