Christoph Fahle
May 3, 2012

An Armchair on a Bike?

Cargo bikes are a new form of bike transport. Bikes are already commonly used as a perfect environmental-friendly way of transporting yourself. You burn fat, stay healthy, save money, never get stuck in a traffic jam, etc. But what if you are not alone, but accompanied by a cozy armchair for your apartment? Then you have to ask one of your friends for a lift or rent a car and put your armchair into the trunk, right? Because it`s impossible to transport it through half of the city by bike. Just impossible. Sure?

If you upgrade your bike, and build a cargo area made out of wood or steel, an armchair would actually be no big deal. The coolest cargo bikes can carry a maximum of 150 kilograms, however with so much load, biking gets really heavy. With 75 - 100 kilo grams though you are perfectly ok.

You can obviously buy such a bike, nicely made by someone else. But come on, you have 2 hands? Then you can build it yourself! If you are brave and creative, you may make your own cargo bike out of elements which were stored in your basement during last couple of centuries, waiting for their “star hour” to come. If you are brave, but feel that your creativity needs to be supported by some practical skills which are missing, you can start out with following the instructions, for example make your own “Long John”, using this link http://www.werkstatt-lastenrad.de/index.php?title=Fahrao_Bicycles_1991 .

But if you feel a need for personal communication, someone who can advise you which tools to use, where to get the materials, how to solve this or that constructing problem, there are cool people called “Werkstatt Lastenrad”. They are obviously very welcome at betahaus` Open Design City and were working there on their new “Long-André” last weekend. This Saturday they will be back and ready to show you how to make your own cargo bike and make it with you. To know more about the event, follow the link http://betahaus.de/event/open-bike-hacking-2/2012-05-05/

Click here for more announcements and events at the 'haus! 

Cost is a big one here. In regards to total transportation costs, the last mile comprises up to 53% of those - making it the least efficient part of the supply chain. Expectations of free shipping and next day deliveries add up to this.

Due to increasing digitalization and convenience services in every area of people's lives, the smooth and flawless process of getting the delivery to one's doorstep is exceedingly becoming what customers care most about. On top of that, for companies that package being delivered is an extension of their brand. The consumer is basically coming face-to-face with the brand, which makes it the biggest opportunity to heighten customer satisfaction.


If you live in a city and have even slightly observed your urban surroundings you’ve probably witnessed it first hand - urban congestion and crowded cities make it pretty tough to satisfy the growing demand and rising expectations of super quick deliveries. Add unpredictability in transit (like weather conditions), an incorrect address or remote locations, just to name a few, and you can see where this is going.

The worst part is, all those delivery trucks and vans that also produce a fair bit of emissions, are often only half full when they roll out for deliveries. This is mostly due to low drop sizes and stops along the route that are far and few between.

It’s not all hopeless though - Where there is a problem, there are solutions.


Same old, same old - isn’t always all that bad. Sometimes, all that’s needed are some new perspectives! The city of Utrecht, for‌ ‌example, implemented a zero-emissions electric barge nicknamed the “Beer Boat”. 

Since 2010 it’s carrying beer and food to the city’s downtown restaurants by using waterways. Other electric barges in Amsterdam not only deliver but even collect organic waste, which is then turned into biofuel in processing plants! Isn’t that cool?

It becomes clear that cities, logistics, as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ ‌urban‌ ‌planners, are equally part of solving the inefficiency of the last-mile. Tackling this mountain of issues calls for teamwork!


A centralized platform, hub or network for similar companies, could do the trick to fill up the delivery vans & trucks that are barely loaded. Parcels could be distributed more efficiently between different companies and their delivery vehicles.

Like a big pool of parcels from different companies with every single parcel going into that one van with the same route!


Delivery Driver Experience and Smart Delivery Vehicles are also areas with huge potential for improvement and innovation.


Ellie: Two years ago we adopted a new legal structure for Jolocom GmbH according to the purpose model of ownership, manifesting our commitment and dedication to building a self-sovereign organization. That means we can’t take VC funding or sell public shares of the company. 

Volker: Jolocom is a community driven organisation – both in a tech sense but also much further beyond. We’re hugely involved in the DWeb community where we organize and attend events for the decentralized community. Every year we also help organize and attend the DWeb Camp in San Francisco, which brings together all kinds of creatives so this technology of tomorrow is built in a collaborative way.


Next to that on-demand experiences have become firmly embedded into people’s everyday lives - be it a mobile app to book a ride, send flowers to your loved ones or order lunch to your office. It’s all possible and has made premium features like real-time tracking a standard.  The online consumer expects nothing less and certainly doesn’t like to wait.


Making that quick and instant gratification happen is another story though. Groundbreaking ideas and innovations are needed to tackle all these factors. Does your startup have one? 

Then head over to our Future Logistics Challenge! Applications are still open until September 23rd.

Volker: There is this really nice place, called Green Rabbit with salads and baked potatoes where I like to go to. Sometimes I just keep it simple and go to Lidl.

Ellie: I eat a lot in west.berlin cafe which is here around the corner and I love the Matcha Lattes from Starbucks.

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