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Was Anyone Else a Paperboy?

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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Was Anyone Else a Paperboy?

Old 09-23-22, 04:18 PM
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I'd say Pickles had to be in darned good shape.
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Old 09-27-22, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by streetsurfer
great story! I paused near to the end, to consider “how many truckloads…..no, freight cars! of papers did he deliver through the years.

Ride On Pickles!!
I never really thought of the amount of papers he delivered but I know he delivered the Pittsburgh Press and that was a pretty thick daily paper, especially the Wednesday edition. The in town daily papers were 2, one in the AM and then one in the PM. They were not that bulky. The other main paper was the Washington Observer from Washington, Pa. It had a much larger circulation that covered both Washington and Greene counties in Western Pa. I know he delivered some other rag type papers like Grit too. He was a busy guy through the day.

Since my obsession with riding continues today, I often think of this guy and it is quite amazing that the vast or overwhelming majority of paperboys leave the job when they become adults, here is a guy that took this as his full time job for his entire life. Like I said, 6 days a week, rain or shine, hot or cold and in the snow, he never stopped.

For the life of me, using my road bike, these town roads are really steep and I really can't figure out how he managed to do this all day long on a fixed gear bike that probably weighted 40lbs without the papers. I have wanted to try and contact the paper in the nearby town as the local papers went bust years ago and see if they have any records on him. Surely being a PB for 50 years plus you would think they had some sort of history on him. Maybe and obscure article but I have never found the time to really research it. Maybe when I retire I will look into it.

Anyway, my former hometown should erect a monument to this guy for what he did on a bike being a simple paperboy.

john
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Old 09-27-22, 02:23 PM
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Back in the late 70's and early 80's I delivered papers around our small town. Makes me wonder how many miles I put on my bike in a year just on my route. My bike was a Western Flyer banana seat bike with a frame similar to the bike in post #196. Only I didn't have those cool BMX handlebars, but instead I had the ape hanger handlebars. It also had chrome fenders but at some point those came off. I remember riding on our muddy gravel streets after a big rain and the rear fender would get clogged up with mud some times. I used to carry my papers in a bag, had one which had bags on either side and a hole in the middle to put my head through.
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Old 09-27-22, 03:01 PM
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Back in 70 - 71 I had a paper route un Eureka, CA
I had 90 customers. Single speed Ballon tire beast that my Grandfather built. It was a tough route and i still have one large scar on my left arm from a spill with loaded bags on a very rough asphalt road. It was ER time that day. It was a very steep route. In fact before there was any mention of mountain bikes I would shave time by going down this one hill (no trail). It saved a lot of pedaling. My Beagle dog Jenny would go with me every day. I had some interesting people I delivered to. One old gentlemen would leave fruit for me in a hedge near his house. That was nice. An apple, orange, or banana would be sitting on top of the hedge for me. Anyway it was a hard route, but I was able to save a little scratch .
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Old 09-30-22, 01:21 PM
  #205  
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Yes, I threw a paper for two different printers, and I got canned from both jobs. The first was clearly my fault. I just couldn't wake up consistently before 6am. But I fault a dog for my next firing. The mangy beast kept stealing a paper from a customer that repetitively ratted me out.

Fortunately, I got something out of it. Maybe not money, 'cause those jobs pay ****. But my parents bought me a moped for the first gig, and for the second, I confiscated my sister's Free Spirit 10-speed, which happened to be a pretty nice road bike. I guess it planted a seed that I would rediscover and grow decades later.
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Old 09-30-22, 07:58 PM
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Mornings from 78-84 in ROC, NY. Delivery occurred by foot, bike or sled depending on what Lake Ontario was dishing out. Bought my first “10 speed” with my earnings, which fuel my passion for bikes ever since.

Last edited by montevista; 09-30-22 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 10-27-22, 08:02 AM
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Yeah, probably 1961-1968 or so, the Baltimore News Post. My brothers and I had some pre WW2 vintage balloon tire bikes including one witha a 20" front tire and a big wooden box on the front. We also had a cargo trailer. Sundays the papers were too big to haul on a bike and we built these big push carts to haul them on foot.
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Old 10-27-22, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Yeah, probably 1961-1968 or so, the Baltimore News Post. My brothers and I had some pre WW2 vintage balloon tire bikes including one witha a 20" front tire and a big wooden box on the front. We also had a cargo trailer. Sundays the papers were too big to haul on a bike and we built these big push carts to haul them on foot.
I remember Sundays load outs being HUGE!
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Old 10-27-22, 02:03 PM
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Delivered the local paper on a Ross BMX - all seasons, loved doing winter deliveries and jumping snowbanks. Learned early on it was worth the time to roll and rubber band the papers, so you could throw them onto porches.
I thought the early mornings would be the hard part, turns out it was getting the customers to pay? Regularly had home-owning adults repeatedly tell me "come back another time" when I went to collect the $1.25? they owed me. Kinda makes me want a to find a old "paper delivery" bag, might be a useful short haul cargo bag.
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Old 10-27-22, 04:29 PM
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Yes, those delivery bags always came in handy on Halloween.
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Old 10-28-22, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by montevista
Mornings from 78-84 in ROC, NY. Delivery occurred by foot, bike or sled depending on what Lake Ontario was dishing out. Bought my first “10 speed” with my earnings, which fuel my passion for bikes ever since.
Same for the D&C around 68,69. Didn't last long with something like 50 + Sunday papers each week.
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Old 10-29-22, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox
I think that any entry level mtn bike would be great. I think you should be able to get by for $300 or a bit less. Whether or not that is "reasonably priced" is up for debate. A good used one should run about $100.

I hated the folks who couldn't come up with the $1.25 per month charge. If I got a dime tip a month I felt I was really making money!
The guy I hated was the one who would say "I only have a $100 bill". He'd do that to dodge paying. I learned and would go there last when I could break it with as many ones as possible. When I broke his $100 with $20s he'd still try it. The ones put an end to his tactic once and for all though.

Last edited by staehpj1; 10-29-22 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 10-29-22, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
The guy I hated was the one who would say "I only have a $100 bill". He'd do that to dodge paying. I learned and would go there last when I could break it with as many ones as possible. When I broke his $100 with $20s he'd still try it. The ones put an end to his tactic once and for all though.
That's funny!
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Old 10-30-22, 09:04 PM
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Great thread! I split a good sized route with my friend. We weren't old enough to get the route in our name for the Orange County Register in California so we had my friends big brother do all the interfacing and we did the work and got paid. I can't recall how many houses we had but we grew a couple of times. Schwinn Beach Cruisers were the delivery vehicles. Loved porching the papers and earning extra money from those who appreciated the skill. I still recall fondly the collection nights where I would appear at the front door to collect and all the smells of diferent meals being prepared! Great memories in the late 70's!
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Old 10-31-22, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Kevinti
Great thread! I split a good sized route with my friend. We weren't old enough to get the route in our name for the Orange County Register in California so we had my friends big brother do all the interfacing and we did the work and got paid. I can't recall how many houses we had but we grew a couple of times. Schwinn Beach Cruisers were the delivery vehicles. Loved porching the papers and earning extra money from those who appreciated the skill. I still recall fondly the collection nights where I would appear at the front door to collect and all the smells of diferent meals being prepared! Great memories in the late 70's!
At age ten in 1968 I was a morning paper boy for about two years. After I put together a bike out of three bikes that was left for dead by the previous house renters. I went through and cleaned and greased the single speed with a kick back brake. It was a big steel cruiser. Don’t know what brand it was but Coast to Coast Hardware comes to mind.

It was a small rout with only about 50-60 papers. I remember getting up before 4:00am then going to the laundromat to pick up the papers then folding them and putting a rubber band around them on the counter. I then put them in a used handlebar paper bag I bought. Then I was off to deliver them.
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Old 10-31-22, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Kevinti
We weren't old enough to get the route in our name for the Orange County Register in California so we had my friends big brother do all the interfacing and we did the work and got paid
Yeah, I had a route before I was officially old enough. I had 4 older brothers and we all were paper boys so we had the area sewn up for the News Post. As a result my brothers could carve out a route for me out of their territory. The competing paper in the area had paper boys who just delivered and got paid. We were more like sub contractors who paid for the papers and collected from the customers keeping a profit. We had to follow strict guidelines and got incentives (sports tickets, cash bonuses, etc.) from the paper though.
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Old 11-02-22, 08:24 AM
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I delivered the Williston Herald in a small western ND town for five years starting at age 10. I think I started with 33 customers and peaked near 45. It was 3+ miles of gravel streets, putting the papers inside the screen doors, sometimes fighting dogs to get to the door. It was lots of stopping and starting with the bike. It was the last bike I had with a kickstand, but it was necessary. Winters were on foot, and out on the prairie, the wind sure blew. Clothing wasn't as hi-tech as it is these days. Fingers and feet were always hard to keep warm. Red's Bar was one of the customers, and no one cared that a 10 year old walked in every day to drop the paper on the bar.

My brother took over the route for a couple of years when I outgrew it. The report is that we were the last kids to deliver via bikes and that was back in the '70s. The kids have been driven around ever since...
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Old 11-02-22, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by MNBikeCommuter
The report is that we were the last kids to deliver via bikes and that was back in the '70s. The kids have been driven around ever since...
Sounds like at that point the parents had a paper route.
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Old 11-02-22, 09:07 AM
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In 1968, the very first Sunday, I couldn't ride my bike. The other kids could. We were only delivering 30-50 papers. Had to walk my bike more than half the route before I could get on it.
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Old 11-03-22, 09:48 AM
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Schwinn Heavy Duty

Detroit Free Press. From 1973-1979. I have some great memories, really loved that time alone, 530am. I truly believe it made me stronger for life and definitely made me a crack of dawn early riser.
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Old 12-04-23, 06:42 PM
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Old 12-04-23, 07:17 PM
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I did!

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Old 12-04-23, 07:26 PM
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Riding up a hill, in zero weather ,front basket full of papers, crouching in a aero position, tongue hanging out, and it froze to handle bar, boy did that hurt,. Now I can empathize with the "flagpole boy!

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Old 12-07-23, 08:45 AM
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Great post! I delivered The News Herald in my town, Wickliffe, Ohio for 5 years in the early 70s. Had what we referred to as a banana bike due to the banana seat and ape hanger handle bars. I'd wrap the canvas paper bag on both handle bars and support the bottom of the bag by resting it on the chrome fender. I'd do half the street then reload for the other half. In winter I'd sling the bag over my shoulder or use one of those Coleco plastic sleds which were the rage back then. 7 days a week no matter the weather. Collecting money every 2 weeks by going door to door was the only bummer. I had to pay my bill for the papers and kept what was left over. Always had that same handful of customers who didn't answer the door so my earnings would be less. Then when they owed for 6 weeks they would act like it's my fault. Out of about 90 customers there were only a few that did that. Great memories and always had money to fuel my hobbies at an early age.
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Old 12-07-23, 08:52 AM
  #225  
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I did, but it an early 70s Ford Maverick.
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