Five UberEats and Foodora bike couriers on what it’s like to cycle with your food delivery

Five UberEats and Foodora bike couriers on what it’s like to cycle with your food delivery

For the brave couriers of Toronto’s instant food delivery services, there’s never a dull moment—particularly around this time of year, as treacherous weather conditions set in. We asked five couriers to tell us what it’s like to deliver grub on two wheels.

Patricia Merino, Foodora

The enemy: “Whether it’s the flying doors, blind right turns or unnecessary aggression, I find cars unable or unwilling to coexist. A lack of space isn’t the problem, it’s lack of awareness. If both cyclists and drivers were just a little bit more mindful of their surroundings there would be a lot fewer collisions.”
Occupational hazards: “Weather conditions have a huge impact on how often I work. I’ll ride up to 10 hours in the spring and fall months, and in the summer I usually keep it to around six-to-eight hours. In the winter, I still get my hours in but I take frequent hot-chocolate breaks.”
Horror stories: “On my last order of the night one night, an elderly lady opened the door, and not far behind her was her fully nude partner. I saw everything! They seemed to be having fun.”

 

David Lewis, UberEats

The enemy: “Cab drivers, especially Uber drivers. Car doors are also a well-established foe.”
Strangest order: “Definitely bubble tea. Shut-ins love bubble tea.”
Horror stories: “I was at Dundas and Coxwell when a guy at a Tim Hortons by Woodbine and Queen ordered a banh mi. Once I arrived, I got a text from him saying that he was actually at Spadina and Bloor. It was on that night that I came to appreciate the Waterfront Bike Trail—just as I’m sure the customer came to appreciate cold banh mi.”
Best tips: “Once, after conquering one of the toughest hills in the city—northbound on Glen Edyth Drive—on a hot summer’s day, a customer greeted me with a cold glass of water. That was better than any tip I’ve ever gotten.”

 

Pablo Mayoral, Foodora

Strangest order: “I remember when we used to do custom orders, this guy staying at a hotel ordered condoms and two packs of cigarettes from the hotel lobby.”
Horror stories: “I got doored once on Spadina. When the guy got out of the cab, he looked at me on the ground and walked away!”
Occupational hazards: “I’d love to see more bike lanes on major streets and fewer cars on the road. Pedestrians and cyclists need more bridges, underground lanes, parks and public spaces that are connected.”

 

Fred Mirabelli, UberEats

The enemy: “Pedestrians. Most of the time they don’t watch what they’re doing and they’ll just hop into the street.”
Strangest order: “I made a really weird delivery to a man standing in the middle of a park. He ordered a single pastrami sandwich from a little mom and pop store. When I got there, this guy came sprinting at me, obviously stoned and very happy.”
Horror stories: “The worst things I’ve seen are mostly accidents, people not taking care in stressful weather conditions or other cyclists not obeying the laws put in place for us.”
Best tips: “I work for Uber, so people don’t usually tip!”

 

Mark Ferguson, Foodora

The enemy: “Jarvis Street. The remnants of a former bike lane hurt my soul a little.”
Horror stories: “I’ve wiped out on the streetcar tracks a few times, but it’s a rite of passage for cyclists in the city.”
Occupational hazards: “You can’t really consider a bike lane a bike lane if cars are parked inside half of it.”