Cyclogistics in the Time of Coronavirus  

Though only weeks into the advancing coronavirus pandemic, New Yorkers are quickly discovering a next level of reliance on the services of working cyclists. As a historically marginalized and poorly organized workforce, working-cyclist delivery workers (and a menagerie of bicycles) are cranking out productivity during this slow-motion catastrophe. Unsung heros, working cyclists are helping maintain the most vital and basic functions of normalcy while all else has skidded to a quiet, surreal, halt.

In the midst of this crisis, this vast, decentralized workforce is proving resilient and adaptive beyond comprehension. Rapidly growing demand to keep city denizens relatively healthy and happily-fed in the age of physical distancing ensures the delivery worker remains on the front lines amidst the pandemic. Over-policed, undervalued and at-risk, this labor force is mal-disposed to deal with yet another burden: the increasingly lethal virus itself. 

Credit: Bloomberg

The time has come to consider a shift away from ignorance and underappreciation of working cyclists. We suggest it’s a time to deliver something of value back to the deliverists themselves. Having supported and based its business on working cyclists for nearly two decades, Revolution Rickshaws has drafted a list of best practices and industry insights forged from years of experience and felt deeply in light of experiences from the past few weeks.   

Optimizing Working Conditions of NYC’s Working Cyclists

Labor: Working Cyclists—Vital AND Skilled
• Work-force protections: Healthcare; PPE Preventative Testing; Hazard Wages; Paid Unemployment 
• Education to minimize exposure and spread. 
• Fair Wages, Full Prosecution of Wage Theft
• Unionized and/or Organized Labor Force, Job Training and Certifications 
Tech: E-bikes & Cargo, Legal & Integrated
• Digitize the workforce; enable organic teams of deliverists
• Develop smart communication tools that safely and effectively integrate working and commercial cyclists into city fabric
• Develop connected and dedicated lanes for commercial cycling
• Integrate ebikes and commercial bicycles with on-street parcel lockers / curbside delivery zones: ‘docked’ bikeshare but for parcel and grocery
• Smart containers, intermodal and modular

Customer Behavior: Apps, eCommerce, Delivery Recipient

• Digitize Tipping—Safer for Health & Security, Encourages generosity. 
• Educate Consumers: Delivery is an invaluable service vital to Urban Life; Working cyclists MUST be valued accordingly.
• Communicate ‘Delivered By Bicycle’ to marketplace, recipient
Planning / Policy:Re-engineer All NYC Building Lobbies

• Efficient / Safe Goods Movement Starts With Effective Receiving; therefore… 
All buildings must have a dedicated receiving area on the ground floor. 
• Delivery workers, Best at horizontal axes of cities; recipients, best at vertical axis. 
• The built environment must accommodate / encourage seamless / contactless deliveries, minimize inefficiencies of time, energy, safety

This draft is a living document for industry stakeholders to access, develop, and improve. It’s a guidepost, and Revolution is eager to learn more from participants and beneficiaries of our industry to weigh in on this framework: We love to hear from you. Post your comments below, or shoot us an email at Now more than ever, working cyclists would benefit from the generosity of stakeholders. Thank you for your consideration.