Doing What We Can

Doing What We Can: Flower Delivery by E-Bike in Milan

Michela Coppola has spent her life observing, studying, and falling in love with the beauty and harmony of her native Milan, Italy. Her latest venture is her floral studio Berberismichi Fiori, where she creates and delivers eye-catching and environmentally-friendly compositions using her Tern HSD.

For Michela, Berberismichi Fiori isn’t just a business: it’s her passion, her creative outlet, and her love letter to Milan and its people. Read on to learn how her HSD helps her deliver “joy and friendless” daily.

A Green Business is Born

Michela was born and raised in Milan, and for many years split her time between the city and her family home in the seaside town of Santa Margherita Ligure. For generations, Michela’s family has maintained close ties to the sea, and Michela carried on the tradition by competing in international sailing competitions.

With her love of the ocean comes a deep respect for the natural world. “My philosophy of life has always been to respect the environment,” says Michela. “If everyone in their own small way makes an effort to make this world better, the world will improve.”

That was a key part of her vision when she founded Berberismichi Fiori in 2019. Having trained as an architect and raised a family in Milan, she now wanted to contribute something beautiful while treading lightly on the environment. A sustainable floral studio fit the bill.

“It’s my ‘dream in the drawer’,” says Micheala, referencing the classic children’s story about dreaming big. “Even the bouquets and centerpieces I create are wrapped with recycled paper. The ribbons are made with unused strips of fabric, the labels are printed on recycled material ... it’s the green life!”

As a sustainable business-owner, Michela knew she’d have to overcome the challenge of sourcing materials and delivering products in an eco-friendly way. Milan is a small city—both geographically and in terms of population—but it’s one of the most polluted metros in Europe. Much of the smog comes from the vehicles that crowd Milan’s notoriously congested streets.

The last thing Michela wanted to do was add another car to the mess. So, she went e-bike shopping.

The Right Bike for the Job

After considering her options, Michela landed on the Tern HSD. There were a few things that drew her to the bike.

First, as any floral designer will tell you, stem height matters. Michela had previously suffered from back pain and needed an e-bike she could adjust to fit her perfectly. Thanks to the HSD’s telescopic seatpost and adjustable Andros stem, Michela can now cycle pain-free.

Next, Michela needed an e-bike that was compact and easy-to-handle. “The HSD is not bulky,” she says. “Every evening, I arrange it for the night in my small workshop. It’s easy to handle around Milan in traffic without problems.”

Finally, safety was a high priority. “The morning traffic is heavy, and large sections of the city are paved with cobblestones and covered with tram tracks. The small and wide wheels give me plenty of safety, even on wet roads.”

As for the color? Michela needed a bike she could load up with flowers and greenery and ride through cobbled Italian alleyways. Of course she went with red.

Beauty & Sustainability Go Hand-in-Hand

Michela’s HSD has helped her maximize her business’s contribution while minimizing her ecological footprint. “With my HSD cargo bike, I deliver flowers and centerpieces without polluting my city—with zero impact. It changed my life!”

It’s not just Michela’s bouquets that are a work of art. Her daily operations are carefully composed to create beautiful experiences for her and her fellow Milanese, and her e-bike plays an integral role.

“I wake up every morning at 4:30 to go to the general markets (up to 10 km away) to choose the flowers and greenery I need. I load my red cargo bike in front and behind with fresh, brightly colored flowers. Then I return to my workshop with great ease—and with the serenity of not having polluted my city that I love infinitely. Throughout the day, I carry my bouquets of fresh flowers all over Milan … to your front door and to showrooms, shops, bars, and restaurants until late in the evening.”

Uniting Cities with Bikes & E-Bikes

Doing business by e-bike has worked so well for Michela that she’s been able to permanently ditch cars when it comes to working. Her transition to working car-free has been particularly poignant against the backdrop of Milan’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

In the early days of lockdown, traffic congestion in Milan eased and emissions fell. In April 2020, hoping to capitalize on this unexpected silver lining, the city government announced an ambitious plan to add bikeways and reduce car use long-term.

Michela had always been ahead of the curve in her eco-friendly outlook, and now circumstances made her decision to do business by bike even more meaningful. Berberismichi Fiori is a thriving local business, and Michela’s red HSD is a recognizable symbol of her business’s dedication to sustainability and civic pride—one that brings smiles to the faces of her customers and neighbors daily.