Dolly the e-cargo bike delivers fun to Edinburgh families during lockdown

Colin with Dolly the e-cargo bike in the park
Colin Campbell with Dolly
Families in Leith, north Edinburgh are getting closer to nature during lockdown thanks to help from Dolly, an e-cargo bike on loan from Cycling UK.

Families have been helped to grow vegetables, make bird feeders and improve planters in the local park as a good way of getting outdoors and having fun together, thanks to an e-cargo bike loaned by Cycling UK.   

Dolly has also delivered books, toys and activity packs to families with young children to keep them occupied, engaged and entertained at a difficult time. Community project Inspiring Leith is behind all the good work. 

Dolly has proved a hit with the team and community alike. Project leader Colin Campbell and his colleague Hannah Kitchen-Kirkby have become a familiar sight, riding through the streets of Leith loaded up with tools, compost and gardening materials or goody bags for children. 

Colin said: “The bike gets comments all the time. People can’t believe how much stuff it can carry and they all want a shot!” 

Dolly belongs to the Play Together on Pedals pre-school and families project funded by Transport Scotland. The project teaches 3-5-year-olds to cycle through fun activities on balance and pedal bikes at free instructor-led sessions in Glasgow and Edinburgh. It also helps parents to work out cycling solutions in Edinburgh. It is a partnership between Cycling UK, Cycling Scotland and Play Scotland.  

Inspiring Leith borrowed the bike from Cycling UK, which has made almost all of the bikes it owns in Scotland available to key workers and families, to help them make everyday journeys safely during lockdown. So far around 80 bikes have been loaned to people across Scotland.

The bike gets comments all the time. People can’t believe how much stuff it can carry and they all want a shot!

Colin Campbell, Inspiring Leith

Angie Kinghorn, development officer at Cycling UK, said: “We’re delighted to have loaned Dolly to Inspiring Leith to help them reach more local people during the lockdown period. As we can’t run our family workshops at the moment, it’s great that another organisation has been able to use her.” 

Thanks to Dolly, families living in the Cable’s Wynd flats (known locally as the Banana Flats) were given the chance to plant seeds and to build a bird feeder each to hang on their balcony or from a nearby tree. To keep within social distancing guidelines, families completed the activity one at a time. 

Inspiring Leith also supports Friends of Dalmeny Street Park to improve a much-loved local space. Planters in the park — filled and maintained by Lorne Primary School’s eco group — were becoming overgrown after the school closed. So a socially distanced tidy up took place, helped by the community police team. Dolly did her bit by transporting the new plants, compost and tools needed to brighten up the area again.  

Inspiring Leith, which is hosted by Bethany Christian Trust, supports local people to use their skills to enhance and improve the life of the community. They run gardening projects, craft groups, music evenings, walking groups, a board games café, and a weekly stall to support the community. 

Since borrowing the bike, Colin and Hannah have been able to deliver more packages as well as making deliveries further away, to families who have moved outside Leith.  

Colin said: “We have to be inventive to make sure we can meet the needs of the community and the bike is a useful tool.”