Published: 30th APRIL 2019

The Edinburgh Cargo Bike Library

Electric cargo bikes are a great way to move goods and services around Edinburgh in an affordable, efficient and sustainable way. This helps reduce congestion and gives businesses more time and energy to engage with their customers.

Man on a cargo bike

Borrow a Cargo Bike for free in Edinburgh

We have a range of electric cargo bikes to make it easier for your business to move goods and equipment through Edinburgh. Cargo bikes are a great way to reduce emissions while saving you time and money - and getting your business noticed!

The electric cargo bikes can carry loads up to 130kg and have been specifically chosen for Edinburgh’s winding and sometimes steep streets. The electric-assist makes it easier to move your goods around and up hills. They also have wide tyres which allow for a smoother ride around tram tracks and cobbles. 

Who is the Cargo Bike Library for?

Any small business, community organisation or charity in Edinburgh can borrow a bike from us. You do not need to be a seasoned cyclist to use a cargo bike. We provide training to help you feel confident and comfortable with handling and manoeuvring the cargo bikes in traffic.

What does the Cargo Bike Library offer?

  • Information and advice about logistical advantages and types of cargo bikes.
  • Free training in the use of cargo bikes for your workforce.
  • Free trials of different types of cargo bikes so you can find one that meets your business needs.
  • Flexible borrowing periods to suit your organisation.
  • The option to temporarily brand the bikes with your logo and get noticed.

How does the Bike Library work?

The loan is free, but you will need to complete an application form to register as a user. We will need to see photographic identification and proof of the address that your business is registered to. You must provide a copy of your public liability insurance, which should cover the transport of goods and deliveries, and you must have access to adequate, safe storage.

How long can I loan a bike for?

You can borrow the bike/equipment for 1-4 weeks. The maximum loan period of four weeks has been set because we want to ensure that as many businesses as possible have the opportunity to access the library and trial cargo bikes for their operations.

Why can I only borrow a bike for a minimum of a week?

The Bike Library aims to provide a trial of cargo bikes for small businesses who may look to incorporate cargo bikes into their operations in the future. We believe that a week is the minimum amount of time one can assess the effectiveness of cargo bikes for them. We may make
exceptions to this on a case by case basis.

Are the cargo bikes difficult to maintain?

Cargo bikes are similar standard bikes in many ways, so if you can do basic maintenance on a bicycle then you can do basic maintenance on a cargo bike. With the power-assisted models however, mechanics are complicated and more advanced skills may be required. Rest assured, Sustrans will be here to help you with any mechanical issues you cannot address yourself.

What are the dimensions of the bikes for storage?

  • Omnium Mini-max: length 195cm, width 65cm, height 106cm.
  • Omnium Cargo: length 225cm, width 65cm, height 106cm.
  • XYZ Cargo Trikes: length 205cm, width 100cm, height 110cm.
  • Babboe Cargo Trike: Length 215cm, width 95cm, height 115cm.

Please note both the Omnium’s and XYZ’s can be stored upright.

What is the load capacity of the bikes?

  • Omnium Mini-max: Size: length, 83cm, width 50cm, height 50cm Weight: 50 kg.
  • Omnium Cargo: Size: length, 83cm, width 50cm, height 50cm Weight: 50kg.
  • XYZ Cargo Trikes: Size: length 80cm, width 49cm, height 35cm Weight: 100kg.
  • Babboe Cargo Trike: Size: length +/-80cm, width 58cm, height 45cm Weight: 100kg.

What are the dimension of the box carriers?

  • The Omnium Cargo and Mini-Max can come with a detachable tray measuring 60cm(length) x 45cm(width) x 13cm(depth). You are not limited to that depth and can securely attach load beyond that.
  • The BABBOE Trike has a box within a minimum space of 80cm(L) x 58cm(W) x 45cm(D). The box is broader at the top and offers a little more space. It comes with a padlock to secure load.
  • The XYZ Cargo has a box dimension of 80cm(L) x 49cm(W) x 35cm(D). There is no lid, therefore its depth limit can be beyond the dimensions of the box.

How much do cargo bikes generally cost?

Cargo bikes vary in price depending on the model, make and components. Basic models start from around £1500 and go up. We can advise you on a range of options if you decide to purchase your own bike.

How much money can I save by using a cargo bike?

The Bike Library has the potential to help businesses with their B2B and B2C deliveries in the Last Mile as well as in the sale of goods and service. Depending on your current use of vans and (or) couriers using a cargo bike has the potential to reduce costs significantly.

Taking into account set up cost, running cost, rider/driver costs and intangible cost, the difference in delivering a A4 box can be as much as £8.99+VAT with a van and as little as £3.27+VAT with a cargo bike (Cyclelogistics – Moving Europe Forward, Final Public Report)

What is Essential Cycle Skills?

Essential Cycle Skills is the adult version of the National Standard for cycle training known as Bikeability. There are three levels, each designed to improve cycling skills and take trainees from the basics of balance and control all the way to planning and making urban journeys on busier

If I already know how to ride a bike, do I need to do the training?

Yes. We require all users to go through an Essential Cycling Skills course to help ensure you are as equipped as possible to use the cargo bikes safely. Depending on the level of the rider(s) this training can take as little as an afternoon and is an excellent investment in staff.

What if the cargo bike is damaged or stolen while on loan?

We expect there to be slight wear and tear to bikes or equipment. However, if considerable damage has been done we will need you to give us details of how it has happened.

All bikes are coded by the police and should be locked up when unattended. If your bike/equipment is stolen whilst on loan, you must report it to the police and Sustrans
We trust you to looks after the goods while they are in your care and to make sure they are not damaged or stolen.

What if I hurt myself or fall off the bike?

When you loan a bike/equipment you will sign an agreement which clearly states that you accept
responsibility for your own health and safety and will take due care at all times.

You are responsible for complying with traffic rules and regulations. Any individual reported to have cycled recklessly with no regard for others may be barred from the bike loan scheme.

Can I let my friends and family borrow the bike/equipment?

No. The loan agreement is between Sustrans and your business only. You must not allow other unapproved individuals, friends or family members to access the bike/equipment whilst it is in your care. This is as much to prevent problems for you as it is for us. You are 100% accountable for the goods while they are on loan to you so it is important to keep them in your direct care.

For more information email or call 0131 346 1384. 

Download the Cargo Bike Library brochure

Download the Cargo Bike loan application form

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