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, May 10, 2012

Bike to Work Day turns 25!

For 25 years this day has been celebrated as “National Bike to Work Day”, an event that has raised awareness and participation in cycling across the country and particularly in Santa Cruz due to the tireless efforts of volunteers and organizations that donate their time and resources to provide free breakfast to bike commuters today, and bicycle related events and outreach all week long. While this is highly commendable, and I love the free brekky, it has always had for me-the working messenger- a sort of high rent feel to it, being so geared toward bike commuters. The-‘let’s get lockers and showers at our fancy tech firm so I can avoid being sweaty and helmet hair in the office’-set. While this may be somewhat of a personal bias, I’d venture to say there is a whole segment, maybe lower income population, that the bike to work movement has missed; those that actually work on their bikes, or rather use their bikes for work. You see them in Watsonville riding beat up mountain bikes to labor in the fields, you see them in the city streets of Shanghai transporting monstrous loads of cargo, and you see them in the tree-lined boulevards of Amsterdam safely shuttling their children in special ‘family trikes’. In most of the developing world ownership of a working bike can be a ticket out of poverty for the savvy entrepreneur. By providing transport and a means for delivery the bicycle as a tool can improve the standard of living for whole communities. There are micro-lending organizations that are dedicated to the bike as a means to upward mobility. “Sherida began selling tomatoes in 1995, starting her business with only $10 in working capital. Although her produce sold well, she could never really afford to improve or expand her business; her profits went immediately to fulfilling her family’s basic needs. In 1998, Sherida heard from a friend that an organization called FINCA was offering loans to women in the area. Sherida used her first FINCA loan to purchase spare bicycle parts for transporting the tomatoes. She also cultivated her own tomato garden, and was able to afford seeds and insecticides. But perhaps more important, she was able to set aside savings, even after paying school and uniform fees for her children.” For more info visit: http://www.finca.org/site/c.6fIGIXMFJnJ0H/b.6088193/k.BE5D/Home.htm Of course you can’t discount the bike as a sublime toy, an avenue to sheer joy. All the pro bike messengers I know are in the game because they love to ride. I don’t know any motorized couriers that do it because they love to drive. For all the bike messengers working every day world-wide, for all the Sheridas out there, I propose an “International Bikes That Work Day”. Let’s honor the most efficient tool for energy conversion ever created by honoring the people that have thought up the best uses for it.