Distribution firm Oakland International gets on its bike

With statistics suggesting that most car journeys are in reality less than five miles and with 22% of journeys actually in the region of one mile, Redditch supply chain specialist, Oakland International, as part of the company’s travel plan has added pedal power to their developing green vehicle initiative programme, in the form of 10 battery powered bikes. Instigated with the aim of building employee participation in car-sharing, they decided to add an additional company incentive in the form of battery powered bikes so that more people could have the choice of leaving their car at home or ditching the bus in favour of a fast and green cycle machine. Oakland International’s renewable project coordinator, Max Harrison, stated: “As a company we’ve been steadily introducing green initiatives across the business to help reduce our overall energy consumption; replacing energy rich with renewable alternatives and increasing our use of clean, green eco-friendly options. “By purchasing 10 battery bikes we hope that we can, in a small way, help to reduce the amount of vehicles travelling to the same destination, decreasing our carbon footprint and as well helping boost the fitness of our employees as the bikes can switch between petal and battery power. It also supports our environmental policy, so we believe it’s a win win situation.” said Max. Costing in the region of £900 each, the bikes are operated by a pedal push start, only needing one pedal turn as the motor then rapidly kicks-in to deliver an uninterrupted power supply which keeps it moving until it comes to a complete stop. With two cycle modes, manual or battery motor mode, the bikes have a range of over 40km and are capable of providing instant power with no need to cycle, and they provide a swift alternative to walking while immensely decreasing the user’s carbon footprint, not to mention local road congestion. As part of their policy of buying local wherever possible, Oakland bought its first batch of bikes from another Worcestershire based company, Halfords. Working closely with their customers Oakland International has already made significant reductions in both carbon emissions and food road-miles travelled. Purchasing battery powered bikes now offers an additional option to their growing eco-arsenal, yet another green alternative form of transport, and joining the firm’s electric car which staff utilise for business trips within a 40 mile radius of its Redditch base. Applying green technologies where possible throughout the business, Oakland International has its own energy efficient reed bed system, an on-site sewage treatment plant that uses less energy than conventional sewage treatment methods. Emissions are reduced even further with the use of energy efficient warehouse chillers and LED lighting, as well as recycling plastic, cardboard and wood, Oakland also works with their customers to support charities by distributing short coded food products otherwise destined for waste. Said Max: “The bikes are available to any Oakland International employee for a subsidized fee of £10.00 per week and depending on the bikes’ success, we aim to purchase a larger fleet of bikes to enable greater accessibility, and by leading by example we hope to demonstrate to other companies in our sector that green travel is possible for anyone considering launching a small scale green initiative travel plan.”