Inspiring start for city’s new eCargo bike scheme

Published: 1 June 2021

Martin Broer ecargo bike

Mr Broer receiving the eCargo bike

Cycle Derby’s eCargo bike try-before-you-buy scheme is off to an inspiring start! Despite Covid-19-related setbacks, the electric cargo bikes are now available and half are already in use across the city helping local businesses and organisations to make the transition to a more sustainable method of transportation. The scheme inspired Martin Broer, owner of the Boiler Service Co., to fulfil his ambition to ditch his diesel van in favour of an eco-friendlier way of working, becoming the city’s first #greenergasman!

After a successful bid to the ‘eCargo Bike Grant Fund’ delivered by the Energy Saving Trust, Cycle Derby received £41,824 for 8 electric cargo bikes which arrived last September.

The vision was to create a scheme to loan them for free to local businesses on a try-before-you-buy basis, with the aim of encouraging the exploration of greener and more sustainable methods of transporting goods and services around the city centre. 

The first business to sign up to take part in this hugely popular scheme was Martin Broer’s Boiler Service Co., who heard about eCargo bikes via Cycle Derby’s social media channels.

Martin said:

The Covid-19 pandemic really helped me to reassess what was important – at the start of lockdown there was very little traffic on the road and I realised that I was taking a lot more pleasure in my work as I was not sitting in traffic for the majority of my day. As soon as the kids returned to school however, I would travel between jobs in the city at an average of 14mph and I then realised what a huge toll it had been taking on my mental health.

After conducting some of his own research into other options, Mr Broer came across eCargo bikes, used commonly by tradespeople across Europe.

Although I loved the idea of using an eCargo bike for my business, I was concerned about the financial investment – what if I spent all this money on a bike that didn’t end up working for my business? It was then I came across Cycle Derby’s fantastic try-before-you-buy scheme, allowing businesses like my own trial an eCargo bike for free for up to 6 months. I signed up immediately.

The benefits to both my physical and mental health are undeniable - having the freedom to get out on my bike makes me feel more connected to the outside world around me.

Also, as a heating and gas engineer who spends his time advising people about ways they can be more sustainable and eco-friendly, I was also keen to practice what I preached and do my bit to remove one more diesel van from the roads. I am now offering my customers a cleaner, greener service and have since been christened The Greener Gas Man!

Cycle Derby delivered the on-road training, assisted by partner Sustrans who worked closely to advise on other opportunities that might be available to support businesses like Mr Broer’s. They commented: 

Aside from Cycle Derby’s fantastic scheme, there are a wealth of other incentives and grants available from the city council, Connected and other partners, for businesses keen to implement greener ways of working so we were delighted to be able to advise Mr Broer on additional benefits to help his business.

Businesses can loan the eCargo bikes for up to 6 months absolutely free! There are only 4 bikes left so any local businesses interested in trialling them are urged to register their interest with Cycle Derby’s Mark Smith ASAP by emailing

Councillor Matthew Holmes, Deputy Leader, and Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and Transportation said:

After the challenges of launching the scheme during the pandemic I’m delighted to see these bikes are now out on the streets and making a real difference to local businesses and to the city.

I am hopeful that these trials will convert into a whole fleet of bikes riding around the city in the months and years to come.

We’re a city of innovative transport engineering and are focussed on solutions that tackle climate change, poor air quality, and improve the physical and mental wellbeing of our residents and workers. eCargo bikes offer an excellent cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to moving freight around.

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