Matt Reyes has launched Las Vegas’ first bike messenger business downtown and offers a story about how he’s a pioneer in the field of delivering paperwork, lunches and other items via his Jamis, single-speed bicycle.
Reyes said about two years ago he was bicycling to his Apple computer job on the Strip with his bike bag strapped across his shoulder when Metro Police routinely stopped him. “I used to get pulled over by Metro. They would stop me to check my bag and they didn’t find anything except my lunch.”
These days, Las Vegas is growing more bicycle-friendly and the police have stopped hassling the bike courier business owner, who said downtown’s growth and added bike lanes have offered the ideal market to launch his messenger-via-two-wheels venture.
“A bike messenger business is the symbol that your city is growing up,” Reyes said.
Reyes, 38, started SinCity Portage in September and has five bicycle riders in his delivery crew.
Reyes works the bike messenger beat from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in downtown Monday to Friday before he takes off for his Apple job where he trains people on computer software from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Reyes’s rates depend on a customer’s location in downtown — either Zone 1 and Zone 2— and if it’s a rush job.
It’s $4 for a delivery in the downtown East Fremont and City Center areas for Zone 1 and $5 for a delivery in Zone 2, which is south downtown. For a rush delivery, the prices double to $8 in Zone 1 and $10 in Zone 2. Discounted rates apply for steady customers.
Customers call a Google voice number at 702-625-3220, which is forwarded to Reyes’ cellphone.
Business is slowly growing. Reyes said a big bulk of his deliveries are lunches to customers such as workers at a downtown Wells Fargo bank, where he has his business account, and a Towne Terrace Apartments property manager at South Seventh Street and Bridger Avenue.
He planned on attending a Zappos.com vendor fair on Oct. 15 to see if he could drum up business there. Reyes said he also hopes to partner with Lux Delux, a free iPhone app for mostly downtown restaurant orders and takeouts. Lux DeLux’s CEO is Andy Hsieh, brother of Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh.
“I didn’t know how big the response would be. I took a risk. I’m looking to make my own market,” Reyes said.
He spent $3,500 to launch the business, including $1,200 for annual insurance and some money for business licenses.
Reyes and his riders have not had too many problems with motorists. He noted the only accident suffered was by a female courier on her first day near the Josephine Skaught hairdressing salon downtown.
Reyes also noted pedestrians have posed as much a problem as motorists because they jaywalk. “I yell. ‘No brakes, no brakes,’ and they immediately stop,” he said.
Reyes, a four-year Las Vegas resident. grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, where bike messengers are a common sight. He hopes to the same will be true in his adopted city.
Alan Snel can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5273. Follow Snel on Twitter at @BicycleManSnel.