From the 14 to 16 of June, Groningen, NL will play host to the eighth International Cargo Bike Festival (ICBF). The festival was initially launched in 2012 by ICBF Director and founder Jos Sluijsmans in Nijmegen, NL as an informal gathering of likeminded people working or interested in the growth of the cargo bike industry. Since then, the festival has evolved to become the premiere global event for connecting organisations and professionals focused on cycle logistics and its potential to change how cities move people and goods and in changing the face of cycle logistics worldwide.
Most notably, the 2014 ICBF was the location where Velove founder, Johan Erlandsson, connected with DHL, initiating what would inspire DHL’s Cubicycle – a.k.a. the Armadillo – an innovative solution to sustainable urban delivery that is now ubiquitous in the Netherlands and has since been adopted by a multitude of other logistics companies, such as DB Schenker and GLS.
For 2019, the City of Groningen will play host to the international festival as a part of promoting their ambitious plan to make all city logistics emissions-free by 2025. Groningen is the infamous home of the 1977 Traffic Circulation Plan that transformed the city centre overnight from a place for cars to a place for people by making walking and cycling the most desirable ways to travel through the city. Since then, they’ve enjoyed an impressive growth in cycling numbers, with nearly two-thirds of all trips made by bicycle, the highest of such figure in the world. In 2014, this earned Groningen the title of “World’s Cycling City” by Streetsblog filmmaker Clarence Eckerson Jr., launching the city onto the global cycling scene.
Hosting the ICBF is a testament to their commitment to cycle-logistics, providing a space for industry giants and innovators to connect and really demonstrate the possibilities not only for Groningen but other cities to improve cycle logistics and sustainable mobility.
The event will take place at Groningen’s Suiker Unie (“Sugar Union”), a post-industrial former sugar factory turned festival venue on the western edge of the city centre. The program includes a conference day on Friday the 14th of June, featuring a diverse range of speakers who represent some of the foremost voices on the trends and innovation around logistics, cargo bike culture and the role the humble bakfiets continues to have in changing the mobility landscape.
Saturday and Sunday is when the industry and the general public come out to play. The event includes a fair where exhibitors from around the world will show off their visions for the future of cargo bikes, as well as numerous events to be enjoyed by both the cargo bike-passionate and the curious. Saturday will also feature the ‘Cargo Bike of the Year Award’, as judged by a panel of industry experts and awards the best in three categories: Light, Heavy and Trailer. Cargo bike races, opportunities to test ride the latest models, food and music will make this a celebration of cargo bikes and the city of Groningen.
Since its launch eight years ago, the ICBF has become a place to showcase, collaborate and inspire, and this year’s event will certainly build on the success of previous editions. As cities globally are making commitments to sustainable mobility, the ICBF provides a forum to bring ideas together and inspire solutions that not only address carbon emission reductions but also contribute to making cities around the world less congested, happy and fun places to be.
Pitcures: 1: Credit: Modacity, 2: Credit: Jan van Kessel