I sometimes think that all cyclists secretly want to be couriers. It was my dream job before I started (it still is), and I've lost track of the number of people who've come up to me in the street to confide that it's always been their ambition too and ask how they get into it. (Two of them have since turned up on the circuit, for which I blame myself.) But there's much more to it than just riding your bike around all day - here's ten things you won't know about couriering until you try it:
1. You will become boringly obsessed with the weather forecast.
2. Law firm receptions have the best sweets.
3. You will soon be on first name terms with most of the bike shop staff in town.
4. Many companies require you to deliver to their loading bay, which is often several streets away from the main reception. The receptionist will not tell you this until you have locked your bike up, taken the package out of your bag, and queued for 10 minutes to talk to them.
5. A good waterproof can make your day; bad gloves will ruin it.
6. Black cab drivers are the enemy, but will also chat you up, on occasion.
7. You will become an expert on which cafes let you use their toilets, and which pubs will refill your water bottle.
8. Your social life will wither and die, because you're always asleep by 9pm.
9. Tourists will frequently ask you for directions to a street five minutes' walk away, and then hail a cab anyway.
10. You will never get rid of the smell.