Posties clock up the miles - and the years
'A chill enough to make you want to throw your bike over the Benvenue'ALEXIA JOHNSTON
In 40 years as a postie, Brian Senior has:
* cycled the equivalent of 7.8 times around the world
* worn out at least eight postie bikes and 173 sets of tyres
* cycled past the Timaru RSA 12,480 times
* delivered almost 15 million letters
The wheels are still turning for two of Timaru's postie experts who, this year, celebrate a combined 80 years of ensuring the mail gets delivered.
Postie Brian Senior and Timaru Courier Post branch manager Wayne Rennie have both dedicated the past 40 years to the industry.
Mr Senior celebrated his milestone this week - 40 years on a push bike delivering mail in all kinds of weather.
It is the cold southerly breeze that has made his life most difficult during that time.
''I can deal with a nor-wester, but a cold southerly wind is the worst,'' he said.
Mr Senior started out as a telegram delivery boy, which he did for a year before becoming a postal delivery officer in the Marchwiel area.
Since then he has had one run in with a dog, but fortunately the offending labrador had no front teeth.
That was at least 10 years ago and he has not had any more serious confrontations with dogs since.
He said the council's dog by-laws had helped.
Although the job has its challenges, it also has plenty of benefits.
''You're your own boss and even though the last two days there's been a chill enough to make you want to throw your bike over the Benvenue, people say 'good morning' to you - that's what keeps you going.''
He said there are only a few times he has not been able to deliver the mail, with the 2006 snowfall being one of the most recent causes.
Mr Senior's 40 year stint on the bike has seen him cycle the equivalent of 7.8 times around the world, wear out at least eight postie bikes and 173 sets of tyres. He has also cycled past the Timaru RSA 12,480 times and delivered almost 15 million letters.
Also marking 40 years in the industry this year is his colleague Mr Rennie, who also started out as a telegram delivery boy.
He remained in the role for six months before moving into retail at post shops, a role which also saw him do a stint in the Chatham Islands. Fifteen years ago he moved to Timaru with his family to take on the role of Courier Post branch manager.
''I came down here to open the courier branch at Washdyke and the agreement with my wife was to come and have a look and stay here for a year.''
He has seen many changes within the industry, including a dramatic decrease in the amount of mail now being posted and a split in the post office department into three divisions - New Zealand Post, Post Bank and Telecom. Another major change was when Courier Post went from an employee model to contracting out the delivery services.
- The Timaru Herald