For most of this week I am riding for a local postal delivery service in Coventry, Yellow Jersey Delivery (YJD). I rode for them before in 2014 when I wanted to see if I can ride multiple days for over 20 miles daily. So I worked part time there.
There is no demand for a cycle courier service in the Coventry metropolis, mainly because Coventry isn’t really a metropolis, just a relatively bustling city. Not enough legal documents or contracts, photos or whatever cycle couriers tend to carry and deliver in large cities like London.
However, there seems to be a large amount of post that does go day to day around the city, local doctors, dentists, opticians, estate agents, and the like. Since 2013 YJD can deliver personal post also collected from designated drop off points in the city centre. Now at a lower rate than Royal mail. All collected, sorted and delivered by a small team of riders using a plethora of bikes. More on that later.
So this week they asked me to help out, due to previous poor weather affecting some of their full-time riders. El Nino has been creating some unseasonal weather in UK this year and although Coventry is not nearly as bad as say north of UK, it had a fair share of gusting wind. Ultimately, it caused one or two of the riders to either fall sick, or worst fall off their bikes.
Nevertheless, I can only do a couple of hours each day this week for YJD. Enough to help them to maintain their great record of delivering despite what the weather will throw at them.
So Monday, what was it like for me. I am nursing a shoulder injury, but after a good rest over Christmas and new year week, it is in good order, good enough to carry the load I had. Richard, one of the owners of YJD, kindly gave me particularly light load. Much appreciated I think.
Heading out this morning, I had checked the weather and it was cloudy but cold, so I layered up in a way to keep my core warm with thermal t shirt, merino baselayer, the obligatory YJD T-shirt and my trusty Altura 360 rain jacket. I had some running tights on with my Endura over trousers designed to keep me dry.
I figured that if I was dry I would stay warm. With my core warm my arms and legs can stay a little cooler to help regulate any residual heat I might produce. Didn’t really need the rain protection, but such materials does mean your sweat dissipate slower and therefore a fine line between getting wet internally or having a warm layer of air generated from my body. Since I wasn’t out all day I took that chance.
The conditions where very good as it turns out, stayed dry, roads were wet or moist, some mud to avoid or ride with caution. Since my rounds were all very close by to the sorting office I didn’t do any long stretches to start the post delivery. Once we’re delivering post it is more like jump on and off every few metres or tens of metres. So not really a strenuous ride. I got more tired from the jumping on and off the bike.
Thing I notice was my exposed chin getting cold and my body getting cool from lack of riding. So tomorrow u think I will wear my Snood (hat with 2 holes can be used like a scarf). Since I was getting cold I also noticed that I was getting slower to jump on and off the bike.
Even though it was cloudy the light quality was good and certainly it was nice to ride around with relative peace. I remember when I first started in 2014, it seemed almost impossible to get to all the streets in time to deliver post and collect post in a day, but the guys at YJD, reassured me that the street knowledge will become easier and it is all about spacial awareness in order to become more efficient. However I must admit that it is as hard today as it was a year ago to remember the next 3 addresses to deliver to!
My trusty Genesis CdF took on the wet/roads and dirty roads in good spirit. I gave it a quick clean last night and pumped up the tyres to 90psi for a bit more traction.
Anyway, today was only a couple of hours and in this cold dry weather, staying warm is the key.
Check out my 10.6 mi Ride on Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/473010077