Help me improve my food delivery system via scooter
September 8, 2011 1:28 PM   Subscribe

I own a small food delivery business, and use a scooter/moped for deliveries. I am wondering if anyone has advice or recommendations for a better delivery bag/attachment system than what I am currently using. I currently use this bag for deliveries. I'm very happy with its size and the fact that it has separate compartments, but I would like something with a little more structural integrity. Either that, or I need to figure out a better way of attaching it to my scooter. Does anyone have any suggestions for ways I might improve my delivery method? Most ideal would be a detachable, insulated hard-shelled compartment that attached relatively simply to my existing scooter rack or in place of it using the existing mounting hardware, but I have no idea how I would go about putting that together or having one custom made for a reasonable price.

Right now I'm using an aluminum wire shelf and a handful of bungie cords, which is surprisingly effective, but not particularly professional looking plus the bungie cords squish in the bag quite a bit (thus wanting a bag with more structural integrity).
posted by jignomer to Work & Money (11 answers total)
Get some U bolts and a milk crate or fashion a sturdy box that you can put the delivery bag into. Attach crate to the scooter rack.
posted by Gungho at 1:30 PM on September 8, 2011

Response by poster: The problem with that is the bag I use is 22x15x13, so I haven't been able to find anything existing around that size, and if I built a frame out of wood it would be heavier than I would like. Also, I will need a few of these for my employees, so they need to be reproducible and professional looking.
posted by jignomer at 1:35 PM on September 8, 2011

McDonald's uses some variations of this - might you be able to find out their supplier or at least specifications?
posted by infini at 1:56 PM on September 8, 2011

You really just need more support for the bottom, though. I'd get trays with 1" sides made from plexi with holes in the middle for mounting hardware. You can bungee the bag to the tray through the handles (they can even make you holes for the bungees to hook to) and it will be pretty stable, I'd guess. Any plexi manufacturer can do this for you, just pitch up with your bag and a bike and tell them you need 12 or whatever.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:57 PM on September 8, 2011

Here's a close up and supplier but i guess you dont need 500, their minimum order. Otoh, the search terms are there.
posted by infini at 2:11 PM on September 8, 2011

There are also hard cases for scooters made of fibre glass.
posted by infini at 2:21 PM on September 8, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, all! I have a lot more ideas now for solving the problem, and where to go from here. I found a manufacturer in the UK that makes those McDonald's hard shell mounted boxes, now to get a price quote and see if they're affordable. Otherwise, I'm going to mess around with materials for a better frame...
posted by jignomer at 2:44 PM on September 8, 2011

Googling "pizza bag" gets you results with varying options for your needs. You don't want it to be made of wood, you want it to be steel.
posted by rhizome at 2:44 PM on September 8, 2011

Look thou also to the Pacific Rim, and the subcontinent, and look for "tail box".

Here's a locking insulated fiberglass box (matching, even, if that photo above was of your own pink scooter) that is available without a minimum order. Other photos of similar boxes from the same manufacturer show a single or double shelf inside. At about 19x19x21 high, this particular unit won't fit your current bags, but a really good delivery box is probably going to make your bag system redundant during transit (maybe transferring from box to bag to carry up).

What model of scooter are you using? How much weight can your rear racks handle? If you're under 80cc, I would be tempted to build some kind of mount that slid forward a bit on the seat to let the weight rest nearer the rider.
posted by Sallyfur at 4:51 PM on September 8, 2011

I was going to say "have a look at my profile pic" but it doesn't actually show what we used on our bikes on that journey.

That was custom made steel racks with custom made sheet metal boxes (essentially footlockers) bolted onto them. Boxes would have been 60-70cm across, 50cm front to back, 40-50cm deep, or thereabouts. The racks were as large as the base of the boxes. The bolts were welded to the rack and poked through the bottom of the box to accept a washer and nylock nut. We used lots of rubber (and later Persian carpets) for cushioning.

Slight tearing of metal on the bikes at attachment points became a problem for two of the bikes on the road where the photograph was taken. That said, the road was rough enough to tear one of the bike frames apart, so I tend to think that's an indicator things were just about right. After repairing and reinforcing the attachment points, we didn't have further trouble.

We had the metalwork done in India, so it cost virtually nothing. But welding tube and sheet isn't really expensive anywhere. The materials aren't worth much, and basic metalwork and welding are not rare skills.

I'm thinking you could have a sheet metal box made to fit the outer dimensions of your insulated bag (when it's full), and a rack made to support that. Then you get the benefits of your insulated bag, a rack and rigid shell you could paint to any color, something lockable, and you still have the means to remove your bag for loading/unloading/cleaning.

You might want something to cover or cushion your attachment bolts and nuts, so they don't damage your bag. You'll also want to check local regulations with regard to racks and other vehicle attachments - sharp edges are a pretty common prohibition, and that may need to be worked into your box design.

Ideas on where to go - motorbike shop about the rack, look for a sheet metal worker who builds tradesmen's tool boxes for the box, or try someone who builds box trailers for both rack and box. But seriously, not rare skills, a roofer or fencer could probably do this.
posted by Ahab at 12:02 AM on September 9, 2011

Get a bread tray from a commercial baker.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:07 AM on September 9, 2011

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