Muscle power is still indispensable. Even when an electric motor provides support. That is immediately apparent when one watches Charles-Louis Mourruau cycling up the steep street that leads through the green vineyards, with Lake Geneva in the background. He exhales deeply and smiles. “That was quite fast, wasn’t it?” For him, such inclines are no problem. He conquers dozens of them daily on his trips with the transport bicycle and frequently cycles 80 kilometers or more. Lausanne is a hilly city. And the bike is carrying a heavy load – usually with regional organic vegetables that are delivered fresh to restaurants, bars and hotels. But Charles-Louis is fit and his bike is equipped with a powerful rear motor. With this combination, he succeeds in delivering the orders to the many customers on time.
The P’tit Bar, a small café in the center of Lausanne, is also among those who put their faith in organic food produced in the region and delivered emission-free. Owner Murielle and her employee accept the delivery from Charles-Louis with a smile. He immediately jumps back in the saddle and rides back to the premises of his small company Plateforme Bio Lokal, located slightly outside the city. There the next delivery is already waiting. And the day is still long.
Long working days
Hansjörg Haas is an idealist. And yes, with Plateforme Bio Lokal, he wants to improve the world a little bit. “I show the people how things could be.” He got the idea for the organic delivery service in 2013. Back then, he was involved in a different project, when a head chef asked him if he is also able to deliver fresh fruit. In the end, his company evolved from that. “Our values are: local, organic, seasonal and emission-free – those are the four leaves of our clover logo,” says Hansjörg Haas. “We deliver fruit, vegetables, but also flour and milk. Almost everything is sourced from a network of local organic farmers and we deliver it right to the doorstep with our electric transport bicycles. From the field to the plate, so to speak.” Frequently the vegetables are delivered raw, but increasingly they are also prepared in the company’s kitchen, so that the customer only has to perform the final cooking steps. And the service is meeting with approval. The customer list is getting longer – and with it the working days. For the two bosses, Hansjörg and Charles-Louis, 13 to 14 hours are not uncommon. Charles-Louis says: “As long as I spend half of the day on the bike, it does not bother me.” And the spirit in the team of six people is excellent. “We’ve known each other for a long time and are good friends.”
“The perfect motor for cargo bikes”
Plateforme Bio Lokal intends to expand their principle. Geneva is already in planning as second location, other cities will be added. Hansjörg Haas would like to provide the entire country with the environmentally friendly delivery service. “The desire for sustainable food is increasing. At the same time, the streets are clogged with cars. Therefore cargo bikes are the means of transportation of the future.” Provided they are equipped with the right electric motors. Charles-Louis says: “Through the years, we have used several bike drives and were never happy until we discovered the maxon BIKEDRIVE. It is powerful, saves energy, is robust and can be installed quickly – with no bells and whistles. Motor, battery and Power-grip, reduced to the basics.” In his opinion, it is the perfect motor for cargo bikes. “We frequently transport boxes that weigh more than 100 kg.” And Hansjörg adds: “Once I even fetched 200 kg of potatoes from a farmer and took it to the depot. Without any problems.” Another plus is the fact that the rear motor is a Swiss product. “It fits excellently with our philosophy of promoting local business.” Five cargo bikes are already equipped with the Bikedrive. And if the vision of Hansjörg Haas becomes reality, hundreds of these bikes will soon hit the streets – packed with fresh vegetables.