Monday, March 31, 2008


i usually begin my work day around ten or so...not today. today i woke up to the radio beeping/alerting...why? the morning bike dispatcher called in sick so i was called to see if i can show up earlier to help cover the morning big deal. a bit tiring but no big deal. i take a quick shower and show up to work around eight:20 or so.

the minute i sit down the car dispatcher says...

city dispatch...i think it's 6637 who calls in early. anyway, i sent him seven out of wacker. seven?

city dipatch...yup. you got alot of work on the board. i know the day is gonna be long. i have two pages of work sitting on my screen and little by little i see the due times creeping up on*t! as the day goes i hear them all check in...6637.6721.6664.1141.and so on. don't think i gave to much stand-by today. i'm pretty sure the first time i said "stand-by" was around one:12 which only lasted till about 1:14...the day was hectic.

something wasn't quite right today. it was raining outside so i didn't expect cats to show up. i figured i would get a few call ins and some of the crew to show up late. instead i got a few late starts and eight...thats right, eight, no call/no!

why? all i ask of the crew is to call me and tell me they can't make it. make up an excuse...tell me the truth...pick one. it doesn't matter to*t, i'll make up something for you but now, you make yourself look bad to the management. they copy my list of nc/ns and now it's out of my hands. yes, im angry that not too many cats showed up to help with the work load but i think im more disappointed in the fact that people just aren't responsible.

i had 6664 show up and get a thousand flats and he didn't complain at all today. he was still out there rocking. 6719 had his bars break in half and he flipped over his bike...hurt but still rocked a few more before calling it quits. btw, that wasn't a big deal cause he stayed till about four thirty or so. 1141, who usually does car work was helping me out with the madness all day...

1141...forty-one., good morning.

1141...whats up julio? starting up on the west anything? yeah. i got work all over the city today...lets see...umm, head over to 1 south wack till i figure out a good set for you. big deal. just let me know what you need me to do. just trying to make things easier for you.

...can you believe it? he said he wanted to make things easy for me? yes i have to deal with a full board and deal with pissed off customers and answer the management questions about why people aren't here and why things are late but i don't have to ride in the crappy rain, the crappy drivers, the wet clothes/manifests, the wait times, and the crazy routing(ha!). anyway, it was nice to hear those words in the motivated me to just sit down and provide my crew with the best routes possible. good routes equals more work in less time which equals more money. today was a good money day for many and i guess thats why im not too angry for the no call/no shows...peace.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

fast...very fast...

man...the days have been super slow. don't know what to say...word is that it's just slow everywhere. no company is really popping more than any other. it's just not a good time to be a messenger. no one knows why it's just the way the industry is right now. as 6450 put it...maybe its the end of this sillyness. we lost 5-0 today because of the slow days. five-o will be missed...the man is/was a rockstar out there. very fast, never said no, just got the work done. as much as im gonna miss the kid i am also glad he's leaving...why? well, he, hopefully, will find a job that'll pay him more money in order to survive...also, his departure means more work to spread love with...i hope.

on another note, i was putting in p.o.d.'s(proof of delivery) from yesterday today in the big deal. i go through trying my hardest to read peoples signatures and the printing of their names. not sure who in this city taught how to write but some peoples writing is completely illegible...maybe people need to go back to kindergarten to learn how to spell again. it takes about three of us and about 36 minutes to figure out that the signature says "brown" exaggerating, it doesn't take that long cause usually i just type in "illegible" instead of trying to decipher this new form of writing.

anyway, i get through it but one p.o.d. catches my attention...why? well the time...meaning, the time the package was picked up and dropped off. it literally says...

pick up...1114

dropped at...1114

what?! thats fast...i could understand if it was in the same building but nope, this was from the merchandise mart to 213 west institute. there is no way the messenger, who's number and name shall not be stated, delivered that in less than a minute. you have to blaze thru about 7 lights...give or take. also, you have to head down an elevator and then when you get to the drop you have to be buzzed in and wait for another elevator. believe me...i used to love testing my skills and time but this is just too much. it gave me a good laugh...i adjusted the time and began my usual day. silly messengers...peace.


got to work a little earlier than big deal, i do it all the time. anyway, on the way in i stumbled upon 6721...damn, he has a flat. what a way to start the's so frustrating but he's in good spirits. i get in the office and grab a floor pump for him...he patches the tube and begins to pump air in it. he/we then realize the tube is popping out of the tire...damn! the tire has two very sizable holes in it...not good. if he rides with it like that he's definitely gonna get another flat but this time instead of your everyday flat his tube is gonna pop...that sound can be deafening. so now what...

6721...damn! what should i do?'t know. fold up a dollar bill and put it between your tire and should be ok like that. other than that i would buy a new tire asap., thats like 20 or more. i got a brand new one at home...i think im gonna go

...i have no problem with it. the last thing a messenger should be doing is waste money for no reason. sure a usable tire is good reason but if you have a new one at home just go get it. although, his home is on addison and leavitt...not that close, actually, not close at all to the loop. either way, he heads out and calls in to notify me that he's ready to rock. the good part is that i have a car run that'll bring him into the the end it worked out.

on a related note, the clock struck six pm yesterday and i did my normal routine...use the bathroom, pack up my bag, put my helmet on, say goodnight to the night dispatcher, and head towards the dock to grab my bike. well, went to grab the bike and noticed the rear wheel was flat...damn! i hate 6721 the flat was unexpected and didn't realize it till i/we hopped on the bike. oh wells...i take my helmet and gloves off...pull my bag around and grab my tools. take the tire off and was about to replace the tube but something wasn't right. the flat just didn't make sense. i decided to check the tube that was flat and see if i could find the puncture...guess what?! no f-ing flat!! somebody decided to take the air out of my rear wheel like i was some rookie. i didn't/don't know what to think...if it was a joke i hope whoever did it says something so we can laugh about it over some beers. if it wasn't...well, don't blame me for the days being so slow...not much i can do about that. it's slow everywhere but for some reason dispatchers take alot of the heat for that but, no, this time i won't take the heat...peace.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

happy easter...

...not trying to get super religious or anything. just figured i'd say HAPPY EASTER...btw, here's a nice vid from our friend obie-wan... video is not from chicago but i enjoy the mans vids.


Thursday, March 20, 2008


just a small intro...i started messengering in april of 2001(i think). the first company i worked for was standard courier. i know, i know, the company has many cons as opposed to pros but, honestly, the dispatchers there loved me and i was getting some serious hook up. as long as the loot makes its way to your pocket then it doesn't matter what company you work for. it might have been 2000 but i don't really know...have to ask mike mo when he started to see when i did. anyway, i biked for a couple years straight...after the second winter i took off to get some education. scad offered a weird schedule that allowed me to return during the beautiful summers and the nasty winters...i did that for about the next three years or so.

i finally came back to chicago for good and although i had/have my m.f.a. the streets kept calling my name. decided to keep biking when the lead dispatcher for standard courier asked me if i wanted to work in the office. he was taking off for texas to do some training and become a more serious racer. it started getting cold and i said...f*ck yeah.

i always used to get pissed off at all my dispatchers for messing up my routes and not knowing what they were doing. now i was becoming the person every messenger loves and hates and loves in a matter of minutes. as i sat in the chair i realized all the b.s. that a dispatcher has to go through. it wasn't as easy as i thought. i was routing 20 different guys trying to figure out when and where each one would be. anyway, i quickly got the hang of things and many of my messengers began requesting that i dispatch full-time. do you have any idea how great that feels?

the opportunity came to work at another messenger company...i couldn't pass up the option of having health benefits. i got up and left and now i dispatch at arrow. not too bad have to wear a goofy uniform if you ride for them but other than that and the slow days of late, it's not a bad company at all. well, thats my career in the messenger industry...hasn't been as long as others but long enough to know how things work...

...oh yeah, pic(s)...

...besides being a "once upon a time" messenger i am also a "once upon a time" b-boy...ha!

...courtesy of diondra(co-worker)

...that's me, uncle julio. thank perkins for that flattering pic...peace.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

you owe me...

alright...this doesn't have anything to do with bike messengers but it does have to do with messengers. the other day a company called for a p.o.d.(proof of delivery) big deal. we look for the drivers manifest but it's no where to be found. turns out the driver has been m.i.a. for a few days. everyone starts panicking because the pod is desperately needed so that the client can use the signature in court.

now what do we do? sh*t...we call his radio and we get nothing. we call his home and there's no answer. we call his cell phone but he won't answer. so now what? well, one of the dispatchers comes up with the idea to send another driver to his house to get his manifest and tell the messenger we're looking for to contact the base. we place an order for it cause the driver is wasting gas to go check out whats going on. no one's home but the man's girlfriend. the driver sent to look for the other driver calls base and notifies us that his lady has kicked him out...ha!

now what? there's absolutely nothing we can do. the company who is looking for the pod is freaking pissed off...don't blame them. the best we can do is keep apologizing and hope that somehow the driver shows up. about 10 minutes before my shift is over we hear a familiar voice. everyone is pretty much gone except for the night dispatch, myself, and the dispatch manager., you guys sent someone to my girlfriends house.

manager...yeah, well we need your manifest. we've been looking for you for a few days now., she kicked me out of the house. why did you send someone over there? oh yeah, you guys owe me 200 bucks.

manager...what?! you're crazy...are you quiting.

...don't know why he asked if the driver is quiting cause at this point the man is gonna get fired but...

driver...yeah man. i gotta work you know. i can't be standing by. can you pay me to stand by? know we can't. it's just the way it is sometimes. some days are slow and some are busy. gotta take the good with the bad.

driver...yeah, i can't do it. you owe me 200.00.

why does he keep saying we owe him 200 bucks? well, turns out he had a drop across the street from the horseshoe...what?! after he dropped he turned off his phone and walked across the street to gamble...ended up losing 200 bucks. priceless. no wonder his lady kicked him out of the house. he's nuts but this story was too funny. i've seen stories like this go very, very bad and it was nice to see that although everyone is pissed there was still a sense of humor. gotta smile in these super slow days...peace.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

summertime warriors...

here they come...slowly but surely it was only a matter of time. the weather begins to change for the best. summer is around the corner and every kid with a bike comes out to play. they come in with a huge smile and come they come in during the sunny days? remember the broken record days? well, where was everyone during those days? only a few cats were around to help with the work load. now it's getting warmer and little by little they come in to take a crack at being a messenger. bless their heart...they come because it's a gig they can take up while not in school. they come because they've seen and heard many stories. some stick around and fall in love with it but many, and i do mean MANY...leave. i can't forget those that see many come and go. im convinced that messengers are very stand-offish because of the high turnover rate. why make friends with someone who is just gonna be around for a couple of months? they come but i don't give a damn...they have to prove to me they are worthy of being a messenger. these are the days that i have to remember all those that were around the 5 degree weather, 9 inches of snow, and 50 mph winds. i won't forget them...i do have to "spread the love" but i can't forget those that were around hustling to make a dollar. don't worry fellas...i'll "spread the love" but my true soldiers get the bulk of the love...peace.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

i'll take the heat...

it's been a while but the job finally won one battle. i had 6721 pick up a daily out of the tower(233 south wacker). no big deal. he heads up to the 81st floor as usual expecting there to be no pick up. since i've started working at this company last year i have not had anything pop out of the daily sweep...ofcourse today was different. 6721 shows up and the company tells him that they don't know what he's talking about...then one of the people in the mailroom decides that the package already on its way down to the messenger center must be the package he's there to pick up. up?

6721...julio, don't know what's going on. they think that it might be the package they sent down but it sounds shady. they said they sent it down to the messenger center but we never pick up down there and it seemed like they didn't even know what i was there for. no worries. go check out the messenger center and see if they have anything.

6721...what do i say? what do i ask for? ask for the (insert company name) sweep and see what they say.

two-one heads down to the messenger center and they tell him there is no package. i tell him not to worry about it and just service charge it. no big deal...the day goes on and i forget about it. ten minutes before i leave the company calls back to see what the hell is going on. the messenger center finally decided to take the package that originally we were there for back the company is pissed off...why is this package coming back to them? who messed up? the person who took the phone call calls 6721 to see what happened...he's not at fault but she's getting pissed off by the situation that she isn't listening to me explain to her the details.

i messed up big time. i was so used to having the company not have anything that i got lazy and didn't bother calling them to notify them that neither the messenger center downstairs or the mailroom upstairs had a package. oh this point she just places the notes in the order and i'll deal with it tomorrow...f*ck! im in trouble...on my way home i call 6721..., two-one.

6721...hey whats up? i know what you're gonna ask me..., i wasn't calling to ask anything. i was calling to let you know not to dwell on that package. that was all me...i should've called the company and informed them of their and the messenger center mistake. don't worry about's not on you its all on me.'s not your fault. it's the companies fault for not knowing to leave the packages upstairs. i think they messed up and wanted to pawn it off on us., either way, i'll take the heat on this one. sorry kid, don't even think about it anymore...i got this one.

these slow days are making me lose my head...peace.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

keeps your eyes open...

so the past few days have been kinda boring...not much going on. the work is getting done and i've had no complaints from bikers or clients. the car board has been hurting a bit and we've been slow enough to be able to afford losing a few bikers to help out on car runs. now, not all messengers enjoy going distance so i have to make the rounds and see who is up for the challenge...if you can call it that.

chicago is set as a grid system...very easy to figure things out. for those that may not know, every 8 blocks is a mile. now, the loop is madison and state...literally 0 north/south and 0 east/west. when i get some cats to rock out a good car set they can average about 60 or 70 miles a!!

heading north(green)...

well, i pretty much don't care how far north i send you. as long as you keep saying ok then i have no problems telling you to rock it out. these past few days i've sent cats from the loop with drops at 2000 north lincoln, 3000 north lincoln, 2200 west roscoe, and so on. what do i consider the north? easy...from the loop all the way to evanston(which is a suburb of chicago) and as far west as california(maybe more depending on how i/they feel). as long as there is enough work to pick up and drop and the messenger is ok with keeping the wheels turning then i will send you as far as you/they allow me. by "they" i mean the messenger and the actual work. without the work then the wheels just don't turn at all.

heading south(yellow)...

i usually stay east when sending cats south...why? cause the streets on the east-end of chicago are wide, less traffic, and open. i personally love martin luther king blvd, state isn't too bad but can be bumpy in spots, and michigan is cool. in all fairness i also enjoy sending cats south/southeast because most of the work is gonna pop out of those directions. there isn't much that pops out west of halsted when heading south and any good dispatcher should know to send their messengers where the work is at. how far south will i go? again, not up to me...if there's work then it's up to the messenger to tell me they are willing to scoop up more or drop more. i always double check with cats before dishing off extra jobs when doing car work just because if they need a break from rocking out x amount of miles then i gotta give it to them. you know, gotta keep the engine happy and tuned up.

heading west...

eh...don't do it that often. every once in a while we get stuff popping out of rush hospital or cook county hospital but not much happens in the west-end of the city, or at least bikeable packages.

heading east...

no such thing unless you want to take a swim. the beautiful lake michigan holds down the east.

all this car talk reminds me...everyone should check this out...

keep your eyes open...

...don't forget. my messengers are out there, everywhere...not just in the loop...peace.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

how to dispatch chicago...

every dispatcher has there own way...fortunately for me where i work there are two of us and we happen to be on the same page. this is definitely good news cause i can see the two of us getting into it because of a disagreement in how to dispatch our messengers.

ok...i pretty much seperate the city in four sections. all this dispatching has nothing to do with car work...thats a whole different story entirely. the green section is the part most cats enjoy...why? cause everything is close by and you don't have to cross any annoying bridges. all pick ups and drops in that section can all be done within 10 to 15 mins...this means you can take your time rocking out packages and dont have to hurt yourself.

the red section is annoying...there isn't much that goes out in that direction and there definitely isn't much at all that comes out from the west loop to bring you back in to the nice green section. we try our best to load up cats with enough pick ups out of the green section into the red to make the trip a bit more pleasant but lately work has been so slow that it hurts sometimes to tell a messenger to truck it way out west for just one drop or one pick up.

the blue section can be annoying also...there isn't much that goes or comes out of that direction. it does treat you better than the west loop but it can be frustrating for a messenger to double up to 740 sedgwick for only one drop or pick up to truck it back to the green section. the huge bonus of being in the blue is that you get to chill at the merchandise's a nice warm spot, especially this winter. also, we have a bunch of accounts in the mart so if the timing is right you can come out of the mart holding six with the possibilities of scooping up some hubbards before heading over the river into the green.

the yellow section can be just as fun as the green section...most cats still don't like it for some reason. anywhoo, we usually have a bunch of work coming from the hancock or 900 north michigan. the downside is that the hancock is horrible...huge freight issues. i personally enjoy this end a bit more cause i feel like it's a bit more open and you can chill on the magnificent mile and do some tourist watching on your down time.

i usually try to stack cats up in the loop/green section and have them head to one of the other zones. you to red, green to yellow, or green to blue. when in a pinch you/i have to load cats up with drops at two different know, load up in green with drops in blue and yellow. when cats are up north i sometimes spread them out a bit more...pick up in blue and yellow headed back to green. now...what really sucks is the dead-heading that i spoke about a few posts back. pick up from the south end of green to drop at the north end of blue or yellow...this really sucks but when its slow sometimes this needs to be done or even when im in a pinch im forced to apologize for doing it but i do it anyways.

not sure if any of this made any sense to anyone and there are some variables that i haven't mentioned but it makes alot of sense in my head...peace.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

on another note...

every once in a while you forget that messengers are more than just messengers. some have to go home and be fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and so on. the other day i tried convincing 6414 to stick around and rock out one more run but he couldn' didn't bother me much...

6414...hold on, let me call my girl and see if i have to take care of the kid., don't worry. get out of here...goodnight, safe ride and all that good stuff.

...some time goes by and then i hear the chirp of the nextel... what up?

i wish i even knew what the little girl said on the other end but she made me crack a smile and laugh right away. 6414 explains his situation and i tell him no worries at all. we all have lives beyond work and sometimes i/we all forget that...

that being said, has found someone special in his life(look at me speaking/typing in third person...ha!). we've been together for just over a year...we started off with...

...and now we've become...

i can only imagine what's in store for us. if the bikes are any indication of where our relationship is headed then we are definitely going in the right direction...never thought i would be engaged to anyone but miss casual is to beautiful to let go of...peace.

Monday, March 3, 2008

i've been thinking...

messengers love to brag...Lord knows i've done my fair share. lets see...i've been sent to the hospital about five times for ct's(don't know why im bragging about that). i have the fastest time from draft(633 N st.clair) to ipp(1313 W randolph)...thats package in hand to signature. i forget what the time is but im pretty sure that among the select few doing this silly competition i blew them away(messengers need to keep things interesting sometimes, especially when its slow). i also hold the record for most deliveries in one day at standard courier...72. seventy-two fucking packages...tell you the truth, i didn't even realize how many i had done till the day was over. i wasn't even tired or, at least, i thought i wasn't till i got home and i passed out. i've been through -15 degrees without windchill...40 mph winds...100+ temps...10 deliveries a day to 60 packages a day...i've been through alot.

that being all said...i understand messengers want to brag. i say, go right ahead but dont get out of hand. nobody ever told me to messenger...i could've easily worked somewhere else but i chose to stick around. lately there's been some talk about commuters not having the skills that messengers may or may not have. although riding for most of your time during the day throughout the city makes you a bit more skilled it doesn't make you unstoppable. that being said, please lets stop all the silly shit about messengers being a shit ton better than take away from many things that have happened.

what if ryan wasn't a messenger? did he pass cause he wasn't good enough to be a messenger? hell f*cking no...ryan was a father, a true soldier, a good friend and deserves more respect than all the silly talk going around. just cause matthew wasn't a messenger doesn't mean he could've been saved. things just happen sometimes...its out of our hands.

what about stanley? he isn't a messenger and has never messengered yet he's better than most messengers out do you explain that? he's also a part of cuttin' now what...should the messenger community shun the crew because of letting a silly commuter on the team? lets move on messengers...

so...this is me asking the messenger community to stop hating. yes, you should brag but just dont get out of hand with it...i love messengers(i cant leave the industry for some reason) and i'll defend all of them till the end but sometimes a dispatcher has to put them in their place...peace.