Your Food is on The Way, But The Delivery Guy is Winded

by glenn on June 21, 2011

Peer into the future of food delivery in New York City and you will see the folks who deliver the food getting bigger.  My prediction is, that NYC’s food delivery workers are about to take up more space in your elevator.  Why, you ask? One simple lazy innovation. Electric bikes. The pizza delivery man, nor the Chinese food guy  will no longer be pedaling constantly for 10 hours a day through the bike lanes of Manhattan. One beautiful thing about living in New York City is that you can have just about any worldly cuisine delivered to your door in about 20 minutes.  It’s actually kind of amazing to have that opportunity.  It will still be amazing, but it may start taking 25-30 minutes.


About 10 months or so ago I remember seeing a new display for these electric bicycles at bike stores everywhere.  Essentially, the way they work is when you do actually pedal them, the energy you create is stored for use later on.  There is an option to pedal them, but there is also the option of plugging them in for a battery charge.  Since first spotting that display in the store, I have seen an increase in deliverymen conveniently resting their feet on the foot boards while they cruise through the bike lanes. Their top speed is no longer dictated by their leg strength. It’s now dictated by the bicycle’s manufacturer.


So what does all this mean?  It means that the delivery man’s only form of exercise is being cut out from their day.  Six months to a year from now that same person dropping off your burrito is going to have that familiar spare tire around the waste.  All those ingested, but unexpended calories they used to burn up pedaling, will now be stored in their fat cells.   And when that happens, bingo!  Knock, knock, here’s your overweight delivery guy.  Now the restaurants who bought the bikes should spring for a gym membership and maybe even a personal trainer Manhattan.


Another example of unintended consequences.  In an attempt to make life more convenient, we’ve taken away a major opportunity for exercise. Those pedalers didn’t even look at it as exercise either.  It was part of the job.  Now it’s gone.  Let’s not even get into the long term burden this puts on the individual’s health, the health care system, and health care costs.  In short, it’s not good.


I’m all for bicycles and bike lanes in the city.  They are good for the environment reducing congestion and auto emissions, as well as helping people burn off some calories on their morning and  evening commute.  Electric bikes are good from an environmental standpoint, but they aren’t much help from an exercise standpoint.  A conventional bike versus an electric bike is like comparing biking up an incline and coasting downhill.  The downhill is a rest period.  They do obviously have their positives.  However, in this particular case, for this crowd of food service providers, I think this is an unhealthy way to improve working conditions.  They’d better hope the restaurant pays for a gym membership or personal trainer Manhattan because, the slower top bike speeds will slow down their delivery times, lessen the number of deliveries they make daily meaning less tips.  It’s a downward spiral.  Remember to call ahead to give your delivery guy extra time to get to your doorstep.  Bon appetit!



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