Embracing cargo bikes with Milan delivery company, So.De

April 18, 2024

We spoke to Milan-based company So.De about this revolution in urban deliveries

Is your business tired of being stuck in city centre traffic and feeling left out of pocket by the price of fuel? Do you want to make a difference to the quality of air in your city? If the answer is yes… have you ever considered investing in a cargo bike for your business? 

Milan based delivery service, So.De has done just that! Following their ethical delivery model for a more livable and inclusive city, they deliver everything that can be transported via cargo bike to every corner of Milan.

We asked them about their journey so far 👇

How did you start your business?

So.De was created to become an ethical alternative to major delivery platforms, in an industry with a lack of protections, training and job security. 

Our initial idea was a neighbourhood service. We received significant support from the beginning of our crowdfunding campaign, so we realised we had identified a real need. Now we have expanded our service across the entire city of Milan.

We sought the help of labour law experts to define fair and regular contracts and, as of today, after about a year and a half of activity, we employ 12 staff members and have strategically located two logistic hubs: one in the north of Milan (Dergano) and another in the south (Navigli area).

In our hubs, we offer training courses for couriers and also promote courses open to everyone to encourage sustainable mobility. 

We also develop social projects with our partners, which is possible because our co-founders have a rich experience in social and cultural activities in Milan.

Why use cargo bikes for your business?

Like everywhere, the number of parcel deliveries in Milan is growing and growing. Cargo bikes are versatile and capable of carrying a lot. They are non-polluting vehicles and they can get around all sorts of traffic problems in the city.

Thanks to the wide range of cargo bike models available (both assisted and non-assisted, with cargo boxes or flatbeds) we immediately recognised their potential, and started taking a portion of this rapidly growing market in Milan.

For us, they are not just simple vehicles for deliveries, they also give us the means to support social projects such as the redistribution of unsold food. They promote a city and environment free from pollution and traffic.

"Let’s not forget that cycling releases more endorphins, contributing to a healthier and happier lifestyle!"

A cargo bike is more economical than a car, and often more efficient (especially in city traffic). And let’s not forget that cycling releases more endorphins, contributing to a healthier and happier lifestyle!

When using a cargo bike you feel much more respected on the road (the size of the cargo bike plays a role in this). 

Electric cargo bikes are a great option to travel faster, using less effort – meaning that you can carry loads like a car but without the environmental impact.

On the downside, cargo bikes can be heavy, making them cumbersome in some city centres. Sharing the road with other users who are not accustomed to cargo bikes can also be challenging, especially in heavy traffic, and there’s a danger when using them in environments where respect for cyclists is lacking.

How would you encourage other business owners to do the same thing?

I would say: “Are you still relying on cars for deliveries? Pfff!” 

Jokes aside, numerous studies highlight the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of cargo bikes in urban areas.

It’s well-known that cities are becoming increasingly pedestrian-friendly. Embracing cargo bikes for last-mile deliveries and urban transportation is about looking ahead to the future. Why not prepare for the inevitable shift now rather than being caught unprepared when it’s already happening?

What changes do you want to see in Milan to make it easier for you to use cargo bikes?

When it comes to cycling in Milan, the first thing that comes to mind is the pavé, cobblestone streets, a characteristic pavement style of the city, that makes cycling more challenging. More cycle lanes and wider cycle lanes would facilitate the use of cargo bikes and make cycling safer.

Having more Zone 30 areas and respecting them would also help. As well as clearer continuous right turns and intersections with 4-way stops to improve navigation and safety for cyclists.

Find out more about So.De on their website and Instagram.

And, if you’re a business interested in switching to cargo bikes, check out the Cargo Revolution campaign.

La Campagna Clean Cities utilizzerà le informazioni da te fornite per contattarti in merito ai suoi prodotti e servizi. È possibile annullare l'iscrizione a queste e-mail in qualsiasi momento.