Bicycle Network: Skill Up
Logistics by bike
New systems are being developed to solve the city logistics problem. Parcel delivery by bike gaining ground.
Carpet cleaning by bike
4 September 2012. Carpet cleaning used to involve a man, a white van and a tonne of equipment, but in Portland USA one carpet cleaner has found a way to get to the job on a bike.
Steamin' Hot Carpet Clean claims to be the greenest carpet cleaner in Portland. Operator Jeff Johnson says he was motivated by a commitment to a sustainable future.
Carpet cleaning has never been thought of as a 'green' industry and before Jeff no-one in the business probably ever gave a thought converting to a bike-based operation.
He has fitted an American-made steam cleaning machine to a bike trailer—a neat fit—and provides the same service to his private and commercial clients as his competitors with their big vans.
A bonus has been that his bike-transported business has been a great talking point and his enthusiastic customers do a great job of spreading the word and marketing his service in bike-mad Portland.
Naturally, his detergent is organic.
Everything, including the kitchen sink
9 February 2012. Once upon a time when you moved house, the bigger the truck the better. Not any longer—in a city in Massachusetts bikes now move the household.
Gentle Giant is a removal company in Sommerville that uses bike-drawn trailers to haul the counch, the TV and the expresso coffee machine on local moves.
Business is so good the company is planning to expand the fleet to meet the demand for environmentally sustainable household moves.
Gentle Giant first offered bicycle delivery in the summer of 2010. It now has three movers, but by the coming US summer it will have 12.
Business owner Larry O'Toole says that his operation is faster and more efficient than the motorised competition.
To move by truck, the customer usually has to get no-parking signs from the city well in advance of the move, but bike movers – like bike commuters – have an easier time negotiating parking. There will be no no-parking permits required for move via bike, O’Toole said.
The standard truck move is a two-stage process with movers loading up the truck, driving it to its destination and then unloading it.
Once Gentle Giant has all its riders and equipment in order, there will be a continuous stream of movers loading up the bicycle trailers, hauling the load to the new office or residence and then cycling back for the next load.
That way, once all of the furniture and boxes are moved out of the old place, it will already be installed in the new place, O’Toole said.
O'Toole adopted the idea after seeing it done in China.
There are some restrictions. The distances involved are short—several kilometres.
Bike couriers have a green future
24 January 2012. Bike couriers have the potential to reduce van travel by millions of kilometres while creating thousands of new jobs, according to a study by the Flemish Government.
The study found that bike couriers are a sustainable logistics solution because they produce zero emissions.
In contrast to frequently half-empty courier vans, bike couriers do not cause congestion, have no parking problems and take up little space.
Bike couriers are therefore competitive sustainable logistical players, according to the research. As the number of traffic jams increases, and as fuel prices rise, bike couriers will be increasingly competitive.
They will also maintain a reliable and sustainable service while the traditional courier van will increasingly run into difficulties due to the mounting city traffic. Bike couriers are especially competitive in the delivery of small and light packets and documents that have to be quickly transported across town, according to the study.
These include administrative documents from lawyers, notaries, governmental agencies, packets for the advertising sector, packets for the medical sector, etc. Further professionalization of the bike courier service can be achieved through joint ventures with larger logistical players who can combine their handling of large volumes of small time-critical packets with the nimbleness of couriers who can quickly find their way in and out of the city.
A win-win situation arises in which the bike couriers can offload part of the logistical task of the big players in a fast and environmentally friendly way, while the big players can capitalize on their environmentally friendly approach. On top of all this, the per-delivery cost price for the bike courier drops significantly at higher stable volumes.
The Flemish government will research which document streams exchanged by its various departments could be handled by bike courier services.
Cargo bike to replace vans
12 January 2012. The Europeans have embarked on an initiative to save energy by getting unneeded motor vehicles off the roads by using more cycles for goods transport in urban centres.
Called Cycle Logistics, the program involves nine partners across Europe in the private, business and government sectors.
Running until 2014 and spanning across 8-12 countries, the project will achieve a concrete reduction in energy used for urban freight transport through intra-urban final delivery of goods by bicycle rather than motorized vehicles.
The European Cyclists' Federation is a partner in the project.
It aims to save 1300 tons of fuel and 3500 t/CO2, have 2000 new cargo bikes in use in European urban areas and see at least 10,000 trips shifted to intermodal transport chains.
Using behaviour change methodologies, businesses, including tradesmen, window-washers, plumbers, etc are motivated to use bikes following examples from other countries. The Goods Delivery sector is pressed to increase deliveries by cycle.
Towns and cities are learning how to replace unneeded motor vehicles using cycles & cargo cycles to provide municipal services like street cleaning, parks maintenance, etc, and have policies limiting motor vehicle access in city zones, favoring cycle deliveries.
Individuals are informed how to use bikes for shopping or moving goods instead of using a car.
See the cargo bike photos here.
Mending white van mayhem
13 July 2011. Moves are afoot to develop better solutions to the often chaotic and inefficient system of goods delivery in the city, with white vans the bane of many a bike riding commuter.
With the advent of the new car-free design of Swanston Street, and the trend to improve many shopping precincts by reducing car access, new ways of getting goods to businesses are needed.
The City of Melbourne has taken the initiative of getting the debate started and next Monday at the Melbourne Town Hall Professor Eiichi Taniguchi, Professor of Urban Management at Kyoto University, and the President of the Institute of City Logistics, will present the latest international thinking on the subject.
He will be joined by Dr Russell G. Thompson is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Transport Studies at Monash University. He is Vice-President of the Institute for City Logistics and has been active in a number of research projects in Melbourne, including the Smart Delivery and Freight Futures program.
According to the City of Melbourne there is very little information about how the white van system is operating in Melbourne, if it is efficient, and if and how it may be able to be improved.
There is a gap in understanding of the last kilometre task, due to the dispersed nature of deliveries and the wide range of participants in the industry.
Examples of the types of innovations that may help to improve the efficiency of freight delivery, while reducing the negative amenity impacts of freight vehicles, are:
- Local delivery and consolidation centres
- Environmentally friendly delivery vehicles
- Changing times for loading zone and delivery operation
- Incentives for shared deliveries
More understanding regarding the last kilometre delivery task, will assist governments to support businesses and the delivery industry.
The new city logistics discipline aims to reduce the total costs of urban distribution and freight systems using innovative and collaborative schemes.
This seminar will introduce the basic concepts of city logistics with an emphasis on last kilometre and pedestrian area schemes, and as well provide an overview of the local network to be established in Melbourne.
Overseas experiences (Japanese and European) relating to last kilometre and pedestrian area schemes, role of government, stakeholder engagement mechanisms and other recent initiatives will be presented.
The City Logistics Experiences seminar is in the Yarra Room at Melbourne Town Hall, 3-5pm Monday, July 18, 2011.
The event is free - register here
Bikes speed book delivery
8 December 2010. Book chain Dymocks is offering same day delivery of books around the Sydney CBD . . . by bicycle.
The service, called Pushy Express, is aimed at beating the crush and delay of the typical festive season.
Customers can place an order from the online Dymocks catalogue before midday and have their purchases delivered by bike on the same day throughout the Sydney CBD and North Sydney.
"Customers can shop online with peace of mind knowing that any products in our Christmas catalogue will be delivered that day, either to the purchaser or as a gift to a nominated recipient," said Dymocks CEO, Don Grover.
Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, backed the new Christmas delivery service: "It's a quick and carbon emission free service."
"This is a great example of businesses taking advantage of Sydney's booming bike culture."
"I expect Dymocks' delivery riders, like all Sydney bike riders, will ride considerately, sharing the roads, paths and bike lanes with joy and generousity - in the spirit of Christmas," the Lord Mayor said.
The Dymocks CBD Pushy Express same day bicycle courier service is available until 24 December.
Bikes save money on deliveries, says UPS
18 November 2008. One of the world's largest parcel delivery companies, UPS, is using bikes to supplement its 95,000 vehicle fleet this Christmas.
United Parcel Service ships 15,000 packages a day and early in its 100 year history it used bikes extensively.
The company says it can use three bikes to do the work of one truck, saving 65 litres of fuel each day. In addition it will save A$57,000 in running and maintenance costs for each truck swapped out for three bikes.
Each bike pulls a trailer and delivers between 25-50 packages a day compared to 150 for a truck.
Riders are specially trained in the use of the bike and trailer, which can carry up to 90 kilograms.
US bike riders are waiting to see if the move has any influence on the behaviour of UPS truck drivers, often seen parked illegally in bike lanes.