The demand for home delivery is increasing, which means more traffic and emissions. Or does it? Brought By Bike has a novel solution
Has a plumber ever come using the foot pedal? How about a glass cleaner on two wheels? A new online directory aims to make finding UK companies offering their services by bike as easy as … well, riding a bike.
Helena Downey was inspired to create Brought by bicycle after his street became part of a low-traffic neighborhood. “I thought, ‘Living on a nice, quiet street is great for me, but what can I do for others?’” She said. “Emissions and traffic from truck deliveries will not go away anytime soon.”
An increase in demand due to Covid-19 was another factor: Research shows that only the grocery sector saw a 91 percent increase in home deliveries during the first month of closure. The demand is still high.
“People have gotten used to having deliveries delivered to their homes,” Downey said. “Some of the things I had when I arrived by truck I thought, ‘Why can’t I get that on my bike? There must be a website that facilitates this. ‘ But there wasn’t. “
Brought By Bike, which launched in December 2020, is free to both customers and businesses and is non-profit, although Downey may consider sponsored posts in the future to cover costs.
Most of the companies listed are independent, and the only criteria is that services are provided by bike within specific zip codes; Businesses can use vans or couriers to reach customers further afield.
Some 200 companies, which deliver anything from cheese to yarn, are listed on the directory so far. Image: Cargodale
So far, more than 200 companies are listed. They deliver products ranging from food to flowers, while traders include gardeners, electricians, and even mobile bike mechanics. “There’s such a wide range,” enthused Downey. “You can receive practically anything on a bicycle.”
Board member Benedict Sansam uses saddlebags and a trailer to carry tools to jobs in Bristol for his pedal-operated plumbing business.
“I love cycling and everyone benefits from cleaner air and quieter roads, so it seemed like the obvious choice,” he said. “And I’m never stuck in traffic or out of space to park.”
I’m never stuck in traffic or out of space to park
Although most operate within cities, Downey has noted a growing number of bicycle messengers who in more remote places. Cargodale, which launched in March 2020, ships items ranging from cheese to yarn for 10 companies based in the Yorkshire Dales.
Co-founder Beate Kubitz said: “Climbing up some of those slopes can be a bit strenuous, but we use electric cargo bikes so our riders get a little boost on the hills and are so much better than vans on narrow lanes.”
Kubitz said it was great to see how many companies are committing to bike deliveries: “It really feels like there is a movement to create fully sustainable businesses, and Brought By Bike makes it visible.”
Lead Image: Boudicca Woodland owns One Mile Bakery in Exeter, which is featured on Brought By Bike. Credit: Boudicca Woodland