23 September 2019

A love letter to our riders

Whenever we advertise for new cyclists we understandably get a lot of interest. If you’re happiest on two wheels it’s a dream job; you’re doing what you love and getting paid for it, it keeps you fit (wouldn’t we all exercise more if we were paid to?), you get to see new parts of London, you get to spread joy and make people’s day by delivering flowers and you don’t have to start until midday, bonus! When the sun is shining, it couldn’t be better. The winter months are harder, but for the types of people the job attracts, it probably still beats being at a desk.

It may surprise you to know that only two riders a day cover our delivery area. That’s how fit they are. On some days they’ve been known to cycle 67 miles. That’s two and a half marathons. And that’s just on a normal day – Valentine’s Day is a whole other story; our volume on the bikes increases tenfold and we triple the amount of riders. They leave the studio three hours earlier than normal with bouquets strapped to every possible surface on their bikes – cargo boxes on the front, bags on their backs, panniers on the sides, you name it, if you can fill it with flowers, it’s on there. Come wind, rain, hail, snow or shine, they turn up throughout the year to load their bags up with flowers and set off across the city to make people smile. It’s certainly not a job for everyone but the people who do it seem to love it and we can honestly say it always seems to attract some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. We heard a story recently where one of our riders was left with a bunch of flowers which, due to an incorrect address provided, weren’t going to be able to be delivered and risked going to waste. Our rider Chris kept this bunch of flowers all through his shift until he saw someone who he thought needed cheering up. No one fitted the bill until he was almost home and saw an old lady crossing the street. He stopped her and said he delivers flowers and had a spare bunch, which he’d like to give to her. She told him it was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for her. Naturally, we all cried upon hearing this.

We don’t use any third-party courier companies for our bicycle deliveries, so we know and trust all of our cyclists. This means we get to see every day just how much effort they go to to get those flowers where they need to be. Many customers ask about time slots and although we know it’s nice to have a smaller delivery window than 12-6pm, once you know the lengths our riders go to every day, it’s easy to understand why specific time slots are difficult and instead we prioritise making their routes as efficient as possible so they’re not zigzagging across London and wasting vital pedal power.

Last week we said goodbye to our veteran rider, Billy. If you’ve used Petalon more than once, it’s highly likely one of those deliveries will have been made by Billy. You may even recognise him from one of the many photos of him used on our site and our various Petalon paraphernalia. Being fit (stop it, we mean healthy) as well as having a good knowledge of London by bike is definitely a basic requirement for the job but it’s the other qualities our riders have that means the job doesn’t just get done but gets done with a little extra something, which we think is partly why customers come back to us. Billy has been with Petalon since the early days and his positive energy, endless enthusiasm and his ability to remain completely zen whatever we throw at him has never faltered. It’s people like Billy and our other riders who make Petalon what it is. We’re sure some of you reading can recall a time where you may have had a friendly phone call from one of our riders if perhaps you’ve written 67 instead of 76, or maybe they can’t gain access from the road so they want to know the best alternative. Just as the florists at the studio take time and care putting the flowers together, the riders take time and care making sure they’re not just left in the first place they find before they zoom off on their next delivery.

So thank you, riders, and thank you Billy, for doing what you do. You make Petalon a better place to work and the London streets a more beautiful place to ride.

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