Cargo Bikes & Class Politics

TV presenter, radio host and part-time virtue signaller Adrian Chiles has managed to offend cargo bike riders by suggesting that being able to afford a mode of transport costing £3,999 marks you out as being one of the privileged few.

It all began with some made-up story about a walk with his dog and a diversion of curiosity into a random bike shop, all perfectly believable for sure. Anyway, Adrian was somewhat taken aback upon discovering the retail price of a top of the range eCargo bike, as was the dog, apparently!

He then went on to suggest that there is a class of cargo bike riders (aka, delivery riders) who are nothing more than lowly serfs delivering take-away food to their upper class masters. Posh people live on takeaways, it seems, who knew?

This elicited some minor debate centred around the notion that working class folks are better tippers, or something along those lines. Such is the problem when one sets out on the path of class warfare, it tends to go off in weird tangents.

However, angry comments aside, Guardian readers Shane Topley and Ashleigh Phillip went to the trouble of responding by letter, pointing out the obvious eco benefits and savings when the only practical alternative would be a small car or van, each of which cost as much a year to run never mind to actually buy outright.

As for the quoted retail price, let us discount the elephant in the room which goes by the name of the cycle to work scheme, which reduces the ultimate purchase price somewhat and consider what goes into the construction of a typical eCargo bike.

The basic frame itself is a substantial piece of engineering, then add a class-leading electric motor, high-performance battery, hydraulically-assisted brakes, suspension, double-walled and lockable cargo boxes, etc. Overall, you’re not getting bad value for money when you also consider the ongoing running costs are negligible. Like for like, the only cheaper form of comparable transport would be an old-fashioned hand cart.

The irony of living in a city where people routinely do the school run in 4x4s costing £60,000 upwards was obviously lost on Mr Chiles. Let us hope poor Adrian never finds out how much an electric van costs as he may never recover from the shock, no pun intended!

Also, for someone who’s recently won a £1.7 million tax case against HMRC it does come over as being a little hypocritical and arrogant. Especially when one is using a writing gig for the Guardian as justification for exploiting a tax loophole?

Mr Childs, we conclude, should stick to talking about football and urinals. In consolation though, it does sound like he owns a very intelligent dog. Or, perhaps, that was a load of bollocks as well?

See Also
Cargo Bike Based Mobile Outside Broadcast Unit
The Bike Bureau
Electric assist trike
Electric Trikes