Bike Courier Melbourne

Discussion in 'Australia and New Zealand' started by Michael Myers, May 18, 2004.

  1. A friend suggested that I should apply for a bike courier
    job in Melbourne. Is anyone here a bike courier? What is the
    job like? Do you have to be superfit, etc? How do you go
    about applying for a bike courier?

    Personally, I think I am fit enough for the job. The only
    thing that concerns me at this point in time is the traffic,
    especially in the city where people do not seem to have any
    patience...

    Thanks in advance.

    a.
     
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  2. hippy

    hippy New Member

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    >"Michael Myers" <[email protected]> wrote
    >in message A friend suggested that I should apply for a
    >bike courier job in Melbourne.
    > Is anyone here a bike courier? What is the job like? Do you >have to be superfit, etc? How do you go about applying for
    >a bike courier?
    >
    > Personally, I think I am fit enough for the job. The only
    >thing that concerns me at this point in time is the traffic, >especially in the city where people do not seem to have
    >any patience...

    If there was one job in the world that I'd want to try.. it
    would be that of a bike messenger. Why haven't I tried?
    Well, I'm a chicken basically. That, and I didn't spend 20
    years of my life in school to ride bikes all day.. what the
    hell am I saying?!? :)
    I've thought about this a lot and yet I've still not left a
    cushy office job for the courier life. On the one hand it
    seems perfect, but then it is also so obviously dangerous.
    I've heard mixed reports about the money earning potential,
    but the general trend seems to be towards 'low' income.
    I dunno.. maybe one day I'll pack in my job and just try
    the life for a while..
    Good luck with your research. Post here what you end up
    doing - I'll always be very interested - courier culture
    fascinates me!

    hippy
     
  3. Daveb

    Daveb Guest

    Michael Myers wrote:
    > A friend suggested that I should apply for a bike courier
    > job in Melbourne. Is anyone here a bike courier? What is
    > the job like? Do you have to be superfit, etc? How do you
    > go about applying for a bike courier?
    >
    > Personally, I think I am fit enough for the job. The only
    > thing that concerns me at this point in time is the
    > traffic, especially in the city where people do not seem
    > to have any patience...
    >
    > Thanks in advance.
    >
    > a.
    >
    >

    You'll need some fairly specific skills:
    a) must be completely fearless
    b) must be able to ride all day without feet ever touching
    the ground
    c) must be able to ride at least 50% of the day with one
    wheel in the air
    d) must be able to ride through cross traffic when faced
    with a red light
    e) must be completely fearless

    Actually I was a bike courier for 3 days about 20 years ago,
    but I didn't have any of the above skills which is probably
    why I didn't last very long.

    DaveB
     
  4. Alan Erskine

    Alan Erskine Guest

    "DaveB" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Michael Myers wrote:
    > > A friend suggested that I should apply for a bike
    > > courier job in
    Melbourne.
    > > Is anyone here a bike courier? What is the job like? Do
    > > you have to be superfit, etc? How do you go about
    > > applying for a bike courier?
    > >
    > > Personally, I think I am fit enough for the job. The
    > > only thing that concerns me at this point in time is the
    > > traffic, especially in the city where people do not seem
    > > to have any patience...
    > >
    > > Thanks in advance.
    > >
    > > a.
    > >
    > >
    >
    > You'll need some fairly specific skills:
    > a) must be completely fearless
    > b) must be able to ride all day without feet ever touching
    > the ground
    > c) must be able to ride at least 50% of the day with one
    > wheel in the air
    > d) must be able to ride through cross traffic when faced
    > with a red light
    > e) must be completely fearless

    f) must have no sense of reality
    g) must ignore all road laws
    h) must be willing to knock down any pedestrian that gets
    in your way
    i) must be willing to go to jail for a paultry pay packet
    when arrested for (g, h, and i).

    --
    Alan Erskine We can get people to the Moon in five years,
    not the fifteen GWB proposes. Give NASA a real challenge
    [email protected]
     
  5. coowoowoo

    coowoowoo New Member

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    I second DaveB and laughed my head off.
    I think the most important point is "must be fearless"
    and you must also be prepared to lose a layer of epidermis.

    I have spoken to a few bike couriers and i believe that the pay is quite poor.
    I think overall the risk factor coupled with the low pay should be enough to put most people off.
    Good luck
     
  6. flyingdutch

    flyingdutch New Member

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    One must be dirty

    One must ride singlespeed (preferably gear inch above 70!)

    One myst have mutton-chop sideburns

    One must love riding in rain

    One must have great bike skills (let's face it. they put most of us to shame!). Not necessarily great traffic-abiding skills

    One muust be able to lock-unlock bike in 0.15 seconds...
     
  7. byron27

    byron27 New Member

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    I will put my hand up and admit, yes i was a bike courier....for 8 years in fact. This job here is my first job indoors, 9 to 5, etc that i have ever had and im 29. I think i have done well to avoid the office for that long.
    OK, down to the facts (well, from my point of view):

    1) it is not a job, it is a lifestyle. cliche plus but true to the core. You are going to have to love it or you will be riding around in the rain, or doing a run out to north melbourne or doing that last job no one else wants at 6 on a friday arvo when everyone else is back at base sinking a lovely cold one and be thinking "what the #[email protected]! am i doing here?". Once that question starts popping up, you be in trouble my son!. You do it because you love your ridingand you love being outside, living life.

    2) As my operator said, ad nauseum, "we are at the pointy end of the industry". Basically, everyday will be highly intense. From 730 in the morning until 515 in the arvo, i used to go, go, go. No lunch, no breaks, no nothing. Breaks occurred when i was clear, or in the lift, whenever. I have mastered eating a roll and drinking a choc milk in under a minute. Yeah, you can take it cruisey if you like, but dont expect to make good coin.

    c) The money is highly variable. Im from perth, and i was in the top 2-3 money earners in the city, and i made around 190-200 bucks a day, but that was from 730-515 as mentioned above, with heaps of experience and "the knowledge". Dont know what the pay is like in melbourne, but in my first year i was making 100 -120 bucks a day and it has just increased over time. Believe me, you can live well if you know what your doing.

    d) dont know if this is an issue or not, but dont be put off by any other couriers who give you the cold shoulder or act "too cool for school". If they are posers, they are probably crap couriers and dont worry, you will be shelling them in the earning ranks after a while. They are the guys who whinge on the radio all the time and who always seem to get "punctures" and "bike problems". The reason most guys will be a bit abrupt with you initially will be because you are an extra bike who will compete for their earnings, and you are taking money out of their pocket. It isnt personal.

    5) Dont use a fixie in the city!!!!!. That is unless you want to make life hard for yourself. Look at melbourne and make your decision on your kind of bike. Me?, i ride in perth, land of the sun, ridiculous wind and looonnggg distances on jobs, so i use a clean and ready roady, steel of course. Melbourne, well, its wet, quite hilly with tram tracks (have i missed anything?) so i would suggest a stripped down mountain bike with a road cluster. Chop your bars if you intend doing any tram splitting though.

    6) always lock your bike!

    7) ALWAYS LOCK YOUR BIKE!!!!!!!!

    8) Be a deviant when the cops arent looking and a model citizen when they are. Traffic lights are for cars, not bikes (oh oh, i might have started something here!)

    9) dont be a dick and ride down the footpath at 30k's an hour or freak out pedestrians at crossings, etc. All it does is piss them off and make couriers look like assholes. The way to courier nirvana is to move as fast as possible through the maelstrom while bringing as little attention to yourself as possible.

    10) Learn what the radio procedure is and follow it. The best way to piss your fellow pushies off is to cut over them, dribble about nothing in particular and put the mic on when an emergency vehicle comes past (actually i like doing that one...it blows out the operators ears).

    11) your operator, in your little courier world, is god. He tells you were you will go for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Do not piss him off, that is a one way ticket to doing crap jobs.

    12) do not put up with any crap from car drivers and take your rightful place on the road. Be aggressive. That doesnt mean trying to kick in panels, abuse everyoen, etc but give out a feeling of "this is my place on the road, and your not having it". Cars will always try to intimidate you, dont get angry about it, its not personal, and over time you will get used to it and realise you are wasting your own energy by getting angry. They dont care!. Just make sure they know you are there. Thats not to say i didnt have an altercation with someone everyday, but it was all in fun!!, not overly aggressive.

    i think i have rambled on for ages now but from my point of view, it was the best job i have ever had and i am truly happy to have found a job where i loved going to work. At one time, all 12 of the guys on my channel hung out with each other socially and it was great. I have met my wife to be through couriering and have made lifelong friends. Nothing beats being outside and experiencing the elements, the traffic, the danger, etc. And honestly, everything is never as cold, as dangerous, etc as your mind makes it out to be. Everyones head is a drama queen. Its all relative. I never felt danger splitting traffic, cutting traffic, etc, because i had faith in my abilities and i was in control. You have to be careful, but everything is a calculated risk. I never did anything really stupid. Hey, no broken bones in 8 years isnt bad!.
    as i have said, it is a way of life, and once you get the bug, it is hard to leave, hey i was going to courier for 2 years...max!!.

    also, if you want to buy a crumpler, ring crumpler and ask to speak to dave crumpler and he should give you a discount for a bag if you mention you are a courier. I got a fux deluxe off him a couple of years ago for 100 bucks, so see what he offers.

    Any other questions, or have i even answered the first question??
    :rolleyes:
     
  8. ftf

    ftf New Member

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    I have always wondered about doing this myself and that was some excellent advice/insight/whatever else... best post i have read for a while. Thanks for sharing!!

    cheers,
    Troy
     
  9. Resound

    Resound New Member

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    This is something I've considered myself. I'm a student and I'm certainly not looking for full time work, but a day or two a week would be great. I'm in Melbourne. Any thoughts as to who I should get in contact with? Which courier companies employ bikes?
     
  10. byron27

    byron27 New Member

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    i studied for 5 years while i was couriering and its a great job to fit into that schedule...if your boss doesnt mind that is... I dont live in melbourne but companies i know of are : minuteman, dart, DX, Courier Australia. Just look at the couriers riding around, they all wear uniforms (or they are supposed to), just ring the companies you see riding around. Bail one of them up if they dont look too busy....
     
  11. Roadie_scum

    Roadie_scum New Member

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    It's pretty hard to get casual/part time as a courier. Wizz employ a few students, as do Cox (I think) and Couriers 3000 (about three years ago when I last checked). Sweet job but!
     
  12. Resound

    Resound New Member

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    Excellent...will have to chase them down and see if I can't con them into giving me some work. Thanks muchly.
     
  13. Roadie_scum

    Roadie_scum New Member

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    This really depends on your company. When I was working I sometimes got 1 hour plus without a job, or with 1 crappy standard city-city. And the ops loved me - I was first to all the good work, but the company was struggling. If you are gonna work for someone small, make sure you get a guaruntee or an hourly rate.

    Too true. In Melbourne you should be between 100-140 unless you are a complete hubbard. It's perfectly possible to make 250-300 if the works there, but that's only on the dream days. Because most companies don't pay guarantees, they often put too many riders on soo you don't get coin. There are some notable exceptions, where they know how good their riders are, and let them make 200+.

    And if you want to tow, the place to be is the back right corner of the tram where the drama can't see you. Heh. I did it on a Roadie, and on an MTB with super thin slicks. I preferred the roadie, except for wheelie comps.

    ALWAYS LOCK YOUR BIKE!!
     
  14. Daveb

    Daveb Guest

    Resound wrote:
    > This is something I've considered myself. I'm a student
    > and I'm certainly not looking for full time work, but a
    > day or two a week would be great. I'm in Melbourne. Any
    > thoughts as to who I should get in contact with? Which
    > courier companies employ bikes?
    >
    >
    >
    > --
    >
    >

    Not sure what things are like now (and Byron27 sounds like
    the best person to answer), but the "job interview" I went
    to way back 20 years ago was amongst the funniest I've ever
    had. I rolled up to find about 20 people in suits and
    various other best clothes. I had trakkie pants and a t-
    shirt and was obviously the only one who had ridden there.
    The guy from Dart came out, took one look at the crowd,
    pointed to me and said you've got the job. I wish they were
    all that easy.

    DaveB
     
  15. hippy

    hippy New Member

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    The new trams (e.g. 109) don't have any nice hand holds on them like the old models and the drivers now have monitors connected to video cameras pointed out the back...

    hippy
    - does not condone any behaviour at all, good or bad. Just sit down and be quiet all of you! :p
     
  16. wassupdawg

    wassupdawg New Member

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    There's a 'handle' (i think its got something to do with cabling heading North?) recessed about 3-4 feet off the back end on the left.
    So i've heard, you know, from some guy who heard from some guy he met...
    Never thawt of checking out the right side...
    Usually just a spur of the (oh shite, here comes a hill!) kinda thing.
    I prefer utes/1tonners meself. better visibility
     
  17. Drs

    Drs Guest

    "byron27" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]

    [...]

    > 8) Be a deviant when the cops arent looking and a model
    > citizen when they are. Traffic lights are for cars,
    > not bikes (oh oh, i might have started something
    > here!)

    That's exactly the sort of antisocial behaviour that causes
    the rest of us so much grief because we cop the backlash.

    --

    A: Top-posters.
    B: What is the most annoying thing on Usenet?
     
  18. Craigster

    Craigster Guest

    "Resound" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:%[email protected]...
    > This is something I've considered myself. I'm a student
    > and I'm certainly not looking for full time work, but a
    > day or two a week would be great. I'm in Melbourne. Any
    > thoughts as to who I should get in contact with? Which
    > courier companies employ bikes?
    >

    My wife had an interview with SnapX a while ago. They seem
    to be a fairly professional outfit (they give you GPS
    computer, uniform etc). The only downside (and the reason
    she didn't take job) is that they only offer full time 8-6
    employment. No part time.

    http://www.snapx.com.au

    Cheers, Craigster
     
  19. Rickster

    Rickster Guest

    "DRS" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > "byron27" <[email protected]> wrote in
    > message news:[email protected]
    >
    > [...]
    >
    > > 8) Be a deviant when the cops arent looking and a model
    > > citizen when they are. Traffic lights are for cars,
    > > not bikes (oh oh, i might have started something
    > > here!)
    >
    > That's exactly the sort of antisocial behaviour that
    > causes the rest of us so much grief because we cop the
    > backlash.

    Spot on. The fark knuckle courier is long gone when the
    pissed off motorist double parks in the bike line, with a
    big faark you on his face, and why should I obey the rules
    when you cyclists ('cos to the motorist, we're all the
    same) don't ?
     
  20. In aus.bicycle on 19 May 2004 15:58:38 -0700
    rickster <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > Spot on. The fark knuckle courier is long gone when the
    > pissed off motorist double parks in the bike line, with a
    > big faark you on his face, and why should I obey the rules
    > when you cyclists ('cos to the motorist, we're all the
    > same) don't ?

    I think anyone who does that has already decided to do it.
    All the lawbreaking cyclist is doing is providing another
    justification.

    People don't break laws because they see other people
    breaking other laws. They do it because they want to -
    because they decide their convenience is worth more than a
    law that they don't like (because it is inconvenient). They
    know it's wrong, so they have to find a way to make it not
    wrong in their own heads. There are plenty of justifications
    they can use besides law-breaking cyclists, but that's an
    easier one than some others is all.

    People don't think badly of cyclists because of seeing a
    lawbreaker. Because there are plenty of cyclists who aren't
    lawbreakers, they just aren't "seen". A cyclist who does
    something a car driver can't is not upsetting the car driver
    cos the cyclist is breaking the law. They are upsetting them
    cos the driver is stuck and the cyclist isn't.

    People aren't rational and law abiding and disliking those
    who aren't. People - car, pushbike, motorbike - will do what
    they think they can get away with, and are annoyed by people
    who get away with more.

    Face it.. if a cyclist could monster a car into the ditch,
    think that not one cyclist would do it?

    Zebee

    --
    Zebee Johnstone ([email protected]), proud holder of
    aus.motorcycles Poser Permit #1. "Motorcycles are like
    peanuts... who can stop at just one?"
     
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