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Pedal power

St. Petersburg, FL, Letter Carrier Vickie Weber

My name is Vickie Weber and I’m a letter carrier in St. Petersburg, FL. I work at Open Air Station, where I’m one of 14 letter carriers who deliver letters and parcels by bike.

Our unit is one of four in the entire country that use bicycles for mail delivery. The others are located in Sierra Adobe, AZ; Sun City, AZ; and Miami Beach, FL.

I began my postal career in 1995, and I’ve been delivering mail on a bicycle for 24 years. There’s a lack of parking in St. Petersburg and there used to be a lot of one-way streets, so you’d have to go around the block if you missed making a delivery. Now, it’s also about the carbon footprint — we’re operating greener.

My job is predominantly the same as any other letter carrier, but in Florida, you always have to be prepared for rain. Sometimes it can be a five-minute downpour and then it’s over. That’s why I monitor the weather on a local app so I know if there’s something coming. Other hazards include dogs, traffic and balancing a bike loaded with mail.

I start my day sorting mail, then I prepare 8-10 tubs of mail for a relay driver. Next, I load my bike, apply sunscreen and put on a wide brim hat for protection.

I make more than 1,200 deliveries on my route. I love the sense of community. I see my customers every day. It’s a kind of friendship; it’s more visible.

It’s not uncommon for tourists to ask if they can take my picture. It’s rare to see a letter carrier making their rounds on a bicycle. It’s a big surprise to a lot of people.

Some people ask how long I plan to pedal the mail. I tell them: “Hopefully all the way until retirement.” As long as I’m physically fit, I will continue to do this job. Who wouldn’t like riding around sunny St. Pete?

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