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Putting a new spin on delivery

Bicycle enthusiasts to deliver locally-produced meals with pedal power

Delivery food.

In all its forms, the image it conjures is singular. Unhealthy, ordered in a pinch and ferried to your door by a teenager in a rattling compact car. If the food pyramid had a slot labeled desperation, that's where you'd put "delivery."

But a new local outfit is aiming turn that stereotype on its head. Dinner By Bike brings a rounded meal of soup, salad and bread grown and made locally to customers' doorsteps under"you guessed it"pedal power.

The brainchild of local biking enthusiasts Dan Rain and Steve Relles, the service made its first delivery of Java Jazz Cafe-produced food on Wednesday, Oct. 6.

The unique concept is one Rain said he's been kicking about for several years, after he learned of a company called Soup Cycle in Portland, Ore. In Java Jazz and owner Cathy Callan, he and Relles found a new use for their love of self propulsion.

"We were just chatting about way we'd like to make a living with our bikes," said Relles, who is also known to be spotted on unicycle around town.

Dinner By Bike makes a weekly Wednesday delivery to "shareholders," who receive soup, salad and a loaf of bread. All are made that day at Java Jazz, incorporating locally-grown ingredients to the greatest extent possible. All Good Bakers of Albany will supply bread.

A dozen early adopters received their choice of beef barley or Hungarian mushroom soup last Wednesday. Most live near the cafe, but the duo made a delivery to as far as Slingerlands, and would be open to delivering as far as feasibly possible. Some will take their delivery in person and have it for lunch, while others set out coolers for the goods and have dinner.

"It's really convenient for people to know they have a meal they can depend on in the middle of the week," said Alessandro Gerbini, manager at Java Jazz. "They can feel good about feeding this to their families."

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