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.