Leeds Cycle Couriers or Leeds Cycle Delivery

Lets face it Cycle Couriers don’t have the best of reputations…

They are all Gung-ho, red-light jumping, thrill-seekers with a death-wish and no thought for other road users, right?

Certainly not the sort of person you want to entrust your deliveries to…unless it’s an emergency. So that is when cycle couriers get called – in an emergency. When something has to get from your office to someone elses office NOW, then you can put up with the bad rap for the sake of speed.

Obviously not all cycle couriers are like that. There are cycle couriers in Leeds and to the best of my knowledge, none of them have dreadlocks and all of them wear helmets. Although Last Mile Leeds can can offer rapid point-to-point collections and deliveries, and we probably are the quickest way to get your urgent item across the city,  we want to change the perception of cycle logistics, and are aiming for Last Mile Leeds to become the delivery method of choice for all inner city deliveries. That is why we have deliberately chosen to promote ourselves as Leeds Cycle Delivery rather than Leeds Cycle Couriers.

Our cargo (or freight) bikes allow us to deliver virtually anything that could be delivered by a man with a van and we soon expect to be running regular routes at set times for a number of our customers. This is not dissimilar to the myriad of other courier firms operating vans within the city, who (with the exception of the proverbial ‘white-van-man’ ) don’t have the same negative associations. Rather than contributing to the traffic problem and infuriating other road users, by choosing our services you are helping to alleviate some of the congestion in our city.

So next time you think of ‘Leeds Cycle Couriers’, instead think ‘Leeds Cycle Delivery’ and give Last Mile Leeds a call.

 

 

Leeds City Council Business Starter Taster Workshop

I attended the first in a series of business start-up taster workshops run by Leeds City council on Monday. The meeting offered 6 speakers, with support and information for those interested in starting up their own business. I found that I had already passed through this stage as most of the information provided I had already learned, but the speaker from HMRC was quite helpful.

The most interesting thing I learned was that an employee benefits from their employer paying National Insurance contributions of 13.8% when they earn £144.01/week  but the employer does not have to pay National Insurance contributions (at 12%) until they earn £146.01/week. Therefore there is a sweet spot of earning £145/week when the employee gets the contributions from their employer, but doesn’t pay them themself. I’m not sure whether the amount of NIS contributions really makes any difference at all in the light of the recent announcment of a fixed rate state pension.

Here is the agenda for these meetings…with a link below:

    1. An overview of business support within Leeds –  Leeds City Council
    2. How to access, Business and Patent Information Services  – Library Business Services
    3. Business advice and guidance  – Leeds Chamber
    4. Making Tax & Book keeping less painful  – HMRC – Business Education & Support Team
    5. Maximising your marketing ability  – Chartered Institute of Marketing
    6. Are you eligible for the  Enterprise Allowance scheme? – Job Centre Plus
    7. Networking (between speakers and attendees)

http://www.leeds.gov.uk/Events/Pages/business-start-up-taster-workshop.aspx

Riding the Bullitt

Riding the Bullitt: First thoughts…

I’ve been riding a Bullitt for about a month now and I thought I would put down a few thoughts  in lieu of a short review.

I should perhaps start with a disclaimer. I’ve never been particularly discerning about the bikes I’ve ridden. All this talk of stiffness or flexibility of frames leaves me a little nonplussed. But what I can do is let you know something of what a Bullitt is like to use on a daily basis. I am also rather tall – about 6′ 2″. I can therefore only speak for how the Bullitt is to ride as a reasonably fit and strong male. (Note for future Blog post when we have a lady ride one for a while).

I have been riding a Bullitt with 8 speed Alfine hub gears, with Alfine disc brakes front and rear. The bike is equipped with a large box on the front, which at something over 20kg actually weighs more than the bike itself. Thus, I have been riding a lightly loaded Bullitt most of the time.

Design

The design of the Bullitt is beautiful. The aluminium frame is curvy and appealingly substantial. Placing the load at the front allows a fairly normal back end, with 26” rear wheel, which in turn allows for a great deal of flexibility in rear mech and tyres etc. The maximum carrying capacity is apparently 180kg, which I assume includes the rider, but allows for a total  payload (in my case) of at least 100kg.

Steering

The linkage between the handlebars and the front 20” wheel takes a little bit of getting used to. When I first rode a Bullitt, I found it a little strange to steer a bike about a pivot point a metre ahead of the handlebars. This was further complicated by the fact that the cargo box completely obscures the front wheel, and the handlebars were not lined up accurately with the straight ahead position. This made signalling quite tricky as there was a tendency to adjust to the straight position when I took one hand off the handlebars. Once I adjusted the handlebar alignment, it became a lot easier and within an hour of riding around I was riding accurately and confidently.

Gears

The Alfine hub gears just work. Uphill or downhill, moving or stationary, the gear changes are smooth and reliable. The lowest gear has been sufficient to climb the gradients that I have come across in Leeds city centre (maybe up to about 10%) and in the higher gears I have been able to ride confidently in busy city traffic. Acceleration isn’t great, but perfectly acceptable, though this is more likely to be due to the overall weight of the bike and rider.

 

Handling

After the initial period of getting used to riding the Bullitt, I have come to quite enjoy it. Although longer than a standard bike (its 2.43m long) this obviously has no impact at higher speeds, and there is a certain sense of satisfaction leaning into a turn at speed. Occasionally I have felt the back wheel sliding out from under me when taking turns at speed on greasy roads, but while a little disconcerting, this has not led to any mishaps, and I suspect that I will soon get used to it.

As I described above, my bike is equipped with a 20-25kg box, so while I have not carried any large loads, the bike is always moderately loaded. At speed it has not seemed to affect handling too adversely, but when wheeling the bike it can prove a little unwieldy. The biggest drawback of carrying the load on the front is that climbing kerbs can be quite difficult. It is possible to lift the front wheel from the handlebars, but the added weight in front of the handlebars makes this difficult and I have sometimes found it easier to combine the lift with a push at the kerb. Similarly, dropping down kerbs is best accomplished partially dismounted, pulling on the handlebars to avoid a heavy drop.

Even with the cargo box, the bike ‘scoots’ easily when I ride one pedal in pedestrianised areas, or over short distances. The stand built into the frame is solid and is nicely balanced, allowing the bike to lift onto the stand with just a little pull backwards, and sliding, rather than dropping onto the front wheel with a gentle push forwards.

In Traffic

Although the cargo box is about 70cm wide this is not dissimilar to the width of the handlebars, so it doesn’t feel especially wide, or unwieldy. I have tended to avoid narrower gaps between stationary vehicles, but these are probably the sort of gaps that aren’t the safest to exploit. The additional size also provides confidence when cycling in the middle of the lane with following traffic. It does feel like vehicles give the Bullitt a little bit more room than they would a normal bike.

In Conclusion

I am sure that over time I will have more useful comment, but to summarise my experience over the past month, I am very happy with my Bullitt. I hope to do something of a comparison between the Bullitt and the Mike Burrows designed 8-frieght at some time in the future.

Closing down for Christmas

Last Mile Leeds is closing down for Christmas.

We will be back up and running on 2nd January. In the meantime you can still email us with any enquiries or contact us through the website.

We wish all our (current and future) clients a very happy Christmas.

The Pedallers Arms – Fix your bike on the cheap

I discovered the Pedallers Arms this week.They are a bicycle repair cooperative in Leeds, offering free drop-in sessions for people to fix their bikes. Their philosphy is that anyone can fix their bike, and they have the tools and exppertise to help anyone do just that.

http://pedallers-arms.org/

TRL Cycle Regulation Review

Link

Also in Birmingham last week was the Cycling Forum of the CILT(UK) (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport) last week where Brian Robinson of TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) was speaking on the Cycle Regulation Review which TRL are undertaking on behalf of the the DfT.
The DfT is reviewing bicycle regulations, including brakes, reflectors, lights, electrically assisted pedal cycles and those that cover commercial and goods deliveries. The following is a link to the presentation which outlines the full scope and scale of the review: