Back on the 11th November, a bike trailer capable of carrying up to 250kg of cargo arrived in Kyiv, at volunteer delivery service CargoCult.
It had been sent from the German city of Kiel, where cycling activists had joined together to raise funds for, then purchase and donate the Carla Cargo trailer. CargoCult is an e-cargo bike delivery service founded in Kyiv in 2020, whose three cargo bikes are all self-produced. When the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine began in early 2022, the company began to engage in volunteer delivery of humanitarian goods.
Shortly after, Jorn Müller of the Velostyle bike store in Kiel saw a social media post from CargoCult about their activities and offered to help. Jorn is convinced that bike trailers are the future of delivery, so he offered to purchase and transfer a German-made Carla Cargo trailer to Kyiv, calling the campaign “Carla für Kiew“. Jorn also managed to unite all his competitors – bicycle shops in the city of Kiel – all of which posted an announcement about the collection and donated money themselves.
In addition – in response to the campaign – the residents of Kiel donated almost a ton of food and hygiene products for Ukrainians affected by the war, which was sent along with the trailer to Kyiv. These goods were delivered to refugees, hospitals and Kyiv’s Volunteer Defence Forces.
Since the trailer arrived on November 11th – the same day the city of Kherson was liberated by Ukranian forces – it has been used regularly to make volunteer deliveries around the Kyiv.
Jorn Müller, initiator of “Carla für Kiew”, said:
“What started as a fixed idea has become a reality. The full story is full of beautiful moments of devotion, support and compassion, but most importantly, Carla works and helps.
I am very proud to be a part of this story and glad that you got Carla and the humanitarian cargo. Stay strong and stay safe.”
CargoCult co-founder Oleksiy Khvorostenko (who is also Bicycle Mayor of Kyiv) said:
“When Jorn first offered to deliver a Carla Cargo to us we had doubts, because of the lack of cycling infrastructure in Kyiv. Partly these doubts were justified. Kyiv is situated on seven hills and it’s difficult to climb by bicycle with a fully loaded trailer. But still, with the trailer, the load capacity of one CargoCult e-cargo bike is significantly increased! For instance, we have been able to deliver 200kg of hygiene products to the hospital. These products have a large volume and before we had the trailer, we needed two e-cargo bikes to transport an equivalent cargo. We were also able to deliver an anti-tank dam (hedgehog) which serves as cycle parking now. We are very happy that thanks to the Carla Cargo trailer we will be able to deliver even more help to our citizens.
Since Russia started targeting energy infrastructure with missile strikes, things have gotten worse for Ukrainians. Blackouts mean there is often no electricity, internet and mobile connection, water supply and heating in our homes. We are planning to use the trailer to deliver essential products such as water to local residents.
This is the war for our existence and we just cannot stand back and do nothing. If Ukraine stops fighting, it will cease to exist. If Russia stops fighting, peace will come.”
Read more about CargoCult’s back-story in the Winter 2022|2023 edition of the International Cargo Bike Festival Magazine. Free and available to read online: https://cargobikefestival.com/magazine/
To support CargoCult’s humanitarian activities in Kyiv:
Donate via PayPal: using “Recipient’s email”: email@example.com
CargoCult and the International Cargo Bike Festival are working on ways that people can support CargoCult’s activities in other ways. Watch this space for developments…
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Here’s how the Carla Cargo Trailer’s first delivery in Kyiv went: