Saturday, December 27, 2008


Well, I'm glad that week is over...

Ben headed to Mexico for Christmas so I was on my own for deliveries this week...A little nostalgic but also a bit rough...We had tons of snow and by the time Wednesday rolled around for The Source deliveries, the temps had risen and what was left was a sloppy mess...I must say, in the 18 months of this business, I have felt more defeated, but this was certainly up in the top 10 worst days I've ridden in. The support I received was very rewarding...People were sliding all over the place in their cars so the fact that I was on my bike, not to mention carrying 500lbs, was impressive to the folks downtown...Here is a little clip of a NICE part of the route...As you can see, not much plowing going on...

The weather is changing from heavy snowfall to rain which should help next week go smoothly...I even had a pleasant surprise at the shop this morning....The pipes were un-frozen!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What a difference a week makes...

So last week, I picked up the keg of Jubelale for our Holiday Extravaganza by bike in pleasant fall weather and the very next day, we started getting storm cycle after storm cycle...As I look out my window right now, I'm estimating about 8 inches of snow in spots...Deliveries were interesting and there may be potential delays this coming week...It's a bit frustrating that the city of Bend does little to maintain bike paths(or the roads for that matter)...and by little, I actually mean nothing...It's a vicious cycle...People won't ride in the winter because the bike paths aren't clear and the city won't maintain the bike paths because nobody is riding...It puts me in the situation where I have to ride in the road with traffic passing by within inches...Oh well, perhaps someday Bend will become a bike friendly town, but as it is now, my nerves are being put to the test...We had a storm move in last night that probably put another 3 inches on the ground with more to come tonight...The roads look awful...I have my downtown route tomorrow that should go on time but I'm skeptical about Tuesday...

On a lighter note...Skiing has been fantastic..There was an inversion today so all of that dry powder from last week is turning into a solid base for Mt. Bachelor. This means less chance of damaging my skis...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Who said Ponderosa's don't make good Christmas Trees?

My wife Amy and I waited a bit longer than usual to get our Christmas tree this year...I think we were holding out for that big snow storm that never came...For the last two years we have skied in for our tree but this year wouldn't allow it. It didn't occur to me until about a week ago that the only way for us to get our tree this year, with clear roads and beautiful weather, was by bicycle. Yesterday, we hopped on our bikes and headed up Skyliner. We rode a bit more than halfway(about 6 miles) to Tumalo Falls and took a forest service road that was closed to motorized vehicles and began our hunt for a suitable tree...Turns out, below 5,000 feet, your not getting anything but a Ponderosa..We searched for about 30 min. before we settled on a beautiful Charlie Brown christmas tree..Sure, it may not have as many needles or branches as a Noble, but the honks and looks we got on the way home were enough to satisfy even Amy on our choice. Hmmmm. perhaps next year we will ride AND ski to get our tree......

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Where's Winter?

So it's December 2nd....The mountain has yet to open, and today was a balmy 55 degrees....What a winter.

The lack of snow has me thinking a lot about spring and the direction I'd like to take the biz. I have been enjoying the curbside composting service and will continue to grow this aspect of Cascade Couriers but I've decided to really push the "messenger" services starting around April/May. In the mean time, I'm just getting the logistics figured out so that if it does do well, I'm not overwhelmed by a lack of planning. I am hopeful that businesses will see the value in this service...Gas prices are down but I think if this summer has taught us anything, it's that our dependence on oil can put us in a very bad situation quickly. Hopefully this lesson won't be lost and we all will continue to find better alternatives..

Friday, October 31, 2008

One more month

I just checked NOAA to see what the weather had planned for next weeks deliveries...Looks like winter is just around the corner...I always feel a little schizophrenic with news of snow...I love to ski and most of the time, deliveries in the snow are just as easy as they are any other time of the year. There is not much that compares to riding around Bend with a fresh white coat covering everything. That being said, there are times where even staying upright is a challenge. I remember one particular day last year. The snow had been falling for about a week with not much being plowed due to a combination of poor planning by the city and a heavier than average snow season. There was about 3-4 inches of snow and on that day, it happened to warm up significantly. The result was a layer of black slush that was almost impossible to navigate by bike(or by car). One block in particular saw me falling over more than once. This lead me to Webcyclery to purchase my dream bike......THE PUGSLEY....Once I got there, the guys at the shop talked me down and I ended up with a much more practical Salsa El Mariachi...The 29er got me through the rest of the winter without any issues and before I knew it, I was riding in 90 degree heat wishing it was winter....Well, here it comes. I've got a lot more business this time around so we'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Curbside Composting by bike

One of the Services that I provide my customers is a curbside composting program. Currently the city of Bend does not offer a service like this. I started thinking about how much food waste we've kept out of the landfill since we began...My best estimate is around 5,000 gallons. This is with a fairly small customer base(about 50) in about a years time. With these numbers, it's exciting to think about what next years totals will be. The goal of course, is for the city to offer this service eventually but to be able to do this now, and by bike, is pretty cool....So stop throwing away your food, and if your city doesn't offer a food waste collection service, START ONE...And if you live in Bend...Sign up

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"You're pulling how much?"

Every Wednesday, Ben and I take on the task of delivering "The Source", which is a weekly independent newspaper in Bend. Out of all of the jobs we do, this is the one that really illustrates to people what is possible by bike. As I was rolling away from a stop yesterday, someone asked, "So how much weight are you haulin'?" The answer always raises an eyebrow..."Oh, about 500lbs." To most people this seems impossible. How can a bike pull this much weight? The truth is, it's not that difficult. Sure, the hills can defeat you with this amount of cargo, but in most situations, pulling a loaded trailer just means going slower and gearing down. So here comes the challenge of owning a business like this...I know fully well what me and my bike are capable of...Convincing others is the real work. Even the most progressive businesses will be a bit skeptical at first. I always look forward to Wednesday afternoon for this reason...It is rewarding to see someone's perception about bikes and what they can do, change instantly.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A day in the life......

So I am starting this blog for a couple of reasons.

One: When I decided to start a bike cargo hauling business back in May of 2007, I found very few resources on what it was actually like to ride a bike for a living(or try to). There were a few. The trailers I use are made by Bikes At Work who published a book about starting a service like this. I have read and re-read this book at least a dozen times. Another group based in Northampton, Ma go by the name of Pedal People. I got the idea for a curbside composting service from a pilot program that they started. Those were the two main sites that shaped my business in the beginning. I'm always searching for more as I find comfort and excitement reading about others doing the work that I aspire to make my career. I intend on writing about the problems I face as well as the happiness that hauling 300+ lbs of weight with a bicycle brings, and everything in between.

Two: Riding a bike for a living opens your eyes to things that go on in your community that might otherwise go unnoticed. The city of Bend, Or is a great place to live and I plan on sharing things that I see while out on my bike(good and bad).

Hopefully this blog will provide some insight on what it is like to own a bike cargo delivery service in Bend and perhaps help those who would like to start one in their own community.