Some choose to be bike messengers, some of us are born to be bike messengers. As if something in my blood was speaking to me in June of 96 I opened the first all bike courier service in Anchorage. I wasn't fast but I became fast. Let's face it in a car dominated market how hard can that be. I remember a quote from a Navy Seal. "It's not that we're so good it's just that everyone else sucks." At this point in my life my focus is not on promoting my business, it's on taking care of my wife and our little cat. I'm burned out on sales. If you need the finest and fastest courier service in town? I can help you out but you have to convince me to work for you. If you're a bike messenger in Anchorage I'm your new best friend. I will teach you everything I've learned about how not to die or get hurt and if you want start your own service(assuming you last more then a year) you've got one hardcore serious motherfucker willing to ride for you. I can no more stop being what I am then I can stop the snow from falling
Between the whole getting married thing and just life in general I haven't had the chance to work on this blog, the one time I do some anonymous twit comments to correct a couple small errors in grammar. If this person had used a name I might have more respect for their opinion. I might have even perceived it as trying to be helpful. The sad truth is I have no respect for people who hide behind their computer screens. Anything I put up has my name on it. I call that part of being a real man or woman. So all I have to say to this twit is."After reading what little of this there is, that's all you have to say. No really, screw you man."
A bathrobe over your clothes well holding a paper cup just occasionally shouting. "Neep, neep, Nerp!" So that way when you go out of your overpriced "smoke free" hotel you just might be able to enjoy a cigarette without being panhandled every thirty seconds. Perhaps I should start at the beginning? My Attorney aka. my soon to be wife and the great love of my life had a conference in the city by the bay. So, we're thinking a little lawyer school for her with a little mini-vacation for both of us with the big plus being having most of our expenses covered by her firm. These things always sound better then they really are. I thought I'd get a chance to spend some quality time with the San Francisco messengers and more importantly I'd hoped my Attorney would too, a chance to bond with the family she's marrying into. The thing most people don't know about messengers is there is a bond between us (well, most of us.) something that to try to put into words would only cheapen it and to be honest the only people I could expect to understand are other messengers, Marines and veterans. It's not as intense with us as the Marines and veterans but it's dam close. Oh well, shit happens and we didn't get to spend as much quality time as I'd hoped but what time we did get I'll treasure. Thank you.
It's the fall and spring I dislike. The seasons when nothing is quiet right with your clothes or your bike set-up. A threat of snow, freezing rain or "wintry-mix" hangs in the air . Most of the pavement downtown is clear right now but it might not be tomorrow. Do you run the road tires and keep a sharp eye out? Do you run the lightly studded commuter tires and have that dammed grinding noise of carbide tungsten on pavement in your ears, that noise you keep hearing long after you've hung up the bike and downed a six-pack? There are places where you do need them and besides it'll get your legs used to the extra weight. Do you take half measures like running a mountain bike with flat profile knobby tires, cyclo-cross tires on your road bike (the RitcheySpeedmax is favorite) or one of my favorites Sno-Cat rims with semi-slick tires? I call the last one "The kind of sucks in all conditions bike" because it doses but it doesn't completely suck. No I like winter. I've lived here for most of my life and to a small extent I'm used to the darkness and the weather even though global warming seams to have started really kicking in right about the same time I started as a bike messenger. For example during my rookie years a the odd cold snap with temperatures down to -25 (that's Fahrenheit, like most Americans I never got the hang of metrics) were not uncommon. I can't remember the last time it got below -10 during working hours. Along with that we now get the odd warm spell up to 40 plus. The classic pattern seams to be snow a lot then melt some then freeze. I know a hundred kinds of ice now.
I was going for the notion of the anarchistic dare devil but the fact is. I'm still that but I'm also a boring suburbanite. Now the "I don't give a fuck" bit isn't so much my attitude but reflecting back the attitude I get from other road and trail users maybe I'm right maybe I'm wrong but I have to be me. BTW the AK-420 comes from the made up team I register for messenger events under. You've got the "AK." an abbreviation for my state, the "420" a reference to pot smoking and put them together it sounds like a kind of "assault" rifle. Now, how Alaskan is that?
Riding home through slush on ice and snow.. half drunk don't give a fuck. That's how we kick Ak. 420 style Just get me home to the woman I love, who has to die I don't give a fuck just get me home through this shit to be told what to do and when to do it. That's how we kick it Ak. 420 style Kick it......
I'm all in to the love and commitment "forsaking all others" and such. It's the whole event planning, having every female I mention this to get way to excited and every male reacting like I'm going to prison. Dear God I love this woman and want to spend the rest of my life with her just give me the strength to survive past our wedding.
I get asked that a lot. My answer. "It's pretty much like being a bike messenger anywhere else, only smaller and on ice." Let's brake that down. It's pretty much like being a bike messenger anywhere else. You do the same kind of things bike messengers do in any city. You don't do them as often or for quite as long. In summer Anchorage is an almost easy town to work in. The things keeping it from being too easy are the hordes of tourists and the buses that dump them downtown and our drivers. We get plenty of just plain bad drivers, we get mean and nasty drivers, mind numbingly stupid drivers of all kinds. The most universal traits are a complete lack of regard for others and an amazing ability to shove their heads up their asses when confronted by anything unusual. It rains, snows or gets particularly sunny can be enough to make Mr. Head dive straight up Mr. Ass. Smaller With a population around 280,000 it's not that big a place but it is kind of spread out. I cover primarily Downtown and Mid-town. The Downtown core is fairly small and mid-town is your basic strip-mall suburban sprawl peppered with office buildings of various sizes. On ice. From about late October till mid April you get ice on the roads to some degree or another and road maintenance well, sucks. So, that ice might be on the lumpy side. You run two different bikes in winter. One for most of the time with skinny tire for speed and one with wider tires for partly compressed snow and ice, both bikes have studded tires. It's all about compromise because which ever bike you pick, at some point during your day it's going to be the wrong bike. You'll either be miserable dragging to many studs on large stretches of pavement or white knuckling it on nasty slick lumpy ice wishing you had more studs.
Feel the pavement when you bounce from it, hear the engine of a car roaring behind you, answer the static coming from your two-way, embrace the corner of the box that craves your spine while you´re carrying it in your bag, taste the cold and yet sweet taste of beer when it sparkles in your mouth.