Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, is planning something that, at first glance, is unbelievable. He wants to ban semi trucks from the city.

The plan is to establish depots at the outskirts of London where goods could be transferred from giant, rumbling trucks (or lorries, as they say over there) to smaller vehicles for more human-scale local deliveries.

It’s unlikely that Johnson is considering bicycles to replace London’s freight fleet. But he should.

Freight delivery is often invoked in arguments against bicycling as a legitimate form of transport for business as well as individuals: “What about trucking?” goes the somewhat desperate-sounding line. “Don’t you eat food? It has to get here somehow.”

The truth is, bicycles (and their three-wheeled cousins) are already a major piece of the freight puzzle all over the world

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