Why use bikes for business? Two Portlanders share their stories

Two more bike-based businesses.

Recently I’ve learned about two more Portland businesses that have made bicycles an integral part of their business. Crank Roasting is a new coffee company and Co-Creative Pruning has been in business since 2010. I asked the owners of both businesses to share more about what they do and why they’ve decided to use bicycles.

Cory Love, owner of Crank Roasting:

“I have been involved in coffee roasting over the last 15 years. My love of riding and racing bikes goes back to my childhood – racing BMX through the late 70’s and 80’s and then in my mid 20’s I got into road cycling and racing. As my family and business became busier in my 30’s, I was finding it harder to ride consistently. I started dreaming about a way to be able to have bicycling be integral to my business.”

Cory Love of Crank Roasting.
(Photo courtesy of Cory Love)

Love started roasting coffee as a hobby in 1998 and then opened Urban Grind Coffee House in northeast Portland in 2002. One year later he started roasting under the Mud River Coffee Roasting name. He moved the business to Sheridan, Oregon in 2005 and eventually sold it in 2008. By 2010 he was dreaming up “a business plan to combine coffee and cycling by having an all bike delivered roasting business.” In fall of 2012 he moved back to Portland to make that dream a reality. Love’s website,, went live last month and he’s already got two wholesale accounts: Food Front in northwest Portland and Velo Cult Bike Shop and Tavern in Hollywood. Love says his plan is to sell whole been coffee direct to consumers and have wholesale accounts as well.

Adam Leyrer, owner of Co-Creative Pruning:

(Photos courtesy Adam Leyrer)

“For my first years in business I used a Bikes-At-Work 8 ft. flatbed cargo trailer to carry my 12 ft. orchard ladder, debris, and other tools. This January I upgraded to a custom railed trailer designed by Haulin’ Colin in Seattle. The extra dimension of height allows me to mount the ladder on the side and reserve the cargo area for branches. It has also allowed me to display my business logo and information, so that the amused and bemused looks I receive as I’m hauling two hundred pounds of apple tree branches are slowly being replaced by nods of recognition. The increased carrying capacity required an adjustment: in my first week operating with the new trailer I lost five pounds, but now the portion size of my lunch has caught up to the demands of the job.”

Leyrer, 28, grew up in Beaverton but has lived in Portland since 2003. He’s a Certified Arborist and has been operating Co-Creative Pruning since fall of 2010. He previously worked as an assistant to the head gardener Mark Rosenau at Concordia University in northeast Portland. Leyrer credits Rosenau, who also used bikes to do work around the college, for the inspiration to set up his business.

While Leyrer likes living in a community that supports bike-based businesses on their environmental merits, he says, “I must admit to operating by bicycle for mostly selfish reasons: sitting in cars makes me restless and driving them makes me anxious.” Leyrer has never had a driver’s license and says, “Portland’s investment in bicycling infrastructure allows me to live and operate a business in the city without resorting to a pick-up truck.” This year, Leyrer decided to calculate his savings in gas and maintenance from not driving a pickup and donate the amount to a local non-profit.

For Leyrer, the bicycle isn’t just a work vehicle; it’s “an introduction for my neighbors to how I feel about my profession.” “Gardening with goggles, earplugs, gloves, and power tools is like being a chef who isn’t allowed to taste the food,” he says. “So when I describe my business as bicycle-transported, I say ‘respecting your trees begins with the trip there,’ But it can’t end with it.”

Next time you need some fresh roasted coffee or tree pruning services, keep Cory and Adam in mind!

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