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Need quick delivery? Bike messenger can help
 
The Narragansett Times , September 29, 2004
By: Chris Machado

WAKEFIELD - For the past three years, Mark Smith has been a bicycle messenger but he's not some big city daredevil who dots in and out of traffic risking his safety.

Smith has taken to the less hectic streets of South Kingstown and Narragansett, delivering packages for his one-man courier service, Bicycle Messenger Service Co.

"Business has picked up since I started getting good regular customers," he said.

When he was 41 years old, Smith retired as laborer for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and took various jobs, including washing dishes and working as a custodian.

Looking to start his own business, Smith was inspired to start a messenger service by an article he read in Bicycling Magazine.

"There was a man who was doing it with one leg," he said. "I thought if he could do it, I could do it."

Smith said his motto is "You call, I deliver" and for $1 a mile, he will deliver envelopes or small packages to anywhere in South Kingstown and Narragansett. Smith said he has a $1 minimum charge on all deliveries.

If the package is too big to fit in one of the three saddle bags Smith put on his $612, 21-speed EZ-1 Cruiser bike, he tows it on a trailer he attaches to the back of the bike.

Smith said when he's not working on weekends, he usually takes bike rides into North Kingstown.

He also has taken part in two Ocean State 150 Tour de Cure rides, which benefit diabetes research. In last year's ride, Smith raised $1,495 for the American Diabetes Association.

However, Smith, 55, does admit to getting worn out every so often.

"I get tired but then I say what the heck, it could be worse," he said. Smith said his business is based on prompt and courteous service and he will always go
the extra mile for his customers.

"I remember having to deliver a package to the Block Island Ferry from Wakefield," he said. "It was supposed to be there by 7 pm and I got it there right after 2 pm. That's what I call prompt service."

His favorite assignment is when he picks up film of newborn babies from South County Hospital and delivers it to Kingstown Camera on Kingstown Road to be developed.

"It kind of helps me celebrate my own birth," he said.

Smith also said he loves the fact that after so many years of taking orders from others, he gets to be his own boss.

"If I'm caught up by one in the afternoon, I'm done," he said. "I only have to answer to the tax man and my customers."

If business stays strong, Smith said, he has no plans of giving up delivering packages.

"I read about a guy who lives in Florida and he's doing it at 90," he said. "If I can do it physically, I'll keep at it."


 


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