Pedaling Peace 20 Years Strong
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Peace Coffee and bikes go way back together. We actually started bike delivering our coffee before we could afford our own roasting machine, but two roasters and a few delivery vans later, bikes remain central to what we do. We ride to work, we ride for work, & sometimes we ride for fun after work—in short, we collectively spend a lot of time in the saddle.
One of the most sought-after jobs in the company is bike delivery—lots of people want to pedal beans for us, and we've gotten all sorts of applications, highlighting the super powers and strong legs required to do the job. We have two full- and one part-time bike delivery rider each hauling an average of 1800-2500+ pounds and clock around 70 miles per week. A small fleet of custom-made trailers from Bikes At Work (out of Ames, Iowa) helps us tow the load—one advantage to such a wide load is that cars will often give you a little extra room! The weight limit for each trailer is 400 lbs. (about as much as a piano, for reference.) As for the weather, there seems to be no obstacle too great to prevent our bikers from getting coffee to our accounts: un-plowed streets, snow banks, ice, and extreme heat-- no problem! If anything, the harsh winter days often mean our delivery bikes get the trails all to themselves.
We're proud to see the number of companies (coffee, bread, honey & others) that are delivering by bike these days—it's long been one of our goals to demonstrate that it's a truly sustainable delivery system, for the planet, for the business, and, most importantly, for the bikers themselves. It's definitely a very physical job! One of our current riders is the longest tenured of our delivery bikers, Drew, has been in the saddle for 5 ½ years and counting. Asked what his favorite thing about the job, he rattled off a long list: “There are so many perks to this job. Starting with the obvious being outside and mingling with the city and taking in the sights during all types of seasons and weather is so amazingly beautiful. We also get free coffee, some pretty good looking clothes, a free workout, occasional client pastries, replacement parts, the chance to work with great people, and to top it off we get paid with full benefits. Not too shabby.”
In addition to being an integral part of our distribution system, we also give love to bikes by sponsoring our own bike racing team. Currently numbering just over 40 people, we've been supporting (and caffeinating!) the team since 2006. Members of all ages, genders and abilities compete in a range of events, from Mountain biking, Cyclocross, Gravel, Road, Tri, Running, and even Cross Country skiing. During the season from April-October, team members will compete in nearly 100 events—winners who place on the podium get to take home a bag of Peace Coffee in addition to their prize! In the off-season, members can be found riding and training all over the state. Find out more about the team here. (They're always looking for fresh legs!)
Outstanding infrastructure & fun local bike culture make the Twin Cities a place that we're proud to call home. We're often out at local rides and bike events serving up the original energy drink—if you see us, stop by and say hi!