By Dominic Lucchesi
Continuing our look at Bicycle Courier Companies worldwide, this entry takes us to the Netherlands. A country known for it’s extensive network of bicycle paths and facilities, the Netherlands appears to be a cyclist’s dream. 27% of the country’s trips are made by bicycle – this figure jumps to 59% in its cities (for context, the bike mode share in Oakland is 1.8%; in Berkeley, it’s 8.0%). So, you can see why we’d be interested to know what life is like for a bicycle courier in that part of the globe.
Some time ago, I chatted with Tobias of De Fietskoerier Utrecht (The Utrecht Bicycle Messengers). Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands. Interestingly, due to its central location, Utrecht is an important hub for the country’s rail and road transport. It’s also been the religious center of the Netherlands since the 8th Century. Neat.
A super cool dude, here’s what Tobias had to say about his profession:
Who are you and where do you operate? And for how long?
We are “De Fietskoerier Utrecht” (translated as “TheUtrecht Bicycle Messengers”) and as our name says, we operate in Utrecht and around. In January 2014 we celebrate[d] our tenth birthday.
Can you give us an example of a typical delivery and an atypical delivery?
Difficult, we really do everything. A lot of work to and from the chamber of commerce and the courthouse, furthermore a lot of design companies and printing companies. A growing amount of medical deliveries, such as blood, medicines (and sometimes even a lung). As well, people call us to send boxes to Mexico, for now we only do the first few kilometers on bicycle…
What kind of bike(s) do you use?
Mostly fixed gear, but also regular racing bikes, single speeds, MTBs and cargo bikes (Bullitt). Also, we have a solar powered electric car for larger deliveries.
Any on-the-job challenges that you may face?
5 different messengers on the road on the same time can be a challenge to manage, however, in the end it always works out fine.
How many riders are in your crew?
We are a collective with 9 owners. Furthermore a group of about 8 freelancers help us out .
What does the future hold for the bicycle courier industry?
More work, also more work in between cities, with for example a train or car in between.
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: De Fietskoerier Utrecht!
Lastly, for bicycle courier service in Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville, make sure to check out the crew at Pedal Express!