UPS to deliver packages on bike in Pittsburgh’s Downtown

November 9, 2017 GMT

Your next UPS package might be delivered on a bike.

UPS on Wednesday debuted an e-bike that the company will use to deliver packages in Downtown Pittsburgh starting Thursday.

“We’re happy to see this technology deployed in our downtown, where we have very narrow streets, where we struggle with traffic congestion,” Karina Ricks, Pittsburgh’s director of mobility and infrastructure, said during an event at the UPS facility on the North Shore.

Kim Van Utrecht, director of talent development for UPS, said the bike reduces fuel consumption, carbon emissions and noise. The bike will use bike lanes Downtown when the lanes are wide enough to accommodate it, a UPS spokeswoman said. Some bike lanes won’t be wide enough. It is up to the rider to decide which lanes to use.

The bike is the second used by UPS in the United States and the first designed for year-round package delivery. The bikes are more widely used in Europe.

The bike can hold 15 to 20 packages. It can be powered by its electric motors, pedaling or a combination of both. Its batteries can power it for 18 hours, and pedaling recharges them. Jessica Porter, a supervisor at the North Shore UPS facility, said the bike requires very little pedaling.

Andrew Trebesh, 23, of Mt. Washington, an employee of UPS for three years, will be riding the bike through Downtown making deliveries.

Trebesh has been practicing on the bike, taking it on test laps around the North Shore facility and getting used to how it handles turns. He said it’s not hard to pedal, until it is loaded with packages.

“Obviously, when you get 300 pounds in the back, you’re going to have to pedal a little harder,” Trebesh said.

Trebesh will ride the bike through the winter, weather permitting. He has stocked up on warm clothes but won’t have to ride the bike in snowstorms, sleet or icy conditions.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-336-8448.