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Businesses need to 'think ecargo bike'; starting right now

Contact JRtB on twitter @justridethebike

If you are a business and you need to adapt to traffic restrictions in urban areas, if you need to decarbonise, if you need to help improve the mental health of employees, if you need to improve productivity, then think about bikes. Think e-cargo bikes. Do it now.

Are bikes the answer to the problems the world is facing today? If you follow Just Ride the Bike then you‘ll not be surprised with our answer. Yes, bikes are the solution. In fact. Normally we argue to just ride the bike in response to every question. So why do some people find it so hard to even try the idea out?


We are not talking about normal people. We are not talking about the vast numbers of people buying bikes and contributing to a boom in bicycles so big the cycling industry is struggling to keep up with demand.


No. We are talking about businesses and specifically the business support service sector.


If you live, work, rest and play in an urban environment - particularly one of the UK’s major cities I’d be willing to bet money you’ve seen a bike delivering something to someone, somewhere. It might be Deliveroo, it might be Zedify, PedalMe, Pedal and Post or even something like Oxwash. Bikes are keeping Britain moving. In a tribute to the old Ford Transit advertisement, the humble bicycle is becoming a vital part of Britain’s anatomy. Maybe not the spine yet - but close.


But it can do so much more. If the UK’s businesses give it more of a chance. The solution is using more cargo bikes. Of all sizes and formats. We can point to all manner of case studies and evidence care of the City Changer Cargo Bike campaign. Across Europe cargo bikes are used for all sorts of services that go way beyond the last mile delivery model demonstrated so well by FedEx, DPD and others in the UK. In Copenhagen urgent blood deliveries are done by cargo bike - safely, on schedule and with the added benefit of improved mental health for the riders.


Our argument is that there is a reticence to try to do more in the UK. We want to prove wrong. There’s hope we are wrong and it comes in an unlikely guise - via the construction industry. We can point to at least two case studies via the Considerate Constructors Scheme, one with FM Conway and another with CrossRail and both implemented through Transport for London. The CrossRail trial demonstrated bikes are faster, probably safer and cut carbon.


Perhaps more interesting is the work done on a scheme in Hackney, where construction logistics business O’Neill & Brennan Logistics hired PedalMe to move construction materials on a project for Morgan Sindall.


Barry Mitchell, operations manager said the trial showed that bikes helped cut some costs and saved time: “The speed of the cargo bike deliveries has been incredible. Being able to book them on the same day has assisted us massively when urgently needing certain products. During COVID 19 they have been of huge assistance. Whilst a lot of suppliers furloughed staff and stopped delivering items, we were able to get emergency items delivered same day or within 24 hours. Another reason they are incredibly helpful/positive is because we can utilize them to collect and deliver products and materials between our own projects eliminating the need to use unreliable couriers who in turn are also a very expensive service.”


Importantly, Barry Mitchell sees a role for cargo bikes in the future on larger schemes. With the help and support of Michael Barratt (TfL), Hackney Council and Morgan Sindall, they have created a dedicated cargo bike area on the project site and foresee that being the norm on all jobs. The plan is to buy their own bikes.


Mitchell continues: “Once purchased we are planning on putting one of our operatives through Cargo Bike Training so that we can use the Cargo Bike to collect and deliver products/materials to the project on a full time basis. This service being supplied by our client means that all subcontractors can use/book Cargo Bike deliveries throughout the project, encouraging the use of Cargo Bikes and reducing the commercial barrier that may be slowing their usage and positive effect on the environment.”


This is big thinking. This is what will add an edge to business services if others follow the example of O’Neill & Brennan. Can others do it? Definitely provided they put the time in and allocate budget to test and research what works. There are obstacles around fleet management logistics but with such a high pressure on traffic management changes - just check the plans for the City of London as an example - but with research they can be overcome.


Which leaves the facilities management sector. Are they interested in learning about the potential of e-cargo bikes? They could learn from the construction sector - something they might hate, but worth it.


If you are a business and you need to adapt to traffic restrictions in urban areas, if you need to decarbonise, if you need to help improve the mental health of employees, if you need to improve productivity, then think about bikes. Think e-cargo bikes. Do it now.

Contact Andrew Brown on 07795 547069


for further information or comment 

Cargo Bike Delivery MS Hackney.jpg
O&B Morgan Sindall Cargo Bike Loading Ar

Contact 07795 547069

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