Her bike is the most important thing in Charlotte’s life. She chose her job because of this, because it gives her that ‘shot’ of energy, a feeling of freedom. Once mounted on the saddle, nothing exists outside of her and her bike – and the fleeting, meandering miles of roads going across London City.
Charlotte is conscientious and respectful about her job. She insists on saying that, whatever your gender, looks or country of origin, “if you do a good job, the rest doesn’t matter, and I like that”. She remarks, however, that female couriers in town are a rarity.
Being a bicycle messenger is no easy task, though. Day after day, Charlotte is confronted with whimsical weather conditions (so British!), a hazardous traffic and the continual hostility of pedestrians and drivers alike. With a bitter smile, she told us, for example, that not a single day goes by without her being shouted at because of her body. Unpleasant remarks from passers-by or car drivers add up a still heavier emotional load to her job, the latter being already quite demanding, physically. “In a day, many things can go sour”. And that excludes the dangers of the road itself.
This aspect of her job is, indeed, what makes her close family and friends so worried about her. But she tries to take it easy, and even makes fun of the situation: “Today, I was nearly run over by two trucks… just the usual stuff!” Yet, her parents rarely find that funny at all. And although her own kin doesn’t understand what drives her along in this career choice, she feels considered and respected by them, and knows that in the end, they are happy to see her do what really thrills her. “Everybody makes choices that affect their lives”, Charlotte told us. And as for herself, she’s made her own.
One thing is certain: nothing can discourage the young courier, nobody can deviate her from her course! Her sense of duty, her commitment to her job, are unwavering. In the face of adversity, under heavy rain or a scorching sun, a young woman can be seen zigzagging on her bike amidst the cars and red buses…