Friday, December 08, 2006

Where the 'P' stands for pedals

Via Bicycle Fixation, here's a story from "Vermont's Alternative Web Weekly" about the Burlington UPS distribution center using trailer-equipped bicycles to make deliveries in "in flatter sections of towns." There are interesting angles in this story.

First, the Bicycle Fixation gang suggests that UPS is, in a way, returning to its two-wheeled roots. And sure enough they're right. Bicycles are part of the company's genetic code. Here's information on the American Messenger Company, which later became known as the United Parcel Service, from the company's Web site:
In response to telephone calls received at their basement headquarters, messengers ran errands, delivered packages, and carried notes, baggage, and trays of food from restaurants. They made most deliveries on foot and used bicycles for longer trips.
Next (pun intended), a distribution center employee, who is described in the story as a "avid cyclist," dissuaded the bossman from purchasing bicycle-shaped objects from Wal-Mart and steered him toward some refurbished bicycles at a local shop. Bonus points for that.

But even the avid cyclist suggests some parcels just can't be dispatched by bicycle.
Not every package is suitable for delivery by bike, Lutz adds. “We’re not going to make a bike person haul around some big Pottery Barn box.”
I bet this machine could handle it.

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