The Natural Choice Green Business Award:
The pavement outside is drying up and every day we see more bikes pulled out of winter hibernation and on the road. Revelstoke should be proud of the number of residents who regularly commute to work on their bikes. Kicking it up a notch, however, are two businesses who have managed to incorporate cycling into their actual workday, slashing their carbon footprints while they are at it.
Carolyn Lorrain, a real-estate agent with RE/MAX Realty, is one such example. Not only does she bike to work, she often bikes while she works. Five years ago Lorrain decided she wanted to drive less and enjoy her neighborhood more. Since then, you may have seen her cycling around with the RE/MAX balloon affixed to her bike basket.
Despite a bit of teasing from her fellow realtors, Lorrain commutes to appointments with prospective buyers via her bicycle whenever possible. While she admits that it takes a certain clientele to accept a realtor on a bike, she has actually garnered a number of clients who specifically requested “that realtor lady on the bike.” Lorrain explained that she has gone so far as to invite prospective buyers to cycle with her. She explained that this makes for “a unique reality experience in Revelstoke.”
Another business that has just put their bike back on the road this spring is the Stoke Roasted Coffee Company. With the help of a reclaimed trailer, Mark Hartley and Conor Hurley make their delivery rounds via bicycle to approximately 15 locations in Revelstoke who anxiously await their regular supply of freshly roasted coffee beans. These deliveries are usually spread over two days, plus at least one day for additional house-call orders. “This winter has been tough for bike deliveries,” Hartley explained, “but it feels good to ride around again.”
When asked why both businesses have chosen to cycle, their list of benefits associated with cycling were long. Both agreed that cycling helped to break up their workday with fresh air and exercise. Hartley mentioned that the cycling offered him a chance to clear his head and helped him to stay productive throughout the day. This isn’t surprising since numerous studies indicate that the more fresh air and exercise people get within their work day, the more productive they are.
They also cited that it takes far less time to cycle around town than most people think. For Lorrain, it is quicker for her to cycle to her office from her downtown home than it is to drive. “Door-to-door, there’s no question that riding my bike is faster. You don’t really have to look around for parking when you ride your bike” she explains. For Hartley, he estimates that it takes about two hours to complete about 15 deliveries by bicycle with about 50 pounds on board – and he starts and ends in the Big Eddy. He figures this is only marginally longer than doing it by vehicle.
In fact, it’s almost always faster to ride your bike in this town than it is to drive. If you don’t believe this, watch out for the Commuter Challenge results associated with Bike to Work Week next month. If the results are anything like those in the past, cycling almost always wins.
Of course, both businesses agree that along with the emissions reduced through cycling, there are monetary savings as well. If you do the math on the Stoke Roasted deliveries, for example, they save about $30 a week in fuel alone. There are numerous on-line calculators that help individuals calculate their own fuel savings. Try looking up the Gas Savings Calculator to punch in some numbers of your own.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Hartley and Lorrain cycle because they like it. Lorrain explained this well: “Sure I cycle because I’m trying to decrease the amount of fossil fuels I burn, but to be honest, I really enjoy riding my bike. It doesn’t feel like a sacrifice, it actually enhances my day.”
Hailey Ross writes The Natural Choice on behalf of the North Columbia Environmental Society. The column explores the movers and shakers of Revelstoke who are leading the way to sustainability. Proudly supported by the Columbia Basin Trust.