When I saw this at Homebase yesterday, I knew I would need to write something on it. Now, I normally prefer not to go to the big chain hardware stores, but sometimes I need to get something my neighbourhood shop doesn’t offer…like a giant tree planter. I’m glad I went. Not only did I find the planter I needed, but I discovered this brilliant cargo bike scheme, too. All you need is proof of address (utility bill, etc.), photo ID (driving license, passport, etc.), and a refundable £50 deposit, and you can borrow the cargo bike for 24 hours.
This scheme may very well influence me to shop more at Homebase. I only wish the supermarkets would catch on. My wife and I have discussed buying a cargo bike for years, but haven’t due to the significant barriers:
- The price. They start at about £700 or £800 and about three times that if you want power assist (for those hills in North and South London)
- Where to store it. Most residences in London don’t have a secure place to lock a cargo bike
- Which one to get. Two wheels? Three wheels? The big box of a Christiania? The sleek, compact pod of a Trio? The classic long john?
Even though this scheme doesn’t solve the issue of taking my four year old twins via bike to and from school, to the park, to museums, etc., it does provide me and other car-free-by-choice people in London with the option to buy things larger than a laundry basket.
As I mentioned earlier, I’d love to see Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, and other supermarkets begin to offer a similar scheme. Most of the time, we’re shopping ad-hoc from the Tesco Metro down the road, and occasionally doing a big online shop from ASDA or Sainsbury’s and having it delivered for a pound or two, but I’d gladly bus or cycle to the local superstore to shop if I could truck it home in a cargo bike.
I don’t know what the response has been to this Homebase scheme and I don’t know if there would be enough interest amongst supermarket customers to make it economically feasible for the big grocery stores to do it, but I know I’m on board. In my opinion, anything to get people out of their cars and get them active and reduce air pollution in this city, can’t be a bad thing.