On 12th September, Royal Mail released a special set of six ‘Mail by Bike’ labels. When you purchase these labels, the services inscriptions “post & go” will be printed. It’s the fifth set in the Royal Mail Heritage Series. The earlier sets were named Transport, Mail by Rail, Mail by Air, and Mail by Sea.
The labels show postal workers, riding different kinds of bikes or bicycles in villages and cities. Tricycles were used to deliver mail somewhere around 1880. A pentacycle was used to deliver mail in 1882 in Horsham, Sussex. Even though postmen liked these bikes, officials didn’t think they were practical and hence these pentacycles were used for trials alone. A tricycle from 1920 is shown on one of the labels. These tricycles had big wicker baskets to carry mail. During the First World War, it was impractical to use these tricycles as the mail’s weight kept on increasing.
The bicycle was used for mail delivery for over 100 years. One of the labels shows a 1949 scene where a postman is riding his bicycle. A 1902 motorcycle and trailer are shown on another label. They were used in rural districts around Sittingbourne, Kent. This local initiative was used for one of the first motorized deliveries outside London. A postman riding a 1965 motorcycle and a 2002 quad bike are shown on the remaining labels. Four-wheeled vehicles were used for mail delivery in the rough terrain of the Scottish islands Gigha, Iona and Kerrera. These places were previously accessible only by foot. Designed by the Royal Mail Group Ltd, Andrew Davidson created the illustrations and International Security Printers printed them by gravure. An FDC with all six Mail by Bike labels is also available. The labels come along with a carrier card that contains more information. Image Courtesy: The Royal Mail