Welcome to Santa Cruz County’s Bicycle Courier Blog

I thought it would be great to have a place where Bike Couriers and Bike Riders could meet and talk, share stories, trade advice, and build an online community. I look forward to reading and writing our Courier stories, news, and comments.

Rick Graves

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Clutch Couriers and Country Living

Having been raised in rural New Zealand, spent most of the nineties living in New York City, and call Santa Cruz my home off and on for 20 years, I have a unique perspective on different and sometimes conflicting social mores. In NZ you walk a mile to have tea with your neighbor, in New York eye contact on the subway is seen as a threat, and in Santa Cruz you are only truly cozy with those who share your politics.
Given these perspectives and influences I sometimes lurch back and forth depending on my context. One interesting experience has been the interactions between myself and other cyclists on the sometimes lonely nineteen mile stretch of road between Santa Cruz and Watsonville. Since our daily arrival early last April I have made it a point to wave at all cyclists on Freedom Boulevard between Aptos and Watsonville. Partially a countrified habit from my childhood and partly because I figure things can go bad for cyclists in isolated areas and we might need to help each other out at some point,(most motorists will not).
The reactions to this have run the gamut and as a rule it is a good reflection of cyclists as a general group. The first few months only one out of twenty roadies returned the gesture, although a cold nod was more common. The rate of response has gradually crept up as some regulars have begun to recognize us. Most field workers on mountain bikes are oblivious to it although some locals have begun to recognize and are the most genuine with their returning smiles. Some Pedx'ers smile and wave, some most certainly do not. But most interesting is the roadies that have begun to race us. This guy in his 30's or 40's drafting me a good 3 miles, I looked back and warned him I had to snot-rocket. He excitedly said "you keep a good pace" before peeling off. Right on my brother, so do you, and I live for these moments. In contrast the drafting douche-bag who thought I was talking to him when I muttered "purty flowers" (I love spring in Corralitos) and then passed me on the right only to slow down, has got to learn the rules of the road-maybe the hard way.
Regardless, what goes around doesn't always come around, so I promise to all of you on the road that if I see you in trouble I will stop and help in any way I can, even if I have a bag full of rush filings and minutes to get them there.

Peace out, Yo!



Yokota Fritz said...

I've never noticed any NZ 'accent,' Rick. You've been here too long :-)

If I see you on the road I'll be sure to wave!

Clutch Couriers Weblog said...

Thanks Fritz, I guess my dialect has changed a little since I was 11. Still a small furry flightless bird (Kiwi) at heart though-watch out grubs!-he he