Thursday, September 27, 2007

You're a bike messenger in Anchorage, what's it like?


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.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hahaha, I like it! Here the city takes good care to clean off the roads, and the sky keeps the snow off mostly. Every once in a while we get a wicked cold snap though, and go sliding around between cars.

-BMX

Anonymous said...

You're a stud for sure Kirk.

Anonymous said...

Awesome shit man, what made you decide to start messengering in Alaska? I'm from NYC, messengered for 2 years and just stopped. All my bros are still on the road and I still race. But anyways I've gotta say that winters are by far the worst time to work. It seems like you can never be prepared enough. You're always gonna get your shite f*cked up, ya know? What do you wear when you ride during the winter?

Kirk said...

In answer to the last commenter.
"what made you decide to start messengering in Alaska?"
I live here, I wanted to be a bike messenger and I didn't want to move.
"I've gotta say that winters are by far the worst time to work. It seems like you can never be prepared enough. You're always gonna get your shite f*cked up, ya know?"
Yes I do but winter not as annoying as fall.
"What do you wear when you ride during the winter?"
Mostly winter bike clothes. pants some Pearl Izumi amfibs most of the time, A Luis Grneue jacket I got on sale, some layers under it polly-pro maybe a sweater, stuff like that.

mod said...

sounds f*cking harsh