Bicycle messengers are a vastly useful component of the courier industry. It’s important to realize though, that they are really only useful in certain situations, and it is vastly impractical to expect them to carry some of the packages that some people feel they should carry. If your messenger service in Chicago uses bicycles in their business, then you should get an idea about what types of packages it is normal for bike messengers to take on.
Bicycle messengers are constricted most obviously by the size of their vehicle. Anything that they carry with them, they have to essentially be able to carry easily on their person, because they are going to (usually) carry it in a messenger bag of some kind that they have strapped to their body. Many clients of courier companies carry unrealistic expectations, and ask bicycle messengers to carry packages which are much better suited to transportation in a car or van instead.
The basic weight limitation on bicycle messenger packages is 10lbs. This means that any packages that they carry will be light enough for them to easily handle while on their bicycles. Although it’s possible that they could carry heavier packages, this limit is enforced because they often need to make pickups of multiple packages. If a courier had to carry several packages heavier than 10lbs, they would quickly become too encumbered to ride their bicycle safely.
The size of the package is also something that many people overlook when shipping things with bicycle messengers. The package does need to fit easily in a bag. Even things which are lightweight, such as plans which might be contained in an oversized drafting tube, are still not going to be appropriate for bike messenger because of their cumbersome nature.
It is important that you always stay within the rules when you’re dealing with bicycle messenger. Unfortunately, because bike messengers are much cheaper than their motorized counterparts, many people try to get them to move shipments which should really be going with a vehicle based courier instead. If a bicycle messenger arrives at your location and they decide that the package that you’re asking them to carry is either too large or too heavy, then they have the right to refuse to pick it up. You would then be forced to pay a fee, as well as to hire a more expensive vehicle based courier to come and pick up your package instead.