On The Trail
By Will Deeks
Metro Pedal Power being a supplier for Juliet is far more than a business transaction. In their collaboration, Wenzday and the staff of the restaurant are working to shape the environment in which each of us live. Though it may not feel appropriate to shake their hand everyday, something I find rewarding is to simply look up every once and a while and recognize that even if we know where we are going, it doesn't mean we should not take a breath and recognize the environment changing landscape around us.
First time on the trail. Stop. Take note. Go slow. Follow the markers, watch for roots and low hanging branches, beware offshoots and clearings that appear welcoming, but lead the wrong way.
Marvel at the natural beauty unfolding; the hues of bark and leaves, and the smells and movements of life. Everything is new.
Over time, the experienced hiker learns the turns of the trail, remembers the hanging branches and becomes accustomed to the colors and movements of the forest. Not blinded to these elements, no, but in learning to see them fully, the hiker may stop seeing them at all.
Wenzday Jane founded Metro Pedal Power in 2005. What started as a custom utility bike manufacturer and sometimes bicycle delivery service has evolved over the past 12 years into a full time primarily bicycle-driven fulfillment company.
Prior to entrepreneurship, Wenzday worked as a custom welder, and was a member of a local bicycle collective: SCUL ['We make spaceships out of bicycles': from www.scul.org]. She had built a steady career as a working artist in the welding world. There was something more she was looking for, but she had to blaze her own trail.
In the ten plus years of Metro Pedal Power’s operation, a city that was once ruled by automobiles has become increasingly bike friendly. Bike lanes are commonplace and bike-specific traffic lights have begun appearing throughout Boston and Cambridge. The number of bicycles on the road has increased greatly. No one can take sole credit for the movement of increased bicycle ridership, but Metro Pedal Power is a large building block in a change for the better in the city of Boston and surrounding area.
Metro Pedal Power has even secured a contract with the City of Cambridge to remove waste from public receptacles in parks and squares, meaning much of the city’s trash is removed by bicycles. And not just ordinary bicycles, those built and designed by Wenzday and her team at Metro, to revolutionize the way things move around the city. Big things. Lots of things.
The work of Metro Pedal Power happens around us every day as we walk our own trail. As we learn to see the large trash collection bicycles, and then, over time, slowly unsee them.
Not simply a removal company though, Metro Pedal Power is about access, and delivery. Through various CSA (community supported agriculture) organizations, Metro Pedal Power delivers farm fresh food to consumer’s doorsteps, and also operates as a delivery option for various restaurants and caterers. The premier achievement of Metro Pedal Power, though, may be Wenzday’s commercial delivery program.
Two to three, and up to four times during the most productive weeks of the growing season, Metro Pedal Power’s iconic bicycle carriages are out on the streets delivering food to restaurants. “Farm to table” has become a household phrase, and there are few restaurants, of any size or scale, that don’t display some of the ideal. Farms are not all made equal however, and without further context, the information doesn’t mean much.
Wenzday Jane’s version of farm to table, like her company, is like a physical manifesto of access. Her ordering systems are fine tuned and easy to use, making it hassle free for restaurants all over the area to order from a trusted and simple source.
The true feat though, is in the aggregation of the products from the farms themselves, and the mode of their distribution. Wenzday’s commitment to local growers puts them in front of all of the city’s great restaurants without having to make a single phone call, or make the deliveries themselves; two things they would never have time for before she came along. Carting those products then out to the restaurants, Wenzday’s fulfillment network spreads their web, crisscrossing the city and surrounding area, without the burning of one bit of fossil fuel. There are no idling trucks in traffic. The sight of one of the compact, human powered vehicles, parked neatly on the sidewalk, the labors of real farmers stacked neatly inside, is like a storybook version of what usually passes for food access and market share. This story, though, is true.