Bike Fort Collins first launched You Know Me. I Ride a Bike. Back in 2009 as a broader awareness campagin featuring local residents active in our bike loving community. Beginning in 2021, we are excited to reintroduce this bio-series, recognizing one new Fort Collins resident each month here on our news-blog/website, The Pedal Post eNewsletter and BFC social channels, and highlighting their love for bikes. Please join us as we hear their stories and learn more about these remarkable folks who live and ride right here in our community.
February 2023: Elijah “Eli” Winner
….by Timothy Wooten, BFC Community Relations and Program Coordinator
Elijah “Eli” Winner, a 7th-grader at Mountain Sage Community School, is known as the “Compost Kid” in his neighborhood. On Sundays, rain or shine, he rides a custom BMX Impakt Sidehack, gifted by his Uncle, to collect compost from his neighbors.
On most Sundays, Eli rides roughly 2 miles to complete two rounds to collect all the compost buckets and bring them to the Compost Community CO-OP (a.k.a. “C3”) at the local community garden. Then, with the help of his mom, and some shovels, they begin breaking down the contents of each bucket to add to the 3-bin open-air composting system. Eli invites friends to help with the “C3” operations, but most think it is a gross job and would rather spend their Sundays doing other things.
Exactly two years ago, Eli started collecting compost. When asked what motivated him to start, he politely replies, “Basically, my mom, she came up with the idea; she was like, Do you want to start a composting business?” and then adds, “but it was mostly the environment. Composting is a lot better for the environment. Putting food scraps in landfill creates harmful gasses. So that was the main focus.” And like many entrepreneurs, Eli took the first step to starting a business by creating a flier to advertise to his neighbors. Then, for $2.00 a week, Eli collects their compost bucket and returns it clean the same afternoon. He processes 10-15 lbs of veggie scraps and other compost-friendly materials weekly, which keeps roughly 780 lbs out of the landfill yearly. As an added bonus, all customers receive an equal share of nutrient-rich garden compost.
When not collecting compost, Eli can be found riding one of his bicycles: a new Specialized Fuse hard-tail mountain bike, his Giant full suspension mountain bike he received from a friend and fixed up, or on his Kink Curb BMX at the skate park, or on his Powerlite BMX around town, to school, or on the dirt trails. He credits his dad for sparking his new passion for road cycling. “My dad got me into riding bikes and still gets out with me whenever and wherever he can,” says Eli. Eli loves the freedom cycling gives him, “It’s fun and a great way to spend time with my friends and family.” In addition, Eli believes, “Biking gives me a chance to express myself further as an individual. It also allows me to work on my bikes and do something mechanical.”
Eli is not stopping his composting route any time soon nor expanding it. He loves the enjoyment he gets from doing his part to help the planet while being part of his local community.
If you would like more information on how to start up a similar operation in your neighborhood. You can contact Eli at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you enjoy this edition of YKM? Read about other inspirational local folks here.
Eli is a wonderful neighbor and a great young man. I am so proud of him
Eli is an amazing human in more ways than featured in this story! In addition to his pedal powered composting business, he is one of the kindest young men in our neighborhood. Always quick to say hello and engage in conversation, Eli is a hope filled example of humanity’s future thriving together. Thank you for showcasing him!