23 May 2011

Maid Marian Muffins' ride

Jessica Vander Salm is an educator and baker extraordinaire, who happens to ride a (not so ordinary) bicycle in NYC. Jessica has managed to combine her love of bicycles, teaching children, baking, and business savviness -- and recently launched her self-published ebook Maid Marian Muffins. Earlier this year I caught up with Jessica on her bike promoting the book in Brooklyn with delicious muffins in tow!

First off, how did you get started selling baked goods by bike?
I spent my junior year abroad in Paris - primarily walking and eating. Years later as an elementary school teacher in Manhattan I started baking for fun and bringing in muffins into school for the kids. The muffins were a hit. One day my assistant and I brainstormed about my baking hobby and thought.. 'now wouldn't be cute to sell muffins from my bike'?! And that's exactly what I started doing.

You do have an adorable set of wheels!
I happened to find this vintage English bike called the 'Robin Hood' and it was perfect. When I was looking to name my baking venture I thought 'Robin Hood' would make a great name but it was already taken by a flour company. I then thought of bridging the literary world and naming it after Robin Hood's female companion... Maid Marian.

How did you adapt your bike to store all these muffins?
This is where my brother, Jamie, comes in. He studied furniture making in Rockport, Maine and designed and built the carrier. I had initially pictured a front basket but we ended up with a rear compartment which better suited the bike. 
Where have you set up your bike for business?
Since I'm a teacher I am used to waking up early - even on the weekend. Last summer I would bake trays of muffins, load up Robin Hood and head out to greet the morning dog walkers in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. It was really important to me that the muffins were just out of the oven - they just have to be fresh.

Piping hot baked goods in the morning! You must have had a really good reaction from passer-byers.
Yes, people were very receptive. Children in particular. I think the whole concept of me on my bicycle selling muffins was very fairy tail-ish which is where the idea for the Maid Marian Muffins children's book came about. The book really reflects all the trials and tribulations I went through when getting by baking business rolling.
Where can people find you and your bicycle?
For Bike Month, I've been cycling the streets passing out free mini-muffins... next month, on June 18, I'll be joining Recess New York on Governor's Island for a day of food and games. You can also follow Maid Marian Muffins' whereabouts on Facebook!
You can download the fun + interactive Maid Marian Muffins children's book {here} for your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
happy customers enjoying a blueberry muffin


  1. Oh, that is wonderful!

    Living here in the country means more trails and less traffic. However, it also means a total lack of muffin-laden bikes.

    Tough trade-off.

  2. An excerpt from this interview can also be found on the Rails-To-Rails Conservancy website:

    Thanks, Rails-To-Trails - your the best!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...