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Taking over Eugene by Bike

March 28, 2018

Taking over Eugene by Bike

Hummingbird Wholesale has a strong local focus. When we moved into our new building (Stellaria) in 2011, we chose a location to allow efficient delivery to our in-town customers. We do most of these deliveries by cargo bike.

Hummingbird has been delivering by cargo bike for over since 1992. We have two Cargo Tri-Haulers which can each carry 500 lbs. Add a trailer with electric assist, and we can carry up to 1100 lbs per trip. In 2017 we delivered more than 300,000 pounds of food to our Eugene customers by bike. Serving 45 customers, our bike delivery team outperforms many of our out-of-town truck routes in terms of pounds delivered.

Our bike delivery team consists of Karl Benedek and Natalie Stameroff. We also have two trained backup drivers. “You can’t expect just anybody to put on a helmet and get on the trike,” says Karl, who has been riding cargo bikes for 19 years, the past nine with Hummingbird. “It takes training, particularly for maneuverability and safety.”

Cargo bike maintenance has recently been brought in-house with Indy Navarra taking care of the weekly maintenance. Every week she conducts a thorough inspection of the brakes, tires, battery and chain. “With all the wear and tear on the bike, it’s important to do a small tune up every week,” says Indy. “I love bikes and got tired of paying other people to work on mine.” Indy spent time at local DIY bike repair workspaces where she learned to rebuild bikes “just for fun.”

Hummingbird Wholesale is lucky to have Indy taking care of our Tri-Haulers now. We use our cargo bikes to deliver to customers in the core center of Eugene, covering about a two mile radius from the Hummingbird warehouse. It is especially useful in the crowded downtown where it may be difficult to get a truck around. We use a truck to deliver to locations in the outer parts of Eugene not easily accessible by bike, but the majority of our local deliveries go by cargo bike.

Karl gets lots of attention when he rides through town with the loaded up Hummingbird cargo Tri-Hauler. “People want to hitch rides. Lots of people wave. Car drivers pull down their window to say hi or want to know about the bike. Little kids love it.”

Karl likes to deliver by cargo bike because “it’s a great way to model a transportation system that would benefit most cities of moderate size. It makes sense to use low impact transportation, especially in cities with high density traffic.”