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Bus seeks deals on wheels

Emily Tienken
Boulder Camera
Vail, CO Colorado
Cliff Grassmick, AP/Boulder Camera** ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND, JULY 7-8 ** Scott Anderson wipes down the front of a the 1956 English double-decker bus in Boulder, Colo., Thursday, June 14, 2007. The company Sorbe is renovating the bus to be their mobile business office. (AP Photo/The Camera, Cliff Grassmick) *
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BOULDER ” Boulder’s not quite weird enough for Scott Anderson.

Sure, the city has its fair share of rambunctious bicycle cruises, naked pumpkin runs, marijuana-smoking festivals and even a hillbilly-shack-on-wheels tour bus.

But Anderson’s adding to the mix, and soon, the Banjo Billy’s bus won’t be the only iconic, and quirky, vehicle loose on Boulder’s strange streets.



Anderson, the manager of Boulder-based creative contracting company Sorbe, is renovating a 1956 Bristol double-decker bus to become the company’s mobile ” and only ” office. Sometime early this month, he estimates, the company will have entirely relocated its Pearl Street offices and staff to the bright-red London transplant.

“Boulder needs some of that weird, I tell you,” he said, laughing. “We’re going so corporate now.”



The idea has its practical applications. Anderson says working from a double-decker bus will be one good way of “getting our name out as far as being creative,” and he hopes it will give the company an edge on competitors. But also, he said, it’s just plain fun.

On a recent afternoon, as a cloud of baking soda filled the air above the bus, Anderson sipped a celebratory beer ” given to him by a neighbor fond of his plan ” and ruminated on the adventures that brought the bus to its current spot, in the backyard of Sorbe’s current office at 520 Pearl St.

Anderson said he always toyed with the idea of a mobile office, but he only started drawing up plans a year ago. The bus itself came from London to Boulder by way of California, then Loveland, and a multitude of owners along the way.



Oh, and the baking soda? Well, Anderson said, it’s a paint stripper that’s safe to use in large quantities in an area where families and businesses share backyards. Any chemical remover would have been “super toxic,” and the baking soda has the added benefit of giving the aluminum interior a polished, brushed look.

Still, the bus retains its vintage charm: Lettering in the back window, fading slowly, reads: “Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, London.”

The baking soda is only the start of Anderson’s idea for a “Piccadilly-Circus-red-on-the-outside, green-on-the-inside” bus. Plans include a composting waterless toilet, LED lighting, solar panels and a canvas roof. Biodiesel will power the six-cylinder engine. The plans represent a long-term commitment to green building, Anderson said.

“Being a green builder isn’t something you can brag about,” he said. “It’s something you should do. It’s something that should just become a part of who you are.”

Anderson said he’s not sure where he’ll leave the bus overnight once he leaves his stationary office, but he hopes to get a permit to park on top of a city garage. This way, he said, the public could have the opportunity to come aboard, interact and learn more about green building.

Abby Anderson, Sorbe’s client liaison and Scott Anderson’s sister-in-law, said that although she was skeptical about the bus at first, she’s on board now.

But she’s shying away from certain aspects of mobile-office management.

“No way, I am not driving that thing. It’s too tall for me,” she said, staring up at the face of her future office. “I’ll be the passenger.”


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