Despite competition from motorcycle couriers, Lersan Nataphan, 30, co-founder of BikeXenger, Bangkok’s only bike messenger service, believes that pedal power is the way forward for a greener city.
What inspired you to start this bike service?
My friends and I loved to ride bicycles after work, so we thought, why not try to set up a bike messenger service just like how mail used to be delivered in the old days. We want people to be able to trust us with their belongings and to prove that bicycles are practical in the city.
How do you train to be a bike messenger in Bangkok?
Our training includes riding analysis, safety instruction and other skills. It’s not just about getting an object from A to B, we’re delivering feelings and sentimental value from one person to another. For instance we delivered flowers on Valentine’s Day, so we have to present them nicely and pay attention to how the person receiving it reacts, so that we can let the sender know.
Is riding in Bangkok practical?
Yes, but you do need lots of skill. You have to know the road conditions, shortcuts, different sois and footpaths, as well as be able to assess the situation to know the fastest route. We all share our experiences on the road after each delivery and that’s how we improve our service.
Why not just use a motorcycle messenger?
We use a bicycle for the different feeling it gives us. But believe it or not, we’re either as fast or faster than most motorcycles. We might not be capable of the same speeds, but we’re more agile. Plus, using a bicycle helps decrease energy consumption, pollution and traffic while boosting our own health.
What qualifications do you need to be a bike messenger?
First you have to pass our test, and then we’ll take you in to train with us. We’re serious about picking a member because we have to make sure that person will be very unlikely to get into an accident. There needs to be teamwork and punctuality. If you’re late, this affects the next rider waiting.
How much do you charge?
We divide locations into different zones, which radiate from Sathorn. Prices start from B90.
231/2, South Sathorn Rd., 086-994-1301. www.facebook.com/BikeXenger