Carbondale Mountain Fair’s got some smooth operators
CARBONDALE, Colorado Ruby Kimberly just finished a 20-second sprint on the old bicycle with an umbrella. She forces a smile as she catches her breath.Cherry smoothie, Rubys partner Beda Calhoun says handing the icy drink to another satisfied customer.The smiles of people waiting in line reflected fascination and envy. It was an impressive operation.This is just ingenious, says Paula Lerch. The 56-year-old Carbondale woman has been to almost all 37 Mountain Fairs. This is what I come to Mountain Fair for things like this.Then she smiles again and shakes her head, This is just ingenious, its really impressive.Beda doesnt miss the chance to explain the operation which is appropriately named Pedal Palace, Beda and Rubys Smoothies.Its a carbon-free smoothie-making operation. If theres one place that such a unique concept could flourish, its at Carbondale Mountain Fair.The concept is simple. The carbon footprint is pretty close to zero because solar batteries power the refrigerator and ice shaver, they use compostable cups, the fruit wasnt shipped by vehicle, and the blender setup is human/bicycle-powered. Thats right, smoothies are blended with a contraption connected to the back wheel of a bicycle thats attached to a stationary turbine powered by Beda, Ruby or the customer.Thats what is so great about this. Nothing has ever been in a car, Beda says.Even the fruit, which includes apricots and cherries, and apple juice, all came via bicycle. Heres the impressive part of that all the fruit came from Paonia and Hotchkiss.Yes, 200 pounds of fruit delivered all by bicycle. Five cyclists volunteered to make the trip. The 60-mile trip over McClure Pass to Paonia was a 51⁄2 hour grind. Then they loaded up their trailers with fruit and started pounding the pedals for another 7 hours back to Carbondale.Yes, impressive is the appropriate word.Its important to Beda and Ruby whose mom is Mountain Fair director Amy Kimberly that people understand the operation and why they did it.Its about education. It shows people what can be done even on a small scale, Ruby says.Beda agrees: Were using creative energy to get people excited about it.Energy is what the Pedal Palace is all about. Whether its saving energy with the carbon-free operation, or the boundless energy and entrepreneurial spirit that radiates from the two young women, the Pedal Palace is an energetic place at Mountain Fair.Ruby and Beda, whore both 21, became friends while they attended and graduated from Colorado Rocky Mountain School.As Beda was traipsing through India back in February as part of her study abroad program, the idea came to her. But ideas are a little like campfire smoke: Its hard to get a handle on them, and oftentimes they simply drift away.But Beda wasnt going to let this idea vanish. She called Ruby, whos going to college at San Francisco State University. Thats when the plan, like a cyclist heading down McClure, started picking up speed.Everything started to come together, Beda says. The goal was to make it as close to zero carbon impact as possible. But they knew that was probably just a dream.But these two women were determined to make it happen.But how could they get fruit to Carbondale without the use of a vehicle?That was really like a dream at first, Beda says smiling. We didnt think it was possible. Then I randomly mentioned it to a biker, and we got a crew together, and now nothing here has ridden in a car.The pride of seeing an ambitious concept become a reality is evident as she talks to her customers.Again, she hopes that everyone grasps the unique concept and the effort that went into the project.A youngster climbs aboard the bike to blend his cherry smoothie, and Ruby cheers him on as the small crowd smiles.Words like awesome, great, ingenious, and just simply wow, are uttered by customers and onlookers.Beda and Ruby are far too busy to relish in their accomplishment. The day is draining. They take turns on the bike pedaling when customers dont want to take part. Theyre not sure if they will break even on the endeavor, and neither cares too much.Amy Kimberly is very impressed. I was so psyched when they told me what they wanted to do.It embraces the theme of the Mountain Fair, which is New Frontier.I told them that they didnt have to be that strict to the concept, but they were, she says.Not compromising was important.We want people to understand the concept. We didnt want to cheat. We wanted to show people that something like this could be done, Ruby says.As close to zero carbon impact was the goal. Mission accomplished is the result.Seeing their project become a reality reinforced everything they love about Mountain Fair and the community.Its not what weve done, its what has been done, Ruby says.Mountain Fair is all about community and art, and weve had countless people helping us, Beda says. Its great to have a community like this where people want to help. Everyone has played a different role.Beda and Ruby will no doubt find great satisfaction in their project once the weekend is over.Were proud, and it will be sad when its over, Ruby says with a smile. But its been so fun.Then Beda climbs aboard the bike to blend another apricot smoothie. Energy is what its all about. Using it or saving it, the Pedal Palace is all about energy.
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