Today was a good day to try riding a bike for Doordash. My car is in the shop for maintenance, so I thought it would be a good day to test out the new Bicycle mode on the Doordash app.
You may have noticed the little button on the bottom of the map on Doordash lately. In my market you can now choose between Car, Bike and eBike. I saw this and thought it looked a lot like how Postmates lets you toggle between options.
So I loaded up the work truck (Surly Disc Trucker) onto the car's bike rack and headed downtown to give it a try.
Other Bicycle Options in My Market
It has been fun for me to do the occasional bike delivery, just cuz I'm a bit of a bike nut.
It's nice getting the chance to get paid a little when I'm out thereon my bike. I've generally not worried much about profit per hour or any of the other metrics that I focus on so much when I'm driving, I just don't take it that seriously. That and I'm slow as all get out when riding.
The thing is, options in my area aren't all that great for bikes. Until recently I was limited to Postmates and Uber Eats.
The algorithm with Uber Eats for bike accounts is horrible. It's supposed to limit the distances, both to pick up and to drop off, but it doesn't do that. Not for me anyway. I'll still get offers for 15 minutes away (and that's 15 minutes DRIVE time, NOT bike time).
I have a high cancellation rate on Uber Eats because I don't know where I'm going until I pick up the food. No,I'm not taking someone's food four miles on my bike. It's going to be in horrible condition by the time I get there. And so will I. Uber Eats isn't a great option.
Postmates is better with the offers they give to bikers. Much better. They are better at offering reasonable distances. Tipping is better on Postmates than on Uber Eats in my experience, so that's a plus.
The problem with Postmates is they are not as busy as the other three apps in my market. You can wait a long time between orders. Now sometimes as an old fat man, that long time can be kind of welcome, I'll have to admit, but still, it's hard to be profitable.
Bike delivery on Doordash apparently wasn't an option until now.
Okay, I have a little confession. I have done a couple of deliveries on my bike for Doordash. There were a couple of times that I turned my app on while downtown on my bike and I grabbed some 1 mile deliveries. It made me wish they had a bike option like Postmates.
In fact, I reached out and asked how I could get set up to deliver on bike. I actually received a response that bike delivery in Denver isn't an option.
That seems odd to me, because I've seen guys on bikes with big Doordash backpacks. Did they lie to me? Or was it an on again off again kinda thing?
After that response though, I decided it was best not to try riding a bike for Doordash any longer. It had me bummed because Doordash is pretty busy and seems like it would be a lot better.
And then the bicycle option appears: I can try riding a bike for Doordash!
It does look like bike deliveries are limited to central parts of town here in Denver. When I click on Bicycle, the map goes from all pink to only a couple of regions available. So, for lunch today I headed downtown.
Let me just say…. I'm definitely doing more bike deliveries on Doordash.
I was able to knock out five deliveries in the hour and forty five minutes that I logged in. The offers were reasonable, the distances were reasonable, and it all worked out pretty well.
I never had to wait more than a minute or two for another offer. I did decline a three mile delivery offer just because I knew the hill I'd have to climb. (That's the old fat man speaking – and probably a reason the ‘fat' still applies)
Now it was only two hours, but bike delivery has never gone this smooth for me. I only averaged $17.15 per hour, but without car expense that's not horrible.
Okay, I did drive downtown, so if you throw those miles in, that drops my profit per hour to $15. I did take a couple of orders that required waiting which I normally wouldn't accept.
The biggest drawback I found:
The biggest problem that I saw was that Doordash did still try to stack offers for me. I didn't bring a second delivery bag along, so I wasn't going to try any of those.
I think I rejected four offers just because of that. While I did end up accepting one, that was because the dropoff for my first order was close enough to the restaurant that I could get it dropped off first before picking up the other order.
You just have to watch the map a lot closer on those stacked offers.
For me, the Doordash bike option is a game changer.
I can think about bike delivery as a more profitable option. Doordash is more consistent with having reasonable offers available for bikes than Uber Eats and Postmates are in my area.
Obviously, 2 hours is a very short amount of time on which to judge how it went. However, they were far, far better than when I could only focus on Postmates and Uber Eats.
Would it slow down after lunch hour when riding a bike for Doordash? Very possibly. I don't have the stamina to try more than maybe five or six hours.
That said, this has gone well enough to make me start thinking about an eBike. But even then, I can see more possibilities for multi-apping now that there's a solid primary option.
I can definitely see doing more bike deliveries as a result of this.
One warning: DO NOT USE BICYCLE MODE WHEN DRIVING YOUR CAR!
Gig Coach Jake forwarded me this email that he received from one of his viewers. Because the bicycle mode limits you to shorter dashes, it is an attractive option when driving in your car.
Doordash hasn't really said much publicly that I know of about this, however they did warn in an email that drivers can be deactivated for not using the appropriate mode. If you are in bicycle mode, they want you to be on a bicycle. You can see the details below.