We were delighted when Homebase approached us to set up a trial to use cargo bikes in their stores. The idea being to offer their customers free use of a Christiania cargo bike to help them bring home their bulky or heavy purchases in a quick and easy way. Those cargo bikes are real solid work horses with the capacity to carry up to 100 kgs plus the rider and a volume of 270 l. The bike comes with a rain tent, a helmet and a heavy duty lock.
The hiring process is straightforward with no need to book in advance. You’ll be asked to fill a couple of forms, shown the basics on how to ride the cargo trike, and off you go. The trial has gone live mid-October and will last for 12 weeks in two stores: one in London (Finchley Road) and the other in Cambridge (Retail Park, Newmarket Road).
Most staff in the store were intrigued when the Christiania bike was first rolled in as, for some, it was the first time they ever saw one. ‘Baffled’, ‘dubious’ was their first reaction but it wasn’t long before the cargo bike effect did its magic! And along with requests to hire it, they now have come round to the fact that this is actually a very good idea. To date, six or so requests have been made, mostly by ‘chaps’ and mainly during the weekend. Someone from a Homebase store in Sheffield who was visiting the Finchley road store on another matter ended up taking photos of the parked box bike.
Similar services are used elsewhere by companies such as Ikea and Silvan to name a few. Such offers make business sense as it allows customers to go ahead with an impulse buy they may not have considered due to the hassle of carrying it back home. A cargo bike is a great addition to anyone’s life but sometimes its use is only occasional so having one available as when and if needed makes perfect sense for a retailer such as Homebase. It will get you home in no time and you have the added satisfaction to have done so without contributing to any more pollution or congestion in your local area.