By Cian Molloy - 22 August, 2020
An Post has added a new dimension to ‘meals on wheels’ with a donation of delivery bicycles to a number of
homelessness charities and COVID-19 frontline organisations.
As the state-owned mail service moves from bicycles to electric vans, electric trucks and electric tricycles to bring cards, letters and parcels to customers’ front doors, An Post staff are donating their old delivery bikes to organisations like the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin, COPE in Galway, the Good Shepherd in Cork, the Simon Community, Focus Ireland and the Fr Peter McVerry Trust.
Not only are these hand-built Pashley Prontos excellently constructed and well-maintained, An Post’s postmen gave the bikes a make-over before they were given to their new owners. These two-wheeled pedal-powered vehicles were originally designed for use by the Royal Mail in the UK, who had a fleet of more than 5,000 at one stage. The Pronto’s design features include heavy-duty alloy wheels, low-maintenance three-speed hub-gears, high-comfort saddles and a load capacity of 40kg – 20kg on the front carrier and 20kg on the rear.
Fr Sean Donohoe of the Capuchin Day Centre says the An Post donation will be well used. “In these difficult times more people are requiring our services,” he said. “The bikes donated by An Post for our staff and volunteers will certainly help them to deliver and collect additional supplies at a faster pace across the city centre. We provide food parcels for up to 1,400 people so these work bikes will come in very handy. We appreciate any support that helps with what we do here.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Dublin Simon Community CEO Sam McGuinness who said: “By donating bicycles to people in our services, An Post has demonstrated once again their creativity and dedication to ensuring that no member of our community feels disconnected. Throughout our partnership, An Post have applied their expertise and technology to give lifelines to those whom homelessness has pushed to the very margins of society. We thank An Post for their ongoing generosity and commitment to our community of care.’’
Dublin postal worker Conor Farrelly said he was delighted that his beloved ride was now being used to help those in need. “These are hard-working, sturdy bikes, well used to all terrains and all weathers. We’re delighted to spruce them up and hand them over to the frontline staff in homeless support charities across the country. There’s plenty of road miles left in them yet and it’s good to know they’ll be put to good use.”
An Post Retail’s MD Debbie Byrne added: “We are delighted to continue our support for the hardworking frontline workers providing essential services to people who are homeless or living in temporary accommodation across the country. We’ll re-cycle hundreds of top quality bikes for use by homeless charity staff as we continue to expand our fleet of zero emission electric trucks, vans and trikes in cities and towns.”
Already all An Post Dublin city centre deliveries are made using zero-emission electric vehicles and emission-free deliveries will be the norm in Cork, Waterford, Limerick, Kilkenny, Galway and in many other cities, towns and suburbs by the end of the year.