Training new riders

Hey folks,

My name's Bart aka Spicy, i'm the team manager at By-Expressen here in Copenhagen. I wanted to share how I run training with riders when they join us and hopefully others will share how training works in their own company so we can all learn a bit. This is a long one but I hope it's not too boring.

I see the training process at By-Expressen as something that should constantly evolve as we have different requirements for riders and clients constantly bringing us new challenges. When I first started training riders at By-Ex, there wasn't a whole lot of structure to the process which in turn meant some wasted time out on the streets. Since then, I've tried to implement a lot more structure to the process so that the deliveries we do serve more of an educational purpose. We also schedule training shifts in a way that won't strain the busyness levels of those working on the day as much. Eg. If we have 10 riders scheduled for a particular day, the trainer and trainee will be added on top of those 10 riders. As oppose to in the past where they'd be thought of as 1 rider and be included in the 10 riders on the day. The reasoning for this scheduling change, although not ideal financially, creates a less stressful environment for both the trainer and trainee and aids in the passing on of information.

Before a rider is brought in for training, I send them a document that includes several things.
- links to our riders guide and our company visions, values and goals documents. This includes things like the expectations we have of the person and what they should expect from us as their employer
- a short introduction to the different systems we use - Lobo, Zello, Sling (comms + scheduling), Signal (social comms + Lobo notifications).
- Equipment list. Eg. messenger bag, smartphone, tools etc.
- Explanation of how training works

From here, the person is scheduled for 2 days of training before they have their first proper riding shift. The first training day is held with an experienced rider which usually is me as not that many people want to train riders or have the skills to teach properly (but we're working on this).

This initial training shift is scheduled from 9:00 - 17:00. We start inside our office going over the different systems we use, focusing mainly on Lobo. We spend about 1.5hrs inside with the aim to be ready to pickup a fixed daily run we have at 11:00. These 1.5hrs seems sufficient for the most part but may be expanded soon to allow more time to explain how our scheduling and comms app Sling works.

Once we're out on the road, we pick up the Norse roundtrip at 11:00 which takes a bit under an hour (if everything goes to plan) with the idea that we pick up another daily roundtrip at 12:00. I try to make sure all new riders do these runs with a trainer as they're both confusing jobs if you haven't done them before. This saves us time and resources in the future once the new rider is on their own. The 2nd roundtrip takes us to a part of CPH that's annoying for both riders and dispatchers. So in the morning when i'm still in the office, I'll check if we have any distro/post packages we've picked up the day before going to that area and include it in with the 2nd roundtrip.

Once we're done with these 2 roundtrips, we'll usually take lunch in our base. Debrief a bit and use the time to explain things about the office that may have been left out in the morning.

After lunch I leave it up to the dispatcher to decide what we get. It can be random ad-hoc jobs and hopefully they'll be going to places that will serve some significance so I can use the opportunity to pass on relevant info or, it will likely be time for our afternoon post pickups. This is also helpful from a teaching perspective as I can use the time to explain how the postal system works in Denmark which is confusing for both locals and foreigners.

Once we're done with riding for the day, I'll explain to them how the 2nd day of training works. This is usually held on the following day.

We refer to the 2nd day as the Mega Tag of Doom. The reasoning being, the person will be by themselves out completing a tag in Lobo that has around 50 stops, each stop has different instructions like taking a selfie or writing a particular comment in Lobo. It's pretty much like a big alleycat the person gets paid to do. All stops have been chosen for a specific reason - either places we go to regularly, are hard to find or hold some significance like standby spots.

This obviously helps the person learn the city and clients better but also gives them a chance to become more familiar with how Lobo works before they're under the pressure of doing real jobs. We also encourage people on this day to listen in on the radio, hear how we communicate and hopefully gain a better understanding of radio etiquette.

After these two days, the person is usually pretty well setup for starting their first proper riding shift with us. I've now had about 8 people go through this 2 day training process and have had very positive feedback from it. I can understand this process wouldn't work at many companies and maybe you might find the financial side of it doesn't outweigh the benefits. But for By-Expressen, we strive to provide a really high quality of service and therefore it's super important that anyone that joins us is setup as best as possible on their first day.

Thanks a lot for reading! I really hope to hear from others how it works at your company and if you have any questions or feedback for this process I would love to hear it.

Have a good one!



  • What element do you use to hear zello? Headphones? Disposition of the mobile in any particular way?
    Thank you!
  • hey bart, i'm rené from tretwerk messengers (hannover, germany), thanks for your insights!
    currently we don't have any real training for our new colleagues, they ride the first shift with an advanced colleague, after that it's more like learning on the job. since we are small enough it still works, but we are growing an changing, the demands on us and the new colleagues are increasing, so we have to deal with that in the near future.
    the idea of an initial round of training like an alleycat is pretty cool, i will introduce that in our company as well.
  • @URBANCICLO most of us use earphones/headset, wired or wireless, but some use bluetooth speakers which i'm not the biggest fan of unless you have that muscle memory of turning down the volume whenever you go inside.
  • Thanks for the response @rene_27 ! Glad you got something out of it :)
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