Often people look at our town of Macclesfield, Cheshire on the foothills of the Peak District and wonder if our challenge of zero-emission delivery is actually possible by cargo bike and as we grow our fleet, we have encountered a few obstacles in our way. An obstacle always presents an opportunity 🙂
One of these obstacles arose when discussing veg box delivery with our customers, Fruits of the Forage. “It just won’t be viable with two or 3 veg boxes per bike, Russ… it’ll take too long! We love what you’re doing but you’ll have to rethink it if we’re going do this.” this was Archie, Director at Fruits of the Forage, Thoughts just before Christmas last year. With lots of head-scratching and turning of pedals (there are lots of problems solved whilst in the saddle), we came up with the zero-emission hub, Zebby. Zebby is a repurposed 1983 Smiths electric vehicle, leased in partnership with Smiths Dairies.
For the last 3 weeks, we have pioneered the unique combination of cargo bikes and Zebby, the rolling hub and it’s working so well we are now proud to deliver over 50% of the Fruits of the Forage deliveries every week with Zero Emissions, reducing air pollution and the cargo bikes doing the hard miles, through the streets and lanes, reducing congestion too.
Zebby, the rolling hub enables us to ‘roll-out’ the Fruits of Forage depot with all the orders for the surrounding area. Zebby the hub, drives an ‘orbital’ as a ‘line of best fit’ for the delivery route. The cargo bikes deliver the veg boxes and come back to the rolling hub, often just a short distance from the last delivery and refill to make the next delivery.
Etiquette on the roads is essential and when another vehicle arrives behind the rolling hub (hub speed is limited to 20mph, #20isplenty) we find the nearest opportunity to let it pass. Our vision for the future is for this unique combination to become more commonplace for deliveries within Macclesfield and the surroundings and encourage other towns to try this delivery approach out, less air pollution is good for us, yeah?! Maybe we can reduce the amount of unnecessary van and car journeys from the outskirts too?