We’re calling it quits. But before I explain, indulge me in a little bit of reminiscing.
What an incredible three years. I remember the first time I thought up this little adventure, fantasizing about the fun of hauling Fir trees through cold December weather to grateful, festive people and families. It happened so fast from there. Before I knew it, I had a meager business plan and a bike shop full of Christmas trees. Molly Cameron let me use the upstairs of the Veloshop. It was something most bike shops owners would have thought was crazy, but she’s a great friend who knows how to believe in crazy ideas. I launched the website and started taking orders. We sold about 50 trees that year, with a mix of reactions and a lot of interested people.
The second year came together with more planning, the love of my life pitching in half our investment and taking on some of the business roles, and a real tide of friends and media that were just so excited about our venture. Project Grow, our neighbors, let us use their empty lot since we had out-grown the upstairs of the bike shop. We helped them out by giving back some of the money from our 100 tree sales that year. More riders hit the road this year, making it sort of a “challenge” to haul one of our trees. We enjoyed even more news coverage than the first year, including an article in the Oregonian that got syndicated and featured from Minneapolis to Kiev, Ukraine.
This last year we started planning months in advance. Having bought our first home in North Portland, we kept all 165 of our Doug and Noble Firs in the backyard - staging all deliveries from there and hosting our riders with coffee, food, & whiskey. More than a dozen riders took to the saddle hauling trees, pulling our new long trailer, and stacking on the biggest trees we had ever delivered. I, myself, had the pleasure of delivering two 9’ Noble Firs that I could barely lift - as well as making our first delivery to Vancouver, Washington. Two of our riders battled for the bragging rights of delivering the most trees, while another rider rolled 4 trees over Council Crest. It was an incredible year full of exciting challenges and LOTS of Christmas trees and a little contribution to the Dougy Center from our tree sales.
So why are we closing up? It’s a simple answer really, I miss Christmas. When I look back on it, I remember I started this because of how much I love Christmas, how much I love everyone gathering around these trees to share their lives and love. But this last year, Trees By Bike had become more business than passion... and as a business it just isn’t my thing. This year on December 24th I was so tired from a month of preparing other people for Christmas, that I had a hard time enjoying my own. That’s when it hit me. I LOVE bikes and I LOVE Christmas trees, but it was time that this adventure ended.
I hope that everyone enjoyed our trees, or even just seeing us roll pass on our way to spreading the holiday cheer. It was an incredible pleasure to have people get behind something I love so much.
So thank you. Thanks to our customers for enjoying our little idea about bikes and Christmas trees. Thanks to our supporters and friends for helping us along. Thanks to the folks who saw us on the streets and cheered our riders. Thanks to our riders for being good sports and putting yourself through cold, bad weather, and endless hills to get people their trees. And thanks to Christina for believing in me and showing me that you can love what I love even when you don’t know why.
I will probably miss it most of all.
Max Kirchoff, the Yule Dispatcher