The life of a bike courier in Tallinn, Estonia
This is the modern story of how a 33 years old (now 34), what the society would call a grown-up man manage to fuck-up all his career’s opportunities and from a degree in International Relations finds himself working as a Bike courier in the beautiful city of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.
October, the temperature out there is dropping quickly.
Every day I get on the bike I get more and more worried about how cold it is going to get, how quickly the tarmac is going to freeze, and how quickly is going to come the day that I’ll lose grip and find my ugly face falling down kissing the asphalt!
All around Europe there are articles coming out on the web and on printed paper about how it is working for an App. Yes, it is the truth, no office life at all, no suit, no structures, no colleagues, if you want. No need to go to the office, just pick up your stuff/bag when you are around there and that’s all you need.
I have read a lot about the experience of other couriers around, but the truth I believe to be just another one, what a friend of mine, a courier, said not long ago in Italy: “you spend a lot of time on your own, alone” and I would add “and if you really want to speak, you’ll speak to yourself”.
My first job in Estonia.
I started just for FUN and soon after became routine, quite cool routine, to be honest. It allows me to discover the city, stay out face real life, or at least what I believe there is out there.
Every day I wake up, make a nice coffee (espresso of course), then getting ready and logging on the App! Once you are online, you don’t need to do anything just wait for your first “assignment”.
Often I make another coffee, sometimes I do some Yoga in the house so I can stretch, warm up, relax, and at that point why not going out. At a certain point the app will call and it will be time to jump out and ride.
This is the nowadays couriers kind of working life (at least mine); all the movies, the videos around, all the romantic image of these featureless guys and girls out there in the rain, the snow, yes it is all true, but “hey” this is the truth as well. All around Europe, the world, there are new and old companies creating bike services and all people like me or different, or whatever, are getting on their bikes and making some cash. So we are all there in front of our mobile waiting for an assignment.
Yesterday for example I was riding and looking at the App/mobile attached on the handlebar of my bike, checking the gps (yep, I am pretty new in Tallinn and I have to check).
A woman looking at me, looking at the handlebar, saw my mobile, and said: “Playing the Pokemon game on your bike…!!!”…
people are crazy!
My MTB – winter bike, hopefully will be enough for the Estonian winter…
Just lately, a week or so ago, on several newspapers there have been articles about the first strike of riders against a “company at the limit of legality” in Italy, Turin. It si true, we are not employed, we are providing a “service” to the company paying us, so technically we are self-employed. In Italy they were complaining for the lack of right and protection giving the responsibility to the company they are employed to (Foodora); what I want to clarify is that it is not because of the companies if the workers have so few rights, but because the governments allows these kind of contracts, where in many countries give no social security, no pension fund…
On the other hand, I don’t plan to do it forever, and even if we pay our taxes I don’t believe that pension will be there for my generation. Maybe all this capitalism and lies will fall at a certain point.
Let’s enjoy something that might not last for the rest of our lives, let’s enjoy rolling on the bike, being outside (even us up here in the north), while a lot of other people are bored sitting in their offices, without even knowing why they are there all the day – all their life.
Me, at least, get to see the beautiful Tallinn, with its nice panoramas, new, and old building, the nice old wooden houses.
And when I have no calls, no assignment, I just carry a good book! Got this book as a present; could not be more perfect!
Come on! Life is Good!
I believe that the best we can do in life is just enjoying life itself.
Even when the weather is real shit, like lately…