You might know by now we’re big fans of cycling, we talk about it a lot (maybe more than we talk about coffee!). We use an electric cargobike to make our local deliveries in Nottingham. For us as a business it’s much cheaper than using a motor vehicle and more convenient – you can park a bike anywhere. It’s also much more fun, and helps us achieve our goals of being as sustainable as possible.
We think more people should have access to cargobikes. Most car journeys in the UK are under 10km and have only one person making the journey, but people cite needing to sometimes carry goods and transport people as reasons why they can’t give up their car. Cargobikes help with that. While they may not replace every single journey, they can replace lots of local trips and help reduce the number of cars on the road, making it easier and safer for everybody (including those who need to drive!).
Cargobikes, and especially electric cargobikes are often expensive and most people don’t need one every single day. That’s where commons cargobikes come in!
The idea behind commons cargobikes is that a community based business hosts a cargobike that anybody can access on a pay what you can basis, any time they need to. This makes them more accessible to more people. This is already up and running successfully in Europe, especially Germany where it is known as Dein Lastenrad. We’re now trying to bring it to the UK, via our Nottingham roastery. We’re buying the first bikes to kickstart the scheme, and also building the bike booking platform that any other commons cargobike scheme across the UK can use to start their own free cargobike share.
We’re raising funds to help make this happen, and are match funding every donation up to £2,000. We’ve also secured a generous 25% discount donation from Raleigh to purchase the first bikes, making it even more achievable.
If you’re able to donate, please do so at commonscargobike.co.uk. Even if you can’t donate, we’d really appreciate it if you can help spread the word.
Brrr, it’s getting cold out! The Met Office is forecasting a particularly cold winter with plenty of snow. How will this affect your coffee deliveries?
We do deliver throughout winter, however if the weather is particularly bad we will most likely post coffee instead at no extra charge. If we have deliveries scheduled for a particular day but the weather makes it too dangerous to deliver we will contact you to let you know and re-arrange delivery.
Typically we’ll make a call on the day of delivery itself as, especially in the case of snow, weather can change quickly, or sometimes turn out not to be as bad as forecasted. In the case of Coffee Club we will make a call by the Thursday before the scheduled delivery day to give us time to get them in the post in time if we need to.
During winter we might sometimes use a vehicle for deliveries if we have a lot of them and it makes better financial sense than posting them. However we will keep this to a minimum.
However we’ll mostly be cycling as usual throughout winter enjoying the frost glazed scenery as long as the conditions aren’t dangerous and when we do need to make changes we’ll let you know as soon as possible if it affects your order.
Back in September we were invited to talk to Mark Dennison at BBC Radio Nottingham about why we use bikes in our business. The email inviting us to speak on the show included the line “businesses that still use bicycles” which made us laugh at the idea that using bikes as a delivery vehicle is a funny little quirk from the past. Although despite enjoying a giggle at that one line it was actually a really great chat about why we use bikes, what we like (freedom) and dislike (bad infrastructure), and whether we’ll continue to use bikes as we grow. I thought it was about time I got some of our thoughts on all of this down in writing on our website.
For us, using bicycles for deliveries is very much the future, and we’re not alone in thinking this. Even supermarket behemoth Sainsbury’s is trialing bicycle deliveries while Deliveroo are popping up in more and more cities following huge funding rounds to expand their restaurant bicycle delivery service.
In many European cities, cargo bikes do many of the inner city deliveries that we in the UK still use vans for. We believe it is the van model that is outdated as more and more people order goods online while space does not expand and city traffic is grinding to a halt. By using bicycles we rarely get stuck in traffic and can take many off-road scenic routes that those delivering in motor vehicles cannot.
We also have a commitment to keeping our environmental footprint to a minumum, something that delivering on bikes helps us to achieve. Last year we kept 1 tonne of CO2 out of the air by delivering by bike instead of in a small petrol vehicle. And of course using bikes is great for well-being. Before starting this business I was a desk-bound tech worker battling anxiety. Being out on the bike in the fresh air and getting regular exercise is the best medicine I could ever take.
We will continue to use bikes for deliveries. If we grow to the level where our own two sets of legs are no longer enough then our plan is to add more people on bikes to the team rather than a van. Of course on occasion we do use a vehicle, usually in bad weather or at times of illness. However we keep these to a minimum, and almost always end up staring out of the window watching a cyclist cruising by us as we sit in traffic regretting our choice.
For urban and suburban businesses with deliveries to make, we truly believe that bikes are the future. If you have a small business and would like to talk to us for advice or sharing resources, feel free to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Mark Dennison for having us on the show.
For deliveries in the Nottingham delivery area (please see Nottingham delivery area map for details):
- Last delivery date will be Weds 23rd in Nottingham, last orders midday on Tuesday 22nd.
- Delivering again between Dec 28th – 30th, no deliveries on Dec 31st or Jan 1st, then back to normal from 2nd January.
For deliveries elsewhere in the UK:
- Last post is 21st December. All orders need to be made by midday on 20th December to be included in this.
- Postal orders will commence again from Monday 4th January with the exception of Coffee Club deliveries which will be posted out on Tuesday 29th December.
To let us know that your order is intended as a Christmas gift, please let us know in the notes field at checkout. There is a checkbox to enter a different delivery address.