As Covid restrictions eased during the summer of 2021, the actions planned to implement a programme of test and training sessions finally reached previewed cruising speed. Test/trial and training involves a two pronged but collaborative approach: 1. mobilising citizens, households, families. 2. targeting economic opportunities - self-employed, contractors, trades-men and women, small businesses, service providers but also service segments of large corporations and public authorities (i.e. municipal services). The organisations Pro Velo and Urbike take responsibility for this coaching and mobilisation component of the project. It’s a crucial aspect in terms of lowering thresholds and breaking down perceived barriers in respect of the transfer to cargo bike.
As a non-profit making, campaign group set up in 1992, Pro Velo has been championing the interests of cyclists and cycling in Brussels almost since the establishment of the Brussels Capital Region (1989). Despite early and important authority effort to create a Regional Cycle Network, such activism was essential to help build a cycling community within a city mobility pattern dominated by intense vehicle flows, perceived as unsafe for vulnerable road users and with little infrastructure provision (and consequently at that time very few cyclists). Today the organisation offers: support to company mobility plans and local authority services; training (i.e. “cycling in traffic” courses, cycle mechanics, coaching in schools); study services (i.e. Annual Cycling Observatory Report for the BCR), and; organisation and facilitation of promotional events; services for sale, exchange, rental and repair of bicycles (including cargo bikes). Currently the group has a staff of 93 and is now also active in a number of Belgian cities (Antwerp, Liège, Namur…). https://provelo.org/en
Urbike is a relatively recent social enterprise start-up, a cooperative that has grown out of the BCklet project which ran from 2018-2020. The mission statement to progressively replace van and light goods vehicle transport by cargo bike transportation, is a perfect fit for the aspirations of Cairgo Bike. Principally Urbike offers delivery services by cargo bike (and trailer) for private and professional clients (in this a single trip can deliver up to 280kg, equivalent of 1-2m³ - also temperature controlled where required). In parallel however the 11 full time staff (6 delivery rider employees) offer 3 additional and complementary services: providing advice and support for businesses and firms wishing to transform their logistic and service operations; delivering training and coaching programmes for new take-ups; renting, sale and maintenance of cargo bike material. https://urbike.be
In Cairgo Bike, Pro Velo takes charge of the citizen target group. Training sessions for individuals and households are organised across, and with support, of the 19 municipalities, ultimately providing cargo bikes for free home trial periods. Urbike focusses on bringing potential professional users up to speed, - informing and coaching one person businesses, SMEs, sections of larger companies or local authorities interested in exploring cargo bike potential for certain operations. There is though crossover, and considerable exchange and interaction between both partners, with for example Pro Velo providing “cycling in traffic” guidance for Urbike “clients”.