Hi there! I want to tell you all about a new service in Dublin called Parcel Motel. This isn’t a sponsored post or anything – I just used it and found it to be really good. Basically, it’s a delivery service run by NightLine couriers. They have automated delivery boxes located in 24-hour petrol station courts around the city. So if you want to order a parcel but know that you won’t be in when the post man comes, and you know that you can’t get to the An Post depot during working hours, this is a solution. At €3.50 per use, it works out better if your parcel has free delivery to begin with.
Which brings me to the next good thing about it: they have an address in Belfast that you can use to avail of free UK shipping. Your parcel is sent to the Belfast address and then delivered to your Motel box. Again, this costs €3.50 but is still better than paying the sometimes exorbitant delivery rate from UK to Ireland or not having a delivery option to Ireland at all.
I just used it to order some UK-delivery-only items for Alb’s Christmas present and found it really easy. I set up my account online. You can prepay credit into your account (they accept Paypal) or you can set it up to debit your card whenever there’s a transaction. I use the former. You’re automatically assigned an ID number that you use with your name when ordering. You choose what Motel you want your parcel delivered to. I ordered my items on Sunday, using my name, ID number and Belfast shipping address. The first item was dispatched on Monday and I received an email with a pin number on Tuesday night. I picked it up on Wednesday morning.
This is what my local Motel looks like (Bertha for scale). It’s in the carpark for my local petrol station.
On the touchscreen, you enter your phone number and then the pin number you were sent. One of the locker doors pops open automatically.
And that’s it. Check out the website for all the ins and outs and what-ifs.
As for Bertha, I thought this might be a good occasion to give you a brief update. Suffice to say, no news is good news! I ride five days a week to work now. My commutes range from 15 minutes, about 4km, to 40 minutes, about 7.5km. Three days I have driven because of rain and all I can say is: yuck! Driving does absolutely nothing for my well-being. When I cycle, I worry less, I have time to take in my surroundings and say hello to my neighbours, I am in good form, I sleep and eat well, I feel energetic and upbeat. I feel like I am part of my community. It is cheap, fast, easy. I can go at my own pace. Yesterday I felt quite tired and just pedalled along, arriving home a mere two minutes later than usual. I can park right by where I want to be.
Parked at the Botanic Gardens
Sure, bicycle lanes in the city are laughable – sometimes even downright dangerous. And yes, one is vulnerable. However I think the benefits outweigh the dangers. Given the level of pedestrian ignorance in the city, I think perhaps one is most vulnerable as a pedestrian (I don’t know at what point in their lives adults think that it is ok to step into the street without looking). Me, I like to take my time, signal clearly, obey the rules of the road, wear a helmet, reflective gear and lots of lights. I have had good experiences with signalling and merging with traffic when needing to overtake parked cars or buses, rather than trying to squeeze by.
You may notice in the above photo that 1. the Botanic Gardens have tons of bicycle parking. Why pay €3 for parking when you can park your bike for free? They have also planted lots of lavender around the bike parking so it smells divine. 2. I lock my helmet and reflective jacket to my bike. After a one year trial period, I am happy to continue doing so. I should point out that I also have a fixed rear lock. It locks the wheel to the frame of the bike so even though it’s not attached to something external (which is what my U lock is for), it’s handy not only as extra security but also when you want to stop for a quick errand. You can’t wheel the bike when it’s on and can only be opened by sawing through the loop that goes through the wheel (if you don’t have the key…). I bought mine in Belgium for €15 when we were there on holidays but you can get one here and have it retro-fitted through Bear Bicycles.
I have a ton of knitting and sewing to show. Photos at the weekend I hope!