By April Streeter
When Kirk Saunders and Allicia Beach decided to get married in the fall of 2009, picking fine china was absolutely the last thing on their minds.
As with many couples that combine households in their 30s, they didn’t need or want new dish towels, crock pots or a Mixmaster. In fact, registering for wedding gifts was dead last on their “to do” list as they formulated their wedding plans.
Living in Portland, OR, Beach and Saunders said they are already “bikey people.” Saunders, IT manager at Boys & Girls Aid Society of Oregon, bikes to and from their North Portland bungalow, rain or shine, for most of the year. Beach, an optometric physician with Northwest Permanente, admits she is more of a fair-weather commuter and still struggles to present an every-hair-in-place image to her patients without post-ride access to a shower, a locker or her own office.
Both currently drive more than they say they’d like to, mainly in order to have their 50-pound mixed-breed dog Ruckus with them.
When Beach hit upon the idea of making a bike their entire gift registry, she searched for other examples of cycling couples who had asked for nothing but a bike, but couldn’t find any. While Beach had heard of a few couples who featured bikes in after-wedding processionals – and many non-traditional wedding registry ideas – she found no bike registries. The more they mulled over the idea of a wedding bike, though, the more appropriate it seemed. A cargo or “box” bike, as Saunders frequently refers to it, was something they could use in the present, as part of their everyday lives. It would allow them to drive less and have the option to bring Ruckus along for the ride.
A box bike, called the ShuttleBug and designed by Joe Bike of Portland, got Saunders very excited. It was the family cargo bike of his dreams, he said: sturdy and built to take as much as 200 pounds (91 kilograms) on its lightweight 55 lb (25 kg) body; aimed at families with its feather-light box, child seats and five-point lap belts; and with added gee-whiz features he couldn’t help but covet.
“I already knew the value of disc brakes, and once I saw this bike had a belt drive and disc brakes and a rider-friendly configuration, making it easy to handle, I knew it was just perfect, and very Portland.”
The frosting on the cake was that after Saunders test drove the bike, its makers were so pleased he and Beach wanted the bike as their sole wedding gift, they agreed to set up the registry on the Joe Bike website.
Beach also test drove the ShuttleBug, and within a few days, the couple put a down payment on their wedding ShuttleBug. A couple of weeks after the registry went online, 13 parties had purchased a share (at $50 per share), and Joe started building their sky blue wedding bike.