Mike Bartholomew of Preston checks his time in Wellsville before peddling home on Friday, May 13, 2022.

PRESTON – Mike Bartholomew is the owner and operator of Mike’s Express Services. He supports his family of four by cleaning windows. He also shovels snow, mows, trims lawns and offers other services on the side. In other words, he does what he can to work and make sure his family’s needs are met. He only answers to his customers.

Mike Bartholomew put lights and turn signals on his adult tricycle so he can ride in the dark.

One unique thing about this entrepreneur is how he gets around to take care of his clients: he doesn’t drive an automobile, his source of travel is his adult tricycle. His tools of trade are all well organized and stacked in a two-wheeled trailer he pulls behind him as he puts hundreds of miles on his tricycle every month.

Bartholomew has been handed his share of challenges, but he keeps peddling down the road washing windows and his troubles on his way. He soaps the windows, squeegees the excess water, then dries them with a towel.

The reason I can’t drive a car is I have epilepsy brought on by alcoholism and abuse,” the 49-year-old said. “The abuse happened when I was two-years old. When I was 11 years old I went to live with my adopted family in Weston.”

His family in Weston enrolled him in elementary school and he went through the West Side school system then graduated from West Side High School in 1994. As soon as Bartholomew graduated, he moved around Utah, Oregon and finally landed back in Preston in 2009. His birthmother passed away a couple of years ago.

“I‘ve been cleaning windows since April 1, 1989,” he said. “In 1991 to 1993 I went to a Window Washers of America conference in Las Vegas. After I got qualified and did my two years with the club then I automatically became a member.”

Mike Bartholomew modified a bicycle trailer to carry his tools and supplies. He takes a brake in Wellsville to rest from his long journey from Preston on Friday, May 13, 2022.

Mike met his wife, Barbara, online and they were married in 2004. She is a stay-at-home mom and the couple has two boys. Everything he does is to support his family.

When Bartholomew finishes helping his Franklin County clients, he moves on to out-of-county residents in Richmond, Smithfield and as far away as Brigham City to the south (55 miles away) and Pocatello to the north (70 miles away).

Sometimes things don’t go the way he plans. He carries extra innertubes and tools including a pump in his locked toolbox.

All of my appointments are scheduled on my phone and so are my invoices and billing statements,” he said. “I call in advance to let my out-of-town clients know when I’m coming.”

Even calling in advance and setting up appointments doesn’t always work out. Sometimes he makes a window washing trip in vain.

Most recently, he had a client on the south end of the valley stand him up. He rode to Wellsville and waited for the manager to give him the go ahead. They never got back to him and he missed another appointment and came up empty handed.

“I told the manager I’ve been cleaning windows here for five years,” he said. “I waited three hours and I still didn’t get the go-ahead so I left. I had to get home.”

Mike Bartholomew hoses down a window at Hometown Motors in Preston on Friday, June 10, 2022.

That day Bartholomew rode his tricycle the 41 miles to Wellsville and washed the windows for businesses in Richmond and Smithfield but got stood up at his final location.

Sometimes he rides in the dark. He has two aluminum brackets on his handlebars with flashlights mounted on them and several smaller red lights on the rear of his trailer.

“I have turn signals on my handlebars that work in the front and the back,” Bartholomew said. “I take the sideroads and avoid hills.”

When the window cleaner goes on his long-distance appointments like Pocatello he gets up at 4 a.m. and gets home after 8:40 p.m. He avoids busy highways and steep hills by looking for alternative routes and makes stops along the way in Swan Lake, Downey, Arimo on his way to his final destination, Oldtown Pocatello. He has three different out-of-county routes.

“To get to Brigham City I go through Lewiston, Trenton and Tremonton then on to Brigham City,” Bartholomew said. “I have to make sure I line up everything just right and take the old road. I won’t go through Sardine Canyon or on roads where there are steep hills.”

Mike Bartholomew dries a window at Hometown Motors in Preston on Friday, June 10, 2022.

Bartholomew enjoys his occupation and his customers.

“I really like doing windows,” he said. “The people are nice and appreciate what I do. I also try to honor seniors.”

On the back of his trailer, he has a plate that says so, “I honor Seniors.”

“Seniors come first, is my slogan,” he said.

Bartholomew plans to clean windows until he can’t pick up his squeegee anymore. Then he plans to give the business to a nephew who lives in Oregon and let him take it from there.

Source link

Leave a Reply