Understanding The Bicycle Courier Perspective As A Cultural Strength After Joining 'Ngurir' With Westbike Messenger Service Rider
Arvy, rider Westbike Messenger Service (Irfan Meidianto / VOI)

JAKARTA - The sun is extremely hot. The heat gives tiny prickles all over the skin. We, together with Arvy Kheren Laurence, packed a number of packages into her green messenger bag. That afternoon trip, Wednesday, September 23, made us realize that Arvy's work is a small but crucial image to reflect the huge cycling culture in Indonesia, even before the pandemic forced many bicycle shops to empty their warehouses.

Arvy is the bicycle courier at Westbike Messenger Service. Westbike is a company that pioneered the expedition business model without oily engines in Indonesia. The entire engine on the Westbike is powered by muscle, breath and brain. We are fully aware of the importance of these three things.

Arvy, rider Westbike Messenger Service (Irfan Meidianto / VOI)

[Click to Taste]

Our journey started from Arvy's rented house in the Senopati area, South Jakarta. It was 11:14 p.m., when Arvy walked off the fence on his gray Liberty bicycle. Our destination is Pavilion 71, a coffee shop on Jalan Pelita Abdul Majid, Cipete Utara, South Jakarta. Arvy immediately drove after a brief discussion to determine the route we will take together.

Arvy is very fast. The fixed gear bike is tightened without slowing down. Referring to the speed meter, the average speed of 40 kilometers continued as long as we crossed Senopati, Blok S Field, until we turned towards Mampang. Arvy's ability overwhelmed us. The answer to Arvy 's ability to pull his bicycle will be answered later.

We were even more overwhelmed when we passed Jalan Mampang Prapatan Raya. Arvy cleaved the street nimbly, filling in the empty rows of traffic. Every now and then Arvy does the skid technique - sliding the tires - to outsmart sudden braking. Arvy is really good at controlling his Liberty riding. At Mampang, we lost Arvy.

Arvy demonstrates the skid technique (Irfan Meidianto / VOI)

Arvy's bicycle was already hanging by the time we arrived at Pavilion 71. Inside, he was chatting with his colleague, a barista named Gayuh. Like Arvy, Gayuh also works as a bicycle courier outside of his time working as a barista. The two of them work for different companies, but live in a rented house with other bicycle couriers.

Ecosystem-wise, bicycle couriers have strong bonds between one another. The bonds in their circle develop other bonds around the ecosystem. Like the package of coffee beans that we will deliver to Antasari. Gayuh sent this package of coffee beans to his colleague, Roy, owner of the House of Pista bicycle repair shop, Jakarta.

Arvy delivers the package to Roy (Irfan Meidianto / VOI)

Imagine this supportive circle: a bicycle courier (Arvy) delivering a packet of coffee beans that a bicycle repair owner (Roy) bought from a bicycle courier who also works as a barista (Gayuh).

The mutual support system was built without agreement. Perhaps as Arvy told us, people will realize the advantage of bicycle couriers over other couriers when they try them.

Taking a break at the House of Pista, we continued our journey to the office area on Jalan Jenderal Sudirman. There is a package we plan to send to a building in the area. The sun hadn't dimmed yet. At noon around 14.30 WIB was not much different from 12 o'clock when we went from Pavilion 71 to the House of Pista.

On the way, we meet Bokir, Arvy's colleague on Westbike, who happens to have just finished his delivery. Talking for a while, Bokir decided to come with us. However, the delivery was canceled in the middle of the trip, when we pulled over at Jalan Trunojoyo, around the National Police Headquarters Building to confirm the delivery process.

The sender of the package stated that his office was closed. Indeed, that day has entered the second week of Governor Anies Baswedan stipulating a strict second PSBB period. The sender of the package agrees to delay delivery. Our goal was to move to the Westbike drop point, which is also the rented place where Arvy and his friends live. Our trip ended there at around 15.30 WIB.

VOI team on a trip with Arvy and Bokir, Westbike Messenger Service rider (Irfan Meidianto / VOI)
Courier and bicycle culture

Westbike Messenger Service is the pioneer of the modern bicycle courier business model in the Capital City. Before Westbike, in the past, PT Pos Indonesia was the only shipping company that used bicycle couriers as their main delivery person.

Founded by Hendi Rachmat and Duenno Ludissa in 2013, Westbike continues to grow. Starting in Jakarta, Westbike services have now reached a number of other cities, such as Surabaya, Medan, Bandung Kota, and South Bandung.

In principle, Westbike couriers are divided into two teams: Intracity and JNE. The Intracity team has a duty to transfer goods based on the mobile application ordering, Westbike Courier. Intracity has coverage throughout DKI Jakarta. This service is also known as Area service with a fee of IDR 15 thousand. In the past, this service was known as VIP, which cost Rp.25 thousand.

"Intracity is all over the Jakarta area. So, like you, for example a pickup in South Jakarta, in this area, later you will go to Lebak Bulus. Later from Lebak Bulus, another pickup from Fatmawati, later on to Pasar Minggu. That is sameday service, "said Arvy.

In addition to Area services, Intracity is also responsible for Inter Area services, a special service with a time limit for packages to reach the recipient within two hours. The cost that must be paid by consumers is IDR 20 thousand. Previously, this service was called VVIP at a cost of IDR 50,000. For couriers, this service is a gamble. If the courier manages to meet the demands of time, the courier will get a double bonus. On the other hand, if the two hours have passed, the courier will not get a bonus from the trip.

The second team, JNE. This team is usually filled by senior couriers. Arvy explores his JNE team workflow. So, every day a Westbike courier using a cargo bike will take supplies of JNE packages from JNE's warehouse on Jalan Veteran, Bintaro, Pesanggrahan, South Jakarta. The package will be taken to a drop point in Senopati, South Jakarta. From the drop point, then the package is delivered by courier to each area.

Before the pandemic, Arvy and friends used to deliver 80 to one hundred packages per day. However, the pandemic destroyed their income.

"Since the pandemic fell straight away. Only 30 a day. It's hard to even find a gocap. Half dead. Kacrut. Because I go to the office instead. Same mall," he added.

Arvy signed up for Westbike in March 2016. He found a job advert as a bicycle courier on Westbike from Twitter. His hobby of cycling led Arvy to the path of 'ngurir' life. In Arvy eyes, bicycle couriers are an inseparable part of cycling culture in the world. Bicycle courier is a small part. But the development of bicycle couriers --business or social - has had so many impacts on cycling culture itself. Even for him.

Arvy hangs his bicycle speed on a truck (Irfan Meidianto / VOI)

The world knows the Cycle Messenger World Championship (CMWC) as the 'Eid' for the world's bicycle couriers. CMWC is an annual championship, where bicycle couriers from all over the world gather and compete for the title of world bicycle courier. CMWC was held to educate world citizens about the existence of bicycle couriers among them.

Indonesia itself is one of the most developed countries in this culture. Since the emergence of Westbike, Indonesia now has 52 bicycle courier communities spread across 35 cities throughout Indonesia, with the number of couriers reaching two hundreds of people. In fact, Indonesia is the first Southeast Asian country to host CMWC.

For Arvy personally, a career as a bicycle courier took her to a deeper dive into bicycle culture. Indeed, before becoming a bicycle courier, Arvy had already drifted into the fixed gear trend around 2011-2012. However, from the 'ngurir' career, Arvy reached a further stage.

Arvy not only succeeded in fulfilling desires. Together with bicycles, Arvy has also been successful in racing in the world of racing. Arvy detailed a number of championships he has won: HolyCrit in Singapore, Selangor Criterium in Malaysia, to the Saigon Criterium in Vietnam.

"In Singapore, I won second place. In Malaysia I won third place. In Vietnam I was in the top ten. Then, in Bandung it was first. I often had several events, that was. Then I was second. In Jakarta too often."

Arvy fails to remember his entire year and trajectory. However, what is clear is that the name is fragrant. The proof, Liberty which he drove yesterday afternoon. In the past year Arvy has contracted with the Malaysian brand manufacturer, taking it to another level.

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