Coloradoan, January 19, 2008
By Cari Merrill
The post office isn't the only courier service to deliver in rain,
sleet, sun and snow.
No matter how cold, no matter how snowy, no matter how windy, Rob
Martin can be seen riding his bike around town, making deliveries for
local businesses or picking up recycling. One of his primary jobs is
transporting bagels from Gib's to participating coffee shops in Old
"It's a labor of love," Martin said Monday, working through the
swirling afternoon wind.
Martin started his bike courier service three years ago after the
Downtown Business Association approached him to help provide recycling
for some downtown businesses that didn't have enough recycling to
justify paying for a Dumpster.
But Martin's main reason for getting involved wasn't the business; his
main motivator was to help the environment.
"Every trip I make is one less car on the road or in some cases, one
less truck," he said while collecting recycling at Lyric Cinema
Café in Old Town, the fourth stop on his recycling rounds that
day. "I want to be part of the solution."
So each morning, Martin hops on his bike to pick up bagels from Gib's
and deliver them to Old Town coffee shops.
He takes a late-morning break around 10 for breakfast before getting
back on his bike to travel around town doing jobs, such as delivering
documents or refilling brochures on "for sale" signs in front of houses.
After a lunch break, he continues his day with recycling duties,
usually finishing by sundown.
A local business itself, owners of the Lyric Cinema Café in Old
Town appreciate the local aspect of Martin's business.
"We try and support those people (local businesses) as much as
possible," said Ben Mozer, co-owner of the Lyric Cinema Café.
The movie theater/café uses Martin's business to pick up
cardboard and bottles for recycling.
Although his price sheet lists routine services, such as deliveries,
pickups, recycling and bike maintenance, that doesn't mean Martin
hasn't been approached with some unusual requests.
He's served court papers, been asked to make a run to the liquor store
for a box of wine - a trip he declined - and it's a running joke that
his trailer could substitute for a more environmentally friendly hearse.
But on the more normal side, businesses use his courier service to
deliver proofs for magazines, birthday cakes from the Olive Street
Bakery and packages.
He delivered the Be Local Coupon books to the Sustainable Living Fair
in September, hauling almost 600 pounds in a single trip.
But to coincide with his environmentally friendly mission, Martin also
does quite a few recycling runs, loading up his bike trailer with
cardboard, bottles and other recyclables.
As part of the Brown Bottle Recycling Program through the city's
Natural Resources Department, Martin collects brown bottles from Old
Town bars and restaurants and drops them off at New Belgium Brewery for
recycling. Those trips usually find Martin pulling roughly 400 pounds
on the back of his bike, he estimates.
But riding his bike doesn't stop at his business. He uses his bike for
personal errands, too. This summer, he loaded all of his belongings
into his bike trailer, including his mattress, when he moved five
But Martin's focus is on the biking rather than the business aspect.
He'd like to expand his business and hire employees but with that comes
worries of insurance and liability.
"The work is easy," he said. "It's running a business that's hard."