Despatch riding: the ultimate test of man and machinery. Armed with four city bikes, can the staff survive London's urban jungle and earn an honest wage?
Being a motorcycle courier is probably one of the hardest and most dangerous jobs in the world, ever. Some may claim that deep-sea fishing for killer crabs in the Arctic Ocean is tough, but I can't see many fishermen surviving the attack of the black cab, the pain of frozen fingers or the wrath of a pissed-off controller. Well, they probably suffer frozen fingers, but you get the idea.
But it's not just a test for man; it's also a supreme test of machinery. Spending all day, every day stopping, starting and dodging (or not) pot holes and traffic is like an urban version of the Dakar Rally. A heavy clutch will destroy a wrist in hours, a lack of turning circle will waste valuable seconds, light and nippy handling is needed to get in and out of gaps, and decent brakes are a necessity for avoiding pedestrians and U-turning cabbies.
So what better test of four very different city-focused bikes than to become couriers for the day? Could Honda's classic city tool, the CBF500, prove that size doesn't matter against Buell's CityX (say it 'City Cross') and could Suzuki's no frills budget GS500 hold its own against the Hornet-derived CBF600?
Under the terrifying gaze of courier company BCCP's controller, the delightfully named 'Punch', four journos turned up for the first - and last - day of real work they will ever do to find the answers to all these questions, plus a few London backstreets they'd never heard of...
London's streets contain my biggest fear on the roads - motorcycle couriers. They're nutters. And they hate other riders who are slower than them. Riders like me. So imagine my 'joy' when I learn that I am to become a motorcycle courier for the day.
Continue the courier bike test - 2/3
A is for 'A' as in to -ZB is for Black cabC is for Controller - he is your godD is for Drop-offE is for Empty - radio speak, means you've got no jobs on boardF is for Fuel - you'll be using lotsG is for GT550 Kawasaki - a courier's dream machineH is for Hospital - avoid them at all costsI is for Insurance - it costs a packetJ is for Jammy git for getting away with that overtake back thereK is for Kit - you'll get need lots to stay warmL is for Late - don't beM is for Muffs - as in handlebarN is for a Nice cuppaO is for Organ donor - try not to become oneP is for POB - radio speak, 'parcel on board'Q is for quick - try and be, but see 'H' and 'O'R is for Rickman topbox, the courier's favouriteS is for standing by and ready for more workT is for toasty, as in 'warm and...' In winter you'll be wishing you wereU is for U-turnV is for vehicle - you'll meet lots of 'emW is for Wait and returnX is for X-rays at the hospitalY is for Yesterday, as in 'that should have been delivered..'Z is for 'Z', as in A-to
Become a fan of Visordown
Follow us on twitter
Other Immediate Media Sites
Our eCommerce Platform
© Immediate Media Company Ltd 2012. This website is owned and published by Immediate Media Company Limited. www.immediatemedia.co.uk