Christmas delivery by electric bike

By Andrew Grant-Adamson

While my new knee is making walking much easier carrying heavy bags home is a bit too, much so I tried out the Green Team’s trial Shop and Drop scheme. Normally I would have used the car or waited until a visit to a big supermarket to buy bags of pasta, potatoes and heavy bottles.

The scheme, using an electric cargo bike borrowed from Suffolk County Council, is a trial to judge the usefulness and practicability of a permanent service.

I decided to find out how well the service worked. After gathering up three fair-trade cotton bags I set out to walk to the Co-op, a little under half a kilometre away. After picking up a shopping trolley and a quick conversation with Carol who was keeping track of customers for the service it was into the shop.

First a bunch of bananas and a couple of bags of pasta went into the trolley. Among the wide variety of rices the one I wanted was not available. That would have to wait. Then some bread, some cheese, a big bottle of lemonade, some tonic water and cans of beer and the trolley was getting heavy. it was far more than I could carry home.

As the items passed through the check-out I put them in the bags and back in the trolley. Outside the bike was waiting and I dropped the bags into the cargo bikes large carrier. My wife was home so she could  open the door.

For me it worked. it was stress free shopping. I had saved at leat and hour by not having to drive to a store in Stowmarket or Diss which was valuable time freed to write Christmas cards. The shop prices were a little higher than I could have got in a big supermarket but that was offset by the petrol saved.

Not only was money saved on petrol but carbon emissions were reduced.

In every way I try to put the figures together the Cargo bike looks like a contribution to a sustainable local community. Carbon emissions are reduced, our shops are boosted to provide jobs, I have taken a health-giving walk…. the list goes on.

Whether the scheme can become permanent will depend on how much people would use it, the support of local retailers and the enthusiasm of the community.

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