Bike delivery service is off to the races

June 18, 2011

Gorge Yellow Cab owner Enrique Ortega is off to the races again - bicycle races, that is - with another small-business venture.

"I wanted to start a green business. My son Luis is always talking to me about recycling and being green. I thought this might be a way to do that and help my son too," said Ortega as he disclosed the source of inspiration for his new bicycle delivery service.

GYC-BM Deliveries brings a familiar concept, bicycle messengers, to a non-traditional venue, small-town America.

Bicycle delivery persons are very common in big cities, but Ortega thought it also just might work in a small town with green-minded people.

"You know … people could save gas and help the air by calling us," said Ortega. Given that gas prices are edging up beyond the $4 mark, a trip around town might be more expensive than the minimum charge Ortega will offer for the smaller routes - not to mention the reduction in greenhouse gases.

The service, staffed by Ortega in his off hours, a few teen riders, including his son and another adult rider.

The messengers will ride between the China Gorge restaurant on the east end of downtown to the Columbia Gorge Hotel on the west side, out to the intersection of Country Club Road and Portland Drive, then across to approximately Orchard Road.

Most short trips would come in at the minimum $8 charge - especially when there are no hills involved. At the farthest points of the grid a pick-up and delivery would run up to $21.

"We could pick up or deliver groceries, documents - just about anything that could be carried on a bike," said Ortega, who has courier baskets and satchels on the bikes to allow for larger parcels up to 10 pounds.

The new service will be available from 7 a.m. to dusk seven days a week.

"At GYC, we are constantly working on reducing waste and reducing carbon footprints," said Ortega. Adding the bicycle service will surely meet those goals.

Ortega is planning to add more riders beyond family members, so whether looking for a delivery or a good summer job, interested people can contact Ortega's dispatch line at 541-308-3383.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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