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

Monday, December 19, 2011

Videos of Zack Parke memorial ride this is 1 of 4







Thursday, August 18, 2011

Positive Health Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar

Back in March after dinner I was sent to the hospital with violent puking to the point of blood. This had happened before recently and they were concerned. Lot's of morphine and $18,000 worth of tests-which I have no insurance for-later they didn't know what was wrong with me and sent me home. When it kept happening I went to my doctor who diagnosed me with bleeding ulcers caused by h-pylori bacteria in my stomach. After massive antibiotics and antacid medicine my symptoms were suppressed, but came back with a vengeance when I tried to eat regular meals. Scary. That's when my friend Peter Glynn told me about Apple Cider Vinegar. since I've been taking it a couple of weeks now. I have very little nausea and I am beginning to be able to eat normal again! Thanks Pete! check it out http://www.homeremediesweb.com/apple_cider_vinegar_health_benefits.php

Saturday, June 11, 2011

RIP Zachary Parke

Zack was an exceptional human being.
When I first met him and he told me he wanted to be a Clutch Courier I wasn’t convinced that the skinny kid I saw in line with the bushels of lettuce and avocado would have what it takes to get the job done. But he kept pestering me, and I told him if he took my old Italvega road bike (with gears and brakes) instead of his fixed gear bike he could have the job. Over the years he became my most reliable rider.
Zachary loved mountain climbing and spent most of his weekends in Bishop or Yosemite. When he came back down off the mountain I could still see it in his eyes. Here was a man who had found a way to get as close to God as possible, and he wrapped his whole life around getting back up there as often as he could. Sometimes that competed with my priorities as a business owner, but I had to give it to him, and it was a joy to see someone pursue their dream so completely.
Zack always looked for and pointed out the good things in people and in life. He exemplified them too, always having the time to listen to you, and the generosity to offer a friendly, encouraging perspective.
He poured himself fully into the life of his choosing and we have to give him that. I keep expecting to pick up the phone and hear his voice on the other side, “Hey Rick, it’s Zack. Made the drop with Jim, postering all done, keys are back. I’m off to climb Half-Dome!’
Copy that, Good Buddy. Except this time you don’t have to come back down off the mountain.
Rick Graves

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Zachary Parke

Yesterday our dear friend and crew member Zachary Parke was killed by a hit and run driver while bicycling home from visiting a friend. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends. Words cannot express our sorrow and loss. Zach, we love you!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Messenger Profile #7-Andrew Weyland!

We call Andrew the Super Rookie, whether it's banging out a medical delivery in under a half an hour, or handling a complicated filing, Andrew brings next level performance to his job because he cares about what he does and always wants to improve. It's a joy having you on Crew Andrew. Keep up the good work!-RG
I consider myself lucky to be able to say that I live and work in beautiful Santa Cruz as a professional bicycle messenger. There aren't as many of us in this town as there are in bigger cities like New York and San Francisco, but we are working to change that every day. From day one I have been impressed with my fellow messengers' work ethic and positive attitude in even the most stressful situations. I would like to give a big shout out to my boy Brandon for helping me get my foot in the door when I was just a broke kid living in San Francisco struggling to get by; and to Rick for being a teacher and helping guide me along the path to becoming a good messenger. He doesn't accept anything but the best and that has made me better day in and day out.

I was born in Castro Valley, California; my family moved to Arizona when I was about one. My parents decided to move back to California in 2000 and we settled into Aptos. I attended Aptos High School and played varsity soccer for three years. I earned the rank of Eagle Scout in August of 2008. I had always hoped to play soccer in college and since I could walk I wanted to play professionally. But my life didn't turn out like that. After graduating high school in 2008 and not being accepted at any colleges with a soccer scholarship, I began to take classes full-time at Cabrillo College.

I just didn't fit in and I moved to San Francisco to get a change of scenery and experience city life. In SF I worked at the Freewheel Bike Shop as a mechanic. It was in San Francisco that I was first exposed to the messenger culture. Messengers would come into the shop during down time and I was so envious of their freedom of movement and autonomy. My boss was right in the other room, ready to crack the whip at any time, while these messengers were seemingly free with only a radio to answer to. I would see them gliding through traffic or hanging out at the statue and while the weather wasn't always perfect or the cars respectful, I knew that was what I wanted to do. I tried to get a messenger job in the city for a couple months, but no one was hiring, especially not a rookie with zero experience. In a phone conversation with Brandon, I told him I wanted to be a messenger and he told me that Clutch might need another rider. I jumped at the opportunity.

I have learned, since beginning work for Clutch Couriers, not only how to ride my bicycle farther and faster than I thought possible, but other life skills that have made me a better person. Learning to anticipate that door that someone in a parked car is going to open on to you has taught me to be aware, and then being able to stay calm and collected after it happens for the sixth time in a day has taught me patience. Accidents do happen, but most can be avoided through anticipation and careful positioning. I am happy to say that I have not had a serious accident as a courier, and I defy anyone to call this a dangerous job for idiots. Do you want your legal filing being executed by some brainless idiot with a death wish?

In my free time I love to play bicycle polo, a mix between horse polo and hockey played in all major cities and elsewhere around the world. I also love to play electric and acoustic guitar as well as my bluegrass mandolin. I like coffee, books, beer, music, friends, long rides, laughter, findings gaps in between cars that you wouldn't think existed, and wiggling my ears. Before I wrap up here I want to say a big thank you to my wonderful girlfriend Carrie. Without her love and support I wouldn't have made it through some of my tougher rookie days.

Thanks for reading. Yall keep yer noses clean and the rubber side down!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

This job cannot be outsourced

Clutch Couriers is old school meets new school. Whether it's instant email notification on your documents, and satellite radio dispatch, or just getting from A to B quickly; we get the job done with the perfect mix of skilled labor, and the best of 19th through 21st century technology.

Monday, January 10, 2011

the fruits of our labor are too sweet to hang low..

What are the hours of your life worth? The time you spend working that you never get back.
Labor is undervalued.

A messengers labor has always been undervalued, and ever since the first messengers were killed upon their delivery of said message, this profession has been taken for granted.

Ever since my entry into the delivery business almost 17 years ago, and ever since entering the workforce at 16 I have known that this is true. The only weapon against this, barring a college degree, is to set a higher standard to constantly improve, and therefore over time, by working sharp angles and building solid relationships, you can incrementally increase your value in the market.

You are after all the ultimate freelancer, and as an independent contractor you can sell yourself to the best company and the best dispatcher in that company and that is incentive to improve. The more skills you have, the more services you offer, the more professional and wide reaching those services the higher price you can command.
This improves the industry and the messengers lot, one courier at a time.
Then came the 2000's and youtube and eco-groovyness, and fixed gears ridden by posers doing tricks and the whole idea of being a messenger turned on it's head. All of a sudden in the young, modern public's eye the value of being a messenger was in the cool points and the whole idea of it being something that you do for a living was lost.
Except for those that are still doing it. For a living.
Clutch Couriers who stick with it know the value of the hours of their life. They will not devalue them by subsidizing their job with social status and charging grossly below the standard to get business. We will up our game so that we can expand into new markets, earning new respect and pushing the profession upward to a more sustainable payscale. We will not participate in a race to the bottom because we are invested in the future of our job in this beautiful place. This is the real shit. A job we love and will fight to protect.