Vans and motorcycles are a go!

It’s been an exciting year at Gophr. We’ve raised money from our investors Yonder and Beyond, we’ve built the best business courier service booking system in the world (we think!) and we’ve assembled an incredibly capable and diverse team. Together with you, our couriers have performed thousands of deliveries. We’re now getting ready to carve a name out for ourselves in the industry.

We recently became the UK’s first and only Living Wage accredited courier company, which we’re incredibly proud of. The courier industry has been torn by wage and treatment disputes for years, cumulating in recent protests at some very large companies. We’re proud to put a marker down and say the industry deserves better. In fact, we’ve insisted on it since Gophr was first formed.

Until now, our deliveries have been carried entirely by pushbikes and cargo bikes. This has kept our delivery area relatively small. Our cargo bikes can take 70Kg of weight no problem, but we know this has restricted what we can carry tremendously.

Today, we’re announcing the introduction of our van couriers and motorcycle couriers! Since our launch in March, we’ve had daily requests to help you move bigger and bigger items and we’re pleased to say we can do this starting today.

Vans and Motorbikes

We’ll be introducing various sizes of vehicles including scooters, motorcycles and both small and large vans. We’re confident we’ll be able to take just about every item you might want to send by courier and for anything else, let us know and we’ll see what vehicles we can introduce to serve you in the future (speedboat on the Thames maybe?).

Going forward, you’ll be able to book vans and motorcycles through the same familiar interface you currently book push-bikes through. This time however, you’ll be able to select the most relevant vehicle to your package and we’ll adjust your quote and ETAs automatically. As you’ve come to expect, we’ll also made some small changes to our size/weight guidelines in our UI to help you gauge your package size and weight for the new vehicles too.

With the Christmas period coming up, we hope we’ll be your first choice for delivery. Got special requirements over the festive season? Drop us a line on our live chat button, or at yo@gophr.com and we’ll be happy to work with you as best we can to make sure your plans go smoothly. You can reach us via the above methods for any issues at all.

The Gophr Team

 

 

Trying to fix a broken industry is hard. Here’s what we’ve learned.

Two years ago I had an idea that would change my life.

At the time I never stopped to think how this thought would lead me to quit my job to go and work in an industry sector I didn’t have the first clue about. Nor that I’d end up doing a bunch of ancillary stuff I’d normally run a mile away from.

The idea was to build a platform for businesses to order a same-day delivery directly with the individual courier who would be doing the work. It was designed to spell the end for courier companies as they currently exist.

The burning desire to wipe them off the face of the earth came as a result of me taking time off work to wait for a package to turn up, only for it to miss its delivery window by hours. … 

 

ProductHunt: How Gophr fared on the Startup world’s favourite website.

Is it possible to have a startup without knowing what ProductHunt is?

I don’t know, but with a staggering number of eyeballs on the site every day, no startup can afford to miss out on a shot at ProductHunt fame – we at Gophr are no exception.

With a major announcement on the way a few weeks ago, we began to look at our options for getting press. We worked out who would be most interested in our announcement, how to get in touch with them and how many readers we would reach. More importantly, we got our heads down and started making improvements to our user experience, adding some essential features and squashing bugs. We wanted everything to go off without a hitch. … 

 

Analogue 2.0

Note from Seb: The first courier I ever met in London after I first had the idea for Gophr was Clarence Takunda Chodofuka. I got introduced to him after walking into Full City cycles asking them who the best person to speak to would be. We’ve now had the good fortune of being able to hire Clarence to come work for Gophr. Four weeks ago he got into a crash whilst on the job so we brought him in to work in the office, to monitor at how our automated dispatch system worked and to give us feedback on it. Whilst he was there he offered to write a blog post on what it’s like to work with the Gophr system and the glimpse it’s given him into future of couriering. Here it is…

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Skate me to the river

 

September 2015, 12 months on from the success of the Long Live the South Bank Campaign. Now that the Totally Thames festival is under way we decided it was a good time to look into one of the most iconic and memorable places on the river and the story of its salvation: London’s South Bank undercroft. Jasper; pro-skater and Gophr courier, sat down with us to tell us a bit about what made a group of skaters unite to save their space. Read on to find out what made a vacant space become one of the most recognised places in London. 

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W.I.S.E 2015: Gophr goes to Glasgow

The WISE Championships just took place in Glasgow, so we sent the only local Gophr employee we have, Nile Frater, a born and bred Glaswegian who had no clue about this stuff to go check it out and report back his findings

DSC_0008

So off I went to the 2015 Welsh, Irish, Scottish, English Bicycle messenger Championships to take my first real look at some cycle couriers and the shit they get up to in their spare time. First thought I had after seeing their clothes and bike was it was a sort of British Burning Man Festival/Mad Max on bikes hybrid, only this being Glasgow the backdrop of amber and blue you find in the desert and its skies was replaced with varying shades of grey. Love it.

Couple of other pretty obvious observations: cycle couriering needs physical fitness, endurance and when you’re zipping in and out of traffic all day, a bit of bravery too. But unlike many professions, many couriers see their role not as a job, but as a bloody good laugh: “It’s basically just a paid hobby” Ross, a Glaswegian courier I bumped into, told me.

Basket Bike

If Mad-Max had hippies instead of war-boys

Glasgow’s 3-day long event started in RIG Bike Shop, a cosy, basement bike shop and cafe. This was as a base for the couriers over the weekend, with a BBQ on the Saturday afternoon and a party on the Saturday evening. They even shut the shop over the weekend just so the couriers could eat, sleep and party.

The street Keirin started at 7pm on a Friday night in Park Circus, possibly the most London-like area of Glasgow. They chose it for a good reason, though: this street is circular, wide and quiet, perfect for a race. Usually, a Keirin consists of a group of cyclists following a speed-controlled pacer, like a motorcycle, only to then sprint against each other towards the finish. The meet started with the organisers and early-arrivals shortly followed by the arrival of a massive group from the RIG bike shop, turning the quiet, empty street into a lively, busy place in no time at all.

Getting started

Getting started

Normally you’ll have a motorbike to pace the Street Keirin. Instead, a cyclist in a flashy green and yellow hoodie emerged take charge at the head of the pack before swerving out of the way and letting them compete in a super-fast race which was like a low-budget Formula 1 with multiple laps and close wins, only quieter and with more spandex. I wasn’t the only one watching either; loads of residents had iPhones, iPads and cameras pointed out their windows. (Mainly cos Glasgow weather is rubbish and no one wants to leave the house)

Pacing the couriers, dressed to kill

Pacing the couriers, dressed to kill!

Street Keirin’s are on shaky legal grounds as they aren’t the safest. To try and keep each other out of harm’s way, couriers asked drivers entering the street to wait until the laps had ended before driving in. There weren’t any helmets or safety gear involved in the race as far as I could tell. So to see them taking those sorts of measures was good.

Saturday started out with a 1pm BBQ at the RIG bike shop. Shortly afterwards, the couriers started the main race of the event, between 2-4pm, starting off from RIG. 8pm that evening held a “Deathcat Criterium”, which I didn’t manage to attend but from the name I gather was as safe as houses. The night ended with another party, this time back at RIG.

Sunday morning must’ve been a painful one for those drinking since Friday, but the group made their way to the West coast of Scotland on the way to Millport after a Wetherspoons breakfast. Millport is a small island just across from Largs with a tiny town situated in the middle and a well-cycled route all the way around the island. You can only get there by ferry.

Sci-fi

Having previously been dragged along to Millport on two wheels in my life (an experience I never want repeat, ever), the thought of having a courier time trial there made me queasy. It was only 4 months ago that I got halfway round the circuit, only to be hungover I collapsed face-down, crying out for my mother. These guys are made of tougher stuff.

With time-trials kicking off at 2pm, the event drew to a close on Millport and prizes were handed out for the weekend’s events. John Buchan was named the fastest Glaswegian, having also won the main race on Saturday.

If you like the sound of this, it won’t take long for another event to come around. The 8th annual London Calling event, held between September 11th and September 13th has just passed and there will be plenty more early next year which we’ll be attending.

Want to help the courier industry and their struggle against unfair wages? Booking with Gophr helps us provide our London Living Wage guarantee and guarantees your one good deed for the day.

Until next time...

Until next time…

 

Gophr Interview: The Good Brownie co.

It doesn’t matter who you are, everyone can appreciate the feeling that you get when you eat something that’s really good. David, the co-founder of the Good Brownie company, has a distinct vision for how his brownies should be enjoyed and taste is only the start. … 

 

Interview: Fullcity Cycles

This is the first post in a series of interviews with some of our clients and friends, aiming to highlight the triumphs and struggles of running your own business. Where better to start than the spiritual home of London cycle couriers: Fullcity cycles.

A small bike shop located on Leather Lane in Farringdon, every inch of Fullcity is stuffed with bikes and bike parts, … 

 

A spicy Meat-A-BALL: ECMC Milan

ARRIVAL OF THE FITTEST

So this time it was my turn to immerse myself in a cycle messenger event that’s the largest in Europe and was by all accounts the most well European Cycle Messenger Championships attended for quite a few years. [For this years World’s check out Seb’s experience at the CMWC in April]. … 

 

Bike manufacturing start ups that you need to know about

Cylo bike

The Cylo 1 has been described as ‘The perfect bike’. Created by a former director of design at Nike, it’s a very attractive bike (if a little feminine). There are lots of people …