- How It Works: Deliver food using a bicycle or e-bike, avoiding traffic and parking hassles common with car deliveries.
- Benefits: Low operating costs compared to car deliveries, improved health from physical activity, and reduced environmental impact.
- Challenges: Limited delivery range, difficulty in carrying certain orders, and exposure to harsh weather conditions.
- Requirements: Must be at least 18, have a government-issued ID, and pass a background check. No vehicle inspection needed, but a well-maintained bike is essential.
As one of the top food delivery apps, its bike delivery drivers are almost always guaranteed a constant stream of work.
But to truly thrive in the highly competitive food delivery gig world, a rider needs a bit more than just the app on their phone.
As such, here’s everything you need to know about Uber Eats bike delivery gigs, together with some tips to set you up for success.
- How Does Uber Eats Bike Delivery Work?
- Signing Up as an Uber Eats Bicycle Delivery Driver
- Bike Delivery Tips and Strategies
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up
How Does Uber Eats Bike Delivery Work?
Uber Eats bike delivery works much like any other food delivery service, except instead of using a car, you use your bicycle — and in some areas, an e-bike or scooter — to complete customer orders.
If you’ve lived in a big city, then you can instantly understand why this is an ingenious idea. For most cities, bikes and scooters are a much faster mode of transport for delivery services compared to cars.
A bicycle eliminates some of the shortfalls of using a car, like the effects of traffic snarl-ups or the need to find parking — which is one of the biggest drawbacks to driving in a city.
Like rideshare drivers, Uber Eats bike couriers are independent contractors who need to meet certain minimum requirements before they can start working for the app.
Additionally, unlike other delivery jobs, you need to be in reasonably good shape to be successful at this gig. Thankfully, you can work around this by investing in an electric bike or scooter.
But before we can get started on the application process, take a look at what you can expect as an Uber Eats bicycle delivery driver.
The Pros of Uber Eats Bike Delivery
Working as a bike delivery driver for Uber Eats comes with significant boons:
1. Low Operating Costs
Uber Eats bike delivery keeps operating costs low. This means more money in your pocket at the end of the month.
Bike maintenance costs, for example, are only a few hundred dollars per year — a fraction of what it would cost to keep a delivery car running for the same amount of time.
The only major cost is perhaps that of acquiring a bike (if you don’t already have one), but the price is incomparable to that of a car — even if you decide to splurge on a scooter or e-bike.
2. No Traffic or Parking Hassles
One of the biggest downsides to car deliveries, especially within cities, is having to deal with the traffic and parking. This is made even worse when you consider that most restaurants are located in the busiest parts of a city.
However, this isn’t something Uber Eats bike delivery drivers need to worry about. They can easily cut through the congestion and pull up in front of restaurants and dense downtown apartments without worrying about parking.
This is what makes them the faster and more efficient food delivery method.
3. Improved Health
Uber Eats bike deliveries effectively allow riders to get paid to work out. Better yet, these health benefits extend to e-bikes, which have also been proven to increase the heart rate and provide a good workout.
4. Reduced Pollution and Emissions
Bike delivery means one less car on the road — and while this might have little bearing on you as an Uber Eats delivery person, it’s a step in the right direction toward decongesting cities and reducing the amount of emissions we generate as a society.
The Cons of Uber Eats Bicycle Delivery
As amazing as food delivery by bicycle may be, there are some pitfalls you want to keep in mind:
1. Limited Range
Bike riders have a limited range, especially when working with perishables like in food delivery. Uber Eats recognizes this and limits your delivery requests to shorter distances, usually within a 3-mile radius.
You might occasionally come across a long-distance order with higher pay. But it might be best to reject these delivery requests and stick to shorter orders with quick turnaround times.
2. Harsh Weather Conditions
Unlike a car, bicycles offer little in the way of protection from the elements. You’ll inevitably have to deal with harsh weather conditions in the course of your Uber Eats food delivery gig.
Depending on where you live, this may involve working in sweltering heat over the summer months, below-freezing temperatures over winter, and getting soaked in the rain.
3. Difficulty Carrying Orders
Most people have trouble carrying awkwardly shaped food, like pizza, on a bike. However, simple equipment like a delivery backpack is usually enough to effectively complete Uber Eats food delivery requests.
Drinks, on the other hand, are the one thing that almost every bike courier despises. While many have developed unique and creative solutions to the problem, most will quickly agree that this is the worst part of delivering food orders.
Different restaurants have varying standards of drink packaging. But as time goes on, this issue does get a bit better.
For instance, Starbucks and McDonald’s often have good packaging for drinks, while other restaurants may require extra precaution.
Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert
I’ve found that the best way to carry drinks is by 1) ensuring they’re correctly packaged, and 2) getting the right gear to carry them.
An easy way to spills is by taping down the lids of the drinks, as well as covering the drinking hole where the straw goes.
Regular scotch tape will work, but you can also buy food-service specific tape that is a bit more durable and holds up better around liquids.
If you really want to avoid spills, you should also consider buying some gear that is specifically designed to carry drinks.
My favorite is a foam cup holder block. I put one of these at the bottom of my delivery bag (to reduce the center of gravity) and then neatly arrange the food order on top.
Doing this keeps the drinks cold in my cooler, yet stable enough from sloshing around and spilling.
Some of the more expensive food delivery bags actually have compartments in them to avoid contamination in case of spills. Even with these, I still suggest using a foam block holder.
Signing Up as an Uber Eats Bicycle Delivery Driver
Signing up to become an Uber Eats driver or bicycle courier is simple: you just need to make sure that you meet the bicycle delivery driver requirements.
Thankfully, unlike most delivery gigs, the requirements are much simpler since you won’t be using a car. But even so, here are the eligibility requirements you’ll need to meet:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a government-issued ID or a valid driver’s license
- Social Security number for a background check
Additionally, when signing up on the Uber Eats app, be sure to choose “delivery by bicycle or foot” under the transportation method.
There’s no bicycle, scooter, or e-bike inspection needed for this delivery method. But a fully functioning and well-maintained bike is critical for your success in this role.
Once your account is set up and you’ve passed the background check (which usually takes 3–5 days to complete), you can log in to your Uber Eats driver account through the driver app and start completing orders.
Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert
This is a bit of a long story, but it’s definitely worth the read.
I placed an Uber Eats order and noticed that the bicycle delivery person I got matched with was moving INCREDIBLY fast on their way to the pickup restaurant.
The other thing that caught my attention was that at the time of the order, it was only around 10 degrees Fahrenheit outside.
To make things even more interesting, the streets were covered in snow and ice as the result of a blizzard we had blow through 2 days prior. Tons of sidewalks were still covered in snow, so riding a bike wasn’t technically even possible.
I was very curious if, how, and why a person was actually going to show up on a bike.
When he pulled up in a car, I was a bit surprised, and rather confused. I grabbed my food, thanked the driver (lol) and then immediately looked into the issue a bit further.
As it turns out, in some areas, there’s been a trend of drivers registering as bicyclists on the Uber Eats app, yet using a car to deliver the food.
This is causing issues because these drivers, using cars, are taking many of the nearby orders that are usually meant for actual bicyclists.
This leaves genuine bicyclists with fewer and potentially less convenient delivery opportunities.
There’s been some ongoing discussion about this issue, but it’s not entirely clear how effectively Uber is addressing it.
Uber’s algorithms are pretty finely-tuned to detect schemes like this. You’ll likely receive a notification from Uber, but it’s still unclear whether you’ll be deactivated or not.
Bike Delivery Tips and Strategies
Uber Eats bike delivery presents a great income-generating opportunity. But to make the most of it, you’ll need to employ the right strategies, namely:
1. Invest in Your Bike Delivery Gear
Unlike delivering with cars, where you hardly need any extras, bike deliveries demand that you have some equipment to make your work easier. This includes:
A good bicycle helmet
Safety should be your greatest priority, and this starts with a high-quality helmet. If you can, go the extra mile and get a bike helmet with a visor to protect your eyes from projectiles and chilly winter winds.
A food delivery backpack
Make sure to get the right size delivery backpack. Many bike backpacks are small and are built to reduce drag.
When delivering with Uber Eats, you’ll begin to find that many orders are quite large. So make sure to get a backpack big enough to fit all the food.
A decent bike lock
You may not always use it, but you always need to have a bike lock at hand when you need to secure your bike, such as when entering apartment buildings or restaurants where your bike isn’t in your line of sight.
I also highly suggest discreetly adding an AirTag or GPS tracker to your bike. In the case that it happens to get stolen, you can quickly track and locate it.
A phone mount
This is essential for keeping your phone easily accessible while you’re on the bike. Just be sure to get a mount that fits your bike.
There are plenty of great options online, but many compete on price and lack features, which mean they are quite flimsy and not that sturdy.
I suggest going with a higher-end mount like a Garmin or a reputable brand. Or, just look on Amazon for high-rated ones and read the reviews before making a selection.
A phone charger
The Uber Eats app is known to use a lot of battery power since it’s constantly tracking your location. Always keep a portable charger on you so you can get some extra juice when needed during a busy day.
I personally ride around with a solar-powered charger. That way, if I am low on power, I just strap it to my backpack and let it recharge as I ride.
A repair kit
Spare yourself unnecessary repair bills and incomplete orders due to minor failures by investing in a repair kit that includes enough tools to change or repair a puncture.
There are plenty of options that can slip into your courier bag. Or, if you’d like to be even more low-profile, get one that you can attach to your bike directly – eliminating the hassle of it getting in the way of your deliveries.
2. Consider an E-Bike or Scooter
An electric bike or scooter could be a game-changer for your food delivery gig. They come with all the perks of a bike but eliminate some of the limitations.
For example, with your e-bike or scooter, you can easily clock up to 20 mph. While this might not sound like a big deal, it makes all the difference in city traffic where cars are constantly moving at a crawl.
Even better, you still don’t have to worry about costly maintenance and parking.
In today’s world where electronics reign supreme, electric bikes are pretty cheap, allowing you to pick up a pretty nice one at a very affordable price.
3. Focus On Volume Rather Than Pay Rate
This is an age-old debate among Uber Eats drivers — whether to go for long-distance higher-paying jobs or shorter, easier-to-complete gigs that pay less.
In our opinion, the latter is the better way to go. When you’re on a bike, it’s better to aim for volume through shorter jobs.
This way, you can keep your customer ratings high without overly exerting yourself, ultimately improving your earnings.
In addition, explore beyond the normal city hotspots that you see within your app. By only chasing these, you’ll likely notice reduced order availability due to saturation of other drivers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Keep Working for Uber Eats When You Move/Travel to Another State?
The beauty of Uber Eats is that you can work for it in any place where Uber services are available (with some exceptions). It’s a great way to earn extra income no matter where you are.
How Long Do Uber Eats Bike Delivery Riders Have to Complete Orders?
The advertised times for any given delivery are between 15 and 25 minutes. Riders are expected to complete deliveries within this timeframe, which is why choosing the right orders is essential for your success.
How Much Do Uber Eats Drivers Make?
Delivery riders make around $15 to $25 an hour, factoring in tips, driver promotions, and bonuses. However, this figure varies depending on location and demand, with a national average hourly wage of about $19 an hour.
Bicycle food delivery is one of the best side hustles for anyone looking for a low barrier to enter the income stream. It allows you to work anywhere and anytime, provided that Uber Eats operates in your area. It also allows you to earn income as you get some exercise and explore your neighborhood.