EverGreen Delivery Brings Christmas Trees to People’s Homes by Bike
Jimmy Rider considers himself a “glorified reindeer on two wheels,” delivering a bit of the holiday spirit straight to people’s front doors each year. But instead of carrying Santa Claus and a stack of gifts around on his sleigh, the Somerville resident comes bearing balsams, firs, and other Christmas trees, cut, trimmed, and ready to be adorned with decorations.
For three years, Rider has made a business of hauling the trees on the back of his bike, which is decked out in twinkling lights and holiday trim, to residents as close as Somerville and Cambridge, and as far away as Charlestown, Arlington, and Newton.
“It’s been a great thing,” said Rider, who runs EverGreen Delivery. “People love it. I get a lot of beeps, a lot of waves, a lot of ‘Yo, Santa!’ Everybody is very supportive, they think it’s a great idea…it’s always awesome bringing a little holiday love to people.”
Rider first started delivering trees on his bike back in 2012 after he approached Ricky DiGiovanni, owner of the Union Square floral and gardening shop, Ricky’s Flower Market.
Rider, who DiGiovanni said carries “Paul Bunyan-type” trees around on his homemade bike hitch, was already doing food deliveries in the area, so when he biked by Ricky’s on a trip two years ago, he decided to pop in on a whim.
“I had the trailer and I was doing farmers markets, so I just rolled up on Ricky and said, ‘why don’t we deliver trees by bike?'” He said, ‘sure, bring it,’ and then it happened,” Rider said.
From 12-footers to smaller-sized trees, all of them—sometimes three to four at a time—are carefully cut at the base, covered in a thin netting, and then hoisted onto Rider’s bike, which has a custom-made trailer that moves easily with his bike as he takes corners and pedals up hills.
“Delivery on bike—that’s real modern,” said DiGiovanni. “He knows all the back streets, and he’s all fired up, no matter what the weather’s like. Jimmy’s on, he’s got traction.”
Rider said business has been steady since he first began offering the service, with a lot of repeat customers coming back each season.
This year, things have already started to pick up since he started giving customers the option of texting him and tweeting at him to set up an order. With a new website as well, where customers can quickly put in a Christmas tree request via email, and tell Rider what time they’d like the tree to arrive at their doorstep, he expects to more than double last year’s numbers.
“I dropped some of my own money on a website, and people are Googling and finding us now, so I’m hoping it blows up even more,” he said. “I’m hoping to do around 150 deliveries this year.”
Rider is now mostly taking orders through his website, but sometimes people see his bike service when they stop by Ricky’s to buy a tree from the parking lot just outside the main entrance, and they request a delivery in person instead.
Such was the case early Monday morning as Rider strapped a bulbous Christmas tree, its branches nearly poking through the netting it was rolled in to keep it compact enough for his trailer, to the back of his bike.
“This is great. There’s the romantic side of walking back to the apartment with the tree, but it’s cool if we can get it like this,” said Nicole Lowrance, who is in the area for the holidays doing a play at the American Repertory Theatre. “We looked up trees that we could walk to, but then on Ricky’s website we saw the picture of [Rider] in the suit, on the bike. The fact that we could get it delivered in such a way was a plus.”
Rider said although he gets random requests at Ricky’s, his clientele is mostly Somerville people who have a deep appreciation for the cyclist community, as well as those who don’t have the time—or the help—to carry a tree indoors and set it up on their own.
“I also do a lot of families who like when I roll up in the Santa suit,” he said, adding that the days that he dons the red-and-white costume vary, because the sap from the trees and the materials on the coat and pants don’t really mesh well. “A lot of people are busy, and they can’t deal with it, so they rather order it and have it delivered. If I’m in the Santa suit, I stay in it, though.”