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Electric Bike & Cycling Food Delivery: Gear & Ex-Rider Tips

I did food deliveries for 4 years. It’s fun but can be a tough job. If you do this on your ebike, hats off to you, but please don’t make this your full-time career. Have a plan. This job is relentless and the daily grind can be hard. I retired after 4 years of doing this. I have done this post to pass on some of my experience, some tips, and help for new riders.

There are good things about delivering food on your bike. Everyday biking is definitely good for your mental health, but it is also good exercise and keeps you fit. You are also outdoors in the fresh air and not stuck in the house, so if you are not sure if this is the job for you, those things you can consider.

I would also point out this is not an easy job physically. Delivery drivers and riders spend a lot of time sitting in their cars or on their bicycles. This can take its toll on your body and your bike with maintenance costs, but it is mentally very easy. Just collecting and delivering food is not hard at all. Riding bikes is hard even when it’s electric-powered. There is also the work in a changing environment, dealing with the weather, for example, and also dealing with a particular restaurant problem.

Gear/Accessories plus clothing you will need to deliver food on your bike

There is a video on my channel doing this job when I have a really bad shift you can find it here 

My equipment and tips overview 

  • Protect your tires/tyre liners or tubeless you can get liners here 
  • Helmet and goggles/sunglasses, you can get sunglasses at our shop
  • 2 Locks, I used to get a U lock and I’ve got a folded lock, I used to use 2 locks in dodgy areas or if I was going into a big block of flats or something.
  • Vibration Alarm, these are devices you attach to the bike, when someone touches it and it moves they make a loud noise, don’t just use this without the lock, I’ve seen someone steal a bike while their vibration alarm was going off as they rode into the night, use them both
  • Waterproof over trousers. These are not all made equal. Some let water in and look around for good ones.
  • Power bank and USB cable, your phone will die so have a backup power.
  • Retractable neck lanyard/ Phone lanyard neck strap
  • Bike Lights for nighttime, get a light that doubles as a power bank.
  • Large bag or panniers on the rear of the ebike for your spare kit 
  • Co2 inflator and o2 canisters for emergencies.
  • Camera if you wanna do YouTube 
  • Gloves you can use with a mobile 
  • Large water bottle sun protection 
  • Get a delivery phone if possible 
  • Wear a neck warmer, available on-site here
  • Socks and waterproof boots, don’t worry about wearing big boots, you can cycle fine in them.
  • GPS Tracker and movement sensor bike alarm.
  • Large insulated bag, for large packages or big cargo items
  • You will need an electric bike. Try to get one with a rack on the back so you can attach pannier bags.

First Shift Nerves

I will also say I was very nervous when I started doing UberEats and the chain on my bike came off the first time I did the job so I was late for the pickup with my hands covered in oil the McDonald’s staff said Where have you been, I held up my oily hands and they said oh wow but it was fine, It is normal to be nervous but it’s a simple job, do a practice run if you are really scared, honestly it helps, If I can do this job you can do this job I assure you!

The first rule is ALWAYS LOCK YOUR BIKE, do not get lazy about this the amount of people I’ve met that have said they turned their back for a second and their bike was gone is shocking, lock it or lose it, more in our guide to security here.

Get a vibration alarm, they come in many different forms, one is a vibration alarm that doubles as a rear light which is very handy when you get off the bike you press a button on the handset they provide you and it arms it, if someone touches your bike, the alarm will go off and it’s very loud, don’t rely on this solely on its use a lock too.

Secondly, punctures are the enemy. You need to protect your tyres YOU WILL get punctures, especially on electric bicycles. Don’t be lazy about this, get tyre liners, puncture-proof tyres, or go tubeless. Don’t ignore this or you will end up calling support saying you can’t complete delivery and it’s embarrassing. It happened to me twice.

Wear a helmet and goggles to protect your eyes from the crap flying in them. When doing e-bike delivery, you don’t have time to stop and mess about. You don’t want to be fishing flies out of your eyes mid-delivery. It has happened to me numerous times.

In wet weather and all through winter, wear waterproof over trousers. When you are home you can take them off and not have to change. Also, most waterproof cycling trousers on their own are not waterproof enough. The water gets through them. The over-trousers are double protection. There are loads on Amazon, finding the ones with the best reviews, getting soaked legs, and riding is miserable, happened to me numerous times.

Carry a power bank with you. If your phone dies you are screwed. It has happened to me before. Keep it in your inside pocket or it will die in the cold weather when you need it.

Get a retractable neck lanyard and put your e-bike lock keys on. There is nothing more annoying than fishing in your pockets for your keys every 30 minutes. You can retract and let go of your keys and also find them quickly when you lock and unlock your e-bike. 

Put your phone in a neck strap lanyard phone holder. Put this strap inside the above strap and link them together like Figure 8, and you WILL DROP your phone. I’ve broken 3 phones on this job. Protecting them at all costs, like breaking your phone in the middle of a job you’re screwed, happened to me once. Fortunately, I wasn’t on a job but had to ride home very sad.

Get a large insulated bag and make sure your backpack can get a large pizza, as you will get large orders like that and you cannot deliver them without running someone’s dinner.

I did plan on making YouTube videos for my channel. I got a C5 helmet with a video camera on. However, it takes hours of editing and uploading the crunching data. It took me all afternoon so be aware of this. I didn’t enjoy this so I stopped after a few videos.

You will need some gloves in the winter. There are some you can get that let you use your mobile without having to take them off. They are not very good at this, though. Just get some warm gloves. Cold hands are awful when delivering 

In summer make sure you wear goggles and sunglasses at all times available in our shop, as the glare from cars distracts, protect your skin and always carry the water you can ask some places to fill your bottle for you.

Have a delivery phone if possible. Don’t use your 2 grand phones to do this job. Buy a cheap Android phone or older iPhone, and you will drop your phone at some point, and if it happens when you go 20 mph it will shatter. This has happened to me. The iPhones have a terrible battery life, so invest in a larger rubbish phone and swap the sim card if you can. Make sure you wear your phone in a strap as mentioned above, but you will still drop it. It’s annoying as hell.

Get some waterproof boots. You can still ride in large boots and invest in some thick-fitting socks. Wet feet are not nice. Your hands and feet need extra protection in the winter.

GPS Tracker and Bike Antitheft Alarm I did invest in a tracker from Invoxia. It is a cheap tracker but I did not find it that useful. It did work though. However, there are some antitheft alarms you can attach to your bike with a movement sensor, so when someone touches your bike it goes off, you should invest in one of those, a tracker, if you are seriously worried about theft.

Planning for your first shift

Some other things you need to do are make sure your ebike has a good battery with a good range. I used to cycle between 10-40 miles on my shift. The most I ever did was 43 miles and the battery needed charging and died. I had to push the last mile home. If your bike can’t do 30 miles per charge, you are going to struggle as some of the distances for food delivery can be longer than you think, because you have to use your e-bike at maximum performance, and efficiency and riding slowly is not going to cut it. You have to deliver quickly to earn good money and not get complaints you are delivering too slowly.

Do some planning to learn where the big restaurants are in your local area. McDonalds and KFC are the big ones, but also shops in shopping centres were the hardest to find because the navigation on your phone is limited in these large buildings. Check out some of the routes you may well end up using, and make sure you know how to use the navigation app on your phone, you don’t want to be figuring this out when you are under pressure or lost.

Make sure you think about safety, ride defensively and don’t be afraid to use pavements when no one is around. Just obviously be very careful. Also, think about your visibility of road vehicles, buses and HGV vehicles, when you are in a rush you can make mistakes, so gear up with a helmet and make sure you have lights to improve your visibility at night.

Other stuff I learned the hard way 

Don’t fiddle with your phone while you are riding. Stop and fiddle with it. I wasn’t paying attention and ran into a bollard and hurt my finger badly. Don’t take chances if it only takes a second to make a mistake, especially when you are tired. 

If you use a multi-app when you get an order on one log out of the others, don’t mix and match orders. It will get you banned and bad reviews. 

Why did you stop delivering for the apps did you get bored of it?

Boredom was a part of it. The job can be a little tedious at times. The main reason I gave up was once I was delivering. at McDonald’s and some truck driver had blocked the Zebra crossing. I could not cross as it was fenced to the sides of the crossing. I eventually got around and said you are blocking the crossing with your van. He screamed abuse at me and said no wonder you are doing that job. At this point, it made me think about why I was doing it and decided the money was not worth the hassle and switched to building websites again, which I had done previously to riding and using the apps. I slowly moved away until stopping in late 2022.

How do you get started with food delivery as a cyclist?

You have to register with one of the companies out there. There is Deliveroo, Just Eat, and Uber Eats. You will have to send proof of identity to them and also you have to do a background check to make sure you don’t have any convictions. You cannot do this job if your background check is not clean.
Please bear in mind this sometimes requires you to go on a waiting list. It depends on what area you work in and how many people work there currently, so this could take a week or so, but could also take months. You have to be patient.

Can you register for more than one delivery service in England?

Yes, you can, you can register with Deliveroo and Stuart, for example, and have both apps open on your phone. You can have as many apps open at one time as you like. I had 4 apps at one time and had them all running at once.

What other items do you deliver other than food in the UK?

It is mostly fast food meals like McDonald’s and KFC. These 2 are the places you get the most orders from. Almost 70% of the time, you do get orders for shopping though from some local and large shops, where you deliver someone’s groceries. Stuart also introduced delivering Apple orders, where you go to the Apple store to pick up a parcel, and then deliver it the same day. You have to take a photo of the actual item and message support after delivering it. You get paid more but it is a bit more hassle than a normal order.

I think it will become more common for cyclists to be like those New York couriers you see on TV, weaving in and out of traffic, where cyclists will be delivering Amazon parcels for same-day delivery.

I am not sure if they are actual phones though or just accessories. Obviously, you just get a plain box so we would not know, but often these orders can take you a long time and can be up to 7 miles away, which is a long ride on your bike.

How much money can I make from a shift on Uber Eats, Just Eat, and Stuart?

This is the question everyone asks: Can you make a lot of money delivering food on your bike? Well, the answer is a bit complicated – it really depends.

When I worked during lunch hours and some evenings, my earnings averaged about £30 for a 3-hour shift, which is roughly £10 an hour. It’s decent, but not exactly a windfall.

Weekends can be more lucrative, with potential earnings of £10-20 per hour, but this isn’t always the case. In my experience, it wasn’t a path to great earnings. The most I made was £70 in one 3-hour slot, but that was an exception. I’ve known people who worked incredibly long hours, almost every waking moment, and they managed to earn £2-3k a month. However, they were constantly in their car or on their bike – it was relentless.

Remember, this job isn’t likely to be sustainable as a full-time, long-term career. It can get monotonous, and to make substantial money, you need to put in a lot of hours. And some days, you might not earn anything at all!

Those posts you see on social media where the person posts how much he made in one day, sometimes £200 he’s probably done that twice in all the time he’s been doing the job, some people even edit them in Photoshop, HOW SAD!

Do I need to be a registered business and do I need to pay tax on any earnings I make?

You do not need to register a business name you can use your own name and work as something called a sole trader google this if you need more information, basically you as a person are your business.

You do need to pay tax on any earnings over £1000, so the easy way to do this is to register as self-employed on the government website and fill out something called sell assessment, which is where you tell them what you have earned, you have to do this even if this is your 2nd job and you are just doing this in your spare time.

You can do the self-assessment by yourself and just calculate your earnings and tell the inland revenue they will let you know if you need to pay any extra on what you have earned and you will need to settle this amount, or you can hire an accountant to do this for you, you will have to pay them for this they will just tell you what to do, generally, I do this as I hate doing my taxes!

Do you get good tips on UK delivery apps?

Tips are non-existent on the UK delivery apps. Out of all the 100s of deliveries I did I rarely got any tips, which is normal. Someone gave me a £5 tip at Xmas once. That was my biggest.

Can I multi-drop orders, for example, pick up a Deliveroo order and Just Eat simultaneously if the order pick-ups are close by?

You can, but this is the kind of thing that gets you banned quickly from the apps DON’T DO THIS. I did it a few times but all the times I did it, it took the orders a lot longer to deliver and I received a warning the next day. The problem is the orders could go to totally different areas. I stopped after realising this. Your procedure should be once you get an order on one app, log out of all the others, until you have completed the order. Once done, so go back online on all your apps again.
The delivery companies can see your GPS where you have been and how long it took, they would only need to review your trips and then they could get you banned.

Do I have to have insurance to use my ebike to deliver food to people in the UK?

No, you do not need insurance to ride an ebike and deliver the food, you just need a thermal bag and your phone. If you’re using a car or motorbike, you need special delivery insurance. That is why some car and motorbike riders have bike accounts to avoid paying this extra cost, but it is illegal if you get caught by the police. They will take your car off you, you will get points and a fine if caught.
I used to insure my bike, but only for theft, not to ride on the UK roads.

Can you deliver items and food too fast while using Deliveroo or Uber Eats?

Yes, your average speed and time taken to complete the delivery are worked out for each delivery you make. If you go faster than the average other riders you could get a warning or even a ban. The reason for this is to stop car drivers from using bike riders’ accounts. If you reach speeds of 50mph and deliver far faster than the average they will notice on the stats, you will be banned from the delivery apps and once you are banned there is no way back. Also, if you have a faster bike, 500 watts or 750 watts, you can go faster. However, I have used this sized motor while delivering before and did not have any problems. I kept my average speed at 20mph.

What if I cannot find a customer on a delivery?

It’s pretty common not to find someone straight away. Most of the time, the customer will be waiting for you. If you cannot find them, then you have to call the customer. It’s best to tell the customer where you are. Specifically, I always say I am standing opposite the post office. For example, they will often know where you are then.
If the customer does not answer, you have to contact support but have a good ride around for a few minutes to see if you can find someone waiting for you. If you are sure, then contact support and take it from there. Uber Eats you are given a timer after you call the customer 3 times the timer kicks in usually around 7 minutes when it gets to zero, you can cancel the order and take the food back to where you picked it up or keep it which some people do, this is very rare you can usually track the customer down.

Do you ever get abuse from customers delivering?

It is incredibly rare to get any kind of abuse from anyone. I had 3 bad customers in my 4 years of doing this job, one was very abusive, and the others were just rude. For the most part, the customer will take their food and not say anything, usually, and some people don’t say thank you, but it does not affect you after a while as you’re in a rush and don’t have time to say thank you to them either ha.

I have been banned from delivery apps. How can I get my access back?

You cannot get access back. There is no way to recover your account. Do not use one of those services that tell you they can get back your account. They are all scams.
The only way to do it would be to get a friend to do it for you and add you as a substitute rider.

Me delivering food on my ebike
Owner at Reight Good Bikes | Website

I'm the passionate mind behind this online web shop. As an avid cyclist, I have a particular fondness for electric bikes and scooters, believing they offer a unique sense of freedom and joy. Not only do I enjoy riding them, but I also take pride in reviewing and sharing my insights about these fantastic machines. Additionally, as someone who suffers from dry eyes, I'm committed to stocking products that genuinely enhance and improve people's lives. Dive into my shop, and you'll find a curated selection of e-bikes, scooters, and other life-enhancing products that I stand by.


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