Will food bikes leave food trucks in the dust?

Will food bikes take over the mobile food industry? Share this article

Move over food trucks. There's another food-peddling set of wheels on the road – the food bike, or trike, in some places. Albeit smaller than the quintessential food truck seen trolling the streets of major cities like New York or Boston, two wheels are better than four in many ways.

Why a bike?
People who've opened their bikes for business have bragged that they're more efficient and inexpensive when compared to using a car or truck. Not to mention, upfront costs are significantly cheaper. Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative compared prices and explained that starting a company from a bike is a measly fee when compared to the cost of opening a food truck or restaurant. The institution calculated that the average capital investment for a food bike, food truck and restaurant is five thousand, fifty thousand and five hundred thousand dollars respectively. 

Starting a food bike business is easy on your wallet and the environment, as food bikes decrease fossil fuel consumption and climate change commission, according to Berkeley. They're also a great way to improve a community's space without having to do any construction. Don't forget that all of that exercise is good for the body too. All of these reasons and then some have attracted foodies, bike enthusiasts and environmentalists to get on board with the movement.

Food-biking across the nation
One of the more renown food bikes to drum up some attention is Feverish. QSR Magazine explained that the company turns its profit selling popsicles and ice cream in Miami. Felecia Hatcher and her husband, both former Nintendo marketing managers, started the unique endeavor back in 2008. Since then, the food bike scene has expanded beyond the boundaries of the Magic City and frozen treats.

In 2012, Alessandro Bellino parked his tricycle in Boston to sell carefully brewed cups of coffee from it. He cleverly named his bike/coffee shop The Coffee Trike. What's special about his product is that Bellino finds the majority of his resources locally – something that you can't find at some of the other cafes around the city.

As stated on the company's website, the coffee roasted by The George Howell Coffee Company hails from Acton, Mass., just an hour outside of Boston. Bellino's other assortment is brought in from Berlin, Mass. Even the milk comes from nearby cows on Mapleline Farm in Hadley, about two hours away.

Bellino's carefully crafted concoctions took off in The Bean, especially among the business crowd who typically swarm downtown for lunch breaks. Bellino has received shout outs by the likes of Business Insider, Zagat Boston and other publications for being one of the top dogs in the coffee bike world. 

Food and coffee bikes have been hitting the road in major cities like Boston.Food and coffee bikes have been hitting the road in major cities like Boston.

Coffee jolts bikers
New Yorkers can find their equivalent of The Coffee Trike by catching up with the guys at Kickstand Brooklyn. 

"We could serve coffee fresh in a field if we wanted to," co-owner Neal Olson told QSR.

Because they were interested in more than just the standard benefits of business, the folks at Kickstand explained to QSR that they decided to sell coffee from a bike because the two are so intertwined anyway. Many people who ride stop into a cafe for an espresso before or after a day on the trails. It's part of the culture. Now, when bikers finish their runs, they can just pull over for their caffeine fix. For Kickstand, it's about the community.

What's next? Beer?

"The Portland-based brew bike has a custom bar, keg mounts, tap handles and even a pizza rack."

In addition to coffee-fueled businesses, like-minded entrepreneurs have taken their bikes to the streets to sell a number of other easy-to-make treats. The folks from Hopworks Urban Brewery packed up their beers and biked the streets to sell people a cold one, reported NPR.

The Portland-based brew bike has a custom bar, keg mounts, tap handles and even a pizza rack. To cater to parties, the team would hook up an MP3 player, which operated on solar energy from panels attached to the back of the bike, summarized NPR.

It's to be seen what's next of this whole food bike movement, but so far it's winning when it comes to cost effectiveness and the environment. Maybe one day food trucks will park for good, but until then, the race is on.


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