Bike delivery used for everyday items to sex toys

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From subs to sex toys, business owners across the nation are finding ways to use bicycles to deliver goods instead of gas-guzzling alternatives. In Gainesville, Adam Sharp weaves his bike in and out of the University of Florida campus to deliver subs for one of the only bike delivery businesses. He spends up to five hours pedaling past speeding cars and buses to provide a quick and convenient service for customers. (Video and photos by Callie Polk)

By Callie Polk

Wade Lind was chatting with a friend at McDonalds over a couple burgers when an idea struck," Wouldn't it be great if we had a bicycle hearse?"

Lind, 43, is the owner and director of Sunset Hills Cemetery, Funeral Home and Crematorium in Eugene, Ore. He has taken many strides to keep up with the environmentally conscious attitude of Eugene, but a bicycle hearse was a first in the country.

Even though Lind has not had a funeral procession where the bicycle hearse was used, 23 residents have reserved the service for when the time comes.

"People look at me a little cockeyed sometimes but I think I'm in the right community for it," Lind said.

From delivering sex toys to picking up laundry, these quirky bicycle delivery services have become entrepreneurial opportunities. Businesses are turning to bicycles for one-of-a-kind services, which add to the already growing number of bicycle food delivery and courier services scattered across the nation.

In Chicago, Ill., The Kinky Llama has been providing sex toys to its residents for five years via bike delivery. Anthony Mikrut, 36, pedals residents' purchases from his apartment, which houses the unusual inventory, to wherever they would like their products delivered.

When he's not delivering sex toys, Mikrut is a manager at the largest bike shop in the country, Village Cycle Center. Although The Kinky Llama has grown, even doubled every first couple years, its not enough to pay the bills yet. However, he is planning on moving to a retail location in the future months and possibly expanding to other bike-friendly cities.

"I like sex and I like bikes so put 'em together and you get your own shop," said Mikrut about how he came up with his business idea.

He rode 100 miles on Valentine's Day this year, one of his busiest business days, and makes about 300 deliveries a year, but that number is constantly increasing.

"I get around faster than anything else," he said, "I haven't had a gym membership in 10 years."

Despite being struck by a vehicle on at least three occasions, Mikrut ensures bike delivery is safe if one takes precautions.

"It's always interesting, you never know what you're gonna get at 4 a.m. on a Saturday night," he said.

Other bicycle services trying to preserve the world's natural resources are Pedal People of Northampton, Mass., a trash and recycling service that also delivers local produce and provides Earth-friendly yard services.

Pedal People is unique because it is a cooperative, run and operated by a group of people who are all sharing the profits, and they are trying to live without depending on technology or leading a quick-paced consumerist lifestyle.

According to Pedal People's website, cyclists have picked up household trash barrels or recycling a total of 73 ,487 times from 2002 to date on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. Each year the business has steadily increased its services, often by thousands in the last five years.

Not only does Pedal People pick up trash, but they also deliver locally grown crops from two farms in the area and will do emissions free lawn care.

In Philadelphia, Penn., Wash Cycle Laundry is determined to be the most green laundry service available even though they just opened in January.

Wash Cycle Laundry will pick up personal laundry by the pound and drop it back off neatly folded and cleaned in cotton bags. For now, the most energy efficient service is the bike delivery, however in the future the company would like to get all high efficiency washers and dryers that reuse 50 percent of the heat instead of releasing it.

B-line, a sustainable urban delivery service specializes in freight delivery by bike in Portland, Ore.

After the business kicked off in 2009, it has made more than 10,000 deliveries and traveled more than 12,000 miles, according to the website.

B-line operates by hiring bicyclists to pedal large tricycles with small storage unit looking-boxes that can carry palettes and allow large spaces for advertisements and promotions on the go.

Finally, for convenient pie delivery, Piecycle in Seattle, Wash., has a new pie menu each weekend and delivers pies or slices until 3 a.m. in the University of Washington area. Vendor Max Kraushaar, founder and delivery person, prefers to use local ingredients when available.

To run his business he uses his cell phone to take orders on via phone or text. To get one of Max's homemade pies it costs $3 per slice or $20 and he mainly delivers Fridays and Saturdays but occasionally he will work on Sundays also.

With the growing options of bike delivery for anything from fast food to fresh produce, from trash pick-up to laundry, and heavy loads to letters, biking in America is becoming more and more accessible. Especially in large cities, the benefits of using bikes to deliver and the people who enjoy biking enough to make it a career are driving the next source of green delivery.