Food delivery is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the gig economy and is how many people make a living or just a little money on the side. If you have a bike and some free time, maybe you’ve also thought about delivering hamburgers and pizzas for cash.
However, you cannot just download an app, hop on your bike, and go. You need to equip your ride with bike accessories for food delivery before you can make your first delivery. These accessories make your job easier, and some apps even require them.
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How Do You Deliver Food on a Bike?
Most people are used to food delivery being done by cars. However, many delivery operators in cities have switched to delivery by bike or scooter. Bikes weave through city traffic much faster than cars do, and riders don’t have to worry about parking.
Some people may confuse you that you can deliver bulky items by bike. However, anything is possible if you have the right accessories! Most delivery people have a rack on the back of their cycle to strap down food. Once you’ve secured the food, you can pedal away to your destination.
How Much Do UberEats Cyclists Make?
Before you invest in accessories for your bike, you may be wondering how much you can make by being a delivery worker. After all, if you’ll be earning pennies, then there is no point in reworking your whole bike.
UberEats calculates the fee by factoring in a few different expenses. They pay cyclists a pick-up and delivery fee and a set amount per mile and added service fee with a percentage that differs according to the type of vehicle you use. In certain cities, Uber guarantees a $15 minimum wage per hour of delivery, which goes up to $19 an hour during peak delivery times.
On top of the fixed money you earn from UberEats, you can also make tips from delivery customers. Calculating how much you will earn as a cyclist on UberEats depends on various factors, including your willingness to work and your ability to provide excellent customer service.
UberEats Bicycle Requirements
UberEats has strict requirements for the type of car that a delivery person can drive if they work for them. However, they don’t have those requirements for a bicycle. When you sign up for the app, you can use pretty much any type of bicycle that you want, which saves you the expense of going out and getting a new one just to meet Uber’s requirements.
However, just because UberEats does not have formal requirements for the type of bike you can drive does not mean that you want to rely on any old clunker. You want a bicycle that is fast, in good condition and has an easy place to install a rack.
You should also check local ordinances and guidelines. Some local governments require cyclists to have certain types of safety equipment on their bikes or wear safety clothing. If you don’t have those on hand, you may face a fine if you get caught.
The Best Accessories for Food Delivery
Here are the best bike accessories for food delivery that will make your new hustle easier.
A Bike Lock
One of the first things you should buy as a delivery cyclist is a bike lock if you don’t have one already. A heavy-duty U-lock such as this one is one of the most indestructible locks out there and will ensure that your bike will still be there once you come back. Your bike is no longer an accessory but the backbone of your livelihood and you cannot afford to have it stolen just because you thought you could walk away for a few minutes.
Some bike locks come with an attached cable, or you can buy one separately. These cables go through the spokes of your wheels and attach to your lock. In some cities, bike thieves dismantle the wheels and walk away with them if they can’t get the frame. If you know that this is common in your area, an extra cable is worth the investment.
After you’ve protected the safety of your bicycle, it’s important to think about your own safety. Delivery cyclists have a good job, but it can be quite dangerous, particularly when their route takes them through heavily trafficked roads. Even if you don’t wear a helmet during your recreational rides, invest in one for work.
A Phone Mount
Imagine trying to manoeuvre your bike through the city with one hand while scrolling through your phone frantically looking up directions with the other. It sounds difficult—and in areas that banned distracted cycling, it could even get you in legal trouble. That is why a phone mount is necessary.
A phone mount lets you clip your phone to your handlebars or bike frame so that you can look at directions at a glance without removing your hands from the handlebars. Get a waterproof mount such as this one for those rainy days.
If you don’t already have a smartphone, you’re going to need one for this job as well. A smartphone is how you will communicate with customers, receive orders, and find your way around the city.
A Bike Rack
Once you’ve secured your bike and yourself, you will need a way to transport food from
restaurants to customers. Unless your bike came with a rack already, you will need to buy an adjustable cargo rack. These racks attach to the back of your bike and make it easier to
transport heavy items, including large deliveries, from place to place.
Fixed bike racks are more stable, so you won’t have to worry about losing your food order in
the middle of a delivery, but in a pinch, any type of rack will do.
A Cooler Bag
Another accessory that is practically required is a bag to transport the food. Your delivery bag should be large enough to fit orders of all sizes but small enough to fit comfortably on your bike rack. For this reason, many delivery cyclists prefer a backpack as many bags designed to mount on a bike are too small to carry large food orders.
It should be insulated so that you can keep food at the ideal temperature no matter where you deliver it. Finally, it should have dividers so that you don’t have to worry about food tilting over and spilling as you cycle.
You can get an official cooler bag from the company that you deliver for. However, unless they give you the bag for free, the company cannot require that you get their official bag since you are a gig worker, not an employee. It’s usually less expensive to get a bag from Amazon or from the supermarket.
You can adjust the bag that you get to your needs. Some delivery cyclists prefer backpacks. Others get a separate pizza bag or drink carrier to store some of the most frequently delivered items properly. After a few deliveries, or if you find you have to carry pizza on a bike frequently, you can see if you need those extra features or not.
A Bike Light
Chances are, you will wind up making some deliveries at night. Many peak delivery periods happen after dark, and even dinnertime in the winter happens after sunset. You will need a bike light such as this one to make your way around. It doesn’t pay to rely on unreliable city lighting, and depending on your locality, it could even be a legal requirement.
This is not an accessory for your bike per se, but it is still necessary if you want to deliver in all kinds of weather. A lightweight rain jacket or poncho will protect you from the rain since you can’t exactly use an umbrella while cycling. You can also get warm bike gloves for the winter. Be sure to get some with touchscreen-sensitive fingertips so that you can respond to orders and find directions without freezing your thumbs off.
Equipping Your Bike for Deliveries
If you are getting ready to start a career or side hustle as a cyclist delivering food for companies such as UberEats and Postmates, you need the right equipment. Most companies do not require specific bike accessories for food delivery, but preparing yourself will make your life easier and even help you earn more money in tips.
One of the first things that you will need to think about is how you will transport the food from the restaurant to your customers. If your bike does not have a fixed rack already, you will need to install one. Then, you need the right bag to store the food. Choose a bag that will secure to the rack or that has straps to wear as a backpack. It should be insulated to maintain food temperature and have enough compartments to secure different food items.
Finally, you will need to think about your own safety and well-being. Protect your bike from theft and damage with a lock, and protect yourself with a helmet, bike light, and weatherproof gear. Once you are properly equipped, you can start making money doing food deliveries in no time!