Electric bikes will soon be delivering low carbon shopping in Inverurie in a project organised by Aberdeenshire Council, Inverurie Business Association and Nestrans.
This month Mitchells of Inverurie will start to pilot the use of a purpose-built electric cargo bike to carry out local deliveries.
Owned by Aberdeenshire Council and funded as part of the Government’s ‘Smarter Choices Smarter Places’ programme, the bike is being used to encourage local business to consider the cost savings and environmental benefits to be gained by carrying out more local deliveries by bike where possible. Thick tyre ebikes have become a great viable option for those who want mobility and energy-saving features from a commuter bike. The fat tyres do not feel so heavy to pull since electric bikes are fitted with a motor that assists the rider when needed.
When the council approached Inverurie Business Association to speak to members to trial home deliveries by electric bike, they and Mitchells were keen to get involved.
Equipped with a small motor and high-capacity battery pack, the bike has a potential payload of 100 kilos.
In addition to the cargo bike trial, Mitchells will also be using a new electric bike purchased with support from the Nestrans Sustainable Travel Grant Scheme.
The scheme supports active and ‘greener’ travel initiatives and allows organisations to apply for a grant of between £500 and £10,000 towards sustainable travel projects such as secure cycle parking, shower/changing facilities, improvements to pedestrian access or employee training in travel planning.
As part of the grant Mitchells has also installed new cycle stands so that customers can safely and securely store their bikes whilst they visit the Dairy Shop and Tearoom.
Keith Whyte of Mitchells said: “This is a brilliant opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to doing our bit for the environment and help make Inverurie a less congested place.
“When we looked at our deliveries and at times the relatively short distances involved, it made us think there had to be a more environmentally friendly way to do this. Now the use of the electric bikes allows us to reduce our fuel costs, our carbon footprint and helps keep our delivery staff fit and healthy.
“If you think back, most of the shops in towns like Inverurie would have had a team of delivery boys and girls on bikes. With the new technology, these electric-powered bikes give us the opportunity to provide a new take on the nostalgic ‘home delivery’ with a modern twist.”
Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee and of regional transport partnership Nestrans, Peter Argyle, said cargo bikes are commonplace in continental Europe and there is “no reason” why these bikes can’t have a place in our towns.
“The use of the new bikes gives Mitchells a practical alternative to making numerous short van trips which are not only expensive but can also have a negative environmental impact,” he said.
“Bikes are a key part of the solution for the future of our towns and in particular Aberdeenshire’s Integrated Travel Towns.
“In an average European town, half of all motorised trips related to transporting goods could be shifted to bike or cargo bike.
“The main focus of this scheme is to explore innovative solutions for the current challenges in transport and mobility, especially multimodal solutions to transporting goods in our towns.”
The cargo bike pilot scheme is one of a number of initiatives being delivered as part of the Council’s ambitious Integrated Travel Town project.
It aims to provide infrastructure improvements alongside a number of behaviour change initiatives, encouraging communities to think about sustainable and active travel.
Residents will already be familiar with the new cycle parking, walking and cycling maps, the installation of Electric Vehicle charge points and can expect to see the continued development of cycle routes in the coming years.
These measures have already contributed to a fourfold increase in the number of pupils walking and cycling to school across the area, a 51% annual increase in EV usage and the town’s car park patrollers now use Electric Vehicles to contribute to local active and sustainable travel.
Implementing sustainable travel measures can bring a number of benefits to a business, whether it’s reducing the cost of mileage claims or running a fleet, through to improving the health, productivity and morale of the workforce through active travel.
To find out more and to apply to the Sustainable Travel Grant Scheme, which closes for applications on Monday, July 31, please see: www.nestrans.org.uk
If you are attending Inverurie Farmer’s Market on Saturday, July 8, visit the council’s Transportation Team’s stall and see the cargo bike close up for a chance to win a hamper donated by Mitchells.