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

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A perfectly normal job.

Being a Bike Messenger in Santa Cruz is a little like being a Muslim in America. Reviled by some, glorified by others, but universally stared at and set apart from the mainstream.
Some of this may be self-perpetuated, and some messengers are reactionary.
What we need to do is use the animosity as fuel towards reaching out to those that fear, and see the flattery for what it is, a desire to understand better.
Don't call us 'bike punks', or 'pedalers for peace'. Call us your friends and neighbors, and you may learn that we are delivering your paycheck, or your Uncle's divorce papers, or your Mother's biopsy.
Clutch Couriers is Santa Cruz's professional bike messenger company. Doing a perfectly normal job, the way that makes sense.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We are in a hurry so others don't have to be.

We are in a hurry so others don't have to be.
We are not racing you, we are delivering a service that has a specific time frame. A time frame that the competition can't or won't make. That's why you see us chirping away on our Nextel radios. Not so that we can be clowned by people with smart phones, but so that we can ...communicate directly and efficiently about jobs and positioning on the most reliable network available without dropping calls or running out of battery power.
Some examples of items that need to be hand delivered in a hurry: Legal documents like restraining orders or contracts that need to be signed, medical specimens, water samples for purity testing, camera parts for a delayed photo-shoot, or modified bicycle parts for your Burning Man extra-cycle.
Clutch Couriers is about getting it done, getting it done right, and getting it done right now. That's what coming through in the clutch means.
So if we take the time to smile and wave its because we like you, stranger, and we love our job, no matter how misconstrued it is.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Courtesy in the Courier's World.

Recently we were approached by a New York columnist who wanted to know the rudest questions we were asked about our job for a book he is writing featuring Miss Manners and other notables. It brought up the larger subject of common courtesy and how it relates to our job as we go about in traffic and through people's work environments.
It occurred to me that some bicycle couriers might be seen as discourteous and maybe that could have something to do with the supposed decline of the industry as a whole.
In truth you can't be a successful courier if you are rude or unaware of how your actions effect others around you. One of the keys to a smooth career or day as a courier is an acute awareness of your position and relationship to others on the physical plane. In traffic it's a matter of survival. You can't barge through a car even if they are trying take you out, and a pedestrian is better passed from behind, so as not to have them skitter in front of you and get hit. The main principle is not to impede the flow of traffic, which bike messengers should be great at because of their superior maneuverability.
Towards that end, Clutch Couriers practice letting people out of the door before entering (just like in NYC subway cars) and holding the door for those entering behind us. Other less obvious (and misunderstood) favors include moving to the front of the line at the red light so that the cyclist can be clearly seen, and get out of the intersection quicker when the light turns green.
There are a million ways that modern life has made us believe that "I am the center of the universe" and this disease is spreading like an epidemic. Being a good bicycle messenger is the one of the best ways that I know to combat this in myself.
Remember that common courtesy is really looking out for number one by realizing the symbiotic nature of society.

Flowing like water from the mountains to the sea...-RG

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Watsonville Same Day Filing!

Same Day Filing drop-off and Attorney bin pickup service to Watsonville Courthouse..Only $100 per month for Santa Cruz-Capitola Attorneys! Same Day Filing and Return including all Document Retrieval and Inter-Office Attorney Delivery only $150 per month for Santa Cruz-Capitola Attorneys!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Messenger Profile-Brandon Bailey!

Brandon has brought a unique enthusiasm and competence to our crew. He knows that you have to love what you do, and the better you get, there's more to love-Thanks Brandon, it's a pleasure and an honor having you on the team.-RG

I'm Brandon, and I work for Clutch Couriers. Here's the shortened run-down on me,
I started working as a courier in Baltimore, MD after realizing a few things. One,that my commute to and from my crummy kitchen job was the only part of the day I enjoyed and two that I was always the person running the the store for my friends because I wanted to be on my bike inside of sitting inside. After working in Baltimore for about 2 years I moved to Milwaukee, WI. I became a courier there for a brief time before fracturing my neck and coming back to MD to recover, and then moving out here to beautiful Santa Cruz. I tried to get a bike job here for a while, but I had no luck. And I wasn't about to get a job I hated just to pay for things that keep me comfortable doing something I didn't want to do. So I waited for a while, doing volunteer bike work (like FNB) and working fill-in for Ped-X, until one day I started working here.

Here I also started playing Bike Polo which I love dearly and have gotten better and better at that the more I have played here and other cities. Bike polo is the best and anyone who reads this should check it out and come play. I also love chicken wings, screaming along to music while I ride, beer, and working hard.

This job gives me so much. When I first started (B-more) it got me in shape and showed me the potential of my life: that I don't have to be miserable, I can have fun and work at the same time. This job is so much fun. On top of getting paid to ride a bike all day, it also comes with an intensely positive feeling thats part endorphins and part knowing that I am doing something I love doing without compromise. This job gives me satisfaction in many ways just come ask me if you want (though I might talk your ear off if I just got back from Watsonville). And though sometimes I do miss the intensity and fast pace of the city I love Santa Cruz's fresh air, crazy people, and open skies.

I feel like I have a lot to give to this company as well. I've always given my all to my jobs, but especially here do I give it all because I actually feel respected and not used. When I feel like that it makes me want to come in everyday and work hard all day as well as try and learn new things and make myself better so that I can help out more. Since I was also here in Santa Cruz without a job I know what its like to have nothing here, it makes all the difference to have a job like this and something to live for. I also like to think I bring my positive attitude and willingness to run my body to the ground if need be (it usually heals back just fine).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Clutch Couriers lead feature in Sunday's Santa Cruz Sentinel!


SANTA CRUZ -- Rick Graves and the other riders at Clutch Couriers, which recently announced an expansion into Monterey County, have nimbly maneuvered the economic downturn as if they were swerving around a suddenly stopped delivery van on Ocean Street.

see full article @ http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/business/ci_15238288

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Don't call us alternative transportation

Don't call us alternative transportation.

In every major city across the planet professional bicycle couriers are the most trusted and relied upon cog of the mainstream transportation network.

Any good office manager knows that the national delivery companies are fine for overnight and freight delivery, but if you need a sensitive item delivered right now, without question or delay, the only way to go is by pro bike messenger.

Whether it's bone-marrow or legal documents, we are historically the most trusted delivery system, and the fates of whole lives, corporations and careers have depended upon that trust.

So why, when transplanted to smaller west-coast towns, are bike messengers are relegated to the title of 'alternative' transportation; a moniker that carries with it a connotation of separateness or exclusivity that restricts our broader appeal to those who don't share 'alternative' political viewpoints.

If you can provide superior goods and services at a comparable price, using alternative transportation methods, you become the preferred choice. But you have to get in the door first. Presenting yourself as 'alternative' from the get-go sets up a division between you and the rest of the world, (the correct way vs. the old way), that may sabotage opportunities to bridge the gap.

For example, when the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District came to me for a quote for inter-office motorized courier services, I offered them both motorized and bicycle messenger services. I was able to show them by comparison that the job could be done quicker and more effectively, at a less expensive rate, by bike. They quickly signed on, with the caveat that in an emergency, we would back up our bicycle messengers with our car. We have never had to deliver one piece of mail by car, but I doubt the SCMTD would have taken a second look at us if we didn't have that option. The final result is that all their inter-office mail is now delivered by professional bicycle messengers instead of by their former delivery method of armored trucks.

Most large law firms that find us on the internet don't know or care about our transportation methods. They want immediate results and are willing to pay for it, the pro bike courier just happens to be the most effective method.

In my view an environmental activist with his or her eye on the big picture would want to adapt their message, products, and services to appeal to the broader market. After all, we are asking folks to adapt their lifestyles and attitudes radically, is it so wrong to help provide the middle ground that most of the public can feel safe about crossing.

Or did we move to Santa Cruz to exclude the rest of the world, and set ourselves apart as special and different. Inviting the “others” to either oppose us or sit on the fence.

There is an alternative approach: By providing a wide variety of professional services to a broad spectrum of the market, Clutch Couriers represents the future of the messenger industry, and our recipe for success is the gradient for change that will move 'green' courier services into the mainstream without all the political drama.

When the rubber hits the road your true friends become apparent...RG

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Announcing Monterey County Superior Court Legal Service!

Today we celebrate legal courier services in Monterey County available for the first time by professional bike messenger!

Thanks Mikey!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Clutch Couriers featured in City on the Hill Press!



Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ahh the life...

Ahhhh..the life of a Santa Cruz County bike courier...Sweeeeet!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What is the definition of the slang term clutch:

What is the definition of the slang term clutch:
Often used in sports to describe a player or team's ability, to deliver when peak performance is needed, or great; AWESOME; COOL.
"Man, that was clutch!"
helpful during a difficult situation or period of time. Something that "came through in the clutch", that is, came through in a difficult or trying time.
"Big-time players deliver in the clutch." Kurt Johnson, Roseville Press-Tribune

Friday, February 19, 2010

Clutch Couriers are so good lookin'...

So while we were working our asses off the other Thursday our most dreamy crew member Zack was up in "the city" draping himself across various track bikes and other urban settings for Chrome bags new advertising campaign. As the only working messenger in the shoot I thought he did us proud. Congrats, Zack-lookin good...

More info photos and gear @ http://www.chromebagsstore.com/

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Same Day Filing and Return to Watsonville Superior Court

Rain or Shine Clutch Couriers comes through for you with Same Day Court Filing in Watsonville Superior Court! Only $150 per month for Santa Cruz Attorneys!
For more info visit:
or call 831-466-0560

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Secrets to Longevity #4-Bikram Method Yoga

I first started doing Yoga as a child with my parents who practiced daily. I think my Dad took a certain perverse pleasure from scaring the be-jeezuz out of us with his dragon face/pose, the vision of his eyes bugging out still gives me shivers.
About a year and a half ago I was introduced to Bikram method yoga by my girlfriend Teale, and I have been practicing at least twice a week since.
Bikram method is twenty six postures designed to work every joint, muscle and organ of your body. You practice each posture twice for a ninety minute session in a room that is 105-115 degrees tempered with forty percent humidity, and boy do you sweat.
The extremes of the environment and the length of time that you hold some of the postures make for what Bikram calls a torture chamber, but here's what it has done for me:
When I first started I was completely defeated and humbled by the experience. It was the hardest thing I had ever done, and a year and a half later I have progressed, but it hasn't gotten any easier. Bikram takes my ego and squashes it, which helps make me a nicer person.
Keeping Yoga in my life has brought my mind and body closer together. I can mentally and physically manifest improvements in my spine that I know will keep me on the road for decades to come. The mental discipline it takes to hold standing head-to-knee for a full minute really has helped me be a more patient and compassionate person when people are trying me. My former chronic back pain has essentially disappeared, as my posture is slowly being pulled back into alignment after years of misuse.
A pro bike messenger must take preventative measures to stay on the road. Whether maintaining your bicycle or your body, a higher level of diligence is needed or you will suffer breakdowns and injury at the worst possible times.
I would recommend the Bikram Yoga method to anyone serious about taking stamina, meditation and overall good health to the next level. It is also an excellent way for bike messengers to keep their most important tool, their bodies, stretched and toned for long term performance.

For more info visit: http://www.bikramyogasantacruz.com/

or just get down there and sweat, the first week is only $15 and you can go as many times as you want.

Namaste-Rick Graves
photo by Poppy de Garmo

Friday, January 15, 2010

Business is back baby!

Clutch Couriers is a lead indicator of the economic recovery. More people are spending money on advertising, which means there are more people going out and spending, which means you need to get the word out about your event or service!

For more information about our quality printing and promotional services visit:


or call 831-466-0560

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Important uses for bike messengers #1

Hire Clutch Couriers to get that Restraining Order in your client's hands that Same Day! Why hire a bike messenger? Our motorized competition won't stand in line for your peace of mind. Only Clutch Couriers, with our 100 year old technology and professional bike messengers who really care about their job, can provide you with that Next Level Legal Service!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Entering our fourth year in business...

What a ride!

We've seen a lot of transition around the Clutch office this year, sending several of our fondest off with a more profound sense of self, and welcoming some exciting new crew members that have really come into their own (Matt, Sally and Brandon).

All along we've maintained and improved our excellent customer service record and grown 35% while showing a profit. Our brand name has been cemented as synonymous with quality service in the community, and that goes a long way in giving us even more pride in our job.

The recognition we have received,(Good Times article http://www.clutchcouriers.com/about.htm and Nomination for Nextie http://clutchcouriers.blogspot.com/2009/12/rick-graves-owner-of-clutch-couriers.html ) has been humbling and hard earned, and we take our professional reputation very seriously.

Our solid crew is ready to conquer whatever 2010 throws at us, we've never had a more dedicated and capable group of individuals working together so well as a team. I've seen this in all situations whether delivering blood, rush filings or posters, the Clutch Couriers Crew puts all the many pieces together on any given day, flawlessly and with joy in their hearts and a little scratch to take home at the end of the day.

To keep that spirit going we celebrated together at Delaveaga Park for Kickballs!:


and rang in Clutch's third birthday with a dinner at Shogun where we saw Kevin devour a whole three eyed fish and plate of meat curtains.

For the next year I see our market share growing even more. As our customers see how we come through for them in ways they didn't even think were possible the word gets out exponentially.

Thanks to all the local bike shops (Bike Trip, Spokesman, Daves, Pacific Avenue Cycles, ABS) who have kicked us deals and Thanks to Swobo http://www.swobo.com/ and Chrome Bags http://www.chromebagsstore.com/ for the keen gear-Y'all Rock!

Thanks to all our wonderful clients, our understanding vendors, and our ever loving passers by. This is the year we have felt welcomed the most and we are proud to be among you.

And a special shout out to Peter and Family at Maverick Mailing-remember it's always smooth sailing at Maverick Mailing http://www.maverickmailing.com/

Most of all, as every year, but I think we're all feeling it a little more this one, to our families, our friends, our human community that we rely upon so much-our heartfelt gratitude. We couldn't have done it without you and you are greatly appreciated. What you bring to us when we get home is what makes this job and this life worth it.

Peace in the tens dammit!-RG