As a life-long cyclist and someone who has enjoyed working freelance for many years, I never thought there would be a way to unite these two aspects of my life until I moved to Vienna and found Foodora.
An app-based food delivery company with operations in 10 cities around the globe, Foodora offers food from unique cafes and restaurants brought to your door by bicycle. Their service model has proven itself to be not only fast and reliable, but environmentally friendly.
Every network is built on relationships with local restaurants that offer so much more than your typical pizza joint or kebab place. With the best in global gastronomy that Vienna has to offer, the Foodora menu has everything from haute-cuisine, to the perfect gourmet burger, or a wide array of vegan fare.
As a rider, you can earn up to €12 an hour plus tips and you're free to build your own schedule. You choose when you work using an app and can swap shifts simply by conferring with another colleague. This flexibility makes it a great way to earn extra cash or to go deeper and immerse yourself in Vienna's bike delivery scene.
For new recruits, the only requirements are a mobile phone, your own bike (or an equally green and speedy mode of transport), and a friendly attitude. When I worked as a rider, I saw it as an opportunity to supplement the income I make from freelance translation projects.
I began in November 2015, which may seem like the silliest time to start a job that takes place largely outdoors, but it turned into a truly enriching experience that got me through the miseries of winter.
As I had just moved to Vienna, the warm camaraderie I found amongst the other riders made me feel welcome right away. With each shift, I would meet both new and familiar faces from all corners of the world.
Not only did I regularly find myself in engaging conversations around the communal garage with musicians, engineers, programmers, actors, scientists, and artists who just so happened to ride for Foodora on the side, but the rider managers prioritized the organization of monthly “rider events”, in which this community spirit went well beyond just shop talk.
Foodora rider events regularly take place at different hot spots around Vienna, where riders gather around beers to hold quiz nights, present their musical skills, or just hang out.
The video below gives you a feel for how a Foodora rider goes about a typical order...
As a newbie to Vienna, another surprising benefit riding for Foodora was the challenge of learning to find my way around the city's streets and districts, but at a very reasonable pace. A typical shift lasts around three or four hours, in which you will take care of anywhere from four to 12 orders, depending on your speed and the demand for orders given the time of day.
Based on where you are most often sent to pick up food, you quickly learn about the most popular eateries in the city and how to get there simply by muscle memory.
Not only did I learn where to eat, but interacting with Foodora's hugely diverse customer base allowed me glimpses into many Viennese lifestyles; students hard at work, young start-ups operating out of apartments, established businesses, and bustling families feeding their children at the end of a busy day.
There's also a singular feeling of accomplishment at the end of a shift, knowing the amount of ground that you've traversed in such a short amount of time and the number of mouths that have been fed!
I also remember those periods of downtime, taking advantage of the lull to sail down the Ringstrasse and take in the Danube air or to enjoy a quiet moment in the historic Volksgarten while waiting for my next order.
Of course, bike maintenance is a necessary hassle for any cyclist. But, as a part of the Foodora team, you'll have the added perk of access to repair services during the busiest hours of the week.
So, in case of a flat tyre or a snapped chain, you can head to a garage which also houses a community workshop where Foodora's bike aficionados collaborate to realize their own independent projects. If you're passionate about bikes, you'll not only find good company, but a world of ideas, advice and spare parts.
If you have a sense of adventure and the need for some extra cash, if you value community and, of course, if you love cycling, click here
This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by Foodora.