Wednesday, January 30, 2008


so, as i stated before this week i have been covering for the night dispatcher. not a huge deal but i miss out on all the fun throughout the day. i looked out the window before heading off to the new shift and chicago is under a winter storm of sorts. winds are about 30 mph, there's snow everywhere, and the temp went from mid/high 40's to single digits in less than 24 hrs. i dont envy the other bike dispatcher because i know what this shows, call-ins, and everyone slows up.

i looked up the ten day forecast and it seems as if the temps are gonna range from the teens to the thirties...this does not include the wind-chill factor. the forecast also shows snowy and wet days. cold and wet do not go together at all. packages will definitely be late this week and next.

now...what to do? bikers are gonna have to keep their head, hands, and feet dry and warm. they're gonna have to look for spots to stay warm...messenger centers, thompson center(100 w. randolph), 7 eleven's, libraries, dunkin donuts, and my all time favorite...the front seat of gina's truck.

pic by mareesha...

gina(the pizza lady on madison just east of wacker), the messenger mom, will always take care of you. she carries a bunch of random things in her truck to help out messengers...extra jackets, pants, and so on. the best part is that you can stop by and buy a cheap slice of pizza and she'll let you enjoy it in the front seat with the heat at full blast.

i wish i was around to help deal with the stress that these next few days will bring. hope everyone stays warm and stays safe...peace.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

maybe its the weather?

a couple of posts back i talked about 6637 getting hit by a bus and breaking his nose and pinky. he also was barely able to move around. well, he came back on friday...i could not believe it. we tried to keep him on short runs, strictly envelopes, and, for the most part, one at a time. there was no need to work him hard, even though he probably would not object, so we eased him back to work. he said he felt good but still was hurting...when you need the loot you can deal with a bit of pain. either way, it was good to hear his voice and it was good to know that the hit didn't scare him off the bike.

funny thing, we get 6637 back but, on the same day, we lose 6688. he has a late start cause he's part time but is very good at what he does. rides fast and never says no. very similar to 6637 so its funny that the accident happened to him. not sure where it happened but he ended up getting doored by a lady coming out of a cab. he said the lady freaked out and he felt bad for her so he just told her not to worry about what happened and let the lady and cab go. can you believe that? he's crazy. anyway, he calls me up...

6688...eighty-eight. up?

6688...i just got doored. i think i broke two fingers. im fine but im not gonna go to the hospital cause they'll probably just tape them up and thats no big deal. umm...did you get info? you sure you're okay?

6688...yeah, im fine. i think i'll just clean up cause im hurting a bit, then im just gonna head home. serious? you sure you dont want me to send someone to pick up what you got? you sure you dont need anything?

6688...yeah, i'll be okay.

well, he cleaned up and fairly quick. he calls back and says he's clean. i send him home and tell him to keep me posted as to how he's doing. im sure he's fine but if it was me who broke fingers i probably would've gotten a whole police report and cried during the whole situation.

on another note, i'll be working the third shift to cover for someone going on vacation...not a big deal but im gonna miss dispatching my soldiers...peace.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


okay, this in no way has to do with the company i work for because they actually have pretty good rates.

anyway, there are many messenger companies in Chicago...driving and cycling companies. they are in constant battle for accounts especially huge accounts...rather not name any specific ones. one way to approach things is to offer good service. if you offer good service then money becomes a secondary issue...this isn't true in all cases because many companies are always trying to cut back on costs but it still "can" hold true. either way, another approach would be to offer lower rates for jobs delivered. this is where the problem lies...companies are constantly trying to get accounts and feel that low-balling is the best approach. i really wish it would be more of service issue as opposed to a financial issue. more companies should just stick with the rates they have and be confident that the people hired to represent them are competent enough to uphold the companies standards.

the problem then becomes, how much will the messenger make? packages keep getting cheaper and cheaper to deliver which means that the messenger has to work extra hard just to make a liveable wage. also, with advancement in technology the use of the bicycle messenger has been decreasing...will it ever go away? probably not but the amount of work is much less today than it was ten years ago. some messengers come in and complain but its out of their hands...not much they can do. its up to the people higher up in the companies that have final say as to what the rates will be. also, most companies dont really care/worry about the complaints...if one guy doesn't get the job done someone else will. why? we all need to eat. thats the beauty of the independant can say no but someone else will say yes. when that happens then the company no longer needs your wont be terminated but you will part ways... have cheaper packages and less work. its hard to pay bills and eat but many come out and try anyway. i may not have loved all the guys i've had the pleasure of working with but i have the upmost respect for all my soldiers...peace.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

man down!!

okay...since there's two dispatchers i wasn't working with 6637 at the time so i was kept out of the loop for a minute. i hear a little bit of a ruckus at work and i go check it out...turns out 6127, a driver, saw 6637 get hit by a bus. he immediately pulls over and throws 6637 in the van along with his bike. this is where i pick up. you alive?

6637...(mumbling) i cant feel my teeth. i think i lost my teeth. the FUCK? damn, your bike is jacked up...

6637...i got hit by a bus, i feel like shit!, i hope you get better soon. let me know what happens.

the driver then takes him to the clinic and 6637 undergoes a series of tests to check if he's bleeding internally and how many broken bones he has. he shows up to base towards the end of my shift. he could barely move but at least he's walking. the doctors didn't give him a neck brace because they dont want the muscles to stiffen up. he has a broken nose and a broken pinky. his bike is completely trashed...i couldn't get a good look at the bicycle but the wheels where beyond being taco'd. the benefit he has right now is that he's an employee and not an independant contractor. this means the company pays for everything or at least they should. what happened? he's not 100% what bridge this all happened on but it sounds to me like it was the lasalle bridge. a bus came from behind him...not sure which way he was headed(north or south). the bus then hit/bumped 6637 in the back of the head with the sideview mirror forcing 6637 to make moves. he then was pushed by the bus into a hole/gap in the bridge and his front wheel went right in forcing 6637 to flip over his bars and into the grated bridge. the bus stopped for a second and then kept going.

i told 6637 to call cta and let them know of the incident. maybe they will be able to track the driver who hit him by letting them know what time and what street? also, i let him know to post something on craiglist to see if any witnesse come forward. someone had to have seen something.

at this point...all i know is that we almost lost a soldier. one of the first things he asked me was if i had a front wheel he could buy...i know he'll be back soon. i told him to take his time coming back cause the last thing he needed was to get hurt again. i hope the medicine/pain killers they provide are strong enough for him to sleep at night...i also hope the driver is able to sleep at night knowing that he might of killed someone...peace.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

rookies and sorry's...

so we have a new crew coming in...sort of. we are slowly trying to get more people hired so that we get more people to show up and cover the work...especially in the morning. i recognized 6686 the minute he showed up to apply...i knew he would be hired. i told the other dispatcher that i remembered seeing him out there for the longest time and that the company could use a vet. he remembered him also and agreed with me. anyway, i haven't had the pleasure of working with him for an entire day but we did get to exchange words the other day..., 8-6

6686...finally, some professionalism would be nice. have no idea what you're talking about. the other dispatcher is busy right now...what are you up to?

6686...i've been waiting for the longest time already. i dont know what im picking up except something out the hancock.

at this point i let him know about his runs and he's happy again...i think. anyway, work starts to pile up a bit and i call 6686 again cause he's still up north and i need a few picked up and brought back into the loop.

6686...whats up? your holding two for west superior and huron then go ahead and hold the one for base and pick up one out of sedgwick for the loop.

6686...what? why? just let me drop the one for base...why should i go all the way back to the loop and have to come all the way back? got time on the one for base, just hold it. i'll get you back north with other packages. i need this sedgwick covered and either way you have two in the neighborhood your already dropping.

6686...why? just let me drop the one at the base that way we dont have to think about it anymore.

at this point i tell him to go ahead and do what he wants...i dont have time for cats that want to dispatch themselves. its pointless for me to be around in that case. i take the job off of him and tell him to just forget everything i had told him and just clean up.

6686...say... now?

6686...just give me whatever, i'll do it. just tell me what to do. already did and you didn't want to so forget it. i'll figure something out to cover the other jobs. just clean up and if you call me one more time and you're not clean then im gonna show you some true stand by.

6686...where's the other dispatcher. him already and stop talking to me.

i felt like a jerk but not really. my dispatching was questioned and, even though i know this cat has experience, he's still a rookie. he doesn't see what i see on my board just like i dont see the traffic he's got to deal with or how strong the wind is. he didn't see the northwest side starting to blow up with work. he didn't see that i had other riders loaded up already so i couldn't pull them off to go get this work. i got frustrated with him and he finally figured it out. he cleaned up and called me back...

6686...say, i just want to apologize for getting off on the wrong foot. it wont happen again. worries kid. whats your location? just apologizing but im by the mart holding one. up two on kinzie and call the other dispatcher...

on a good note, we got free cupcakes from swirlz bakery on belden somewhere. they look amazing but aren't that great. either way, it was nice treat to a frustrating day...peace.

Monday, January 14, 2008

back to work...

i've been sick for about a week now...did a half day on thursday and no work on friday. thank God i didn't have to go in today cause i definitely needed the extra day to be brought back to life. anyway, tomorrow i start the madness again...for now, i hope you enjoy this post from a different blog of mine(which i no longer use)...

...the first guy i see in the morning is -770-. somehow i have convinced him to take care of our morning mailruns which can be a pain in the ass, especially on mondays. anyway, first thing he asks me is if it's ok for him to say 10.shizzle instead of the usual 10.4...not sure how serious he was or if this was an (failed) attempt at making a joke. i looked at him and reminded him that we dont even use to begin with so it wouldn't matter...thank God he didn't. that would have annoyed the shit out of me...

...antunovich calls base to complain about one of our guys. ofcourse its good ol' -788-...the man that also works at mcdonalds. somehow, even though it is very dry outside, he manages to get his bag drenched in who knows what...he shows up to antunovich and lays his bag down on there 1000.00 chairs and creates a huge puddle of smush on them. then he requests to use the bathroom, which in some cases is not a good thing...somehow he manages to pee every place but the urinal. i speak to merideth(worker at antunovich) and although we are laughing, we both understand that good ol' -788- needs a lesson in manners and is no longer welcomed at antunovich...

...we had two new guys start today. both seemed like good guys but dont seem like the type that will stick around. i usually dont bother to remember rookie names cause they probably wont last past the first pay check...anyway, -791- seems to understand how to use our p.o.d. system and knows his way around. i sent him to a building i've never been to or knew existed...he immediately calls in, which is a good move, and notifies me. i tell him to just walk into one of the neighboring buildings and see what they say. mission accomplished. -790- on the other hand doesn't even know the difference between north, south, east, or forced to spend long radio talking to get him going in the right direction. i have to ask what he sees, whats the next street he sees, is there a walgreens on the corner, and so on...its fucking annoying. i dont see this cat lasting too long. to top things off, these poor rookies started on a day when chicago is under a tornado and flood warning...rain or shine they gotta stay out there.

...tornado warning...i give all my guys pick ups and quickly follow with a be careful...peace.

now...back to work...peace.

Friday, January 11, 2008

an apology...

im sorry to my crew for abondoning ship yesterday. usually it isn't a big deal because we have to bike dispatchers and one can always pick up the slack from the other. anyway, yesterday the other dispatcher called in sick and i showed up but after a couple of bathroom sessions it was time to go. i abandoned my crew around 11ish or sorry. the reason for my apology is because i left the board to the city/car dispatcher and he is not used to everyone on the board or how to dispatch a more rapid paced board. i know how bad it can be when your dispatcher doesn't know how to set you up properly...legs will be hurting.

today i called and was happy to hear the other dispatchers voice. my fever keeps jumping from 102 to 98 back to 102. i know people won't believe me but i do worry if the jobs are getting done...not just done, but done in a way that doesn't make the messenger ache...peace.

Monday, January 7, 2008


when i use to ride i never once asked what i was picking up or dropping off. every once in a while i knew that what i had was worth alot of money because of all the paperwork i had to sign saying that i was the one making the delivery. also, at time you take care of fillings which isn't a big deal...consulate runs and so on.

i've posted about dispatching on saturdays big deal. all the work is car or van work. this past saturday i was extra bored so i decided to kick my feet up and watch t.v...i grabbed a cooler where i could place my feet and on it was a sign that said..."dont forget to bring extra bags for the eyeballs" i came to realize that our company does organ deliveries for certain hospitals.

even now i dont ask what the messenger is picking up...i do get details as far as, box vs envelope. i also know that i would not be surprised if one company decided to have a bicycle courier deliver an organ. there's always stories that go around about some cyclist delivering a liver(which i heard not to long ago) or, i believe it was mark the spark, carrying around a goldfish...goldfish? the craziest thing i've had the pleasure of delivering where some very, very, expensive expensive? in the six figures...the only way i know is cause of the paperwork.

it never ceases to amaze me the things people trust my messengers with but how little respect they get...peace.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

new year...

the new year has started and it's been a slow start. not so much with work because its been steady enough to keep guys rolling but with bikers just trying to cope with the coldest weather of the winter season so far. the day starts off with a degree of 0 and somehow creeps up to the low 20's. i know the theory of, if you keep moving you're fine, but in this weather its hard to even consider moving. the cold weather digs into your lungs and makes it very hard to also have to deal with salt the city has layed down making it impossible to have to try and make your legs move.

guys dress up differently...some lighter, and some with more layers. the key to this is to try your best to keep your hands, feet, and head warm. heat exits the body at these points and if you keep them warm or covered up then you "should" be okay.

not to mention that while keeping your body covered may be easy you somehow have to come up with a happy middle where you are mobile enough to deal with getting off and on the bike, taking your bag off, and moving through the buildings...all this while making sure you're warm.

our percentages haven't been where we want them to be for a few reasons...cats showing up late, not showing up, or just random spurts of too much work. all this would not be so much of a problem if it wasn't for the cold. getting up and convincing your body that everything will be fine is alot harder.

everyday 6589 bikes in from the 100's...what? why? i have no idea. why won't he throw his bike on a bus rack is beyond me. as much as i have had my differences with this man he bikes in everyday and works no matter what the weather is like. he bitches and complains but days like these past few in the new year have warranted him slack and respect.