Portland, Oregon is famous for a number of things–but did you know that it is also known for being a mecca for cyclists as well? While cities like New York have only just started to get on the biking bandwagon, Portland has been consistently appearing on the top five lists of every possible biking blog and magazine as “America’s Bicycle Capital.” But some bikers in Portland consider their bikes to be more than just a means of transport–these entrepreneurial spirits have started businesses on their bikes! Here’s a look at some of Portland’s most innovative bike businesses.
Portland’s Bespoke Florist: Spellbound Flowers
Rain or shine, “Portland’s Bespoke Florist,” Nico Bella, stations her one-of-a-kind flower shop-on-wheels at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Bella’s establishment, Spellbound Flowers, calls “Portland’s Living Room” home, where vibrant bunches of sunflowers, roses and birds of paradise together form a colorful concoction of spring-meets-summer flowers. Dubbed also as “The Pedal Pusher Pop-Up Shop,” Spellbound Flowers casts spells on passersby and visitors to the Square.
In May, Bella was selected by Pioneer Courthouse Square to be its official flower vendor, and has, since then, been working long hours that start at about 4.30 a.m. in the morning and go on till about 11 p.m. in the night. But Bella doesn’t seem to mind. “We don’t live in a world that has a lot of beauty,” she said. “[I have] found the one career that has absolute serenity.” With that principle in mind, Bella gets dolled up every morning, and happily flashes her big, white smile at Portlanders, causing them to stop in their tracks and want to learn more about her, her custom Dutch bicycle and, of course, her gorgeous blooms.
Portland’s Number One Tour Company: Pedal Bike Tours
Pedal Bike Tours are the guys in green who glide through the streets of Portland showing both Portlanders and visitors the best this city has to offer. Their weekend ride, which usually takes about three hours and is approximately 8-12 miles long, is a great way to explore Portland. There are also eight standard tours, which take people all over downtown and the waterfront, to breweries, food carts and restaurants, and also to special locations where beautiful views of the Columbia Gorge, Williamette Valley Wine Country and the coast can be seen.
The father of Pedal Bike Tours is Todd Roll, who has scoured the globe on his bike, visiting places like San Diego, Canada and Europe on his bicycle. “This company is the intersection of two of my passions: sharing the city I live in with others, and exploring [the world] by bike,” explained Roll. “I started the company in 2008 with four bikes. I’d meet customers downtown with the bikes on top of my Honda Civic, and then try to get the tour done before the meter ran out!”
Every morning, Monday through Friday, a wooden cargo Dutch bike with Trailhead Coffee Roasters stamped on its side can be seen delivering coffee beans and coffee grinds to PSU’s very own Food for Thought. Unlike other big-name honchos who drive around town delivering coffee, Trailhead Coffee Roasters goes the extra mile–literally–by riding on two wheels instead of four, and thereby helping the planet by reducing its carbon footprint.
Charlie Wicker was the man with a dream who craftily combined two of Portlanders’ favorite things, cycling and coffee. He designed the wooden contraption on his “rolling bike cafe,” which stores the whole bean coffee as it makes it way to groceries and cafes. Wicker also uses the bike to take his children to school and other places, steadfastly refusing to use a car. “I don’t own a car,” he said. “I instead rely on car share programs for road trips and the like.”
Portland Farmer’s Market On-Wheels: Produce Pedaler
Portland Farmer’s Market takes “going green” to new heights with its debut of the Produce Pedaler, an enterprising machine that can carry up to 660 pounds of fresh organic produce like fruits, vegetables and flowers. “Having a mobile market bike has been a longtime dream,” said Jaret Foster, operations director of Portland Farmers Market. “The Produce Pedaler not only creates another sales opportunity for our vendors; it’s also the perfect way to bring together Portland’s celebrated bike culture and regional bounty in a fun and memorable way.”
Have you seen any of these bike businesses in Portland? Do you know of any other enterprising bike businesses in Portland, or your own city? Let us know in the comments below.