The United States Postal Service uses bikes to deliver mail in three cities around the nation. St Petersburg, Florida is fortunate to be one of those towns continuing to do so.
And while at first glance it may seem a bit unusual and to some perhaps antiquated, it really does makes sense...
Delivery of mail by bike started in St Pete in 1917, the same year our one-of-a-kind Open Air Post Office opened. Service has continued ever since.
Think about it...for 100 years St Pete USPS mail carriers have used bikes to dispatch letters, packages the the like in and around the downtown area. Some may see it as a leftover from a bygone era, a time when milk was delivered door to door or groceries. But its really not much different than today's Amazon or other such re-invented delivery services. Below is a photo of some of the original mailmen of the Sunshine City gathered in front of our amazing downtown Post Office.
Miami Beach and Sun City, Arizona are the other two remaining municipalities using USPS bike delivery. It makes sense on several different levels:
If you chat with the bike carriers they'll tell you its often more comfortable riding a bike than having to frequently get in and out of a vehicle (the jeep style mail vehicles have no AC). All of the bike carriers I've spoken with wouldn't trade going back to a vehicle, I think that says something about this cool USPS system of delivery.
Next time you see a mail bike take a closer look, its pretty unusual. The kick stand is under a smaller front wheel designed for making turns and the mail basket doesn't move with handlebars to avoid making turns a challenge with the added weight. The bikes are only made in the US as per a requirement from Congress.
While the traditional bikes are yellow, I've noticed a couple of red ones now around town. Our USPS bikes add a bit of charm to St Pete and make us a little different from other cities.
Rev B has nearly been published multiple times and has received letters of rejection from Highlights, Jet Magazine, Dear Abby and The New Yorker. While accepting full responsibility for all grammatical errors he makes no claims of being an author. Please enjoy the entries found here and use the search function if you're looking for something more specific.