Two birthdays are coming up: my own May 24 (I’ll be 39) and Freewheel’s May 30th (we’ll be 2 months). This got me reflecting. I feel a huge amount of gratitude about where I’m at in life and where things stand with this new, crazy venture.
Freewheel is off to a great start because of all the folks who have embraced our idea, contributed suggestions, or taken a chance on us. And that will continue to be true moving forward. It's important to say thank you. That's the kind of person I am and the kind of company we're building. This first one is personal.
My beautiful wife Jennifer,
Your faith and confidence in me to follow my passion is truly a gift. And your tolerance for - as well as your insightful feedback on - my constant stream of business ideas is a miracle. Freewheel wouldn’t exist without you. Thank you sugar. I love you.
Freewheel co-founder & ceo
You’ve been there and so have I. Standing in a grocery aisle, trying to make a decision. Which coffee to buy? Which bread? What produce?
Having just started my own business, I have to be cost conscious. But I’m also not willing to compromise on my family eating healthy. And, like a growing number of people, I view our purchasing power as a way to make a difference. Our family supports companies that share our values; in particular, a vibrant, healthy and sustainable city.
The thing is, figuring out which companies share your values can be a real challenge. I know my eyes have glazed over trying to discern the difference between various labels: organic, fair-trade, natural, shade grown, eco-certified to name just a few.
Some of this stuff is pretty complicated. For instance, a lot of us prefer organic. But maybe not so much if it came from an industrialized farm halfway across the world.
Personally, I’m with author Michael Pollan in supporting local produce and products. As he put it: “To buy local is an act of conservation — of the land, of agriculture and of the local economy, all of which are threatened by the globalization of food. Anyone who prizes agricultural landscapes, and worries about sprawl destroying them, should buy local whenever possible.”
In my view, Freewheel is a key link in the sustainability chain. As I see it: To buy products delivered by a bicycle is an act of sustainability – of less climate pollution, less traffic and congestion, of safer streets and innovation that points toward a better, more livable urban environment.
That’s why starting today, Freewheel is labeling the products we deliver. Nothing complicated here: the product either was or wasn’t delivered by a bicycle. So this is one label you can believe in and trust. As such, we hope consumers really like it and our business partners see a nice value-add for our service.
UPDATE 5/14: We're getting really positive feedback on the new label. It's the most retweeted post we've done. Here's an email I received from Samantha Chadwick, one of our followers:
"I love the 'delivered by a bicycle' label! It really stands out and I think will make people notice the product, and think about the possibility of doing things differently -- like Freewheel. Buying that product -- you'll know you're doing a small part to protect the environment, but it's also fun to think about folks getting out on their bicycles!"
So what do you think?
Dan Kohler, co-founder & ceo
p.s. - Join our email list, and we'll keep you posted on the products we deliver.
This week's blog post is from Kevin Lugo. Kevin spotted me zipping around Capitol Hill making deliveries. It reminded him of the kind of biking he had see in Europe. He got in touch and we had a great conversation over a cup of coffee at High 5 Pie. He's got an interesting take on the Seattle cycling scene, how it can grow and how FREEWHEEL may help. I asked him to write a guest blog piece and he was kind enough to do so. Hope you enjoy! - Dan Kohler, co-founder & ceo
p.s. - We plan to run other guest blog pieces in the future. Let us know if you'd like to contribute.
FREEWHEEL's Carbon Free Cargo: Good for Seattle Cycling
It is 8:45 and I am riding up Pine Street like any other morning, having safely navigated all the traffic on my route from Lower Queen Anne. As I approach the Central Co-Op my groggy eyes notice something unfamiliar coming towards me: a giant blue box on wheels. A second glance reveal this box is actually piloted by a guy pedaling away on what appears to be a very sophisticated cargo bike. He must be lost…this is not Europe. Heck, it is not even Portland. Silly guy, bikes are for Portlandia.
The cargo bike I saw belongs to Freewheel, a new start-up providing “carbon-free cargo” for “last-mile delivery.” A passion for cycling and sustainability inspired CEO Dan Kohler to start Freewheel as a way to address the counter-intuitive nature of many urban delivery systems. While delivery drivers sit in traffic Dan zooms by using a combination of bike lanes and side-streets too narrow for large delivery vehicles. While drivers search for parking or block traffic and risk parking tickets to find a nearby space, Dan pulls right up to the door and starts unloading. While those delivery trucks consume gallons of fuel everyday, Dan just needs some food and water. Freewheel is not just delivering time-sensitive packages or picking up lunch like other bicycle delivery companies; it is providing a high-quality delivery service that reduces pollution and contributes less to congestion and parking shortages. Simply put, Freewheel is redefining urban business delivery in Seattle.
So if sensibility is what makes Freewheel a successful business, what makes it good for Seattle cycling? Keep Reading.