Bike Courier Service in Sarnia: Will it work?
In the wake of the article in Sarnia This Week, I wanted to talk a bit more about this whole process.
To give some background on Bikeroots, I originally started it with the intention of creating two things:
1) a bicycle co-op where people can come and work on their bikes, learn about bikes, and build a community of cyclists in Sarnia.
2) a bicycle messenger service for Sarnia and Point Edward, that will exist to provide a service, and create a stream of revenue for the co-op.
This 2-phase project was born out of a 9-5 headache which was my previous job. I was working in sales, and commuted every day for 45mins one way. I discovered the lifestyle that so many people in North America have is completely unhealthy and unsustainable. Here was my typical day – wake up at 6am, drive for 45mins – 1hr 30min, work for 9 hours, and repeat the drive to get home, have a late supper and spend maybe 10 minutes with my son before he went to bed. The result from this lifestyle was that I had a lot less time, a lot less money, and started to develop regular back pain, not to mention an growing addiction to fast food! The overall vibe was different too. The people I worked with were all sort of in the same boat. Work to live, not live to work.
Fast forward to today, relocation to a new city, and a new life. I pretty much bike everywhere now. I have presented my 1 minute proposal that is Bikeroots and have generated support throughout the city. A lot of people see this as the perfect city to do it in – Sarnia is very flat, we have cold winters, but our snow is pretty minimal. As far as cities in Ontario, creating a cycling collective and building a culture, Sarnia is ideal.
So far we have one customer – Midwifery Services. The local midwives have regular pick-ups every day, which Bikeroots is happy to snag for them. This is getting Bikeroots out into the community. Unrelated to the Midwives, on Wednesday I stopped to pick up some groceries after the delivery. The cashier, seeing my Bikeroots ID said, “I didn’t even know we had bike couriers in Sarnia. Shows how much I know!”
A couple of frosty mornings later, the courier service is still going strong. We’re in the process of finding a few more pick-ups or drop-offs along the route to the midwives office, hopefully to get Bikeroots out there and making some money.
I guess the biggest thing that I want to concentrate on is keeping this whole process not far removed from a fact-finding mission. I don’t know if this will pick-up up or not. The thing is, I have not personally invested any more than $200 into the business yet and the great thing is that there is no overhead to worry about. Also, I’ve gotten a tonne of support where I work my main job - Storyboard Solutions. Bikeroots is currently a division of Storyboard, which has been really helpful with insurance and other office costs to get us going.
So this is where we’re at. Still looking for customers, and I think the recent publicity will definitely help us out. If a bike courier service works in Sarnia, perhaps it will inspire other people to get this going in their cities.
photo credit: TEDizen