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Journey into the Outdoors #4: Russ Hope

By :Lauren Cattell 0 comments
Journey into the Outdoors #4: Russ Hope

This month we are taking a Journey into the Outdoors with Macclesfield legend Russ Hope. Russ is the founder of Elov, a e-bike delivery service, and involved with Totally Locally Macclesfield, who's mission is to support local businesses to build a stronger, more connected community. It's hard to walk around the town centre of Macc without a beaming Russ whizzing past on his delivery, and we're chuffed that he's a regular on our monthly Roastery Rambles. He joined us at the Roastery mid-delivery for a chat about all things outdoors. We spoke about how Russ first started Elov, his journey with Kickback, and how he continues to inspire others to deliver and travel by bike. He even showed us his adventure kit that holds all his brewing outdoors essentials!


How would you describe yourself? It's not an easy question. 

I’m Russell Hope, born in Denton. 1978. I'm pretty nomadic. I don't really identify as someone from Denton but that's kind of where my roots were in, North East Manchester. And ironically, I'm riding around there quite a lot now on cargo bikes.

On my cycle up to the Roastery, I was listening to a podcast which is about the future of nature, quite fitting on my cycle up. They were saying the recommendation is to be in the wilderness as often as you can and just be quiet in nature. I'm not very good at being quiet but I do identify with being in nature as often as I can.  


You have cycled one of your Elov fleet up to the roastery today! How did you first started riding bikes around for a living? 

I first started Elov as a collection service! On a walk up three shires head in the pandemic, me and my two friends couldn’t quite believe the amount of rubbish people had left. Litter had always annoyed me quite a bit. People had gone to the extent of putting it in bin bags but not taken it away with them. So the wildlife were picking at the bin bags. I couldn't forget, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I was like, ok we will take it, but we’re in the car. And I started thinking about if the bags split and all the rubbish goes everywhere in the car. 

Anyway I was walking through Macclesfield Town Centre and I saw a cargo bike, right at the back of the Peak Cycles store. That’s Boxy, our first cargo bike, that was the solution! It seemed so simple to be able to grab something like that on a bike because you can get right to it. 

We started using Boxy. We started using it actually first for delivering for scoops & scales refill shopping and that's when it started! So it started with how can stuff be collected? And it quickly converted into how can we get stuff to people? And we just started doing it on a voluntary basis.


And how many vehicles do you have now?

We had 12 cargo bikes! Last week we took stock of three old post office bikes so that has recently increased the fleet. They've all got names too! It makes it easier to say get that one.. “Can you get the black one?” We've got five black ones for us so it makes it easier to have names to identify each one. Okay, well “can you get Steve.” It's just easier! 

We’re about to get delivery of a Komodo bike, which is a state of the art bike that we've been involved in designing as well. It's made out of linseed and sheep's wool. So it's like carbon fiber, but it's a sustainable carbon fiber. That’s super exciting as it will open up new doors into where we can go and how much we can carry! This one will live in Manchester, we’ve got some space in Manchester that we're waiting to just push the button on. 


How have you progressed? You started with Scoops & Scales?

I started with refills shopping, Scoops & Scales and then quickly started doing veg boxes. We quickly found out there was a crossover of customers. So the fruit and veg deliveries passed over to scoop & scales. 

We are currently delivering in Macclesfield, Buxton and Manchester. It varies massively, local to Macclesfield, are still deliver veg boxes Scoops and for Rootstock in Bollington. Our Manchester deliveries have a lot of wholesale deliveries, coffee, flowers, organic fruits and veg. Deliveries by bike are growing in Manchester and we are really excited to be apart of it.


How did you first start delivering Coffee for Kickback Coffee? 

Kickback Coffee was quite early on in our delivery journey and was the reason we first started to expand our fleet.  We started doing Kickback Coffee wholesale delivery around the local area. I bought Karla, the cargo trailer because I needed the capacity to be able to put lots of stuff in. Kickback coffee was like a catalyst for us to carry more. During this period, we really started to show just how capable cargo bikes are. Alex even did the ride up to the Cat and Fiddle and we filmed it. 

A bitter sweet moment was when Alex walked me up the brickworks and reviled an urban arrow, one of the best cargo bikes out there. My reaction was just Wow, you've got a cargo bike! I absolutely loved delivering beans to Kickback customers, but I knew we’d had a positive impact on Alex taking the plunge to also delivery locally by bike. I see it as a massive success story. 

I met Ted a few weeks later, who I instantly knew he’d be able to pull the pedals quite well. We see each other weekly on deliveries, we give a wave and a bell.  I really hope that people see that and think, my bikes in a garage maybe I’ll get it out too. 


Is this what you hope to do more of at Elov? Inspire others to be on their bikes more? 

Oh, totally. There's so many people that have come up to me individually and probably mentioned it to other people as well, saying that they are getting on their bikes more because they see us on massive bikes with boxes on the front cycling places that they've never even considered cycling on. 


How important is just getting out and getting into the outdoors? 

Absolutely. I love love getting out on the bike. I've said this quite a lot. It's really hard to be depressed when you're on your bike.  I've tried to be pissed off and get things out my system but I always feel buzzed- you end up flying because the endorphins start kicking in! 

The same was running, I've had times where the bike has felt like a barrier. I have always said I need exercise, just to clear my head. Getting my trainers on sometimes comes easier. Ready for a run or a walk around the block or South Park. I alway feel better. It's important to get out, just breathe and have some time outdoors. 


A question we love to finish with is what is your definition of Adventure? 

I’d say adventure is all about exploration and discovery. Connecting with what people are doing with their own adventures and then doing your own version of it, rather than thinking I've got to go to the top of Scafell Pike, which I did last year, which was phenomenal. But you have to just start somewhere. 

People need to be connected with the outdoors as a starting point. I admire the work of Alistar Humphries. He talks about the idea of micro adventures and local adventures. 

Adventures can start from anywhere, half a mile up the road to the local park, go sit and be in nature. 

Something I use regularly is my adventure kit. I carry it with me for days when I just need to be outside. I have the most amazing, sit mat made locally and I have all my coffee brewing equipment in there. It gives me the reminder to take 10 minutes to slow down, make a brew and be present in my local spaces. 


Follow what Russ is up to and listen to his podcast!

Totally Locally Macclesfield Podcast 

Adventure Kit ideas!


categories : Trail Seekers

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