Posted 12.22.08 in The Kitchen Sink | Bookmark or Share
Being from a small town near Salem, I’m totally floored that this is happening there. Portland’s bike-friendliness does not typically extend to other parts of Oregon, especially Salem. Totally cool–thanks for sharing!
That is one job that will keep people from gaining weight over the holidays!
This is where Bakfiets and other euro cargo roadsters would really be cool. It is so dang American to see front shocked wide tire bikes on the pavement like that.
Also, that trailer hitch up high like that is one of the more unstable and akward methods.
Still, Props to UPS for trying something like this, even seasonal and temporary.
Brown goes green. Good on ‘em.
in australia’s outback are the “road trains” semi trailers linked up 3, 4, or more like a train cars.
with an electric assist, i envision bike trains. after all, we already have “bike buses”
Hey, and did you notice how Tina smiled, laughed or giggled in just about every shot?
This bodes well for employee health and happiness as well!
Here in Amsterdam I noticed the other day that DHL is using a floating office to manage deliveries around town. They have a boat that cruises the canals; they stop somewhere and a dozen bike-messengers come out of it and do the deliveries. Then they go back and move somewhere else.
It is great to see that shipping companies are talking the cycling option more seriously.
This is excellent. It’s not just good for us cycle fanatics, but from the economic point of view is a very sound decision as well. Not all packages are top priority, and for those the bicycle offers an unexpensive way of deliver them. When comparing bikes vs. trucks, it’s a no-brainer: no fuel costs, cheap maintenance, longer vehicle life, and a healthier employee who won’t be draining healthcare resources from the company. Great!
I agree with jason. Too bad they didn’t do a bit more research and go with a bike more suitable for the task at hand. If they would have consulted with me on this, something like a real cargo bike would have been my recommendation. Or, if one of the stipulations in my consultation agreement was a free bike, I would go with this one, I think:
The only thing to remember here is UPS is not doing this out of the goodness of their heart. They are being prudent business people. They are treating the bike delivery person as an arterial hub delivering packages to a condensed area where delivering by truck is not as efficient. This system only works during the holidays (or if a neighborhood really like to shop online) because of the large amount of home deliveries in relatively small areas.
This will be a good model for UPS to continue for medium density populations that have high package counts. I can see it working in medium sized towns all across America.
I would like to see them use some more delivery minded vehicles. My personal favorite is:
My guess is that one of the things they were shooting for was a smaller storage foot print when the units were not in service. My guess is that the trailer can fold up and be put in the rafters above the garage, or stood up on a corner without a lot of extra effort. I’d also wonder if they got a deal on the bikes in exchange for some free advertising for the manufacturer. I didn’t happen to catch the bike make/model in the video myself. Better this, than nothing at all.
Regarding the comments about the choice of bike:
The video mentioned that Tina was a bike racer, and that UPS supplied the trailer and lighting system. It looks to me like she could have been riding one of her training (racing) mountain bikes because that’s what she had. Besides, that bike looks like it would do okay in the snow, too.
There’s the price difference too. A quality cargo bike or bakfiets may run 5-10 times as much as a trailer.
Paul from PacificPedalling.com here – thanks for watching the video! A couple quick responses to some comments…
I too was floored to see that Salem would be doing this, but it makes sense when you see how many packages get delivered to even a small neighborhood area during Christmas, and can be delivered quickly on a bike.
I also agree that if they were going to do this long term, they should look into something more cargo-esque, however knowing that the gig will be a 2-3 week deal, using a cheaper option makes more sense fiscally. On top of that, we’ve been snowed in much of the past 2 weeks, and the days on the actual bikes has been even less due to weather.
I can’t remember the exact model, but the bike is a Fuji of some sort. I’d guess something in the Nevada line, but I can’t tell for sure. Tina has some super sweet bikes (she races road and cyclocross mainly) but this is not one of them :) I think for insurance reasons, they have to stick with the gear provided, otherwise I’d be willing to bet, she’d hook that up to one of her racers and take the rest of the afternoon off!
Merry Christmas to everyone!