There is no faster and cleaner way of delivery in the cities than bicycle couriers. The video by New York bike courier Cooper Ray, for example, shows how blatant this is:
It is exciting that the topic is a kind of revival. At the beginning of the last century, bicycle couriers were commonplace in the cities. Then they got more and more replaced by cars and motorcycles. Only with the increasing congestion on the streets in the 1980s did bicycles suddenly become attractive again, because there was otherwise often no getting through. With this comeback, the job has also developed into a real lifestyle with its own style, equipment and code.
In addition, there have been numerous championships and competitions since the 1980s. The first world championship was actually staged in Berlin in 1993. The driving force was Achim Beier, founder and owner of our Berlin courier partner messenger. Of course, there is also an international bicycle courier organisation: the International Federation of Bike Messenger Associations.
There are and have been real stars in the scene who were accompanied by various documentaries and reports.
With the new navigation and communication capabilities, the bicycle courier job is also changing. Radio used to be the medium of choice and you can still see the cool guys with their radios on the street. However, this is increasingly being replaced by mobile phones. Modern smartphones also have the advantage that the courier apps that are now available can do much more than just organise job assignment. The couriers get the exact route on their cell phone. Customers can then follow the shipment as the courier's GPS will return the position data. When you pick up or drop off your order, it is possible to confirm directly in the courier app and some apps also allow you to pay directly on site.
A further innovation on the market is the freight bikes. Professional freight bicycles can also be used to move really large consignments. In addition, the topic of e-bikes is becoming more and more important. The engine is particularly useful when the cargo bike is loaded with heavy items. Delivery by e-load wheel is certainly one of the most important developments, as it can significantly reduce traffic and emissions in cities. However, this does of course nibble somewhat on the professional ethos of the "real" bicycle couriers, who often do not even regard a gear shift as a suitable aid with their puristic fixed-wheels.
In many German cities, the biggest obstacle to further expansion of bicycle courier logistics is the lack of infrastructure. Narrow cycle paths are neither designed for super-fast cyclists nor for wide and comfortable load wheels. If this is to work, it must be significantly expanded. This helps all bicycles and thus also all other city dwellers, since bicycles are certainly the means of transport with the best ecological balance.
For us at Packator, our bike messengers are a very important factor. Fast, environmentally friendly and largely independent of traffic conditions, they do jobs that would otherwise not be possible. If it should go really fast, our Rudi beats every driver.
An ex-bicycle courier world champion Austin Horse shows how this works: