How we Started
THE BRIGHT SPARK MOMENT
One chilly December morning in 2013, whilst serving up coffee at our pop-up coffee shop on Little Clarendon Street in Jericho, I noticed just how many vans and lorries rocked up each week to make their deliveries. Most were the standard white delivery van, but there were plenty of massive 2-axle lorries, and on a normal day, those that lost the battle for parking would often just stop in the middle of the road for up to 30 minutes, blocking both traffic and our view as we to sell coffee. Not ideal.
When I started the coffee business, I needed to find a way to move heavy coffee equipment around Oxford without a car. The business next door used a Christiana cargo bike, so we had invested in a similar small cargo bike. I wondered, “What if we can move other people’s cargo via bike, too?” Thus the concept of Pedal & Post was born.
PROPOSING THE IDEA
When we proposed the idea to our customers, we were met with enthusiasm:
LORRY DRIVERS all agreed they would rather deliver outside of the city. Oxford's city centre is primarily a one-way system: effective, but slow and congested at the best of times, and parking on the narrow streets is limited at best. Furthermore, many drop-offs are blocked via bollards or gates, whose keys may be stored halfway across the city. They would be more than happy to hand those tricky deliveries over to bikes.
BUSINESS OWNERS were intrigued by the idea of zero-emission deliveries, but wanted to see if bicycles could also be weatherproof, secure, fast, consistent, and more cost-effective than using their own vans. They were the toughest crowd, but we can’t thank them enough for their insight, which we have now used to shape our services.
THE PUBLIC, to our surprise, was extremely enthusiastic. We feared that they would call us mad for wanting to deliver goods on a bike in British weather, but most people thought it would be a great way to reduce air pollution and congestion while building a sustainable future. They also bought our coffee, which provided the capital we needed to get off the ground – we couldn’t have done it without you all, so thank you!
Oxford has attempted to tackle bus and taxi emissions and the city council’s fleet gets cleaner every day, but emissions from light and heavy goods vehicles. We want to help everyone by reducing emissions, air pollution, and congestion. Our idea has evolved from this tiny bright spark, and we have some ambitious visions of replacing van delivery throughout the city. Hopefully you’ll see our bikes flying past you soon!