Slice of life

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Submitted by Sachin on Fri, 22/02/2013 - 15:26

THE NEXT time you call in a pizza, spare a thought for the bloke who delivers it. He’s been out all evening delivering dozens of similar orders, come rain or snow or shine. How does he comfortably put all those miles on? We swung by our friendly neighbourhood Domino’s Pizza store to find out. 

Domino’s provides its delivery riders with standardised motorcycle gear - branded blue jackets and trousers, and a white full-face helmet. Angie Lawrence, the company's Corporate Social Responsbility Manager, says: “The safety of our staff is paramount, and we realise that delivery drivers in particular need strong, weather resistant, high protective clothing in order to carry out their jobs safely. Our driver uniforms match that brief and quality.”

The company has the following specifications that the kit issued to its riders must comply with:

  • A properly-fitting, plain-coloured helmet with a clear visor. It should be secured using the chinstrap at all times. The helmet must comply with BS6658 type A or ECE 22-05 standards; if the latter, the helmet must also carry an ACU Gold logo.
  • Approved Domino’s Pizza bike rider jacket and trousers.
  • Gloves designed specifically for motorcycle use.

The helmets are white, good-quality full-face lids, with a top and chin vent and a click-to-fasten strap. The jackets and trousers are heavy-duty pieces of kit, evidently built for hard use. Made of waterproof Cordura, they have CE armour in the shoulders, elbows and knees, and have reflective stripes. The jackets have a removable thermal lining, two large outer pockets and two zipped inner ones (for mobile phones and money), and rear shoulder vents for hotter days.

Riders buy their own gloves, inners and footwear, usually from online or sporting goods stores; Domino’s only specifies that they should be black in colour. As the riders often need to climb flights of stairs at the point of delivery, motorcycle boots are not the most convenient option; most of the riders tend to wear heavy shoes or trainers, depending on the weather.

Tamas, a 25-year-old from Hungary, has been working as a delivery rider at the London Edgware Road store for three years. “The jacket and trousers are heavy and can get hot in summer, but we do not feel cold in winter, and they give us good protection,” he says with the confidence of a man who’s fallen off a couple of times.

He is a biker outside work too, so his choice of gloves is Alpinestars’ Radiant Drystar, but like his colleagues, regular sports shoes are his preferred option. He also wears a thick balaclava and a thermal undershirt, beneath his Domino’s uniform shirt, to keep extra warm.

Tamas puts in eight-hour shifts delivering orders within a three-mile radius; at peak times, which constitutes about half his shift, he is constantly on the go – picking up pizza, delivering it, returning and repeating the cycle 4-5 times an hour. “I usually keep my kit on for at least four hours continuously,” he says, “but at less busy times I can go to the store, hang up my helmet and jacket and wait for the next order.”

“I like this job, I like riding and being outdoors,” says Tamas. Then, firing up his Innova 125, he’s off into the chilly evening air, to continue his night-time patrol through the streets of northwest London. 

So the next time a ratty delivery bike pulls up next to you at the lights, consider that these guys are bikers too - a different breed, perhaps, but worthy of a nod. It can't be easy being called upon to sustain the lazy amongst us every Friday night...

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