116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Kirsten Sogaard is bringing her pedal-powered delivery to Iowa City.
Through her business, Gallop Courier, she links the things she respects and believes in — riding a bike and the biking community with local businesses and local delivery.
Gallop Courier offers delivery by cargo bike throughout Iowa City.
“It’s for locals and local businesses and artists who need a delivery service, who seek an alternative to making their own deliveries, want to use their car less, or feel stretched for time and need someone else to make the trip,” Sogaard said.
“I offer pickup from any address within city zones and deliver from there — whatever works between the customer and me.”
The delivery service is somewhat unique, she said.
“There isn’t a service in town that offers as wide of a variety of delivery options,” Sogaard said.
“I leave the list of services pretty open-ended as people have approached me with their own creative ideas. I deliver groceries and birthday gifts. I run errands and can pickup furniture or books from shops so downtown parking doesn’t have to be messed with.
“An out-of-towner wants a meal to be delivered to their friends in town, you got it.”
Heartland Yoga hired her to deliver more than 100 packages around town for their Tend Her program last summer and Aaron Hall, of the Local Crumb, offers Gallop delivery for his bread nearly every week.
She first started putting pen to paper on the idea — with brainstorming help from her sister — in spring 2020.
“In the early stages of the pandemic, I was inspired by other folks offering up their energy to help one another. I also wanted to put my energy into something that brings me hope and that’s what laid the bricks of Gallop’s foundation,” she recalled.
She said the first Gallop delivery was made in late summer of that year.
Sogaard noted she’s been fostering her interests in riding and courier services simultaneously for several years, however.
“The idea of being a bike courier perked my ears up while on a ride in 2015, which led me to pedaling for a bike courier service in Chicago for a few months,” she said.
“Then the idea of delivering on a cargo bike came from experiencing the slew of cargo bicyclists and the cargo lifestyle in Denmark.”
Upon moving to Iowa City in 2017, Sogaard became a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service.
“The delivery bug and I have become friends,” she joked.
Sogaard operates Gallop Courier on a part-time basis while still working full-time as a letter carrier.
“I think the part keeping me on my toes right now is figuring out the right amount of time to put into Gallop while having time to rest and enjoy life not on the job.”
While she is the only employee, Sogaard said her partner, Casey Mathews, fills in for her on days she’s unable to swing all the deliveries.
“He’s a mechanic at World of Bikes and also loves riding the Omnium Cargo, so he’s the perfect person to fill in.”
Owner and operator: Kirsten Sogaard
City: Iowa City
Phone: (563) 543-6031
Because Sogaard’s fleet is small and time is limited, she said Gallop is not an on-demand service at this time but a scheduled delivery.
“I prefer 24-hours’ advance notice, but if someone needs something day-of and I’m available and in town, I make it happen,” she said.
The operations of Gallop have been pretty streamlined these days, not much fuss, Sogaard said.
“Someone reaches out for delivery and I deliver,” she said. “This includes handling bulk deliveries, sorting out addresses, deciding on a route and communicating with customers.
“For me right now, the joys of Gallop lie in seeing how it unfolds organically, what I think of next, what comes up suddenly that needs tending to and what other people dream up that they need delivery for — whatever points me in the direction of it being a smoother ship to sail, for customers and for myself.”
And Iowa City seems the perfect home for the idea to get rolling, so to speak, she said.
“The Iowa City community is made up of encouraging and creative people, and I enjoy witnessing and talking to others who are also putting their ideas to the test,” she said.
As for the name, Sogaard said it is not only a nod not only to the “steel pony” — another name for bicycles themselves — and to the Pony Express, but also to Erik Søgaard, her farfar — grandfather in Danish — who died in February 2020.
“He was a man of the horse,” she said. “Along with a few others who’ve passed that I’ve loved, he was a catalyst in the brainstorming of Gallop. I think he’d have loved the idea.
“I certainly didn’t expect just how sweet it feels to put my grief energy and heart into an idea, no matter how long it lasts.”
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