Bikes on demand

By Jacqui Ma

 Goodordering cycling trends

Need a cleaner for tomorrow morning?, there an app for that. (Handy) Fancy some Chicken satay at 3am or need a lift to the local shop to buy some milk, there’s apps for those too. (Uber, This article is about how pedal pwer is part of this on-demand revolution.

Our phones and digital connectivity is changing how we live and essentially decreasing our need to plan too far ahead. This minute-to-minute living also comes with a huge shift in changing habits that we have to get used to. The exciting part is that a whole raft of new businesses have sprouted out as a direct result of these changing habits and this new culture of ‘on-demand’.

In the USA, funding for on-demand app start-ups grew by 514% in 2015 and across the world, billions of dollars/pounds is being poured into this consumer shift. But it’s not all bad. On-demand apps are not just for people too lazy to walk or too posh to cook, but apps like Uber can also be an alternative for those people who cannot afford to own a car. Its all part of the sharing economy which we need to get used to.

deliveroo cycling on-demand food around the UK

The growth of Deliveroo has just been phenomenal, the company recently raised £200million to expand its bicycle food delivery network to 40 more towns and cities in the UK by the end of 2016. Providing a lot more jobs for cyclists. Of course this is also going to cause more cycling congestion in these areas too.

Due to this ‘bring it to me’ shift, a number of cycling related businesses fit in ideally to this new on-demand economy. Cycling’s low carbon footprint and the sheer speed of getting around and weaving through traffic in busy cities means that we are going to see a lot more bikes on the road and hopefully a lots less white vans!

Petalon flowers delivery bouquets by bicycle in London. You can order from a very simple menu of options on their website and know that your flowers did not contribute to urban congestion. Of course Uber eats and Deliveroo changed the face of home delivery food by creating a marketplace of delivery drivers who are keen to make money through pedal power. Hopefully the future will see less of the motor bikes and many more of the pedal variety on the streets.

 Sainsbury's joining the on-demand cycling revolution

Even supermarket giant Sainsbury’s are going back to their 1914 roots and starting to deliver groceries by bicycle. For a flat fee of £4.99, the Wandsworth and Pimlico branches are first trialling this service and hopefully we will see this rolled out during 2017. Phil Dumontet from Dashed started his food delivery service in 2009 with his trek mountain bike and their 2015 revenue was $8.7million. His business was rolled out over 5 US cities and 500 participating restaurants.

The box bicycle Stevenage cargo bikes

The bicycle delivery market has been largely a local thing, with companies like Box Bike based in Stevenage (UK) delivering anything from vegetable boxes to flowers, medicines and legal documents by bicycle. Now with the development of technology at lightening speed and consumer’s increasing desire to tap and book rather than to actually talk to anyone, the businesses are becoming more global and less local. Whether or not that is a bad thing who knows.

The Rolling Fix mobile on-demand bicycle repair 

The Rolling Fix are Australian based mobile bicycle mechanics. The main difference here between these guys and the slew of other mobile bike mechanics is that these provide a pedal –powered service rather than turning up in a truck. The beautifully crafted Danish cargo bikes that they user are made by @butchersandbicycles, the Copenhagen-based business. Adelaide-based Treadly bike shop and The Rolling Fix are great examples of businesses recognising this trend of on-demand and mobile cycling needs.


As urban dwellers continue to be time poor and convenience seeking, on-demand services and products will continue to grow. However, they will not be sustainable with more motor vehicles on the road. Cargo bikes will be on the rise, supported by local councils and government schemes and clean businesses will be rewarded with both positive press and financial aid. Apps will be essential in co-ordinating logistics for all these deliveries which will give an even more convenient service to the end consumer. Basically you will be able to never leave your house!

Examples of on-demand cycing companies and references

Net-a-fish: Local fish delivery by bicycle

Petalon : bouquets by bicycle 

Sainsbury’s Bicycle delivery

Dashed: food delivery service in the USA

Box bike: Stevenage bicycle delivery company

Treadly bike shop

Butchers and Bicycles: Manufactuers of cargo bikes

The Rolling Fix: Australian mobile bicycle mechanics.

Deliveroo: On-demand food by bike (and scooters)

About the author

Jacqui Ma is a trend forecaster and founder of Goodordering, East London bag company.



1 comment

  • Excellent article, the on-demand eConomy is certainly Thriving. Good to see the bicycles leadimg the way!

    CLaire on

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