Deputy Mayor of Bristol Mark Bradshaw Visits

Minuteman Press Bristol were thrilled to host a visit from the Deputy Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Mark Bradshaw. Minuteman Press have been assisted on many occasions by Mark and his councillor colleagues. Mark toured the offices and production facilities at Minuteman Press Bedminster and received a presentation on Minuteman’s delivery strategy featuring a Volt Metro Electric bicycle and a folding Mezzo bicycle. Minuteman have already clocked-up 2000 environment friendly delivery and collection miles, since the switch to electric last year.

Mark whose responsibilities include transport was fascinated to learn that Minuteman Bristol deliver in an eight mile radius by bike; all of the team being involved. Traffic queues and parking are never an issue.

Whilst Mark visited he was pleased to present Minuteman Press Bristol with the Internet Business Awards prize for winning the 2014 category of Print and Publishing.

“We were so thrilled to receive Mark, he has been such a great supporter and champion of local business; a councillor with enthusiasm, conscience and vision that delivers on his promises” said Minuteman Press Director Peter Wise.

“I’ve been looking forward to visiting the Minuteman Press print centre and learning about their environmentally responsible transport measures; which I of course applaud!” commented Deputy Mayor Mark Bradshaw.


Volt Metro Electric Bicycle


We faced a problem!

Having produced a quality product meeting client’s specifications, we had to rely on a local courier or Royal Mail as the last link representing us making local deliveries in the Bristol area. We were continually being let down.

So how to ensure cost effective, reliable delivery consistent with our companies’ environmental responsibilities? After careful consideration the solution presented itself in the form of an electric bicycle. With limited and mostly anecdotal knowledge, which was not very encouraging; e.g. limited distance / battery life, extremely heavy / bulky design accompanied with poor performance, we commenced our market research.


Volt Bikes manufacture a range of electric bikes in various styles to suit the riders’ needs; from the mountain bike style of the ‘Alpine’ to the retro looking unisex ‘Burlington’. With its practical folding mechanism and lightweight (and unisex) design we opted for the ‘Metro’.

Delivery / handover

The delivery date brought a feeling reminiscent of Christmas Day awaiting my new BMX. With a comprehensive handover lesson from Volt Bikes outlining the cycle’s various features and basic care (although the motor and electronics are maintenance free). We all took it for a quick spin in the nearby car park to get the feel.

Designer Leticia Vega said ‘It’s a similar thrill to riding your first bike‘.

First impressions

The Volt Metro’s build quality is apparent when you take your first ride. Initially it is difficult to notice a difference in the overall look and feel form a conventional folding bike, it is only when you engage the throttle that you understand just how ‘nippy‘ it can be. When starting off you need only pedal for a couple of turns, the motor kicks-in and you’re away.

Feels like someone’s giving you a push‘ Lucie Wise.

Handling and control

Controlling the acceleration couldn’t be much easier. There is a small thumb shifter on the left handle bar integrated with the brake and bell. The lightweight construction allows you to use the bike with or without assistance using the conventional Shimano gearing system. Although it is heavier than a folding bike of the same size you appreciate this weight increase as the Metro gives a feeling of stability. The Velo Comfort suspension saddle, height adjustable handlebars and front suspension make no problem of the odd pothole.

Handling the bike takes a bit of getting used to as it isn’t completely the same as riding a conventional bicycle. There are a few clever little tricks we have collectively come-up with like banking slightly into the turns and using a rolling start at traffic lights (when possible).

The Electric bicycle has benefitted from some significant technological advances recently not least the introduction of:
Volt’s advanced V – Wave Technology: A simple to use LCD display that ensures you can set the bike to the exact level of pedal assistance you require, whilst communicating all the relevant information you may need like speed, trip mileage, odometer, etc.

The Volt Metro data

Distance 40 / 60+ miles
Battery Lithium-Polymer 36V10Ah – 36V16Ah
Weight 18.5kg
Speed 15.5mph
Metro folded dimensions H 21″ x L 35″ x W 16″
Frame 17″ high grade aluminium
Wheel size 20″
Gears Shimano Alivio 8 speed
Brakes Tektro (safety power cut)
LCD display Speed / distance / battery power
Motor 250w Bafang
Lights Dutch Spanninga LED

Out and About

The benefits of this mode of transport really become apparent with regular weekly deliveries of printed materials to central Bristol locations such as the Harbourside, Park Street and Broadmead. It is now a genuine pleasure and not an expensive chore (petrol, parking charges, and time). The beauty is being able to use routes that would be impossible in a car not to mention parking. The advanced suspension forks and seat make the Harbourside’s cobbles a smooth ride. I can use Bristol’s extensive bus lanes, cycle lanes and subways. A prime example would be delivering to UWE Bower Ashton where I can use Greville Smyth Park, the National Cycle Way and its surrounding subways to great effect, cutting-out traffic completely; alternatively in a car ‘Forget about it‘ (in the words of Tony Soprano). A slight smug feeling is felt as you overtake the Lycra clad professional cyclist as he labours up Park Street; whilst you don’t even break into a sweat.

Journey time is slashed not in the least by not having to search endlessly for a suitable parking space, with the majority of drops I can either ride directly inside or at least secure it just outside with the guaranteed Kryptonite D-Lock which was supplied as part of our package.

On a beautiful sunny day deliveries can be a joy, unfortunately we have been forced to invest in a set of waterproofs as the weather becomes less clement. With Mayor George Ferguson planning to improve cycle paths in Bristol – including the first stretches of a Dutch-style segregated cycleway and the long established Bristol to Bath cycle track as popular as it’s ever been; surely – the electric bike is quite literally the way forward.

Have we had a puncture yet? 1000km on and having been advised at handover to check tyre pressure on a weekly basis – the answer is a delighted ‘no‘.