Last weekend we were invited to be part of a Carbon Literacy event to be held in the Arndale Shopping Centre's Hallé Square. The guy organising the event had heard on the grapevine that we were looking into the feasibility of using cargo bikes for our logistics and that if we could get hold of one he'd like it to be the focal point of the event.
You see, we’re now at a stage where we could be doing weekly deliveries of cider and in the future juice too plus apple pickups during Autumn. I’m a keen cyclist already and I’ve wanted to keep our carbon footprint low as we grow. The problem is apples, trees and bottles are all heavy, bulky loads and I couldn’t find a suitable answer. Then I found Bulliitt bikes by Copenhagen-based Larry vs. Harry. Those Danes know a thing or two about shifting people and goods by bike and to my surprise the main UK distributor has just moved into a unit just off Didsbury high street. I then discover that Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) have a funding pot for businesses looking for Sustainable Travel Grants. This idea was looking like it could actually come together.
So I approached said importer in Didsbury and one: had a test ride and two: asked if we could pinch one to demonstrate to the public how we see the future of our logistics. Then after a few emails back-and-forth with TfGM it turns out we're eligible for the funding... woop! We'll be using some match funding we've been offered from local businesses and a big chunk of the application will focus on in-kind sustainable pledges. These will involve our customers, fans, followers and apple donors who can all help our bid e.g. by choosing to bring their apples by bike or by us picking them up for you if you live no further than 2.5miles from the cider house.
You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face as I rode a tree, picked up from Hulme Community Garden Centre, into the city centre to be the focal point of the event. The bike is a real head-turner in itself but add a 7-foot tree into the mix and you really make an impact on the road! So the idea was that the public would make their own sustainable pledges on leaf-shaped post-it notes and stick them to the bike. There were 178 pledges in total across the 3-day event, plus a few more I found knocking around the bike-box during the pack down. These ranged in impact from recycling more to cycling more and even planting apple trees. So I know we inspired people to think sustainably and, who knows, we might even end up juicing their apples.
So our pledge is that we’ll do our utmost to leave our cars at home and do all our local pickups and deliveries (within a 2.5mile radius) by bike for free, with businesses further afield paying a small delivery charge for the upkeep of the bikes. We’ve had businesses as far away as Glossop interested in stocking the cider so we’ll be getting the bikes electrically assisted and we’re doing our best to switch to a green energy provider in the coming months.
If you’d like to volunteer to ride one of the Bullitt bikes for us then fill in the form below and know you’ll be helping us reach our sustainable goal, plus we'll be helping you get fit in the process - super-fit if you don’t need the batteries. They’re a little tricky to get used to as the smaller front wheel and turning circle is not the same a regular bike. But as they say, “you never forget how to ride a bike.”