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LukeB
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56 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had enough of working in a kitchen- angry people, a bossman breathing down my neck all the time...

There's a local bike courier company that is always looking for work, and pays by the hour. Money isn't neccesarily the issue, so I don't mind that I won't be earning millions- I"m a traveller based in sydney and just need to cover rent, a bit of food and that.

My main worry is not money, working in the rain, getting mown down by cars or owt, it's how will my legs hold up to the sudden change in workload? I currently do about 200 miles a week, how much would your average courier do in a day? Is it a bit easier as it's no usually breakneck fast in the traffic?

Also, will the companies tend to pay for any bike breakages, and a bag? I've got a courier bag but will need something bigger I reckon. I think I'll be able to claim it back on tax when I leave, though.

Cheers.
Luke
 

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952 Posts
I did courier work the first two years I lived in Chicago. Only job I've ever had that I never felt like I was working. I didn't have a mileage base like you when I started, just punk ass BMX skills, but it didn't hurt me at all. I was known for being one of the faster guys out. My service supplied me with shirt, cheap bag, and # vest, which were taken out of my first few checks.

Check the forecast before you head out each day and bring appropriate clothing. It might take you a couple times getting wet and cold before you figure out your set up, but after that it's golden. Plus, cute receptionists take pity on you when you come in from bad weather.

After I had been riding for a couple months I started requesting certain daily pick-up that would lead to jobs perks, like coffee and doughnuts left over from the morning meetings. When I was riding, I usually only paid for supper as breakfast and lunch could be had this way.

Also, make sure you and your clothes get cleaned and deorderant allied liberally. Nothing worse than a smelly messenger.
 

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538 Posts
I was a courier for more that a few years at a few different places and it was a great job but it was tough. It's incredibly harsh on the bike, and your body and gear. Most companies when I was in would provide a uniform that had no function for riding, a radio and that's about it. You'd get tossed in the tank with the other sharks as where I was used open dispatch so all the calls were up for grabs, the hungrier you were the more you got.

You'll need time on the job to figure out where the calls are, where to hang out when it's quiet, where to lockup, where the dead zones for your radio are, what kind of pattern to run the trips in and so on.

If you live right downtown that's a huge plus.
 

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life is a barrel o'fun
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2,502 Posts
- Money is not an issue.
- You ride freakish amounts already.
- You hate your current job.

Sounds like a no-brainer!!

The few weeks I dabbled in in were great. Wish I could make it full-time but that's not realistic given my average skillset.

I'd say the only thing to worry about is health insurance- I didn't have any, so didn't ride on rainy days.

Like any other job, the politics and such would have to be learned. Still worth it I bet.
 

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- factotum -
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821 Posts
Danke said:
It's incredibly harsh on the bike, and your body and gear.
When I did the messenger thing at first the costs on bike maintenance where way too high. rim brakes in the rain. salt on the streets in winter and so on. I would recommend to learn to ride fixed. That will save you much money!
 

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Brackish
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1,855 Posts
I started as a courier from exactly where you are, and left it eight years later. It's the best job most people will never have. Don't be fooled, it's dirty, dangerous and low-paying. But I never was and never will be in as good physical shape as I was when I was a courier, I had alot of fun, made some good friends, and always had a good tan in the summer. A few tips: buy a good lock, watch the front wheels of cars when you are in traffic as they will give you a moment's notice of where the car next to you is going (where the wheels steer so goes the car), when riding along a row of parked cars keep your peripheral vision on the windows and sideview mirrors as there will almost always be a little flash of movement you can see before someone throws the door wide open, when changing lanes or moving to take a lane head check and if you can't remember a clear picture of what you just saw when your head comes back around keep head checking until you do (this policy saved my life several times), and when approaching a corner/parking lot entrance/sidestreet/whatever ALWAYS expect there is someone or something on the other side just waiting to pop out at you.
And don't worry about your fitness, I was 25 pounds overweight and slacker than slack when I started. You'll get used to it.
 

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LukeB
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56 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Carbuncle- sounds like how I ride about the city normally anyway. Sydney traffic is dyre- all the english people I speak to wonder if liscences come free in boxes of cereal... Fairly got my attention up! It's the drains here that are worst- perfect size for 23c tyres.

Ride a singlespeed anyway (but will probably build up a fixie anyway, with flat bars instead of drops).

Do you know any companies in Sydney carbuncle? Tried mail call but need to be a resident of NSW- I'm on a working holiday visa :(
 

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LukeB
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56 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hills? Nah, none of that round here. It's a nightmare trying to get fit in this city. I miss mountains :(

Will have to keep looking.
 
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