The tree and bike connection grows in Portland

Posted by on November 26th, 2010 at 11:02 am

A ‘Rider of Yule’ sets off on a delivery.
(Photo: Trees By Bike)

Like coffee, beer, food, and fashion, you can now add trees to the list of things with a strong connection to bicycling in Portland. This holiday season, a local non-profit that plants trees and a budding business that delivers them will both put the power of bicycles to work.

Trees By Bike is a local company that delivers “pedal-powered holiday cheer”. Powered by a collective of bike riders, the service allows you to order a tree online and then have it delivered to your door. The service was started last year by Portlander Max Kirchoff and he now has four other “Riders of Yule” working with him. Each rider donates 10% of the sale to a charity of their choice. New this year, Trees By Bike is also offering delivery of Hanukkah candles (until December 1st) for just $5 per box.

Max and the Riders of Yule will be at BikeCraft next weekend, signing people up for trees and selling ornaments made from recycled bike parts.

Loaded up and ready to plant.
(Photo: Toshio Suzuki)

Local non-profit Friends of Trees recently announced their plans for several bike tree planting events. There will be four plant-by-bike days this year and volunteers can sign up online. For more on the bike tree plantings, read this guest editorial written by volunteer planter Aaron Tarfman last year.

“By planting trees by bike, we actually create a negative carbon footprint,” says the Friends of Trees website.

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MaxPerry HunterNickbeth hRed Five Recent comment authors
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Having a christmas tree delivered by bike is more appealing than the usual fossil fuel method, but if it’s a cut tree…it’s still a cut tree, doomed to ignominious disposal by various means . After all the growing they have to do, to throw them away after a few weeks is so sad.

From last year, I think I remember reading somewhere about an entrepreneur whose business is to deliver small living trees to people for the holiday, then pick them up, returning them to some acreage where they go back into the ground until the next Yule season.

Hey maus…you managed to do an entire half of a story on christmas trees without actually using the word ‘christmas’. That’s pretty good…a cultural minefield successfully avoided.

Perry Hunter
Perry Hunter

This wasn’t about Chanukah bushes? No, you’ve misread, I think.

Red Five
Red Five

The trees would be better left in the forest. Not ending up in our living rooms only to be eventually tossed out into the trash when we are done with them.

beth h

I suggested to Max last year that he expand his services to include Chanukah candles, as relatively few outlets offered affordable ones on Portland’s east side. This year, I will benefit from his services, and look forward to taking delivery of three boxes at work tomorrow. It’s a convenience that saves me time and travel. I can only imagine how much it’s appreciated by folks taking delivery on something larger (like a tree!).

Bike delivery knows no bounds. Here’s to seeing it expanded in all sorts of ways and for all kinds of purposes.


You won’t find a friendlier bunch than Max and his riders of yule. A great idea. On of the many I wish I had thought of first.

**sentence deleted — direct personal insults not tolerated. — Jonathan Maus**



Thanks for the kind words.

As for cut trees I think there needs to be larger public education on this. Especially in light of most “live tree” services. I’ll say it very plainly that having a cut tree in your living room is not better than having a live tree in the forest. But the same can be said about many of the traditions, conveniences, and cultural behaviors that require similar goods. Being a large holiday tradition in America, I can understand why this would attract more attention than many greater worries in similar daily practices.

I hold no disregard to any of our detractors, as I can see this whole thing from a few sides. But you must remember, we’re not asking for people who don’t cut trees down to start cutting trees down – we’re just trying to celebrate something with a tad more love in every direction.