A Collective Tries to Make Cargo Bike Deliveries Work in Brooklyn

New York’s cargo bike industry is a tough business. One of the top constraints is geography. Most of the current operators, like the ones we profiled last week, concentrate on Manhattan below 96th Street. But a new group is trying to organize cargo deliveries in Brooklyn.

The Cargo Bike Collective, based in Ditmas Park and Flatbush, is a group of riders operating as a network of independent contractors. The collective, which organized in late 2012, rents a garage to store its two cargo bikes, with another set of wheels on the way.

Joe Sharkey was working for Aqueduct Logistics before the operation folded late last year. Now, he’s working with the collective to handle shipping for the soup-makers The Splendid Spoon, one of Aqueduct’s former clients, using the Zipments platform.

“Being Brooklyn-based makes us unique in regards to being a courier,” Sharkey said.

Although members of the collective operate as independent contractors, shared use of the cargo bicycles presents a liability issue. “We’ve spoken to lawyers,” Sharkey said, and the group is still determining how and whether to legally incorporate. “Right now it’s open and we invite anyone who is interested to join.”

“It’s amazing how practical these bikes are,” Sharkey added. “Every time you load up the bike, you’re impressed with what you can move around.”