Its key challenges
The start-up cost of a bike delivery service is high. Cargodale was initially self-funded and later received external funding that enabled us to purchase our own fleet of bikes.
There has been a learning curve with using the bikes in a rural area and finding out how hills, loads and cold weather affect range. Cargodale still get reasonable ranges of 20-30 miles from its bikes and the key is not to exceed these, as riding an unpowered cargo bike is very difficult.
The bikes have a maximum load of 100kg and limited capacity compared to a van, so size and packing of deliveries is an important consideration.
Navigation can be challenging as many rural addresses are missing from Google Maps and its routing function doesn’t cater well to bikes.
Cargodale has encountered unrealistic expectations regarding pick-up and delivery times. The city bike courier model where deliveries can be undertaken at very short notice doesn’t work well in less densely populated areas.
It can be difficult achieving sufficient density of drops to make a paid service profitable. To make a service financially viable, there either needs to be an element of subsidy or a lot of investment in engagement and marketing.