Kaicycle – e.revolutionary story.
Kaicycle’s original founders started with a pure and simple mission. They wanted to see food scraps going to support local food growing, rather than ending up as landfill. Then their story just grew and grew from there…sustainably, electrically.
It all began in 2015, when as a small community-based initiative they would collect food scraps from a handful of households and offices, using only pushbikes. This initiative then became married to another local bright idea, an urban farming project on Hospital Road in Newtown, Wellington.
Soon after, Kaicycle started being supported by Switched On Bikes to employ a new type of workhorse—the electric bike. “We work closely with the wonderful team at Switched On Bikes who provide us with two modified e.bikes and a trailer, along with all the mechanical know-how, advice and support.” Thanks to this collaboration, Kaicycle has been able to steadily grow their composting collection scheme to serve 140 local households and offices.
Kaicycle uses the compost produced from local scraps to enrich their farm’s soil and grow lush, organic vegetables for sale and donation to the local community. Kate Walmsley (Administration & Strategy at Kaicycle), sums it up: “Our purpose is to divert local food waste away from landfill and into building healthy urban soils, to reduce emissions, grow good kai, and support environmental and community wellbeing and resilience”. [The next step is growing their composting operation so they can boost these positive impacts. This involves a new drop-off subscription model, more compost hubs, and more e.bike innovation.]
Without their e.bikes, Tom explains that the level of compost collection they do now would be virtually impossible, especially with Wellington’s crazy hills and punishing northerlies. “Going electric has also allowed us to extend our range, working hours, and the longevity of our knees!”
Their e.bikes link the initiative’s two main operational arms, Kaicycle Composting and Kaicyle Urban Farms in a wonderfully sustainable way. They collect food scraps from their customers, then cycle them to their compost hubs, where it’s then carefully tended by compost managers into ‘black gold’. This compost is then used on their urban farms and shared with other community food growing projects.
Tom expands on the invaluable benefits the e.bikes have provided to the operation. “I used to do a bit of cycle courier work in London, and you’d often get people asking about the e.bike setup, as they’d watch you zip through the traffic and park with no fuss. It’s just the same in Wellington where our bikes allow us to navigate the narrow streets, a massive advantage over trucks and cars. Whatever city you’re in, you quickly realise it’s quicker, cheaper, healthier, quieter and more efficient.”
At a certain point in the conversation, Tom also admits that once upon a time he was of the opinion that e.bikes were ‘bicycles for cheats’. Since joining these e.revolutionary community champions, he now passionately believes that electrification should be taken seriously from a business point of view. “When you drop the idea that e.bikes are purely for recreation, e.bikes as commuter or haulage options just makes so much more sense.”
At the heart of Kaicycle is the desire to promote sustainability at every level. That’s why they’re also working to open-source their composting model and support other groups to get similar initiatives going. It’s this kind of attitude and generosity that represents the future of how businesses can do business. Kaicycle is not just carrying ‘black gold’ on e.bikes, they’re feeding a movement to electrification and greater sustainability, inspiring people to Join the Electric Revolution. Good on them.
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