Pedal Power: The Ultimate Alternative Fuel?
This Bikes at Work employee used the "Human Load Calculator," which analyzes his speed, body weight, the weight of the bike and trailer, and the grade at which he could climb in order to generate the maximum cargo weight he could carry.
By Brittni Rubin
In recent years, cities have been proactively alleviating congestion in heavily populated areas by creating bike-friendly streets and alleyways. Commercial fleets, delivery companies and courier services have been taking advantage, using bicycles in certain situations for tasks previously done by car or truck.
When Biking Makes Sense
When it doesn’t make sense to use a motor vehicle — such as for local or small-parcel deliveries — a bike or two could prove extremely handy.
Andrew Brown, founder and owner of PeakEx Towing & Transportation, recently purchased a fleet of bicycles for his business. After accumulating a consistent surplus of small-parcel deliveries, his routes were taking a long time to complete.
He bought bikes simply because he was tired of sitting in trucks day in and day out; however, he found that the monetary success pedal-powered vehicles brought his company was worth opening a second branch: PeakEx Bike Deliveries.
“Having bikes saved me more than $3,000 in gasoline this summer alone,” Brown said. “I’m satisfying my fleet’s needs in a different way, and saving money and energy in the process.”
Accessibility is also a key, since bikes can travel where no car or truck can. Their size and agility permit off-roading or taking shortcuts through alleyways.
Bicycles used in a business can help save on more than just fuel expenses. Bikes reduce wear and tear on an existing fleet and lower expenses such as vehicle licensing and registration, insurance, damage repairs and parking tickets.
This Bikes At Work employee is able to haul 12 full storage bins using a delivery trailer she attaches to her bicycle.
According to Wenzday Jane, owner of Massachusetts bike delivery service Metro Pedal Power, some courier companies budget thousands of dollars a year just to pay back parking tickets.
In Brown’s experience cultivating customer satisfaction over the past few years, he finds that people now expect some degree of environmental efforts from the companies they do business with. Having a green delivery option gives companies an instant green stamp and a competitive edge over those who don’t.
In addition to attracting environmentally minded customers, green initiatives attract a specific type of employee as well. “Companies who do some of their work by bikes where they can instead of cars tend to be more fun, and interest young, vibrant, creative types who know a thing or two about energy conservation and are passionate about the environment,” Jane said. “That is a primary plus.”