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Nocar Cargo is Wellington's One-Man Sustainable Delivery Service

Chatting bikes and local business with the man who made a job out of his love for cycling and working with interesting Wellington folk.
By Lauren Harrigan
March 27, 2017

Nocar Cargo is Wellington's One-Man Sustainable Delivery Service

Chatting bikes and local business with the man who made a job out of his love for cycling and working with interesting Wellington folk.
By Lauren Harrigan
March 27, 2017

He's a familiar character once you know him, yet an elusive one. You may catch a glimpse of the cargo bike at the Taranaki-Courtenay lights; a flash of a navy blue cap down Leeds Street. Russell from Nocar Cargo has been providing transport and errand-running services to small producers and businesses all over Wellington's inner city for the past couple of years. He's a cheerful dude with a cool attitude to building sustainable relationships with independent business owners through green transport options. And, he's mad about bikes.

Hey Russell. Thanks for coming down to Customs to catch up with us. How did you get to where you are now?

Well, I grew up in Wellington, went through Victoria and did Law. I finished the degree but took three years off to travel in the middle of it, and then came back and finished it, and by the time I finished it I was kind of just pretty happy to take time out from that. I then spent a couple of years hanging out, really. Kind of indulging myself. It's really interesting to see where you just naturally spend your time if you don't have a course of study that you have to focus on. It's something I thought about a lot— how I wanted my weeks to look, and who I wanted to surround myself with. It sort of informs how your life ends up looking. That's what I love about what I do, it brings me into contact with all sorts of amazing people. The things that they love, what they do, and you're kind of on the outside observing them. Lots of interesting people.

I've been going for around 18 months. I kind of knew a few people, so I just approached them to talk about whether or not they'd be interested, and most were really receptive. I talked to people who I thought had an emphasis on local or environmental sustainable practise. I guess also independent businesses, keeping it local. I think it's nice to know the couple of handfuls of customers I work for well, a little about their businesses and being able to represent them clearly or do justice to them.

Is that partially through not having a fixed office space or office-like structure to your day?

Yeah, Nocar Cargo is just me. So I guess you kind of have to draw on your community, instead of being one place with certain people everyday, I'm in many places with many different people and what they get up to. I'm happy to see everyone that I work with every day.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Hmm, it's always different. There's definitely downtime. I guess I do about a hundred or a couple of hundred trips a week. During the downtime I go hang out and stay warm at Fix & Fogg, they're really accommodating. For example last Friday I spent the entire day delivering food. Lots of Fix & Fogg, Six Barrel Soda, the Wellington Chocolate Factory. I ran some errands for Coffee Supreme, then did some Ink pickups on Marion Street. People just contact me out of the blue to help them out, it's really cool.

Can you tell me a bit about your bike?

I got it from a shop up in Newtown, Bicycle Junction. They're really into cargo bikes as well, getting people using them. Cargo bikes can really differ, from the steering and the maneuvering. The one I have feels like a regular bike, and it's still really easy to get around town. It just takes a bit of getting used to. I can carry about 80kgs, so you can even get a person on there. Works pretty well.

When it came to the shift to cargo bikes, bicycles more or less fill the majority of my time anyway. So riding bikes, and also fixing them. [I'd do] Some travel by bike. I guess it was just an awareness that there are very few cargo bikes around in Wellington. So, a cargo bike is a reinforced bike with extra framing that you can carry stuff around on. So it was something that I saw a lot in Amsterdam when I lived there for a while. Everyday, you'd see whole families on them or people transporting their stuff around. It was the most sensible way to get around. So yeah, I guess seeing them and it's also a lack of bicycles being utilised in what is a really good city for them. Surrounded by beautiful hills, but the city itself is relatively flat.

Deliveries in the city are super easy. A lack, also of freight companies who aren't really convoluted. Taking something from Eva Street to Cuba Street, everything gets taken all the way out to Seaview and back, and brought back in the next day. By the time it's completed that journey the package has passed through however many hands and nobody really knows what it is anymore. It's just a box. There are so many rad producers in Wellington creating cool stuff, but it all kind of just goes into a courier van and disappears. No one really cares anymore.

Did an environmental consideration come into your devising the business?

Yeah, it sort of just stems back to what we want this city to look like in ten years' time. To just introduce the idea of travel and transport by bike, it's a totally feasible thing.

Would you ever expand Nocar Cargo?

I'd really like to, it's just a funny thing. At the moment it's just me and the packages, so it'd have to be the right person. But it's really exciting to see what someone else may bring to it. Because I guess once you have a second person there's more flexibility to it, more service. Next year I want to expand space— find a single car garage and have a tinkering space for my bike, for working on bikes. I have five. Well, around five. It fluctuates.

Published on March 27, 2017 by Lauren Harrigan

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