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.