Stories From Cargo Bike Delivery Days
I do regular local deliveries of art, cards and gifts for the Workers Gallery using my Tern Cargo e bike. Some of you have asked for more details about how the bike works - so here goes...
The bike is pedal assist which means I have to pedal to make it move (unless I'm freewheeling down hill of course) and the settings on the bike allow me to select what assistance I need. This is a simplified summary - but basically if I need more help up those big hills I ask for it by selecting ECO, TOUR, SPORT or TURBO and I get my pedaling amplified by a set amount.
My bike has space for 2 batteries but I only have one battery at the moment. I can do local deliveries around the Rhondda - across from Treorchy to Pontypridd with battery to spare. Most journeys take double the length that they would take in a car- but sometimes they take the same time, sometimes they are quicker than using a car.
Sadly many barriers across the local cycle network are either completely impassable or difficult for me. I need help to carry my bike over several or I can just about get through but I get bruised and bashed doing so. This is a huge issue for me as my bike is pretty heavy - especially when carrying orders and I cannot tip it on it's end to wheel it through tight barriers as due to it's construction the bike 'parks' on its end.
It's also frustrating that although the Tylorstown landslip has been cleared off the local path - the cycle path is still blocked by a landslip between Ynyshir and Porth - just next to the gallery.
If more local businesses were to be encouraged to go the e bike delivery route - that would be great. Locally it is not easy to actually access and use the paths that would make this a good, easy and quick option for many small businesses. Although it is a vehicle - an e bike is more than that - it is a statement to say there is an alternative to car or van delivery in the valleys. We can be more sustainable in how we delivery products and we can inspire others to join us. We need more help with the infrastructure, better public transport links, buses with bicycle carriers and less emphasis on building more roads. An electric car is still a car.