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

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Messenger Profile #9 Rick Graves

You never would have guessed looking at my skinny ass pedaling out into the New York City snow on my Panasonic with the Pee Wee Herman handlebars, that 18 years later, I'd own my own courier company and still ride every day.

Well here I am, and what a ride it's been.

I have learned so much from being a bike messenger. One thing is what people mostly see, the pure joy and freedom of tearing down the road for a living, but also the slog through bad weather and the burden of responsibility that comes with carrying out the job professionally.

Along the way I have parleyed my independent contractor status into an entrepreneurial way of life. I sell my skills on the open market, and if I'm not paid well enough where I am, I step up my game and look for people and places that will benefit from my services and can appreciate - in every sense of the word - their value.

Holding true to that vision and standard has created real lasting jobs here in Santa Cruz, a dream come true for me as I watch the fruits of my many years labor help to make other lives better.

Today professional bike messengers cross the county daily carrying everything from legal paperwork to your grandma's biopsy, and the people that hire them know they can be counted on to get the job done.. to get it done right.. and to get it done right away.

Personally, I am so thankful for what I have gained from the job over the years: An acute sense of focus on the road, and an awareness of where I am on the physical plane, especially in relation to others. A rare practice these days.

A strong body and disciplined mind are requisites for doing the job in longevity, and in turn these things add to your life span. A humble nature must be maintained in order to let flattery and abuse slide from those that don't understand the job in it's day to day.

And in the end always a sense of wonder in what lies around the corner.

Of course a huge shout must go out to all my fellow bike messengers I have met along the road, both in the Clutch Couriers crew, and those holding it down worldwide. You are all a special breed of human, and I have been honored to ride with you, and be a part of this community.

Mostly, I am grateful to the people that gave me the job. Those of you that trusted me and my crew with your valuables, your documents of high consequence, your faith in our ability to deliver, rain or shine. You've given me the perfect job, and as long someone will hire me.. I may never retire.

Today my big chain ring in the front lost a tooth. It went down from a 53 to a 52. They say I'm getting older.. just as long as it happens one ratio at a time I don't mind so much.

Long Live The Profession! Long Live Bike Messengers!

Clutch Crew Forever!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Messenger Profile #8 Michael Donohue

"Greets, My name is Michael, but some call me Mike or Micah. I like the variety. My humble roots are in Hilmar, a small dairy town in the Central Valley famous for its cheese manufacturing facility and high school football teams. Small town life was great for climbing fences, shooting bb guns and swimming in canals. It was also prime for commuting to scho ol on bicycle, and I have been a cyclist for about as long as I could walk. I spent many a sweltering summer playing bicycle ‘cops and robbers’ on the cul-de-sac, chasing and being chased by my brother Stephen and friends. I moved to Santa Cruz to attend UCSC in 2002, and even before graduating in Anthropology I knew Santa Cruz was a community I could settle down in and grow as a person. Being a cyclist from the valley I was amazed with the luxurious bike lanes on nearly every road and the sheer number of fellow cyclists. “Bike traffic... where am I, Amsterdam?!” I began professional cycling work in the summer of 2004 for a company operating a pedicab business hauling tourists from the wharf and boardwalk to downtown. The job ended with the summer, but working outside and on bicycle stuck with me as an ideal way to make a living in this beachside town. I joined the blossoming Santa Cruz Bicycle Polo scene one day after a trip to the Bike Church, and through bike polo I met and befriended Brandon and Andrew, both of whom are now with Clutch Couriers. I was smitten with envy when Brandon and later Andrew scored contracts to work at Clutch, and one night I pitched my cycling repertoire to Rick, who was gracious enough to give me a trial ride-along on the Watsonville route. Rick stuck with me joining Clutch even after my bike literally fell into pieces along the ride, and I learned a lesson in the value of dependability, both in the messenger business and life in general. I've been with Clutch Couriers since late October, and couldn't be happier with the way my life is going. Today you may see me riding along Soquel or atop UCSC; I’ll have at least one flower in my voluminous hair and, thanks to Rick and Clutch Couriers, a big ol’ smile smack across my face. See yall on the road." Editor's Note: Michael has been a welcome addition to the crew.. and when he's not trying to charm the ladies en route he's always on point. Thanks for the great attitude and hard work Mike! You rule!!-RG