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Cycle messengeringing

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  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    Ben6899 wrote:
    Herbsman wrote:

    I know what a uniform is. But I can assure you, round these here parts at least, that cycle couriers don't wear them.
    On a certain cycle courier forum there was talk of City Sprint practically forcing their riders to wear their uniform, and charging them for the privilege. This is in spite of the fact that couriers are independent subcontractors.
    CAPTAIN BUCKFAST'S CYCLING TIPS - GUARANTEED TO WORK! 1 OUT OF 10 RACING CYCLISTS AGREE!
  • snoopsmydoggsnoopsmydogg Posts: 1,110
    daviesee wrote:
    Rolf F wrote:
    And I'd assume you'd have to do it in London. Can't really imagine there is much of a market for cycle couriering outside the capital. And that means usually huge costs of living.
    You would be assuming wrong - http://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en&gs_nf=1& ... 0&bih=1016

    I hear that there are actually businesses in Leeds too. :wink:

    there are companies in many places now but to earn you need to go to the cities.

    have seen a messenger company in Darlington but cant imagine they will do a lot of business. Big towns/cities like York, Leeds, Manc however could be worth a shot. OP why not try googling companies and most will have a contact us or recruitment section.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    daviesee wrote:
    Rolf F wrote:
    And I'd assume you'd have to do it in London. Can't really imagine there is much of a market for cycle couriering outside the capital. And that means usually huge costs of living.
    You would be assuming wrong - http://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en&gs_nf=1& ... 0&bih=1016

    I hear that there are actually businesses in Leeds too. :wink:

    Well who'd have thunk it. I'm surprised though. I just can't see the distances and traffic densities would give cycle couriering a useful speed advantage over walking or driving. Leeds has a pretty compact centre and traffic is normally only slow during the rush hour.
    I'll hazard another probably wrong guess and suggest that the numbers of people doing cycle couriering in places like Leeds are very small!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • mididoctorsmididoctors Posts: 13,108
    manchester had a sizable CC scene.... there are small companies in many uk cities
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,386
    there are companies in many places now but to earn you need to go to the cities.

    have seen a messenger company in Darlington but cant imagine they will do a lot of business. Big towns/cities like York, Leeds, Manc however could be worth a shot. OP why not try googling companies and most will have a contact us or recruitment section.
    The OP is referring to Manchester.
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • snoopsmydoggsnoopsmydogg Posts: 1,110
    daviesee wrote:
    there are companies in many places now but to earn you need to go to the cities.

    have seen a messenger company in Darlington but cant imagine they will do a lot of business. Big towns/cities like York, Leeds, Manc however could be worth a shot. OP why not try googling companies and most will have a contact us or recruitment section.
    The OP is referring to Manchester.

    I know, was more replying that they arent just in London as others had said and used leeds from your post as a reference that bigger towns and others will have more than one service and its worth getting in touch with them.


    doh! I hadnt clicked your link before replying the first time. Must learn to click on links before posting :oops:
  • capt_slogcapt_slog Posts: 3,852
    Rolf F wrote:

    Well who'd have thunk it. I'm surprised though. I just can't see the distances and traffic densities would give cycle couriering a useful speed advantage over walking or driving. Leeds has a pretty compact centre and traffic is normally only slow during the rush hour.
    I'll hazard another probably wrong guess and suggest that the numbers of people doing cycle couriering in places like Leeds are very small!

    Just given me an idea, I could courier around my village!

    I'll get one of those bikes with a basket on the front and nip down to the co-op for the house bound community.

    "Have you got your list Mrs Jones? I SAID HAVE YOU GOT YOUR LIST MRS JONES?"


    The older I get, the better I was.

  • willhubwillhub Posts: 821
    To be honest, the thought of getting soaked normally puts me off a bike ride (never used to), but if I was being paid 70 quid a day and out for 10 hours, and it meant the difference between getting the bills paid or not, I'd just MTFU, and tbh, if I'd be able to be a cycle messenger in cycling clothes then the wet does not bother me, and as for the risks of the road, I think I can cope with that.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    See if you can get a job doing it and give it a go Will. It's the only way you'll find out whether it suits you or not. Good luck.
  • ProssPross Posts: 35,452
    Loads of cycle couriers in Bristol and Cardiff - for short journeys within large urban areas it is often the quickest way to move packages around.

    The reason it is more dangerous than normal urban cycling is that time is money and in order to get as many deliveries (and therefore maximise earnings) many cycle couriers will take risks that most of us wouldn't plus you will be riding around a city all day rather than just for a hour or so. Something to factor in is that it is likely you will stop enjoying your cycling when you have to do so much of it under such pressure - you are also likely to be left knackered and so unlikely to want / be able to do any racing. On the plus side if you've seen American Flyers it is only a short step from being a courier to winning international stage races :lol:

    If you did take it up you could probably claim tax relief on bike related kit that you buy in order to undertake your work. I wouldn't even contemplate doing it on your best bike though - you don't need a 'fixie' but they have less to go wrong and are easier to maintain. I'm not sure how hilly Manchester is but if I were a courier in Cardiff I would ride fixed or single speed.
  • YossieYossie Posts: 2,600
    Agree completely - give it a bash and see what happens. It could work out.

    Just remember - £70 a day. Then minus bike costs (tyres, pads, rims, chain wear, cassete, etc, etc - your r/r bike won't last long, let alone if its bling and someone nicks it). Minus a huuuuuuge lock to stop someone nicking your bike if you haven't bought a fixie ratter. Minus increased food costs (because you'll be starving all the time and eating like horse and raiding the 50p hamburger bucket at the local Kwik Save won't suffice). Then you'll probably want to replace your good £200 road racing shoes for something that you know will get destroyed by the increased mileage/weather/kicking in taxi driver doors as they try and cut you up (which is why m/cycle couriers all wear motorcross boots). Plus some proper kit to keep you warm. Maybe some body armour (spinal injuries suck and I believe there isn't much demand for wheelchair couriers - although I could be wrong and there is a potential gap in the market there). There is a reason why no one couriers in full Garmin.

    Then a couple of slack days where there is no trade (and remember, its generally only 5 days a week that you'll be working as offices close on a weekend). A week off here and there because you've stacked it and can't ride. The odd day off because you're too shattered to ride.

    I know its not as glam, but how about a boring office junior job anywhere - unglam, but better wages and use it as a base until you find something decent - milk any training they give, kiss backsides, etc - anything to get a step on the job ladder. Then when something you want to do comes up, politely say thankyou, I've found somethjing else, I'm off.

    Or plastics. Yes, plastics, that's what you want. The future is in plastics. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSxihhBzCjk
  • mididoctorsmididoctors Posts: 13,108
    willhub wrote:
    To be honest, the thought of getting soaked normally puts me off a bike ride (never used to), but if I was being paid 70 quid a day and out for 10 hours, and it meant the difference between getting the bills paid or not, I'd just MTFU, and tbh, if I'd be able to be a cycle messenger in cycling clothes then the wet does not bother me, and as for the risks of the road, I think I can cope with that.

    get yourself to london and get on with it then
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Ah, when I were a lad . . .

    Years ago (too many to say, but before cycle couriering was invented) I was a motorcycle courier in London. I was attracted by the "Earn £200 a week" claims, a lot of money back then. It was true, the best did earn this much, however the best had been doing the job sometime and seemed to know when and where jobs would come up and they got the cream of the work; not so for "kilo 59".

    The pay was gross pay, so I was responsible for tax and NI, but I needn't have worried, I made a loss on my first week! (Cost of fuel and the compulsory £14 for radio rental, which didn't work half the time).

    I needn't have worried in week 2, either, I ended up under the rear wheels of an artic. 8 weeks later I was fit for work again and really got into the job, learned the ropes and the routes, and made about £50 net on a good week.
    I did this for 6 months, falling off about once a month, and needing to replace the chain frequently as the miles clocked up fast. In winter, Ice would form on my clothes and eyelashes. Each day I would have a filthy black oval on my face where the helmet visor was, lungs were probably not too clean either.

    I then got a job with another company for better pay. On my first day all the guys were off to a funeral . . . that's how my vacancy came up.

    I don't suppose cycle messengering is a bed of roses either!

    If you can do anything else, I would suggest you do.
  • B3rnieMacB3rnieMac Posts: 384
    Most people I know who drive for a living (taxi drivers, delivery men etc) subsequently despise having to drive. I'd imagine doing the same thing on a bike would end up the same way. If I had stress on the bike every day for 10 hours, there's no way in hell I'd want to pick my bike up at the weekend and go for a spin.


    Can't you just get a job in tesco or summat? Less stress/ less chance of you getting flattened by a bus.
  • asquitheaasquithea Posts: 145
    So, um, this £70 a day, pre-tax. That would be about £15-16k in a conventional job, right?

    That doesn't sound like very much at all, especially as there would be absolutely zero career progression. Are you planning to live off beans on toast indefinitely?

    Go for a conventional job, even on a lowish wage, IMHO.
  • pinnopinno Posts: 48,546
    http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Demand- ... story.html

    and if you type in 'courier in cornwall penny farthing' in the Yahoo search bar, you will get a vid on the top search result, News UK.

    This could be you willhub !
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 9,680
    Ben

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  • YossieYossie Posts: 2,600
    B3rnieMac wrote:
    Most people I know who drive for a living (taxi drivers, delivery men etc) subsequently despise having to drive. I'd imagine doing the same thing on a bike would end up the same way. If I had stress on the bike every day for 10 hours, there's no way in hell I'd want to pick my bike up at the weekend and go for a spin.


    Can't you just get a job in tesco or summat? Less stress/ less chance of you getting flattened by a bus.

    Agree completely - after diving for a living for donkies the last thing I wanted to do on my hols/time off when I first left that job was to pick up a reg and BCD: it sounds silly, but doing what you like for a living can destroy whatever pleasure you get out of it in the first place.

    I've just been approached to train some guys and even now I'm thinking, ooh, is this all going to become no fun again? Then again, its more money, so hey ho, pass the cylinders laddies.....
  • sancho_panzasancho_panza Posts: 183
    willhub wrote:
    well the guy who I was talking to rekoned 70 quid a day before tax and about 20 miles a day, I'd expect it'd probs be more than 20 miles a day.

    But how is it more dangerous than riding normally? I ride through Manchester nearly every day, in rush hour, doing 20+mph down Oxford Rd and through the curry mile, why am I risking my life more than riding my bike normally? Especially on a normal bike that has breaks?

    Is it the red light jumping?


    halve the money and double the distance

    then you're about right.

    Danger increased because the exposure time is so much greater - and you're distracted by your radio.
  • YossieYossie Posts: 2,600
    What's the £70 a day after tax and NI and anything else you have to pay to the firm you work for work out at?

    Still worth it?
  • MonkeypumpMonkeypump Posts: 1,528
    asquithea wrote:
    So, um, this £70 a day, pre-tax. That would be about £15-16k in a conventional job, right?

    That doesn't sound like very much at all, especially as there would be absolutely zero career progression. Are you planning to live off beans on toast indefinitely?

    Go for a conventional job, even on a lowish wage, IMHO.

    This, every time.

    "Cycle courier" is a job, not a career.
  • MonkeypumpMonkeypump Posts: 1,528
    Actually, if you insist on working long hours for low money in a dangerous environment, why not become a chef?

    With some of your custard/mustard/marmite ideas, you could be the next Heston Blumenthal! :wink:
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    willhub wrote:
    But how is it more dangerous than riding normally? I ride through Manchester nearly every day, in rush hour, doing 20+mph down Oxford Rd and through the curry mile, why am I risking my life more than riding my bike normally? Especially on a normal bike that has breaks?

    Is it the red light jumping?
    Add to what others have said, there are significant pressures on you. Firstly from yourself, in your desperation to pick up more jobs to make a living wage, and secondly the constant hassle you get on the radio from control. These factors push you to take ridiculous risks - I can still hear it now "Kilo 59, Kilo 59, where are you? POB? Hurry up, client has called twice...." etc etc. If you're too slow you get passed over for the next job. You will end up filtering on the left side of an HGV. . .
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