1960’s Raleigh Low Gravity Carrier – ‘Food Parcels’

1960’s Raleigh Low Gravity Carrier – ‘Food Parcels’

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I found this Raleigh Low Gravity carrier in Greenwich, as the sign suggests.

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The Food Parcels deli appears to have still been going in 2001. The address 20 Royal Hill, Greenwich currently boasts a grocer’s called The Creaky Shed.

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Judging from the straps attached to the front basket, food parcels were piled quite high when this Low Gravity went out on its daily rounds.

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I think this is probably quite a late model Raleigh; I would guess at late 1960’s.

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It needs one or two little jobs here and there, which I’ll get round to sooner or later.

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Graced by an anonymous saddle.

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‘Food Parcels’ rides well.

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With its old-style food delivery, this catering delivery bike reminds me very much of India, where their equivalent of ‘food parcels’ – called ‘tiffin boxes’ – are still delivered around Mumbai (Bombay) by bicycle daily.

Tiffin boxes are delivered by a 5000 strong contingent of dabbawallas, who dress in traditional Deccan clothes – flowing pyjamas and Ghandi cap. Tiffin delivery began under the British Raj over 100 yeas ago, to provide special lunches for Brits who were not used to the local curries. They’re usually prepared by wives, sisters or maids of the person who orders the particular tiffin box.

The dabbawallas can’t read, so numbers and markings are used to ensure successful delivery, with boxes often changing hands several times before it arrives at lunchtime. Bicycles, carts and luggage compartments of trains are used, and the whole process takes around two hours, and the system is reversed at 2pm with each box then being returned to its place of origin. The system is so efficient that it has been studied by bodies such as the Harvard Business School.

By comparison, the ‘Food Parcels’ Raleigh, delivering take-aways around Greenwich, was no doubt a much more relaxed affair.

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You can compare this postwar Low Gravity with the pre-war model in the illustration below.

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Published on February 20, 2009 at 8:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

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