Whenever a conversation comes up about bicycles being one of many options to reduce the number of cars on the road, and offset some trips, like clockwork somebody will say something along the lines of "bicycles are useless because they can't carry <random heavy thing>", like a fridge, or a heavy instrument, or a beer keg, like the only vehicle that anyone can ever have or use is one large enough to handle the most extreme use-case they might have that month, year, or decade.
Whilst using a pickup truck to fetch a carton of milk is clearly ridiculous yet done all the time, people act like using bicycles to move massive stuff entirely possible, yet done all the time. I wanted to share some examples of what is known as Carry Shit Olympics that brought me joy, as a silly way to celebrate my birthday whilst also getting a post out, because I have been super busy with reforestation work, and desperately unf**king two f**ked bikes and a f**ked e-van.
"Riding a bike is ok for commuting but how would I ever get a weeks shop done."
Bungie cords are cheap.
"I need a car to help get my friends around."
Tell me these guys aren't having fun.
"I need to get my many kids to school."
Unless you intentionally chose to live really damn far away from your school then this should be easy as hell.
"How am I going to move furniture without a car?"
How big are we talking? Armchair? Back rack, no problem.
Dunno how often you need to move a corner sofa but any cargo bike can handle that.
Anything bigger, ask a messenger with an electric cargo bike to help you out. They're everywhere.
Moving a whole appartment worth of furniture seven miles across London?
"I need to drive an SUV because I play a large instrument."
Love a trike. This like a "flat city". and in a hilly country this bike would have gears.
"I have to drive a pickup truck everywhere all the time so I could move a fridge."
Here's a Pedal Me delivery carrying three fridges with an electric cargo bike.
"Everyone knows you can't carry lumber on a bicycle. You need a truck for that."
Suuuuuure 2x4's but what about sheets of OSB?!
"As a plumber I need a van to move my tools around."
This plumber manages it, in Bristol, a city full of cyclists, weirdly often hailed as a hilly place where nobody could ever manage cycling anywhere.
"As a bricklayer I gotta move a pallet of bricks."
Go on then.
"Some of my tools are seriously heavy, like a jackhammer!"
"I absolutely definitely need a van to move six propane tanks."
This person doesn't waste their time and money on that, why should you?
Most SUVs, pickup trucks, and even vans, are advertised and specced as luxory vehicles, unable to perform their stated purpose. Pickup trucks that cannot feet a sheet of plywood.
Range Rovers worse at driving up snowed out mountain roads than a Fiat Panda with the right tyre selection.
Even in America people are starting to import actually useful vehicles that are smaller, lighter, yet still have more carrying capacity.
All over Europe people are realising the answer isn't just slightly better vans. They're discovering they can get more done with bikes, trikes, cargo bikes, and powered trailers.
Next time you want to move something, think "do I need a car/van for this, or could I use something more fun that doesn't kick the planet in the face."
Back to the feature image, this was one of four rounds of house move that moved an entire canal boats worth of furniture across Amsterdam. "Netherlands is flat" say people who have never tried moving a tonne of furniture on a heavy old tank of a bakfiets. This thing was 100 years old, was fixed gear so had no gears and if you stop pedaling you over the front. Getting over a bridge required a push, and getting down the other side was made real fun thanks to the lack of working brakes on the bike. Backpedal. BACKPEDAL! 🤣
You don't have to use death trap 100 year old bicycles, but the fact that you can is kinda the point here, and I couldn't have got anywhere near that much stuff in the average car.
Can everyone do this? No, but nobody is saying 100% of people need to be able to do a thing. Instead of seeking use cases where something wouldn't work, let's create a society where people who want to live their lives and get things done without a car can do that without being killed by cars.
If it's not for you then that is fine, just xtop wading into conversations acting like it can be done. It is done all the time.
Add your stories and links in the comments and I'll update this with some of the best.