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.
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.