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Welcome to bioRide Gardens
This is the beginnings of the bioRide gardens.
Our goal is to plant a combination of flowers and edible plants as well. The flowers will be used for weddings and events, and providing some fresh ambiance- and the edible plants will be used for the fuel of our staff! All of the materials are salvaged or recycled, we didn’t have to buy any wood. My favorite garden so far is the recycled book case!
We started planting most in our bathroom in March, and by first week of April, we were about ready to move to gardens. We are extremely excited about this new addition to our warehouse and think that it will help us make an even larger difference with the environment, community, and our service.
The Next Time You Think Biofuel is Boring, Think Again: Five Awesome Ways Biofuel is Used
Biofuel may sound boring, even for those who are eco-friendly, but you’ll be surprised to learn about other ways that biofuel is used. In the past few years, it’s become a huge buzzword and even the big named people are taking advantage of the innovation. Here’s a few examples . . .
1. NASCAR. And it’s a good thing–when the entire sport is driving around in circles, you’re bound to burn up some gas. Since 2010, NASCAR cars have been running on E15 ethanol-based biofuel. The switch was easy because the cars stayed the same–nothing had to change except the biofuel and the amount of pollution coming from the cars. This low-carbon fuel emits 20% less greenhouse emissions than unleaded gasoline. NASCAR claims that there has been improved performance since the switch, especially because the new fuel increased the car’s horsepower, but there’s no real proof yet. This is one huge use of biofuel that often goes unnoticed.
2. The Royal Train. That’s right, biofuel even reaches loyalty. Queen Elizabeth II, Duke of Edinburgh, and the Prince of Wales use a royal train on long trips around the United Kingdom. It’s actually been running on biodiesel since 2007. You’re never too rich or proper to save the environment, right?
3. The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels . Last year, the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Air Expo was held in Maryland last year. The flight vessels were powered by a 50/50-blend of jet fuel and camelina-based biofuel. Camelina is a drought resistant crop, sometimes used as a rotation crop for wheat. Sustainable Oils, the company that provides the fuel to the military, says this switch to biofuel reduced CO2 emissions by 75 percent. If you didn’t believe biodiesel can make a difference before, you should probably reconsider because 75 percent is a significant reduction!
4. Formula One Race Cars. In 2010, Scuderia Ferrari, the racing team division of the Ferrari automobile marque, began using a blend of biogasoline and next-generation ethanol sourced from straw. This just goes to show that biofuel can help with the environment AND performance.
5. Last, but not least, Willie Nelson’s Tour Bus . Good ol’ Willie has been using biofuel to run his tour bus since 2004. It all started when his wife bought a diesel Volkswagon that ran on vegetable oil. He was so impressed with the performance of the fuel that he jumped on board too. Willie even has his own biofuel, BioWillie, named in his honor. How many people do you know that have a biofuel named after them? We’ve put it on our bucket lists now, in case you were wondering.
Biofuel is becoming increasingly more popular, and with awesome uses like this, we can only hope that more people will be motivated to drive clean!
Adventures in RVA – This Weekend’s Events
If you’re still in need of something fun to do this weekend, we’ve complied a convenient list of events for you – from family-oriented to… no so family-oriented. (Gwar is at the top of the list for not so family-oriented.) And guess what? VCU move-in days are this weekend. While we think that’s fantastic and are excited for all the new and returning students, it means there might be some traffic. To avoid some of that headache, give us a call. We’ll get you wherever you need – and you won’t even have to think about traffic or parking.
Friday, August 17:
Free Outdoor Movie Series – “The Lorax”
Forest Hill Park, 4021 Forest Hill Ave.
The Mason Brothers, Exebelle, BTW, Animal Beat
9 pm (doors open at 8 pm)
The Camel, 1621 W. Broad Street
Richmond Food Truck Court
6 – 9 pm
Virginia Historical Society, 428 N Blvd.
Saturday, August 18:
Booze, bands, BBQ, giveaways, tattoos
11 am to 7 pm
Hadad’s Lake, 1140 Mill Road
Tickets:$25 – $35
22nd Annual Down Home Family Reunion – A Celebration of African American Folklife
4 – 11 pm
Abner Clay Park, 200 W. Leigh St.
Gallery5, 200 W. Marshall St.
Tickets: $20 – $22
Sunday, August 19:
Ride for Jim
25 or 50 mile bike ride to help support the VCU Massey Cancer Center
9 am – 3 pm
Rocketts Landing Sprints Regatta, 4708 Old East Main Street
Tickets: $50 Riders / $25 Students and under 18
Richmond’s Recycled Neighborhood Walking Tour
2 – 4 pm
Corner of Grace and Lombardy St.
Tickets: $10 ($5 for History Center members)
We’ve partnered with Ellwood Thompson’s and Urban Grid for this awesome event! Like SustainRVA on Facebook to get updates as the event gets closer: https://www.facebook.com/SustainRVA
“You walk in this door, cycle through, you walk out that door, and you’re a healthier version of yourself. It’s just that easy.” – Becky Lakin, Ellwood Thompson’s
Two weeks ago, we interviewed Becky Lakin, marketing director at Ellwood Thompson’s in Carytown. In case it’s your first time hearing about it, Ellwood Thompson’s is a small, locally owned, natural foods market here in Richmond that focuses on bettering the community, the environment, and, of course, its customers.
Since “Setting a New Standard” is one of our goals here at bioRide, one of our first questions for Becky asked her how Ellwood Thompson’s is different from others in the business. How is it breaking the mold? We also asked her what “Enjoy the Journey” means to her and her coworkers. But you’ll just have to read on to see what she said!
Q: How is Ellwood Thompson’s breaking the mold in it’s industry?
A: The benefit here – and kind of one of the largest and most important things about Ellwood Thompson’s – is that there’s a sense of trust that our customers have with us. So when they walk through the door and they come and shop here, for whatever it may be, they understand that we have vetted out those products to the point that they are the most sustainable, healthiest, overall-good-for-them options that they can choose and make. You don’t have that going into a lot of businesses – you don’t walk in knowing that before you even woke up that morning, they took your best consideration and your wellness in mind.
Q: At bioRide, we take a sort of holistic approach to travel. Mind, body, spirit – the whole experience. I know you guys are all about holistic approach. Can you elaborate on that?
A: This is the difficult thing with us, because a lot of us are really passionate in our beliefs and what we feel. So whether it’s someone here that’s vegan, or somebody that’s glutten-free because they have an allergy or just because they’re making the choice, or somebody that only eats raw. The difficulty here is to not have an imposition of our views. So what we try to do is just educate everybody. So, yes, there is that holistic piece that we promote, but we’re not kind of pushing it on people. We give you the best options we can find and allow you to make the choice. When you walk in, you cycle through “Produce” and that’s a lot of local and organic. And then you go into “Nourish,” and that’s a really different area than other stores because it’s the health and wellness piece. You can herbal tinktures, you can get vitamins, you can get supplements, you can get anything you need to have that overall wellness. That’s the benefit here too – you can be a healthier person. You walk in this door, cycle through, you walk out that door, and you’re a healthier version of yourself. It’s just that easy.
Walking the walk is obviously incredibly important to us – so having “stewards,” which is what we call employees, that kind of live that.
Q: We take a different approach [to our employees] too – we call our drivers “hosts.” They’re more than a driver, they’re a host.
A: Yeah, for us a “steward” is like a steward of the environment, or a steward of health.
Q: So what’s your main objective? Is it to educate people and for them to make their own decision?
A: Here’s the difficulty. Because, yes, education is a piece, but there’s some contradictory education. Sometimes we’ll put out an article about eating totally raw, and this person that wrote the article said that’s exactly what you should do to live a long life. Wasn’t necessarily what we think you should do. But then we might the next day say, “Here’s an article on the paleo diet.” And now you need to eat meat and grains and veggies. We’re just giving people information that we think is of interest and allowing them to make their own choices, and also saying that regardless of what choice you make, you can make it here and we can give you the products and the services that you need to support that choice. All toward that same health and wellness goal – whatever that may mean to you.
Q: If I was to say to you, “Ellwood Thompson’s – you know, that’s just their image.” Kind of taking the view of someone who thinks it’s a scam. So what is Ellwood Thompson’s? Can you explain the more natural part of it?
A: We do really kind of combat that, because there is a lot of that like “local washing” or “green washing” or whatever. Like, “We’re local! We’re eco-friendly! We’re this!”
Q: Yeah, because I was walking through, and I was like, “Holy crap. This is way different than anywhere else – all the products. Just walking through the aisle, it’s visibly different. It almost makes you feel better just walking through the store.”
A: Right? Do you know what this place was like to me before I started working here? It was like church to me. And that’s what it’s like to a lot of people because when you walk in you know you’re surrounded by a lot of like-minded folks who agree on a lot of different topics, or at least are respectful of your views and opinions, and you’re all kind of going toward the same goal – of bettering yourself and the world in which you live. So a lot of people feel that there’s a crazy sense of community here – that’s the whole reason I wanted to work here. I mean, I was overly obsessed with this place before I started. We understand too – we’ve been around 23 years – that there’s going to be a lot of scrutiny. We’re sitting here saying, “We’re local. We’re this, we’re that.” We better be what we say we are because these people in here are smart – these are smart, discerning people. They’re not coming in here mindlessly. They have done their research – they know the deal. So there is no way to pull the wool over their eyes, period. I mean, if you think of a normal Ellwood Thompson’s customer, don’t you think someone who’s intelligent, who’s done their research, who knows the deal, you know what I mean?
We have a lot of product standards in place. Like we don’t accept any products with high-fructose corn syrup. There’s a litany of product standards that each department has that are available to anyone who wants them that will tell them what we don’t allow in our products. So that’s one way to prove what we’re doing. Let’s talk about the environmental piece. I mean, good lord there are solar panels on the roof. There’s reclaimed wood that we sit at every single day. We use predominantly chalkboard signage because you don’t have to keep doing vinyl over and over. So there’s a lot of things that we can point to. When you walk through the aisle, you don’t see Doritos or a can of Pepsi. People that come here for the first time are like, “Where the hell’s my stuff?” We won’t supply them because they have things in them that we refuse to sell to you. We know these people are going to ask.
Q: Your customers, they come in and they’re educated. They know what they’re talking about. At bioRide, we try to just be genuinely cool. Can you discuss that a little? What else do you guys do to be genuine?
A: I think largely that starts with hiring; and that would be Lori, our human resources director, who’s probably one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. The people that work here have a huge impact too on the experience that everybody has. Customer service is something you always have to have and be diligent about and talk to people when they’re in the store and not get caught up in, “I have to stock the shelf!” I think it starts there and allowing people to be their authentic selves here. Allowing people to have an opinion, allowing people to dress how they want, wear their hair as they want. Kind of that authenticity starts there, and then it goes back to what I was saying earlier, doing what we’re preaching. When people see you’re doing what you’re saying they should be doing, you don’t have to say, “We’re genuine, we’re genuine, we’re genuine!” They just get it. I think that’s why we get almost 2,000 people running through here a day because it is genuine and it is authentic, people can trust us, we provide good products, and we support the local movement. Authenticity – it’s a difficult thing to be, even as a person.
Q: We try to enjoy the journey by emphasizing the whole experience of bioRide – the allure of travel, the world-class, luxurious, experience, free from the mundane. So how do you – individually or Ellwood Thompson’s in general – try to enjoy the journey?
A: For us, enjoying the journey is along journey – it’s not a trip. It’s your existence, it’s now until I am no longer gracing this planet with my presence. It’s a life journey, and it’s always evolving and always changing. And like I said before, it’s being here through those changes, as you decide “You know, I don’t want to be paleo anymore. Or I’d like to go holistic on my health care.” It’s being here through all of that and being someone that people can trust through all of that and supporting them through all of that. And that’s like a journey when they have kids, and they want to come here and make their own baby food, and they want to make it from local, organic carrots. And then when those kids grow up. We are here through journeys of generations.
Enjoy the Journey
We were cooking fresh, never frozen meat on the grill. This was the job we had known all of our lives and we were enjoying it. I was a training manager and Joey, my brother was right next to me in the sizzling steam of summer at the grill at Wendy’s. We both had our ideas of what we wanted to do, but like any young adults our ideas were a little scattered. Restaurants were in our upbringing and hands on customer operations were in our blood. Little did we know that our experiences were preparing us for what we didn’t know we wanted to do.
Fast forward to crunch time, I’m in college about to graduate, pursuing a career in wakeboarding while also pursuing business management major and skills and my brother Joey is playing in multiple bands, touring and expanding his musical interests.
We both enjoyed each other’s interests as I would go to his shows and he would go to my competitions. This brought us to experience travel and different areas of the world. As we developed the idea of working with biodiesel and the implementations of it, we knew that the world of travel and transportation were severely lacking in genuine customer service. We enjoy going on trips and adventures, but starting bioRide has been a journey in itself.
It was challenging starting out and I remember one specific meeting with my dad for advice and encouragement. We were going through challenges of starting up bioRide and he looks across the desk at me and says, “Jeff, enjoy the ride.” That was pivotal. You hear that saying usually in a sarcastic manner, like when you get married and people will say, “Hey buddy, enjoy the ride!” It made my brother and I let less “stuff” get to us as we learned to laugh at any experience that would make the average person breakdown in tears. Just some examples include:
- When our grease truck randomly caught on fire in our parking lot (see the picture of our friend laughing, putting it out)
- Spilling grease all over us multiple times as the pump we started out with was cheap and would randomly shoot grease everywhere.
- Running out of fuel more times than I can count randomly on the side of the road- and one time coming down a mountain.
Laughing at those situations as sometimes my brother and I refer to as “lessons in entrepreneurship 101” has made us who we are. It has developed strong character in each person involved at bioRide and we feel humbled and blessed to be where we are now. We were laughed at by so many people and denied loans/investment capital/and more things than I want to write. It has fueled us to create the level of our genuine service to others that is so great. Everybody involved with us shares the same mindset, but it is very humbling to meet awesome people who are behind us in what we do and who we never would have thought to one day have personal relationships with.
I was recently taken out to coffee by a client who is one person I look up to highly. He shared with me how his journey led him to found one of the most lucrative businesses here in Richmond. After many different successes growing businesses and corporations, he realized that his big ego at the time was the least important thing, and what is most important is others. That was an awesome confirmation to hear him say “we are all on a journey, and there are random confirmations of our purpose of journey along the way.”
One of my favorite perks of bioRide is being able to share the experience of many important events in people’s lives. bioRide plays an integral role in important events in people’s life. We get to experience it with them, and in some ways create it. We are the first link to a flight across the world, your last leg of travel before arriving to someone’s house who has been a long-time friend, your impromtu style boutique before walking down the aisle to commit your love with the person you love forever. We are a guide and a host for your journey as we live ours.
~Enjoy the journey.
Jeff Anderson, co-Founder of bioRide
The Grease Group – bioRide Fuel
In order to make our fuel, we collect grease/waste from Richmond restaurants. Ever wondered where exactly where we get our grease? Well, wonder no more! Here are pictures of all the restaurants that help us out! We greatly appreciate them.
Links About Biodiesel and Sustainability
Since sustainability it a huge part of what bioRide is about, we thought you might be interested in learning more about it. Here are some general links about biodiesel – where you can learn about what it is and how it’s made – and some links about sustainability in RVA. Check them out!
Biodiesel and Other Biofuels:
Sustainability/Going Green in RVA:
- Richmondgov.com – Sustainability
- RVAgreen: A Roadmap to Sustainability
- RVAgreen – Blog
- Style Weekly – Go Green Directory 2012
- Richmond Green Drinks
- Virginia Commonwealth University – VCU Goes Green
- University of Richmond – Sustainability
Behind-the-Scenes at Our Photoshoot!
Here are some behind-the-scenes pics from our most recent photoshoot! Chris, one of our photographers, set up the vehicles for some awesome panoramic shots that we’re really excited about. We’ll be posting all of the official photos on our website and Facebook soon! Click on any of the photos to see it individually and enlarge it.
Jeff and Joey Speak at Capital One
This past week, bio bros Jeff and Joey were keynote speakers at Capital One. Their emphasis was on creativity with a business, entrepreneurial mind-set. They also shared their story of how they got involved with biodiesel and what led them to start bioRide.
Check out these pictures!