Businesses in Wokingham Borough, especially those carrying out multiple short trips, have the chance to try doing their deliveries on a special electric bicycle instead of driving.
My Journey Wokingham, Wokingham Borough Council's active travel team, has taken delivery of two Urban Arrow e-cargo bikes and wants to loan them out free of charge on a trial basis.
It will offer rental periods of either two or four weeks, allowing businesses and other organisations to give this green alternative a spin with no upfront investment. Anyone interested should get in touch.
Contact the team
Greener deliveries without the fuss
The Urban Arrow models can carry between 300 and 600 litres of cargo and have a range of up to 45 miles, with a top assisted speed of just over 15mph, so can replace small delivery vehicles in many cases.
They have a lockable storage box attached and can be charged from the mains in about three hours. They offer a more convenient way for couriers to travel, with less waiting in traffic, and help businesses stand out from the crowd with their unique appearance.
Making the switch offers considerable savings on costs like fuel, maintenance, tax and insurance, as well as being better for the planet. The bikes also save on finding and paying for parking and can be cycled door to door, making unloading easier and quicker.
They don't emit carbon dioxide or other air pollutants, making them far more environmentally friendly, while the electric motor ensures trips require less pedalling than a regular bike.
Turning heads in the local community
The bikes impressed small businesses and traders in Wokingham town centre when the council’s team visited on market day to demonstrate them.
Darren Phillips, who has run the flower stall for 27 years, said: “It’s a great idea. The bikes look extremely well-made, and it’s nice that you don’t have to pedal them too hard. They’re quite funky and you could imagine people selling lots of things from them.”
Jane Collins, who runs the Butlers Services Group farm produce stall, from Farley Hill, said: “I’d never heard of them before but it sounds like a great way of reducing emissions if businesses can find a use for them, like delivering groceries or things like that.”
Phil Edgecombe, who runs Phil’s Good Food in Broad Street, said: “The bikes are great – anything that’s sustainable and ecologically friendly has to be a good thing. Local deliveries are something we’re going to offer and if we can do it a more environmentally sound way, then we will.”
Give it a whirl before saddling up
Cllr Paul Fishwick, executive member for active travel, transport and highways, said: “We're proud to have embraced this innovative new way of transporting goods around the borough, and to offer businesses a chance to ‘try before they buy’.
“It's proving increasingly popular around the world, particularly in Europe and North America, so we hope our local traders will make the most of this opportunity to find out more.
“Cutting traffic congestion and reducing emissions requires us to provide forward-thinking alternatives for all kinds of journeys, from simple domestic and pleasure trips or daily commutes to businesses delivering to their customers.
“We hope this trial will be another step in a long-term shift towards people cycling and walking where practical instead of driving.”
Making sustainable changes easier for everyone
The council will be offering these trials for at least a year - and possibly longer, as e-cargo bike rental schemes have proven popular elsewhere in places like Oxford and Milton Keynes. If participants would like to buy one after their trial, the council can offer further advice.
It strongly supports this as it is striving to improve air quality and has declared a climate emergency, pledging to do all it can to make the borough a net-zero carbon producer by 2030.
The council is set to publish its Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, a document outlining possible improvements to key routes over the coming decade. No funding is allocated and these would be subject to further consultation, but the plan could help get Government grants.
It is also preparing to update its Local Transport Plan, a broader strategy document that will look at all ways of getting around and will emphasise the need for active and sustainable travel.
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