Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cargo bikes for your community.

Potentially our next big thing…. potentially your next big thing!

We want to pay for and maintain a cargo bike which we can then lease out for a really small fee to a community. We want to provide a safe place for it to live and to create a really easy web and app based booking system. We're holding some events you can come to to find out more information. We've got funding to do this, we're just looking for the people to use it now!

Email us (info@herefordpedicargo.com) if you are keen or come along to one of the events below:

We are in High Town Hereford on Saturday 13th of October with a big bike and big smiles between 10:00 and 16:00, we'll be by W H Smiths.

Then on Monday 15th of October we are holding a discussion at the Courtyard theatre between 16:30 and 17:30 as part of the h:Energy week - it is a free for all and anyone can come and listen to our plans and give us their feedback. 

We want to start this in Hereford but could go anywhere potentially. 

If you are interested in this email us - info@herefordpedicabs.com

Some more info...

As a company we're over five years old, we've tried lots of things out and all in all we have had some great successes. One of the most amazing things for us has been just how much stuff we've been able to move using bikes. We figure that it would be great if everyone had access to a cargo bike. 

Cargo bikes have never been something we've been using because we couldn't afford a van. We have used them because they have been the best way of getting big things around a city in a quick, environmentally sustainable way. We can get into areas that cars can't, at times that fit our customers and we can do it fast. People always seem amazed when they see huge loads arriving on the bikes and our customers love using us. 

We think that if people had access to cargo bikes they could replace some of their short car journeys, save money on fuel, do something good for the environment and keep healthy, all at the same time! We want to provide bikes which we can rent out at a very tiny fee (maybe less than £1.50 per user per week) to communities. We want to maintain them for that price too and also provide an online and app based booking system. We think it's possible. 

In some European places like Copenhagen 17% of the population have access to a cargo bike and of that 25% of people use it as a car replacement. To put that into perspective that would be like having 3000 cargo bikes zooming around Hereford. We understand that might be a little unlikely but we can't help notice a growing trend in cycling and a growing trend in the use and sale of bikes, child seats for bikes, pannier racks and baskets and of course the growing sale of cargo bikes in this country. We want to help people to get involved in that. 

We've noticed that cargo bikes are pretty expensive and in some cases a bit of a fashion statement in certain places. Hopefully we can solve that problem by providing a (albeit very cool) practical and cheap opportunity to have access to a cargo bike. 

So I guess the next thing to mention is how much work we have done regarding this so far. The answer is a lot but not all of it. As much as we can at the moment. It is of course fine for us to have this idea but what we now need to do is find out if people would want to use a bike if they had access to one. We need to work out how much they would be prepared to pay for it too, what one person expects for £1.50 a week might be very different to someone else's. There is also quite a lot of work to be done to decide how many people, and in what density, we could satisfy with a bike. So in big company terms… we've gone out to consultation.. in our terms… were asking some people. Here's what we are up to right now:

Last week we delivered 500 flyers to a particular area of Hereford. We targeted the St James area and covered most of it. Specifically we dropped flyers to almost every house on - Green Street, Park Street, Hampton Street, Harold Street, St James Terrace, Vicarage Road, St James Road, Grenfell Road and Grove Road. We are hoping that in that area we can get enough people who are interested to come forward, if so we'll be able to justify sticking a bike in for them to use. Why that area? Because the people in that area seem to be receptive to this sort of idea, they recently started a car club and they also get regular residential deliveries by our cargo bikes. The bikes should be know to them and hopefully that'll help. That being said we are yet to settle on a specific area, if there is a need hopefully we could put a bike anywhere. IF YOU THINK THE AREA YOU LIVE IN COULD DO WITH ONE GET IN TOUCH - email info@herefordpedicargo.com

The flyers say a little bit about the scheme and ask if people are interested. They also invite the household to two events which we are holding to gain further information about the potential project:

We are in High Town Hereford on Saturday 13th of October with a big bike and big smiles between 10:00 and 16:00, we'll be by W H Smiths.

Then on Monday 15th of October we are holding a discussion at the Courtyard theatre between 16:30 and 17:30 as part of the h:Energy week - it is a free for all and anyone can come and listen to our plans and give us their feedback. 

So in a nutshell that is the background behind our plan to give communities access to cargo bikes that they can use. 

WHAT WE NEED IS FOR YOU TO SPREAD THE WORD. We think this is a great thing, but we need your help to tell people about it, share it with your friends, link people to this if you think they would be keen and make sure you email us - info@herefordpedicargo.com if you want to be involved. 


megilleland said...

Unfortunately I will be unable to get to your h-energy event. I have asked Paige Mitchell to raise this question.

Although the discussion has revolved around proposals for locally owned, community cargo bikes, has Herefordshire Council considered the use of cargo bikes in connection with its procurement exercise?

To quote Councillor John Jarvis, leader of Herefordshire Council:

“This is a time of significant change for the council and as such we’re taking the opportunity to look at what we do, how we do it and if it can be done better or differently".

May I suggest that cargo bikes could provide a very sustainable and urgent response to improving the state of many Herefordshire housing estates which are looking neglected through a lack of cleansing and maintenance. A cargo bike could cover two or three estates.

The cargo bike can be utilised mainly in the following areas for maintenance and inspection:

Littter collection and recycling
Blocked drains
Abandoned cars
Fly tipping
Fly posting
Abandoned shopping trolleys
Carriageways - weeds along kerbs and traffic islands/junctions
Safety Fences & Barriers
Road Markings
Street Furniture
Public rights of way in urban areas
Cycleways - removal of broken glass on cycleways
Highway Drainage - blocked drains
Accumulation of water on the carriageway, footway and cycleway
Mud, debris, spillage or contamination on running surfaces
Traffic Signals
Signs - obstruction of visibility and signage
Street Lighting
Weeds along kerbs and traffic islands/junctions
Damaged or defective lighting columns/illuminated signs and bollards
Cleaning of bollards and signs
Hazardous trees and branches - cutting back hedges - leaf fall causing slippery surfaces
Winter gritting of pavements

The presence of cargo bikes on the estates will provoke interest, especially with the young, deter vandalism and provide an advertising medium for special events and campaigns throughout the city.

Any comment?

Martin Gilleland

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