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Bad day to be a cycle courier
11.01.08 by Buffalo Bill

I have written before about how much I enjoyed being a London bicycle messenger. If I could get the same money for actually delivering parcels as I do for getting other people to deliver parcels, I would probably still be riding my bike. But I can’t.

So I sit indoors, getting fat, ugly, stupid and old, whilst the riders get sweaty, tired and hungry. And most days I miss being on the bike.

Most days, that is, apart from today. It seems to have been raining continually since Xmas. Every rider’s bike is filthy with road-dirt, and they themselves appear to have been living in plastic bags for the last week. Bags, water-proofs and shoes are damp, and the aroma of ‘wet messenger’, a mixture of stale sweat, synthetic fibres and mildew, clings to them.

Punctures are common, and those riders that use their brakes have hands that are grey with the filth that compound blocks deposit on rims and tyres. And as most of our riders either are sick, have been sick or are about to get sick, they must be simply exhausted.

Oh, and did I mention that most of them are skint? London pretty much closes for 2 weeks between December 24 and January 7, and as they have not been doing much work, they have not been receiving much money. No holiday pay, not to mention sick pay, for self-employed sub-contractors.

Add to that slick streets, day-light that lasts from around 10am to 3pm and the shoppers on Oxford Street still blindly seeking bargains.

And then there’s the holes. The constant stream of water from the skies has washed out all the shoddy road repairs made by the men who make holes in roads, and every major road has several of these new monsters yawning around every corner, lurking under each bus. As if there wasn’t enough to make a messenger miserable.

Look at this one on Oxford Street: it’s got mud at the bottom of it. Yuck. Me, glad to have a nice, safe, warm chair to sit in. Have a good weekend, messengers of London. You have definitely earned it.

  1. don’t be so down on yrself, bill. you’re top man!


    tofu    12 January 2008, 06:03    #
  2. Get a room. And at least it wasn’t cold, coulda been a lot nastier.


    — Josh    12 January 2008, 09:46    #
  3. Bill now I realise you are like the suits in the lift going ‘ohh poor courier you’re all wet, it must be terrible’ and I’m just wanting to say shut up you clueless old fool but instead going ‘its not so bad, could be worse, could be raining turds innit’ like I always do.


    — Josh    12 January 2008, 12:49    #
  4. I’d better get to the dry-cleaners double-quick so I can have the suit back in time for Monday!


    — Bill    12 January 2008, 12:54    #
  5. i’ve always loved london couriers and how they whinge about rain.


    tofu    12 January 2008, 15:30    #
  6. I’m beginning to believe the ‘soft southern poof’ myth.
    Average annual rainfall:
    London 23”
    Glasgow 44”


    westcoastmess    12 January 2008, 18:30    #
  7. Bristol 42”
    Lloro, Colombia 523.6”


    — Josh    12 January 2008, 19:06    #
  8. you should control at Cyclone Bill; we’re in the basement and don’t know if it’s raining and the riders aren’t supposed to come downstairs so I don’t get to see them all wet and bedraggled. If they sound hacked off I just assume it’s me; or the pay; or ‘personal’ problems. Or me.


    — will    13 January 2008, 18:02    #
  9. aahh, Buffalo Bill, the Louis Theroux of cycling


    — Swiss Tony    13 January 2008, 21:15    #
  10. Go easy on Bill. I bumped into him on Sunday morning and he was suffering with a cold. He had a go at me for buying “posh bread” from the local bakery off colombia rd. Riding around in London boosts your immune system to almost invincibilty. Poor bill chained to the desk, come back out on the road Buff.


    Zack Speedfast    14 January 2008, 13:11    #
  11. Now it’s raining bollocks!!!!


    — overdrive    14 January 2008, 17:12    #
  12. count yourself lucky it’s not raining todgers…

    if they were as big as mine they’d do more damage to London than the Luftwaffe.


    — Swiss Tony    14 January 2008, 17:24    #
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