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Metro Pedal Power is a bike-based business delivering fresh food to Boston residents by cargo trike.
When the Boston, MA, area had record snowfalls this past winter, it didn’t stop the freight trikes at Metro Pedal Power from making the appointed rounds. Momentum Mag caught up with Wenzday Jane, founder of Metro Pedal Power, to discuss her intrepid riders and their delivery business success story.
A 100 percent bike-powered delivery business in the hilly, chilly northeast. What were you thinking?
Weather challenges make the business interesting. My riders actually get psyched on bad weather days. Our rallying cry is: “Gotta get the veggies to the people!”
You provide delivery of local, farm produce to hundreds of residential customers. How’d that come about?
I’m a big believer in Community Supported Agriculture and regional farmers like working with us. Our mission of connecting people to the source of their food, without leaving a huge ecological footprint, resonates with farmers. They also respect hard work, and when you’re pedaling a bike truck all day, pulling up to 500 pounds (227 kg), you’re definitely working hard.
You also have a recycling contract with the City of Cambridge?
That’s right. Cambridge was the first major municipality in the country to award a contract to a pedal-powered hauler. We collect recycling waste from city parks and public spaces. Our cargo trikes are quieter and a lot safer than garbage trucks driving through crowded parks.
Why cargo trikes as opposed to bike trailers or another type of pedal vehicle?
We do use trailers for some jobs, but the cargo trikes are more stable and durable for heavy hauling. Most of our fleet is made by Cycles Maximus in England. These trikes aren’t toys, they’re serious work vehicles that cost upwards of $5,000 each.
Couldn’t you haul more with electric cars or an easy-on-fuel truck fleet?
Ever hear the saying, “Boston is a great place to visit but you wouldn’t want to park here?” Our streets are very narrow and windy and it’s really slow going for cars and trucks, so the cargo bikes have a huge advantage. Plus, cycling is better for the environment, great exercise, and a lot more fun.
How do you promote your bike-based business?
Just by riding around the city. We get stopped all the time by people asking about the cargo trikes and wanting to know what we’re carrying. They get really excited about what we’re doing.
Allan Ishac is a cycling-obsessed freelance writer living in New York City, NY. He is the author of several books and creator of the TranquiliCity app.
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