Four Years of Brilliant Collaboration
6th June 2024

Four Years of Brilliant Collaboration

BBUG started delivering books for Coles on 12th June 2020, the Covid summer, as a way of helping a local business to compete with the big national companies whose model of internet shopping without the need to venture out into the dangerous world seemed so attractive. By delivering for free we could minimise the cost to Coles and their customers and at the same time demonstrate what a good tool the bike is for many day to day journeys.

The numbers will show that we have saved a useful amount of vehicle fuel and prevented some congestion by using a low carbon alternative to the motor vehicle over four years. But what they will not describe are the broader benefits delivered with every book:

Everyone wins. Coles is able to charge a bit less for home delivery, the customer pays a bit less and we get some useful exercise and a chance to promote our favourite mode of transport. I have been offered a cup of tea on a rainy day and people often comment on how hardy I must be to be out and about. I reply that you stay pleasantly warm due to the exercise and a proper soaking is pretty rare. They don’t often seem convinced. I wish they’d try it because it’s true!

As a newcomer it helped me to get to know my way round Bicester. If it’s a bird it’s probably Langford, if it’s a poet it must be westwards. A tree is sure to be Southwold and an Oxford College…..

Many of our customers are elderly or find it difficult to get out and about. They seem delighted to see us and exchange a few words. I’m certain from observing my own elderly relatives that these small interactions have a real benefit, reminding people that they are members of a local community.

You pick up fascinating bits of knowledge. Did you know, for example, that some of the houses on Peregrine way have names not numbers? This is partly to confound delivery people (though the champions of this art are the designers of the Garden Quarter in Caversfield) but it seemed sensible at the time because this row was occupied before the final number of houses had been decided. So the builders asked the first residents to use names to avoid future complications.

Finally, you catch wonderful glimpses of ordinary life, snapshots which linger in your mind: the lady who came to the door busily whisking her bechamel sauce so had no free hand to open the door or take the packet (we both laughed), the exclamation in early January, “this must be Grandad’s Christmas present. We’d better wait until he wakes up before we open it”, the curious but timid barefoot child and dog peeping out behind the parent as the door opens.

If you are interested get in touch and give it a try.