Several years ago, food trucks hit the scene and redefined what it meant to be a business owner in the food industry. Aspiring restaurateurs no longer needed to take out a mortgage on their homes to buy a restaurant and hire a full staff. With food trucks, anyone with $10,000 and an adventurous spirit could start his or her own business.
But it’s 2015 now, and there’s a new trend hitting the streets: food bikes.
These bikes are not simple two-wheelers you rode to your best friend’s house back in grade school; some of food bikes are equipped with the ability to cook food or even draft beer.
According to an NPR blog post, food bike owners are touting the simplicity and mobility of food bikes in comparison to food trucks. The owner of Trailhead Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon told NPR that he can carry up to 200 pounds of coffee at a time. When not delivering whole coffee beans, the bike rolls to events, becoming a portable bike-cafe that serves hot coffee to under-caffeinated Oregonians.
Another selling point is the carbon emissions that these pedal-pushers are saving. Rather than guzzling gallons of gas commuting or waiting in traffic, food bikers maneuver their way through the streets with ease, burning no fossil fuels.
Some food bike companies are taking the term “environmentally friendly” to the next level. Wheely’s, a company that produces mobile “café on wheels,” currently has an Indiegogo campaign selling solar-powered, Wi-Fi equipped mobile coffee shops for $3,450. Just a head’s up in case anyone is feeling ambitious.
Portland isn’t the only city with a thriving food bike scene. Sacramento is home to West Sac Veggie Bike, a traveling veggie stand, and Two Rivers Cider Co., which serves cider from a bike that can hold two kegs.
But let us not forget the inevitable drawbacks of operating a food bike. Abiding by state health codes can be tricky when operating a bike, as well as dealing with environmental variables. If the weather isn’t cooperating, then it may mean no sales for the day.
The food bike trend is just beginning, and if the food truck trend is any indicator, we can expect to see a lot more bulky snack-filled bikes flooding the streets in the near future.