Calgary Organic food delivery

For the latest edition of Bike Life, I thought I'd write about Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery, aka SPUD. I've been a customer of SPUD for well over a decade, getting a Rubbermaid bin of fresh organic fruit, veggies & other groceries delivered to my door weekly. Now, you're probably wondering, why is a grocery delivery company being featured on Bike Life? Because they do some of their deliveries by bike. Or, rather trike.

Shift triker Robyn, with a SPUD delivery

After contacting SPUD about doing an interview, I got to meet Corbin Bourree, Director of Business Development, as well as Robyn Ashwell, Co-owner of Shift Delivery Co-op, who is also one of their intrepid delivery trikers. Robyn trikes part time for Shift, about 15-20 hours a week, on top of her other duties with Shift.

SPUD has been doing bike delivery with a trailer for years-that's the rig they use in Victoria currently-but has been working with Shift Delivery Co-op for almost a year now. Shift runs custom-built cargo trikes (more detail on Shift & their tricycles in a future Bike Life feature...) to deliver SPUD's boxes & bins on a number of their routes serving business customers in the downtown core. Each Monday, two of Shift's trikers deliver about 70 boxes of fresh produce & groceries. You might be wondering why bike delivery? Of course it's greener than driving a truck, but isn't it slower or less efficient?

When I asked Corbin this question, he told me that SPUD has found it to be about 20-30% more efficient in the downtown core than delivery by truck, for a few reasons. It's faster for a trike to zip through the bike routes downtown, past the traffic. Parking is never a problem because the trikes don't need to find an available spot in a loading zone-they can pull up on the curb. The trikers don't need to wait for the freight elevators either-they just hop off the trikes & bring the boxes up to the buildings in the regular elevators. When talking about the efficiency, Robyn added, "We thought it would be more efficient before we started, but proving it has been really exciting!" Trike delivery downtown is going so well that SPUD is planning to expand the service later this summer.

When I asked Robyn if she finds that she needs to eat a lot more when she's biking this much, she replied, "For sure!" Robyn gets around most of the time on her Devinci Stockholm commuter bike, which she uses to get to & from work at Shift, as well as bike tours & pretty much everywhere she needs to go. Well, except for the Bowron Lakes circuit, which she recently did by canoe.

Photos courtesy of SPUD.

When asked what the best thing about biking for a living is, Robyn replies immediately, "Being outside! When I bring deliveries into the offices, sometimes people are sitting there in windowless rooms & they ask me what the weather's like."

The downside of biking for a living is what you might expect here in Raincouver. "It can be hard to get up in the morning on a really rainy gross day, but once I'm on the trike it's okay. I also don't like the occasional negative interactions, because I'm trying really hard not to get in people's way." She says it's frustrating when drivers are rude, & that it can be hard to just take a deep breath & continue on.

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How To Find Organic Food Delivery Options

Everything in the world is in its fast paced mode. For so many people, daily chores and errands both at home and in the work area have been so easy with a click of the mouse or sometimes with a blink of an eye. Amidst the spirit of these technological progresses, as well as the effort of each to stay healthy and wealthy, organic food delivery is picking up popularity in every part of the country and the globe. 

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