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Case Study: Escargo

Escargo, launched in September 2017, makes local deliveries using an electrically-assisted cargo bike to remove heavy-load delivery vehicles from the road, to improve air quality and alleviate congestion.

Local resident Jenny Ryding, and recent mother of twins when she founded Escargo, wanted to develop a business idea that could benefit the City for her family and future generations. She applied to local start-up accelerator Exeter Velocities where she secured funding, access to city networks, and expert mentorship. This resulted in her launching Escargo.



The Challenge

Deliveries account for an estimated 50% of the van traffic in the centre of Exeter. Vans can have trouble finding parking, often opting for double yellow lines, pavements or pedestrian areas. This can in turn cause problems for pedestrians or buses who are also using the area. Vans are overwhelmingly diesel-powered, contributing to poor air quality, and putting at risk the health of people enjoying Exeter’s public spaces, sitting outside at cafes, shopping or walking to work in the area.


Jenny’s Solution

Escargo is an Exeter-based Cargo Bike delivery service focused on providing an affordable and high quality logistics support for businesses within Exeter, that produces zero emissions.

Escargo’s tricycle has a capacity of over 1400 litres, and can carry up to a quarter of a tonne. As an example, that means it can take a cargo volume and weight equivalent to over three of your average washing machines (the machine, not just the washing) in one load.

Escargo deliver six days a week, each day taking upwards of 100kg of bread crates on a 6.5km round trip to six or seven restaurants, cafes and shops in the City. So far this has saved over 18kgs of CO2, which over a year will be equivalent to the carbon absorbed by 5.7 ten year old trees.


Escargo’s Impact

Jenny Ryding, Managing Director, said “We were one of the first businesses supported by Exeter Velocities, who are dedicated to accelerating sustainable cities”.

Since graduating from the Exeter Velocities programme Jenny has teamed up with Emma Parkin at the Boatyard Bakery on Exeter’s Haven Banks, who jumped at the chance to have a fast, reliable delivery service. Emma said “Sitting in traffic is not the best use of our time. Thanks to Jenny and the cargo tricycle our bread leaves us just after 9am and gets up the hill before 9:30am, still warm and pollution-free. My customers are delighted with the service.”

Jenny adds “Congestion makes Exeter traffic very slow, and the hills increase the pollution released from slow vehicles. Cargo cycles are big enough to replace van journeys in the city centre. By using pedal power we keep food miles down and connect local businesses who would otherwise get stuck in traffic. We’re aiming to make this a shared service for Exeter, reducing the need for businesses to operate their own vehicles in the city centre. That way everyone benefits from our fast delivery, while reducing congestion and pollution.”

Gosbert Chagula, Ecosystem Manager at Exeter Velocities said “Escargo is a great example of active transportation being used to solve a very local problem. Their deliveries by cargo-bike will help reduce both congestion and pollution in the city and we are really excited to see the progress they make towards tackling the goals of Exeter City Futures.”

Longer term the ambition is for Escargo to partner with well-known delivery services and provide a cargo bike delivery in the ‘last mile’. Essentially providing a solution to a problem which involves countless delivery trucks causing congestion in the city streets as they make multiple delivery drops.