When it comes to riding on ice or protecting our loved ones. It's been quite icy lately, the same wide flat platform that does okay in snow really pays off on slick shiny ice. Much like a shotgun works so well at close range by placing several projectiles in a small spread out area so do the tires by placing several tungsten carbide tipped studs on a small area. Some of the ice we had was quite impressive I wish I'd gotten a picture or two, to a winter rider it would look scary, almost as scary as having a gun pointed at you. I no longer fear ice or much of anything . A slight addition eight hours later, I was reminded that ice demands a certain amount of respect. I'm going to be in a lot of pain. At least I'm not him.
After thanksgiving we got some snow and road maintenance reminded me of the days when oil prices were low and the folks in charge of such things even more inept. There was a case of the post holiday slows.Followed by a brief mild cold snap. I can't complain. I had fun. Getting around was like going mountain biking only with cars. How do I know when were having a mild winter? When I start whining about not having done any trail riding the summer before. A regular to difficult winter I don't miss it. Earlier in one of my half-drunken can't sleep posts I referred to the weather changing sometime late in my early years. When I started it would get cold in October with some snow and it would stay cold until January or February then there would be a brief warm spell. The snow and ice would start melting, becoming wet, soft and slippery, then the temperatures would drop, everything froze back up until spring. Now it won't get quite as cold and the warm spells are more frequent. Snow, maybe get cold for a bit, melt, refreeze and like shampoo, repeat. That's the thing about Anchorage, sometimes the road becomes more like the off-road. If you asked me what sort of bike you need to work here? I'd say you need two. I'd skip over the whole fixed gear versus single-speed versus gears debate. There are good reasons to go with any of them and an equal number of good reasons not to go with any of them. It's all about what works for you, just try to keep things as simple as you can, the less time spent on maintaining your bike the more time you have for other funner things. I'd tell you to get one bike more on the road cyclo-cross side of things with room for a studded tire. Say, at least 700x35c with 700x40c being better. The other for big fat studded tires (well 2.3 is the fattest factory studs for now) on wide rims. You might be thinking about this, that and the other thing. If you have the dough they would come in handy but you might want to get a second set of wheels for it with slightly narrower rims and some Nokian's, maybe "29'ers" . They don't make tungsten carbide tipped studs in super wide yet and you'll need those more often for the nasty brown stuff over thick ice, you'll only really find super wide tires useful for about five days a winter when there's enough snow to cover most of the ice.
Yesterday and the day before I found that joy from the early days. The equipment is a little better the skill or as the youngsters say "my mad skillez was poppin" or whatever they say, the body older and the ride home is not the same, I'm not sure if I'm Endicott or Kid Creole or most likely some mutated combination. I slithered over the semi-compressed snow.It's not really snow any more, ice flakes,dirt, it's been there for some time. The mayor is a senator now and whose gonna be acting mayor has turned into a pissing match. While the cats are away some mice play and some places get plowed too soon and others too late. The homemade studs were good in most things but they sucked in the brown crap over ice and they didn't last long. That's where the tires I use now really justify the price . Good to do the winter dance It has that kind of feel to it that sort of rhythm to it. That sort of flow. If that makes any sense, I'm tired, I hurt, I've had a couple but it's all good. My true love sleeps upstairs and my kitty has me pinned to this couch. The bike seat is always a first class seat.
Let's turn back the hands of time until we break the little bastards wrists. It was the late nineties municipal revenue was slowly climbing up, we had a mayor trying to make downtown a showplace if you will. I rode a Kona Hot. I'd brought it with dreams of running the Iditabike before I was a messenger, I was a tad stressed at the time. She was a fine beast with a pair of SnowCat rims a home studded specialized cannibal size 2.2 in the back, a home studded Gary Fischer bear trax size 2.5 up front . Great in the deep snow and we got it. It would start early you might run the skinny tire bike at first but hit the seven inch mark at mid-day when the snow had been compressed, disturbed and churned up with car snot, then you needed some float tire pressures creeping down to 7psi as the afternoon progressed and there would be a certain rhythm as you rode when many fear to drive. It was good. You were on the road all afternoon until the last signature collected and yes it was good as you did that dance upon the snow-mix twisting and shifting as if you were making some strange kind of love with the bike and the road and the snow and the traffic, passing you and then they noticed that you were going as fast as anyone should go on that road at that time, the SUV paralleling you on the two-lane afraid to go faster and you laugh until you realize that when the SUV gets into the well deserved head-on they'll be pushed right into you. You dropped at the AG's office it was good. After a time one learned that it would take the city until midnight to clear downtown and what is a courier to do with time on his hands, a few bucks in his pocket (It was the late nineties there, Sonny Jim or Jill, cough, hack, expectorate) and single what to do but hang out in downtown bars. You drink a little too much because shit hurts and stay a little too long and tho you can find your true love there, it happens it really can and it did but not then, I'm just sayin' the odds are not good. So you ride half walk home because home is not downtown and not downtown was next on the plow list, you walk the last few blocks go to sleep, maybe do it again the next day and it's good. Then the weather started to change.......and now, you know who you are but I still love you. I am happy in my sleeplessness as I think fond thoughts of my sleeping sweethearts and I'm looking forward to a day with a friend from my past. BTW Once I was a D. J.
My wife and I had a lovely time last week at the after work thing. It's always a pleasure to visit you are the embodiment of the word collegial. If your wandering about the first photo, that building has a special place in my heart. I first learned I had a very poor sense of direction after passing that particular building several times while trying to make my way back to consolidated works during the 2003 CMWC. This bike messenger can get from Pike to Pine in minutes because half the time he turns straight toward Olive. The second photo, if your ever burned out on Monorail go here it's real close to the best doppio in Anchorage. This might explain why I malinger at Monorail.
I was a tad harsh responding to that one fellows questions. You tend get a lot of well meaning cyclists asking about getting into this line of work because they think it's cool and it might be fun. It is believe me it is. The cool and fun come at a price that's what I was trying to get across. I've worked sick hung-over injured and while I was on the bike I was aware of everything around me I could almost sense whether the intersection ahead was clear and I felt good. I'd get off the bike say, to stop for some coffee. The good feeling stopped and the coffee shop could have been on fire and I still would have walked up the counter to and ordered. "May I have a cheese bagel with that and why is it so warm in here?" Now I've learned to rest the illnesses and injuries I don't rest the hangovers maybe it's some weird protestant guilt thing or maybe it's a desire to keep some standards. Today I'm sitting with my cat hoping an antagonized shoulder gets better before tomorrow. Today is Veterans Day,it's a day off for me. I can't help but think about what those guys and ladies have gone through in service to their country. I've talked to great many and in my own life not just as a messenger but prior has given me just the faintest ghost of a taste of that. The only thing I can say is simply. Thank you very much.
I got the following in an E-mail "Hey man, I was wondering how you got into being a bike messenger in Anchorage. Need some help? I need a second career that can keep me biking all winter. The commute just isn't enough." I didn't answer because it's so terribly hard not to be sarcastic or just sound like an arrogant prick but fuck it. Where to start. I could start by pointing out that the difference between commuting and messenger work is rather like the difference between going down to the river with a brick of .22 long rifles to shoot tin cans and doing convoy escort duty in Iraq. As I ride I find my hand hovering over my front break lever, ready, I think it could be worse it could be the trigger of a belt fed machine gun. I imagine ones state of mind in both circumstances is rather similar. "See everything, admire nothing." The actions are different, the break lever is passive, the machine gun is aggressive but both are defensive, the goals are the same, come home alive. The guy working the belt-fed knows hes at war, you have to figure it out as your enemy is more incompetent then hostile not that there are not hostile nasty hating motherfuckers who will kill you given the chance. A commuter has a fixed amount of time to get where they need to go. A messenger is always in a hurry everything is a rush the more you carry the more you make. Then there are the serious rushes, where at a minimum, at the very least someones career is at stake but it could be a lot more but beyond that is your sense of honor because you said. "I can do it." or even "I'll try." I could respond to the offer of help. I don't need help. I need partners. Committed partners, the sort with experience, who know what their getting into. I don't mean to be insulting, this is not a thing for the faint of heart, the weak of spirit. Bring in a few clients, no same day route service, I'm talking on demand service here, then we'll talk. I could respond to this fellows need to ride all year. There's no nice way to say it. Sell your car and harden the fuck up. Get two or more bikes refuse to accept rides or take the bus. If your not riding, you're walking. Problem solved. That's how I lived my life from the start of the first gulf war until a sweet wonderful girl started louring me into her truck. I didn't want her to worry about me getting to where we were supposed to be together and more importantly I didn't want to be worrying about her while I rode. Oh yeah, how did I get into being a bike messenger in Anchorage. I thought being a bike messenger would be cool. I lived in Anchorage, I didn't want to move. After two years of working door in Spenard it seamed like a good idea. Yeah it's cool, baby. Like smoking, it could kill you and it's hard to quit but it sure looks cool.
And I still have that song stuck in my head and I still feel old but that'slife but I am young compared to my peers and I still remember the words spoken to me by a brother messenger in the city of Dublin, (I think he may have been Sumoi but I couldn't place the accent) after he had taken a header snagging on a post in the middle of the street when the Missus and I had asked if he was "Okay" it was one of those spills that was most likely nothing but it could have been something. "I am Messenger I know how to die but not today, not like this." Cheryl was puzzled but I just said to myself. "Well all righty then." because well, I am messenger and I know how to die and I ain't going down like that either. Like the kids say. Know what I'm saying. And if you don't know and can not empathize. FYI GFY. Oh yeah, this time I remembered the camera just forgot to take any pictures, whoops.
It was everything I expected it to be. It was beautiful for that moment, a moment that can happen on any working day, anywhere. That moment when you are all things, you are you, you are the bike, you are the traffic, you are the road, you are as zen mystic bullshit as it sounds you are at one with the universe. During that moment and through out the afternoon I had a song stuck in my head. I couldn't figure it out my first thought. "It's Tuesday?" Yes I had both versions going through my head alternating perhaps because on the ice, snow, hard-pack, slush or combinations there of, the song remains the same but the tempo and style alternate. I couldn't figure it out. After coming home I listened very carefully to the lyrics. This is pretty much a song about a fucked up relationship speculating on why the other party has no empathy. I'm still puzzled. The Loveliest Lady Lawyer in Anchorage is well, wonderful. Then it hit me. Stop thinking male female. Think fucked-up relationship where the other party has no empathy and is abusive. Oh, now I get it. That and I forgot to bring the dam camera.
I've been feeling a little old lately. Doing the sorts of things I used to do is harder, I need a good nights sleep. It takes longer to recover from injuries, I could go on. Then I ran into someone I went to High School with. Both of us doing middle-class married male Cost Co. escort duty. My wife later asked if he was older then me. I thought about for a second. "Actually he's about two-three years younger." It hit me that most men my age well, look my age. I still get carded from time to time, because to the nice young clerk/waiter/waitress/bartender I still fall under the "card everybody under thirty-five" rule. I've never had to seek treatment for E. D. guys, saddle adjustment is key. Anyway right now there's about two inches of new snow over about an inch or two of old snow and ice, more snow is falling. It's been a slow morning, this gave me the chance to put some more aggressive tires on the work bike. Riding a bike in these conditions can be a bit dangerous, just going from point A to B, not so much because the bike has problems but because the idiots you share the road with, do. Now, add in the fact that I will be going fast whether I need to or not. It's in my nature. I should be concerned, I should stay here with our cat for as long as I can get away with, I should think about catching a ride home after work with my lovely wife. No, fuck that. I must ride, I must frolic in the snow on the ice amongst the cars and the morons who drive them, I must stop at "The Messenger Bar", I must ride home after one more then I planned on, Now I must dance!
I had hoped to write this thing out stream of consciousness all Jack Kerouac style while the memories were still fresh in my head. Well shit happens, the memories are blurry. So, we hit the highlights with a photo play. Thursday had brunch, registered, purchased a six-pack of Steamwhistle went to Porno Steve's birthday party, got the chance to meet many wonderful messengers including the three Soumimessengers, shared some cinnamon flavored whiskey with Tofu but I missed the chance to say. "Happy Birthday" to Porno Steve. We took a cab back to the hotel and had a good nights sleep, a very good nights sleep indeed.
Well I'm trying to piece together the story of our second honeymoon at CMWC I should mention I was a web short for the show "Tougher in Alaska" as seen here. The piece itself is about winter biking but I'm pretty much the star. I'm a star, a bright shining star. In all seriousness there are tougher places to be a bike messenger but where else are your odds of catching a stray from a "gang related" shooting or getting stomped by a moose are about the same. BTW Good luck to you Mr. Bolger and company.
We always start these things with the best intentions. My wife is simply not that much of a cyclist. I guess that's because she's nearly perfect in every other way. The plan she'll ride more starting out in the residential neighborhoods and bike paths working our way to the more urban parts of downtown Anchorage because if you can get the hang of those handful of blocks you can extend that to the tens of blocks in another city. We're not talking setting her up to win the alleycat or anything like that, just a nice commuter level of competence. Me, I plan to do some training of my own mostly involving twelve once lifts before the ride home and over-dressing so I'll be able to handle the heat. Both of us get distracted from our plans. Her mostly by work and weather. Me I do okay, on the twelve ounce lifts but the weather kicks the other part of my plan square in the nuts. It was one of the coldest spring/early summers that I can remember. Even over-dressed I was a little cold most of the time. I don't go to race but I do like to keep it as an option. That and I've got this folding bike and running that thing in a closed course race has the same appeal as the first few 10-12 inch snowfalls I rode, the wondering if it can be done. Next comes the frenzy of packing and medicating for the flight. Time to go to the airport. I tried to keep notes but that soon fell by the wayside. I do have the following. "N is for negativity, null, nasty, nonsensical and if you're flying out of Anchorage it can stand for the North terminal also known as the ghetto terminal. It was originally intended to be the international terminal but it's been divided half international half domestic. It's old fashioned but not in a quaint way more like something yanked out of the seventies and crudely retrofitted for the present." Our flight has been delayed by an hour, no bigey because that will eat into our three hour layover in Seattle. As we wait in the bar I realize this is at least the third time we've had the same bartender, I tip her well when we leave because I see a pattern forming and I may need her goodwill again." The flight it's self was booked through Capt. Kirk then Continental but four of our five segments are actually on Northwest. Three down two up. This first segment is the one on Continental, a fine airline, I've done their first class before they had decent food but their "good" beers are Heineken and Foster's and because it's a late flight our meal is a "snack" Our flight boards finally . So I look forward to my first free drink. I can't recall if they have one Heineken or none, I think it was one before they ran out. The snack turned out to be a plate of cold cuts, cheese and fruit, not bad but not that great. The in-flight entertainment was some movie I didn't want to watch but they do have a nice Jazz chanel among the music options. We made it to Seattle alive. I go outside have a smoke, get some coffee and try to find something lunch like. It's somewhere between six and seven in the morning Seattle time so no luck. We move to the S terminal and see if our first class tickets get us lounge access, no dice, Northwest only gives you lounge access on international flights. We go to the bar, we're surprised it's open. There is a Burger King, it may have been serving lunch but I didn't feel like wading through the long ass line to find out. The bartender tells us that they're only serving breakfast food wise. Well fuck it. We order beers. She asks if we'd like to make them big beers for an extra dollar. We tell her. "Considering that it's seven thirty in the morning we feel pretty decadent just ordering regular beers. Fifteen seconds later she asks me if I'd like a shot to go with my beer for only three extra dollars. I'm thinking to myself. "Look lady I'm a borderline alcoholic but I still have to say 'C'mon it's seven thirty for Christ sakes' " I just say. "No, thank you." A small hassle with our tickets as we board the plane. At this point for food I have to rely on the breakfast served on our flight. Now most of the airlines were quite competitive about attracting your high-end business travelers and they've put quite a bit of effort into making the food in first class better. Once as a child back in the seventies my mother and I were going to visit relatives in Minnesota flying Northwest there was some problem with our flight and the nice gate attendants took pity on us and bumped us up to first class. It was a morning flight. Imagine my surprise when on this another first class flight some thirty plus years later, I was served the exact same cheese omelet with the same two shriveled sausages. There was no in-flight entertainment like all Northwest domestic flights. The one thing perhaps the only thing I really like about that airline is that they usually have this beer from a small Minnesota brewery, it's not a great beer but still it's a nice beer. They were out of that. At this point we dozed or read until we landed in Detroit. Our connecting flight gets delayed for the first time. I see some of the Japanese messengers. I want to go talk to them, say something about how much they deserve to host next years CMWC, I mean I bitch about what an expensive pain in the ass it is to go to these things but at least I can catch a break once and awhile to wit. Seattle CMWC 2003 and NACCC 2005 in Portland. Every year these cats make the trip and the closest to a convenient location they've gotten were Sydney and maybe Seattle. Unfortunately assuming we overcome the language barrier at some point in the conversation I'm going to have to say something like. "Hey it's been great hanging with you but we're about to piss-off to the worldperks lounge and suck down some free drinks and shitty snacks." Turns out we get lounge access at this stop, this saved us easily fifty bucks at the tequila themed bar. Some two hours later we board. I get the last Minnesota micro-brew after that I turn to my new back-up drink Jack & Coke because I liked it once. They were nice enough to give everyone the "Sorry we screwed up" coupon package. I do have to say the level of service from the cabin staff on all the segments was quite good.We arrive and customs was pleasant enough except for getting some nasty black oily shit on on my right hand later my face. We had made arrangements for a ride from the airport. We would have been shocked and stunned if he showed up. I later found an E-mail telling me our flight had been delayed far too long and we were welcome to swing by his place for a BBQ. If we'd gotten that then we would have gone. Thanks Jim, sorry we didn't meet up later but if you ever find yourself in Anchorage look us up. Anyway we check in partially unpack and start looking for food and drink. It's eleven P. M. the kitchens are closing. We try a few places the first being "Spirits" this would later become our neighborhood bar but not this night. We end up at place called "Burgundy" that claimed to be a sports bar. I had a cheeseburger, it was good, I figure it's best not to ask just what is AAA ground beef. A stop at a store for some snacks and sodas for the room and good night. All in all one of it was an annoying journey but it could have been much worse.
I've been dropping near this place quite a bit lately. I know nothing of the history of the building. I imagine it was quite the grand hotel when it was built, back when 2nd. Avenue didn't just drop off into nothingness the next block east. I understand that now it's a boutique hotel and really quite nice. In the late nineties it was a good time to be a bike messenger and I was okay in the summers and a two-wheeled god in the winters. Now I'm semi-retired, I work on average two hours a day. I'm looking to get involved in co-op with some other bike messengers then I'll work more hours on fewer days and with the gas thing that day may come soon. My business is a boutique service. I'll work for you, if I like you but I'm not going out of my way to look for new clients. Anyway back to our story I want to go to "The Cycle Messenger World Championships" my lovely wife has no interest in going. That's fine. I spend a long time going back and forth on whether to go without her because I know that at times I will miss her so much it will physically hurt. I finally decide that I can endure that the tough part will be not whining to much about it. It'll be like being in my late twenties and early thirties again, I can stay at a buddies place, lots of drinking, smoking, two-wheeled shenanigans, staying up late only without the constantly trying to get laid. Almost the bachelor party I didn't bother to have. The older I get the more I hate to fly and the worse flying coach gets. The only way I can handle a flight that long is if I go first class. I also really do not want to pay full fare and who would. I've hemmed and hawed about it too long for a mileage ticket, an upgradable fare too fucking much. A little Shatner magic and there as if the hand of god is pushing me to Toronto is it first class for a tad over a C-note more than your average coach fare. That's it I'm going. I tell her and another miracle, maybe it was to good a bargain to pass up, maybe she wanted a break from work, it could have been many things but my true love changed her mind. My heart soared. I would have dug the wild boys adventure thing, no doubt. There are sure to be some logistical issues but so what I'll have Cheryl at my side. I'll continue the rest in segments, kind of like blog novel. Or would that be "blovel"?
I think that it's great that your riding your bike downtown, keep up the good work, good on you, really I mean that. Just one small request, when it's time to lock up your bike and you lock up on a bike rack in front of a bar just for one second consider that besides paying for the bike rack the owner of the bar for years and years paid for a permit to have that rack outside of his bar. Go in buy a drink or stop parking there because you're taking a space from someone who goes there or works there and helps pay for that rack either kick in or fuck off. In a real city I'd double lock your ass.
Well I live for many things but at the top of that list would have to be my beautiful wife. After dealing with this freakish spring and the start of the Alaska Bar convention along with the day to day struggle to survive I would have to put her at the top of that list before steel bikes and clearing a "tweener" with more then five minutes to spare. Every day I'm reminded of the many reasons I fell in love with her and why I broke the "no dating lawyers" rule. Cheryl, this is my public love letter to you.
This got me thinking about a visit to Seattle last month where spring was in full effect. What terrific hosts the messenger of that city were both to me and my wife. Thank you.One of the nice things about Seattle. The coffee shop where a lot of the messengers go is located real close to Cheryl's favorite stores. Hitting Nordstrom's or Sephora, want coffee, look for some bike messengers. That's the place to get it. This also had me thinking about what terrific hosts the messengers in just about every messenger city I've visited were too . Thank you as well.
It should be spring but winter is hanging around like a Mormonmissionary with an Amway franchise. BTW in that last picture is the " Volvo of death" avoid this vehicle at all costs. I am not in anyway speaking ill of AMS, just if you see this car get the fuck out of the way. Trust me, have I ever lied to you before.
On a recent visit to Seattle I had a chat with an ex-messenger who's still quite active in the messenger community. Apparently there is great enthusiasm to bring the North American Cycle Courier championships here to Anchorage. Problem is there's only one bike messenger and he's a boring married old fart who tires easily. We need help? Since this thing is bringing more people to my humble blog. I'm going to blatantly solicit for the help I need. First volunteers to go to meeting deal with city officials and such. Ex-Bike messengers I know you're out there. Wouldn't it be nice to have a little bike racing and a big ol' party with friends old and new? Second cash and Lott's of it, prize sponsors shouldn't be an issue. I am incredibly open minded as to who's cash I'll take. Oil companies, Greenpeace, Nudey bars or Anchorage baptist temple, it all good. There's just one little catch you can in no way compromise the quality of the event. You can sell your product or ideas in the expo area and any parties you sponsor, you can even hang banners along the race course. Just make an effort not to be a bother elsewhere. Third the most important sponsor, a beer sponsor. Here's the pitch. Bike messengers for the most part love beer. If you provide us with free and/or cheap beer through out the event and if we like your product we will start buying it, we will pester our favorite bars and stores to carry it, we will make a point of being seen drinking it. At this point a certain demographic will start buying your product to drink what the real bike messengers drink. In a short time your sales in urban areas not just in North America but other parts of the world will go up. Any potential sponsors or volunteers are welcome to E-mail.
I don't really think about this blog when I'm busy. I think about it during slow periods. The slow periods when you realize that it's not just the lack of income. It's the lack of that adrenaline, the rush from doing things that to the untrained eye look downright dangerous. To make life more fun we had a bit of a warm spell. Things melted some refroze. Miles of roads cleared including most of the core but what ice remains can be downright evil. Slick and lumpy. The best set-up for that kind of ice involves a somewhat wide flat profile studded tire, a wide rim is nice. This same set-up sucks ass on pavement. The same two hundred plus studs that were your tungsten-carbide little buddies grabbing on and helping you along are now dragging on you and slowing you down like worthless in-laws during your wedding. The nice thing is you develop a kind of slow flow, almost like a skilled fixed gear rider only slower. You go to great pains to never come to a complete take your foot off the pedal stop. It's a pain to get the thing going again. You learn to anticipate a little further in to the future. All in all it's a cumbersome beast on pavement but sometime you surprise yourself with how much speed you can coax out of her. On ice she rides like she's on rails and with memories of shittier tires and such in your head your surprised how fast you can go and not stack. Or you go with skinnier tires and apply a great deal of skill, concentration and finesse' on the icy bits and just maybe you don't go down but the paved part is easier. A little trick for the young people. The key to riding on ice is to go fast enough that if you do fall you'll slide instead of dropping with a sickening thud but not so fast that a slight lump in the ice will knock your front wheel out from under. It's a fine and delicate balance and you need to pretty much learn by doing, you learn through pain, you fall to learn how not to fall. Now about that lull, lulls have been a common thing. They can be the daily lulls like around lunch. Even before electronic filings and when the client list was bigger and more diverse and the economy was pretty good, there would be lulls sometimes lasting days. Even if we took the financial sting out of them they'd still drive me bug-fuck. I try to make the best of them. I read, I catch up on correspondence, I take care of little things around the house and spend some time with the cat, I've even ridden my bike just for fun on the outskirts of Downtown. All that time I am the coiled cobra ready to strike waiting for the lull to break. BTW In case anyone is wondering I lose clients mostly to retirement, carer changes and death.
It was a slow day, very little business and I am stuck Downtown for the day. Normally during the lunch lull I like to run home and check in on "Princess the messenger cat", not today. To do that I need to be able to get from the house to Downtown quickly and easily in under twenty-five minutes. The key words being quickly and easily, I could have one or the other but not both at the same time. To make life more interesting my bike of choice today is one I've nicknamed "The Tank" it's kind of heavy being a mountain bike with SnowCat rims and Nokian studded tires but it will roll over just about anything Anchorage has to offer. I grabbed it not because of what was but because of what could be. Now that we've set the stage lets go through the pictures. First we have Side St. my favorite coffee shop If I find myself empty in the core before three (when they close) I stop in and have a couple doppio's and a snack, lovely place. Next picture we have one of my favorite deliveries. If I'm still empty when I finish my coffees and snacks I call "The Loveliest Lady Lawyer in Anchorage" to see if she needs coffee or a snack. Every time I do that I'm reminded why I don't try to add her firm to the client list. Because I still fawn over her like a love-struck teenager every time I see her, it could severely fuck my turn-around times. I took care of a small bit of business rode around had some more coffee. I'm getting bored. I even went into the Mall. Next picture this is a spot on "The Coastal Trail" a good place to meditate and get in touch with nature even if it is behind a sewage treatment sub-station. I thought for a second when most people go into the workplace break room it's kind of dingy and windowless. I'm kind of lucky that this is my break room. Next picture, we have the messenger bar. I don't call it that just because I go there. Of the four people who've worked as bike messengers in the last ten years three of us instinctively made our ways there. The guy who's career lasted about two weeks never showed up but I did see him when he was driving for the pizza place next door. Now remember "Princess the messenger cat" she hates it when I don't come home during the lunch lull. My plan, have a beer and look for what I call "The Holly Trinity of Alaska law" the three Attorneys who go there for a late afternoon drink serve as a barometer for the legal field. If lawyer A is in there you have a 75% chance of being able to finish your beer in peace, If you have lawyer B (lawyer A's slightly younger buddy) it goes up to 85% and if lawyer C shows up you might as well start ordering shots. I go there to wait out the end of the day and sip beer slowly. Because lately if I'm bored in traffic I find myself doing the kind of stuff one should only do on a rush job and then only if you sort of like the client for mere amusement. That's just stupid. Now the plan is leave as close to five as possible, hit that small window of quiet during the start of rush hour and make the cat happy. The last photo represents "Darwin's other theory" which reads "Come to this bar and consume two to three time the alcohol you planned on when you entered". The nice part is sometimes people buy rounds for the bar either to celebrate good fortune or just because they can, many kind souls pass through that door. Tonight someone did that twice. I start to realize that my window is closing and the cat is going to be pissed. Your asking. "Kirk, why didn't you say 'No thank you' to the beers?" Why because I believe in maintaining standards. There are standards during working hours like striving to make an impossible deadline with Samurai like dedication and there are after work standards. I believe the only time a bike messenger should refuse free beer is if you don't drink at all or it puts you at risk of bodily harm. I call the wife she's about to leave work and offers me a ride home. I think to myself. "I'm a bike messenger god dam it! Fuck that shit, I ride!" On the phone I politely decline. It's rush hour I have to share the road with a bunch of selfish evil pricks. I'm not exactly sober but I'm not exactly drunk. This could be bad. Wait one minute here I've got "The Tank", I can take The Coastal Trail. There might be some skiers out and most of them are selfish evil pricks but I remember it's a lot easier to beat the shit out of a skier then a car. Down the alley, left on a side street, check my wifes parking lot, I have a head start, through a suburban area and unto the trail. Just enough light to enjoy the view and no skiers had to be beaten, it would have been in self-defense of course. I got home first and the cat was only a tiny bit annoyed but a handful of treats helped. That was my butt slow Wednesday.
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.