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, October 28, 2013

'Tips for Longevity' as we finish up our 7th year in business

This is taken from the comments section from an old post but as we finish up our 7th year in business, I thought 'Tips for Longevity" to be pertinent...

"Well Horace, most of this may sound cliche, but maybe you can sift some gems outta my bs.. 1. I don't know why you would want to but, if it's not for you, definitely get out. There's no sense in beating yourself up on something that isn't fun. 2. Find new and interesting things to do in the market that will increase your rate of return and put variety into your day: I'm a mobile notary-pays well and definitely an interesting part of the job. We are process servers, we deliver medical specimens, we slap up posters, we are not above delivering cookies. 3. Less weight, more money. If I delivered bagels and newspapers all day I would want to kill myself. 4. Annihilate the competition in a playful way. Invite them to your races and your kickball and badminton tourneys. Show them with your actions that we have a rich and long-held tradition of comraderie. In business set a standard for yourself and your crew that is hard to beat. Teach them with your bidding process that a rising tide raises all boats. 5. Ply your trade. Sell, sell, sell! Noone will will give a rats ass about you if you don't get out there and offer them something of value. Deliver items of consequence and be professional about it. 6. Use a decent bike with gears and brakes. I learned in my rookie year that friends don't let friends ride junk. 7. Be a conservationist. Your life force keeps you rolling. if you are going to be at a red light for awhile.. swallow your pride and put your foot down and rest. Track-stands are a waste of energy and only look cool to other hipsters. 8. Get over yourself. Yeah you are gonna get cut off nine times a day and if you get butt-hurt about the lack of respect motorist show you all day, you wont last long. Be Aikido about it and use your superior maneuverability and mental health to get outta the way. Honestly most of these drivers don't even see you, so get the F outta their blind spot, and signal and yell or whatever it takes to be noticed and accounted for. 9. Don't pick a physical fight with a car, they will wallop you. Remember the first and best way to resolve a conflict is to ride away. 10. Try and follow the rules of the road. You will feel like a big old dork at first, but once you get in the habit, you will realize that it's about respect and survival. 11. Eat and drink water all day. and sleep all night. Stretch in between 12. Ride on your days off!! You gotta keep up the pace and honestly it's way more tiring watching TV or diddling online. 13. Press your boundaries. Under-promise and over-deliver, but just slightly. We have a beautiful run out to Watsonville through the orchards of Corralitos that makes for a 50 mile day, 20 miles between picks. No-one believes that we do it but it's my favorite ride and we have opened up the whole county to bike messengers that way. 14. Always plow the coins you earn back into the game so you can get better gear, level up, and kill more monkeys!! 15. Make friends on the road. So many cyclists are way too stuck-up and we need each other out there. 16. Last but not least; try not to eat too much shit, drink too much booze, or become a drug addict. that makes it really hard...

That's just some of my tips to longevity. I learned a lot of this from experience but a lot I learned from other messengers in my first few years. I'm not perfect or a genius but I try and not be stingy with my skill-set. My inspiration lately is my crew and helping them and watching them come up in the game is my awesome reward. Oh yeah.. this one my mentor Eli told me my rookie year in NYC. Every once in awhile pull over and look up. Hardly anybody gets to do that in their working day, and that's really why we do the job! Oh yeah look down too.. you can find some amazing ground-squirrels (scores)."

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