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A niche on two wheels

Santa Maria Times, December 14, 2004

By Corey Fergen

Neither rain, sleet, nor bright sun will keep him from his appointed rounds.

These are qualities usually associated with the postman. But in this case, they apply to Jim Atchison as he peddles his way around the Santa Maria, Orcutt and Guadalupe area developing his new business, Bicycle Courier of Santa Maria.

Atchison, 35, came to Santa Maria in December 2001, fulfilling a dream of living in California and also seeking better job opportunities.

When the latter didn't pan out the way he would have liked, Atchison's wheels started turning and he began to formulate ideas of how to start a business and be totally unique at the same time.

That's when the idea of combining hobby and business came about. Bicycle Courier was the result.

"It's a metropolitan-type of thing," Atchison said. "Bicycle couriers are not unusual at all in the cities and I used them a lot myself while in Chicago.

"So I saw how it could work. When I came out to California, I initially started working for a bike manufacturer, but it wasn't long before I found myself out of work and in need of something to do."

Atchison added, "It was out of that unfortunate circumstance that the idea came up. It seems like it happens that way so often. Something bad happens and it ends up leading you into a new and positive direction."

Like any new venture, Atchison's Bicycle Courier business is taking baby steps first in trying to develop a clientele.

Starting in July, Atchison had a small number of customers who have him doing things such as post office box pick-ups and other basic delivery services.

With lots of footwork dropping of brochures at Laundromats and retirement homes, Atchison sees Bicycle Courier soon becoming a full-time endeavor that can benefit many people who need the help.

"People who can't get out - like the elderly or handicapped - could definitely benefit from my services," he said. "Even people who are working all day long and just want to get home and relax can now come home and have their groceries waiting for them, so they can have more time for themselves."

Doing it all by bicycle keeps costs down, keeps him in great shape and lets him enjoy his biking hobby all at the same time, Atchison said.

Rain suits and full winter gear keep him rolling 12 months of the year.


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