For 20 years, Eric Spence has been maneuvering through Portland on his delivery bike, rain or shine, hail or snow (usually rain however). He claims he’s never not been able to ride because of the weather, saying that in the event of extreme weather, he switches to his bad-weather bike and may sport elbow pads in case of the rare occasion he falls.
Though never seriously injured, Spence joked recently about a head-on collision with his favorite NW transient, “Pinky”, one of the many Portland characters he sees regularly on his route.
Although it varies, Eric Spence says he completes around 16 deliveries in a day. On average, a delivery takes him about 30 minutes. He travels from Premier Press as far as the East Side or St Helens, and as close as NW and downtown.
As a veteran Portland bicyclist, Spence knows the ins and outs of the PDX from a 2-wheel point of view. “I preferred biking in Portland 10 years ago, because it was less of a fashion statement than it is today.” He agrees that Portland is very bike-friendly and a national role-model in some areas. Portland’s vast bike lanes and green bike boxes at intersections help protect the safety of the city’s thousands of bike commuters.
His suggestion to the city to create better bike traffic? Shut down NW 13th and have it accessible just to bikes and pedestrians. The street has no sidewalk so pedestrians generally walk down the middle of the street. Large loading docks and trucks take up the side. This tends to confuse drivers, and bicyclists find themselves weaving between machines and people alike. Spence says this is one of his primary streets to travel on and this change would be beneficial to both pedestrians and bikers.
Spence loves the active aspect of his job, though warns novice delivery cyclists, “don’t overload your bag, your shoulders will thank you!” Staying fit, exploring Portland, and talking with new people on a daily basis are some of the perks of Eric Spence’s 20-year-run as Premier Press’ #1 delivery guy.
Last but not least, Eric Spence’s bicycle deliveries include one final perk: it embraces sustainability. Some may be surprised that Premier employs a delivery bicyclist, instead of simply expanding a delivery driver’s route. However, our ecologically sustainable practice is a crucial part of our green promise. In Spence’s 20 years with Premier Press, he has worked roughly 5,000 days. He averages 16 deliveries per day totalling to approximately 80,000 deliveries. In general, Spence travels about 4 miles round trip per delivery, or about 64 miles per day. Eric Spence has biked 320,000 miles delivering packages, which would have otherwise been handled by delivery trucks.
Watch for Eric and his bike weaving through the streets of Portland, Monday through Friday, rain or shine!