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article about local Denver guy/modified bike



 
 
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  #1  
Old April 10th 05, 08:00 PM
james
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Default article about local Denver guy/modified bike

this article is from last year but it i just thought of it while
writing my post below about storage

i see him now and then around my area and he's never afraid to take the
lane!

fun to people watch non racing or commuter types on bikes, (like me).
he's a favorite, as is the eldery lady who's a regular at the Capitol
Hill King Soopers (grocery store) with her yellow bike and newspaper
style grocery baskets.

check out the pics of his modified "Hummer 00"

http://www.westword.com/issues/2004-...news/news.html
----------------------------------------------------
Carlton Wayne Stewart has never played the stock market, but he watches
it every day. So he can tell you that, at the moment, the market value
of a pound of aluminum is roughly 46 cents, or $1,000 a ton, making it
the most valuable of all reclaimable scrap metals.
Stewart knows this because reclaiming things is his life. Every day, he
rides his bike from Capitol Hill to an industrial cranny beneath West
Colfax Avenue, lugging pounds and pounds of aluminum refuse. He finds
the cans in dumpsters, alleyways and recycling bins, then converts them
to cash at metal-reclamation houses like All City Recycle, where he is
a regular. But unlike many of the men and women who flock to this
neighborhood every day, toting shopping carts and garbage bags, Stewart
considers himself an entrepreneur.

"The way I see it, the can people are cleaning up the nation," he says.
"If we don't recycle, we're going to lose everything. So why not get
organized, start an independent operation, and feel some of the
benefits of doing this good work?"

Stewart is the founder and president of Colorado Recycles Pick Up, a
can-collection operation headquartered along Colfax in Capitol Hill,
where he also makes his residence. His primary domicile is a blue
sleeping bag, and his transportation is an elaborately rigged bicycle
he calls the Hummer 00. Invented twenty years ago, the Hummer 00 is
Stewart's first real stroke of genius as a businessman. His current
model is an all-weather cruiser fitted with five feet of steel pipe
that lug a loading dolly and a gigantic plastic receptacle that can
hold 300 pounds of aluminum. That's $138 worth, at current market
values.

"My goal at one time was to become a millionaire," he says. "And I also
wanted to be the president. But people said, 'You can't run for
president!' I like to believe that I can do anything, so I haven't
ruled that one out. But for now my goal is to make between $50 and $100
a day. And that isn't such a bad living. I must be doing okay, because
everybody I know is always asking me for money. I got to stop giving it
to them, too."

From behind the Hummer 00's handlebars, Stewart has perfected the art

of the pick. He knows what kinds of dumpsters yield the greatest
rewards, how to time his pickups so that he reaches a trash bin before
sanitation workers do, and how to fend off trouble. Stewart is friendly
with most Colfax regulars, who call him EZ Money and Can Man, but the
street brings its own brand of chaos, no matter how well acquainted one
becomes with it. That's why, in addition to food, water and wine,
Stewart's backpack contains a pair of pliers, screwdrivers and an
actual ax -- tools of the trade, Stewart says, but also handy in an
emergency.

"I'm not a violent person, but these streets can do things to you, and
I've got enough stuff to start a war," he says, turning to reveal a
large purple welt above his left eye, a gift from a disgruntled former
employee. "The minute you leave your house, or wherever you are,
there's all kinds of **** going on, and you got to be ready for the
world. That's why I don't read the news. I say, 'Step outside. That's
news, happening all around you.'"

Stewart is 38, with short dreads and a muscle-ripped body that's been
earned one wheel rotation at a time. Several times a week, he rides
through Cherry Creek and into Englewood, logging nearly a hundred miles
on a good day. Capitol Hill is a hot spot, largely because the city's
Denver Recycles program is available only to single-family residences
and apartment buildings with seven units or fewer; businesses owners
and property managers often leave bags out for Stewart to collect. The
five-block area from Williams to York streets, with its plethora of
dive bars, diners and convenience stores, is especially lucrative.

"People in Cherry Creek will give you a nice donation," Stewart says.
"I once had an old dude give me $65 just for picking up some trash.
Here on the Hill, you're more likely to get a dollar. But it's all
about who you know, and how you know it, and people from all over here
be showing you where to find the best stuff."

Stewart once had seventeen Hummer-type bikes in the Colorado Recycles
fleet. Today that's down to four, with a rotation of six to eight
drivers who man them every day of the week. Most of the riders are,
like Stewart, homeless, and many have mental and substance-abuse
problems. Stewart usually recruits potential employees in bars, on the
street or inside Ready Man Labor on Colfax and Race (which,
incidentally, has one of the hottest dumpsters along the strip).
Turnover, not surprisingly, has been a problem, though Stewart does
have a couple of longstanding employees. Josepheus Verilla has been
working with Colorado Recycles for fifteen years, on and off.

"Some people might see him and me as bums or whatever, but we get to go
where we want to go, and we can make more money than the rest of the
people in the world make in all the regular ways," says Verilla. "I
told him early, 'I'll pull my weight. I'll stick with you.' And I have.
Because he's just a good leader. If you follow your leaders, you might
learn something."

Stewart's been a self-professed scavenger for most of his life. He got
into recycling as a kid, collecting glass at age nine in his home town
of Houston. At twelve, after his mom moved the family to Denver, he
hauled loads of pop cans and bottles to Safeway in a wagon-like device
he built himself. ("When we first talked about moving to Colorado, I
thought I was going to have to ski to school because of all the snow,"
he says.) After a year at Morey Elementary, Stewart left school to help
support his four brothers and sisters. By the time he was fifteen, he
was living on the streets.

"I dropped out of school and then some," he says. "I thought, 'People
are looking at you. You're a grown man now.' I knew I needed to make
some money, and I knew that if I didn't step up and do a job, I wasn't
going to do anything. So I just decided to start my company."

Stewart rarely takes a day off. When he does, he likes to feed the
ducks in City Park or people-watch on the 16th Street Mall. He's hoping
to get enough money together to help fund a shelter for the working
homeless, but his real dream is even bigger: He'd like to one day build
an outdoor skating rink for the city. Befitting a wheelman, his hobby
is roller-skating.

"My life is a pretty heavy trip, but I just try to get out and enjoy
every day," he says. "I'm just trying to do what that man said. I'm
trying to roll with it."


westword.com | originally published: April 29, 2004

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  #2  
Old April 10th 05, 08:25 PM
Tom Keats
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Posts: n/a
Default

In article . com,
"james" writes:
this article is from last year but it i just thought of it while
writing my post below about storage


....

Nice article, but I don't think I'd ever refer to
a bike I liked as a "hummer" ;-)


cheers,
Tom

--
-- Nothing is safe from me.
Above address is just a spam midden.
I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn [point] bc [point] ca
  #3  
Old April 11th 05, 01:40 PM
Peter Cole
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

james wrote:
this article is from last year but it i just thought of it while
writing my post below about storage

i see him now and then around my area and he's never afraid to take

the
lane!

fun to people watch non racing or commuter types on bikes, (like me).
he's a favorite, as is the eldery lady who's a regular at the Capitol
Hill King Soopers (grocery store) with her yellow bike and newspaper
style grocery baskets.

check out the pics of his modified "Hummer 00"

http://www.westword.com/issues/2004-...news/news.html
----------------------------------------------------


Typical mainstream profile of the utilitarian cyclist. I'm sure a lot
of people were impressed with the lifestyle.

What a load o'patronizing crap.

 




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