Every day is Bike to Work Day for Dmitri Rumschlag. His job is on a bicycle, the Zcycle Cafe, a pedal-powered coffee cart, which he owns and operates. He typically posts up at the corner of East 13th Avenue and Sherman Street, just up the street from Pablo's Coffee, where he sources beans for his cart.
Rumschlag, originally from North Carolina, became interested in biking three years ago when he cycled from Galveston, Texas, to Colorado. Although Denver wasn't his intended destination, he found himself forced to change plans by a broken wrist, and settled here to recuperate.
A carpenter by trade, he worked (and still does) a series of odd jobs, including as a handyman and construction worker, as well as service-industry jobs at the Mercury Cafe, JoeMaxx and the Corner Beet, where he gained experience as a barista. He decided to combine his passion for cycling and good, natural food into a micro-business. After a year and a half of saving, he purchased the cart and outfitted it with a solar panel, power equipment, Coleman cook stove, and mini medical-grade freezer. What isn't solar or leg-powered is hand-powered, from the espresso grinder to the milk steamer and the pour-over coffee maker.
"The whole thing is self-sustaining," says Rumschlag. "I like to be off the grid, I like to be free, and I actually want to pedal it around."
Likewise, Rumschlag is committed to running an eco-friendly, sustainable business. Space is limited, so he keeps it simple with two milk options (organic whole or soy) and a few coffee options for drip or espresso, all from Pablo's. "Pablo's is a transparent company that offers locally roasted organic coffee," explains Rumschlag. He's also got a nitro keg for cold brew, several teas from Taraz (including a couple that are CDB-infused), a few natural sweeteners, and compostable cups and straws.
He wants to help others interested in running a similar model by helping to build out their cart, offering training and showing how to run it as a successful business that turns a profit.
Today, as most other days, Rumschlag can be found outside of 1313 Sherman from 7 a.m. to noon, slinging coffee, altruism and bike love.
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