Bike Loan Scheme Helps Gardeners Become More Sustainable

Published on January 15th 2020
A colorful flower garden in front of a window
At Edinburgh's Royal Botanical Gardens, the Edible Gardening Project teaches people how to grow their own food. Recently, they have been trying out bikes from Edinburgh's Cargo Bike Library at Sustrans, to move garden equipment and freshly grown food around.
These electric cargo bikes are sustainable and are a free service provided by Sustrans in Edinburgh for small businesses, charities and community projects.
The electric cargo bikes can carry loads up to 130kg and, according to Sustrans, have been specifically chosen for Edinburgh’s winding and, at times, very steep streets. The electric-assist makes it easier to move goods around and up hills. They also have wide tyres which allow for a smoother ride around tram tracks and cobbles.
A group of lawn chairs sitting on top of a flower garden
Any small business, community organisation or charity in Edinburgh can borrow a bike from Sustrans’ Cargo Bike Library. They emphasise that you do not need to be a seasoned cyclist to use a cargo bike.
Sustrans provide training to help cyclists feel confident and comfortable with handling and manoeuvring the cargo bikes in traffic. They offer information and advice about logistical advantages and types of cargo bikes for rent, free training in the use of cargo bikes in the workforce, free trials of different types of cargo bikes, flexible borrowing periods and the option to temporarily brand the bikes with a logo.
A blue and white sign
The Edible Gardening Project at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh have recently been trying out these cargo bikes for their work. The Edible Gardening Project connects local communities and visitors with advice on growing plants, and inspiration on leading a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.
The project previously won Best Food Growing Initiative award at the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards. They deliver a range of free workshops including vegetable growing for beginners, composting, growing winter vegetables and organic pest and disease control.
A bicycle parked on the side of a road
In a recent Twitter post, it is clear that the electric cargo bikes prove useful for the project, where there may be large amounts of equipment, or possibly gardeners with less experience in carrying heavy loads.
Electric cargo bikes for gardening purposes have been increasing in popularity globally – for example, they are being used by gardeners on the University of Virginia campus, for Portland’s ‘Garden by Cycle’ project, e-cargo bikes were cited by the ‘Cycling Gardener of Liverpool’ as something he is considering switching to as a sustainable alternative to his van, and a community green grocer in Australia is currently crowd-funding for this type of cargo bikes in order to take fresh produce from local gardens to local markets.
If you would like to find out more about how electric cargo bikes could assist with your gardening projects, you can look up electric cargo bikes in your area. There are many organisations providing these across the UK (other than Sustrans in Edinburgh), for example at London Green Cycles, or S-Cargo in Sheffield.

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