Bikes for Business: Autumn Animals

Autumn Animals cargo bike with pets.

March 8, 2023

Over the past four years, Bikes for Business has been working with businesses across all industries based along the Low-Line in SE1, SE16 and SE17, to help make their collections and deliveries greener, and introducing them to cargo bike-based services. The project offers up to £1,500 in grants to eligible businesses to purchase a cargo bike, or get up to 50% off a trial with a cargo bike courier or cargo bike service. With a network of independent cargo bike couriers across London, who can transport anything from recycling to food and from furniture to electrical equipment, the options are endless.

One of our most recent project participants is Autumn Animals, a dog walking service who also offer palliative and hospice care for animals, all using a Riese & Muller Pakster 60 cargo bike. Read on to find out more about what they do.

Who are Autumn Animals and what do you do?

Autumn Animals originally started as a dog walking service around three and half years ago, and now I’ve expanded the company to include palliative and hospice care for animals. Instead of a physical surgery, we have mobile vets and vet nurses, an animal osteopaths and an acupuncturist, who visit people’s houses by bike and public transport to treat animals and provide practical support to pet owners. We recently started a support group for those who have lost their pets as well.

When I first started the company, I used a car to take all the dogs to the park and shortly after I got my first cargo bike. Since then, I’ve cycled around 14,000 miles!

What were you using before you got a cargo bike?

My original cargo bike was a Dutch bike with a crate. I like using cargo bikes because you have more contact with the pets than if you use a car, and that helps you build a connection with them. However, with my first bike, I found the crate was really restrictive for big dogs, so I needed to upgrade.

With my new e-cargo bike, a Riese & Muller Pakster 60, I place the dogs into the front box and clip them in with a harness so that they’re secure. I always use a domed cover with windows, a little like the ones you get on prams, so that the animals are protected but can also see out. For the mobile palliative and hospice clinic, I use the bike to transport equipment, such as a nursing bag, and use a different cover to make the bike more aerodynamic.

How has a cargo bike helped your business?

Financially it works out well, I don’t have to worry about petrol and maintenance and the insurance costs are low which is great. Plus, my days are shorter because I don’t have to wait in traffic!

I do get a lot of positive feedback from customers and passers-by when I’m on the bike. People love seeing the dogs in the cargo bike. The cargo bike has become like a sandwich board for my business, you can advertise your business on the side, plus the dogs always make people do a double take!

How did you hear about Bikes for Business?

When I started looking into a cargo bike for my business, I visited Fully Charged who mentioned the Bikes for Business scheme. The whole process taking part in the scheme, from enquiring through to choosing a bike and getting the subsidy has been really easy.

What advice would you give to other businesses hesitant to buy a cargo bike?

If you’re not sure, find someone who can lend you a cargo bike to try out, and if you can, try and use it for a whole day, not just a couple of hours, or try visiting a retailer and asking to try out their bike in the store. You’ll see just how easy it is to ride them and to get around. The running costs are a lot cheaper than a car, you’ll have no issues finding a parking space and they are so much better for your health and wellbeing.

Get in contact

If you’re based in SE1, SE16 or SE17 and would like to find out more about getting up to £1,500 in subsidies towards your own cargo bike or up to 50% off a trial with a cargo bike courier, contact our team today at bikesforbusiness@mpsmartertravel.co.uk or call us on 0207 960 2553. Alternatively, if you’d like to contact us to implement your own cargo bike project, contact us at info@mpsmartertravel.co.uk.

Find out more about Autumn Animals

To learn more about Autumn Animals and their services, visit their website, or follow them on Instagram or Facebook.