Cargo Bike Parade
Once asked about his opinion in an interview, James May, BBC’s presenter of Top Gear – an immensely popular TV show about cars – once said the following about bicycles: “I know what they're good for, and what they're not good for. Among the latter is carrying a new refrigerator.” Well, James May definitely got it wrong, and we would like to show just how much he got it wrong.
On Sunday 19th May, the Belgian non-profit organisation Mobiel organises a so-called Cargo Bike Parade in the Belgian city of Kortrijk. It is a Bike Parade where participating cyclists are asked not to excel in terms of originality in the design or pimping of their bikes, but in terms of the originality of the cargo they are transporting.
Therefore, we aim to attract as many cyclists with full panniers or baskets as possible, and of course, we hope to welcome a high number of cargo bikes and bike trailers as well.
It is obvious that through this event, we want to raise awareness on transporting goods by bike and thus increase the number of people moving goods by bike in Kortrijk and its wider surroundings. We also hope to act as a kind of showroom for small businesses that use bicycles to exercise their activities. Their presence at the event should prove to be inspirational to other starting or more experienced entrepreneurs.
But this is not where our mission ends: we want to take bicycle advocacy to another level, we want to avoid that it becomes a series of repeated commonplace actions. After many years of “bike to work” campaigns and of highlighting the positive impact of cycling on health and environment, we think that in our region we need more to stimulate new groups of people to swap the car for the bicycle.
We consider innovation and creativity to be the key to creating this next level, plus a bit of audacity. Take the bad boys of Top Gear as an example: why not use their format to promote cycling?
Therefore, as a first step, Mobiel and its partners will be organising a number of workshops in the run-up to the Bike Parade. Technicians, designers, artists and other interested people can meet to work on their own cargo bike constructions, and thereby receive technical or artistic help from professionals. Uncommon or even extravagant ideas are obviously very welcome. A couple of our own ideas and/or achievements (please try this at home!):
- A shopping cart cargo bike: a cargo bike built out of old bikes and a shopping cart
- A mobile cinema: one cargo bike with all the equipment needed to screen the film, another with built-on cinema seats
- A mobile traffic light on a cargo bike: to make sure that cyclists decide when and where cars have to wait!
So what is our ambition in the long run? Well, let us say that we are dreaming of the day on which, as so-called experts, we can issue the following statement regarding cars:
“I know what they're good for, and what they're not good for. Among the latter is carrying a new refrigerator.”
Frederik De Feyter
Category: Advocacy and Social Projects
Links to this projects