Monday, June 30, 2008


alright, i know it's been a while since my last post but things have been a bit hectic for me. you know, i have a wedding to plan. in any case, this interview will make up for my blog neglect...i present my right-hand man in the trenches...scott. he's been around longer than i have and knows his sh*t. i couldn't keep this blog going without interviewing the man.

1.when did you start? have the years been on and off or straight?

This is a question about the past, right? I drink way too much to have many cogent memories any further back than say 25 minutes ago, but here goes. Let's see, I started biking with Arrow in '92 or so when I came up to Chicago to do my graduate work at Northwestern. I moved into dispatch some time in late '93 or early '94 and remained there until '95 (got fired and returned to streets a couple of times during that period). In '95 I left Arrow and went to work as a dispatcher for Cannonball (now Dynamex) and in 2000 (when I started law school) I moved into HR there. In '07 I was laid off and returned to dispatch at Arrow in last November.

2.what bike did you start on? what bike are you rocking nowadays?

First bike was a Specialized Rockhopper - totally stripped down after 2 weeks on the job so it looked more like a road than a mountain. Rode that till it got trashed when a cabbie pushed me at speed into a curb and the no parking sign planted there which resulted in a bent frame and fork. After that I rode some sort of road bike that my mates took no end of joy in making fun of me for until it got stolen (found and reclaimed it a week later). Right now I am riding nothing as everything I own is in so desperate need of repair that I am better off just getting a new one. I am in the market for a fixed gear (54 -56 cm) and hope to secure one by mid-summer.'ve seen many come and go...any specific messengers stick out in your mind?

Gods, tons. Stick out for what? Excellence? Intoxication? Violence? My First crew at Arrow: Charlie, Patch, Babs, Casey Gunn, Kirby and Chelle were gods among men and women "back in the day." Then too the crew at C'Ball: Shea, Nutini; Santicola, the Twins (no I do not want to play in your "downtown area"), Waters, Christenson were all fantastic riders. 'Course I'l never forget Tommy McBride who was a true pleasure to work with and a good friend who left us all tragically and too soon. I will say that I am probably forgetting more folk who deserve my memory and for that I apologize. And, I can aver with complete sincerity that the folks I have worked with are without reservation some of the most genuine, caring, funny, creative and alive individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting.

4.what made you begin to dispatch? was it a easy transition?

"They" made me. Actually, it was Rob Bonner who talked me into it with help from Charlie. I came inside at like 33 years old and Bonner kinda held my hand through the transition. It was h*ll anyway. I walked into work one day after like two weeks of training to find that Bonner had decided to quit. So, I was kinda tossed into it. Eventually, after many screw-ups and much shouting, I learned (I think). has the city changed throughout your career...harder or easier?

Well, all the new security is a bona fide biotch and that makes it a lot harder from a service standpoint. And, I know it makes it a lot harder for the kidz in the crewz. Additionally, I think we are witnessing or have witnessed a dramatic change in the mentality of the average citizen out there. Non-messengers are a lot more aggressive and a lot more prone to complete disregard for the rights and safety of riders (even non-messengers). The dominant meme seem to be just that amongst these yuppy-hybrid types: me, me, I'm the only only one that matters and you - you know the poorly dressed, slacker on the bike - can't possibly have anywhere more important to go than where I am going and can't have anything more important to do than what I have to do because, ya know, I'm the center of the universe. This, I think, increases the risk - especially when you add in all the high-tech toys that further distract - for all riders, but especially those in the trenches. do you keep messengers happy? are you able to?

I have the extreme honor of working next to the best dispatcher in the city right now. I let him keep them happy. He understands, like I do, that most of these folk want to earn a buck and be treated with respect; that they will do anything asked as long as we remember to make it up to them; and that in the epic battle of "us" against "them" we are on their side.

(i swear too God i didn't ask for the compliment but it's much welcomed) many cats at one time have you dispatch? whats more difficult, too many or not enough?

Well, "back in the day" when we were on open channels, working off paper without pagers 35 -30 drove me absolutely insane. The advances in technology (pagers, Nextels - even though they stink) things have gotten mucho easier (push-button dispatch). When I started at Cannonball we had like 130 IC's on staff and on the rare day they all showed up it was sheer unadulterated chaos (open channel). We trimmed that number quite rapidly to about 40 (20 on each channel) and that worked well. However, when my partner in crime called in sick or what not, dealing with all 40 was a chore I'd rather not repeat (two headsets, two radios, never being able to remember which pedal to step on to talk to who... yikes!!! did I just say f*ck when 6114 was standing in front of a Federal Judge?). All and all I prefer too few. Yeah it makes covering the work a pain in the backside, but the kidz get a bankable day and the clients don't get their panties too wadded up 'cause they get that NOBODY wants to be on a bike when it's 30 below and snowing like all get out. you prefer messengering or dispatching? would you ride again?

I prefer sitting in a bar with a bourbon in my hand attempting to convince any Neo-Con, wingnut, *sshat I run into how utterly demented and wrong they are about everything. But... Oddly enough came back to Arrow after much personal angst fully intending to ride again - what I now realize was a futile attempt to get my proverbial sh*t together before launching a brilliant career somewhere in the "real" world. This is what I do, it is not who I am. I like to dispatch when it's King-H*ll busy and ride when it's slow.

9.advice for rookies?

Geez, I don't know, go home, live with your parents! If you are asking me as a dispatcher then I say: Never let the *sshats get you down. Show up every day. Don't whine. Remember that no matter what sh*t you have to take out there from bimbettes or bullies you are still you and that is enough. Keep it on two wheels - nothing is more important than your health and safety. If you are asking me as me, I'd say: get out and do some more good; volunteer; stay informed; remember that life is fatal no matter what, so live every day not like it's your last, but like it's your first.

10.i don't know what else to ask...favorite brew?

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Though I have been know to down Red Seal, Brooklyn Brown, or any Bourbon under seven dollars.

...this man knows his sh*t and it was a pleasure interviewing him...

...look at him. he's all talk...i knew he had a sensitive side...ha!


so i posted a new interview for the blog but it pop'd up one post back...why? i have no idea but please, don't miss out on this great interview...peace.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

public serive anouncement...

i don't know what happened to them/it but bikeliker had some great vids...they were also somewhat responsible for putting on...

thats me on the right almost beating perkins...damn you perkins!! not sure where the pic came from but i know that bikeliker had it up and so i stole it...ha!

great times and more great times to come...btw, this is a message to all messengers or , as my sister calls me, all "once upon a time" messengers...the naccc's are coming so register asap...peace.

Friday, June 20, 2008

was it something i said?

the day has been going alright...nothing crazy. work is steady but i do wish it was busier. well, one o'clock rolls around and 6689 is having trouble with dropping a package at 120 south riverside. what seems to be the problem? well, messengers have to take the freight up(news to me)...which is no big deal unless when you step off the freight the doors to access the lobbies are locked. i call the drop to see if he can help out...i present to you, norman... are you? this is julio from -> messenger. we're trying to deliver a package to you from "any company". deliver it. the problem is that we have to check in through the dock to deliver.

norman...just leave the package on the front desk. i dont have time for this.

he hangs up...well, i ask the messenger if he was able to access but no dice...i call norman again... are you, it's julio again.

norman...listen, i don't have time for this. just deliver the damn thing. trying to explain. the messenger comes up through the freight and has no access to the lobby area.

norman...whats wrong with you? i have dozens of deliveries a day. this is ridiculous. just leave it or don't. have to come in through the dock and take the freight. the doors to access the lobby is closed and we can't get to your office.

norman...don't deliver it. i don't care!! you my friend are a great guy...

...this time i got to hang up. i called the client sending the order to explain we couldn't drop the package. the lady didn't know what to say or do. i explained that norman is special and she knew exactly where i was coming from. while talking to her he was calling her at the same time. then on the radio i hear..."julio, i got in". i tell her my messenger was able to get in and wish her luck with norman. i also told her to tell him "good luck with himself" for me...we laughed but i feel bad for whatever she has to deal with now.

i hang up the phone and call 6689..., when you deliver it to norman don't say a word. he's a very special man and he might be angry and say something. whatever you do...just deliver the package and walk aways...the man has problems.

6689...haha! you just said that in front of norman. wins again...peace.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


fresh off his trip to the cmwc 2008 i give you maxwell riordan...great guy(from what i hear). he has moved on from the world of messengering but is a great example of kids who use this industry to their advantage. sure it's tough to go to school after a long day of riding around town but max is a great example of things that can happen...he's also a member of chicago's favorite team...

1.when did you start this biz? Have the years been on and off or straight?

I started in October of 2002, which was the same year I started going to UIC. I worked as many hours as possible the whole time I was there.

2.what bike did you start on? What bike are you rocking nowadays?

My first work bike was a 70's Sears brand cruiser with a coaster
brake. The week before I started, I paid Uptown Bikes $60 to add two hand brakes just to make it look extra dope. I think I started working about 9 months before everybody and their brother got a track bike.

I have too many nice bikes these days. I'm thinking about getting the
Rat Patrol to turn them into a fixed gear quintuple tall bike for me. Less is more.'ve seen many come and go...any specific messengers stick out in your mind?

I'm gonna butcher some names here and I'm not sure who's still out there, but Ehsan, Speedy jose, Morgan, Aaron Wellingham, Hans, Kevin, Passion of the Chris, Ben and I guess my girlfriend, Erin. Sort of.

4.what are you up to presently?

Architecting. I found a job through Deuce who used to work at
Velocity. His father owns Architrave, the company I work for now.

5.why did you decide to messenger?

I needed money. I hadn't ridden a bike since I was a kid but I had a friend who was unemployable by most standards was that was messengering, so I thought I stood a decent chance at getting the job. Also, you can only donate so much plasma, sperm, eggs, hair follicles and stem cells before you start to get a tummy ache.

6.what do you miss most about the job?

Getting paid to ride a bike and taking naps outside in the summertime.

7.what do you not miss?

The lack of respect I got from virtually everyone I encountered on the job except my dispatcher and other messengers. Going to work on zero hours of sleep straight from studio in the dead of winter was kind of a bummer as well.

8.anything about messengering that helps you in your current job?


Just kidding. Messengering helped me get to know this city in way that no other job could. I'd recommend it to all architecture students.

9.any advice for new comers?

A bad attitude helps you ride faster. Also, get paid when you get hit.

10.perkins centerfold, hot or not?


...all pics provided by christopher dilts...more pics here.

Monday, June 16, 2008


i work from ten to six...not a big deal. most of the time i go in earlier. sometimes around 830, sometimes at 9. i take breaks from time to time...what do i mean by breaks? the short version...i take bathroom breaks. i rarely step away from my computer. the minute i do i pretty much lose some sight of what kind of work is coming in. jobs can pop up anywhere at any given moment and if i step away i might be too late to reroute a messenger to pick up or drop off. at any given moment a messenger can call me cause they are having problems with a know, wrong address, person doesn't work there anymore, company moved, and so on. we are allowed to work through our lunch breaks which is cool cause the company is willing to pay us to make sure we don't lose touch of what is happening. i basically eat all my meals in front of the computer...all while, answering calls from messengers and customers.

why did i say all that? simple...messengers rarely get breaks. it's not that i won't give them breaks but any good messenger knows that you have to keep moving if you want to make money in this industry. some messengers bring their lunch with them in which case they have to eat it somewhat early in the day because then you're lugging around your lunch from drop to drop and that can get tiresome. some messengers buy random food around town...again, any good messenger knows that you're probably better off going to gina for food. she takes care of everyone out there. most of the time i'll call someone in the middle of eating and some of them ask to give them one more minute and some just say..."i'll eat later".

rarely do i get a messenger ask for a lunch break. sure it happens but it's very rare. it's one of the few professions where a simple thing such as a lunch break isn't even given a second thought...peace.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

not me...

the minute i got to work i knew it would be one of those days. no work on the board, meetings for everyone, and expecting rain. not too many people happy on mondays but this one was going to be longer for some reason...i knew it would. actually, i don't know why im complaining so much because apart from the usual bickering everything went pretty smooth. ofcourse everyone would like more work but it's the beginning of the week and month so slow times are expected. anyway, the day strolls along when i call 6738..., 3-8.

6738....yeah, im here at canal waiting for the package but these people don't know their ass from their head so it's taking a minute., why are you at canal? sent me five total pick-ups. im headed to clark after this. have no idea what you're talking about. i've been waiting for p.o.d.'s from the drops from the hancock. i have no idea what the canal and clark are. i never called you about them and i never sent them.

6738...oh yeah, so it's my fault right? i can't read and write now...alright, i get it., don't get testy with me. if you want we can talk about this later but for now you have three pod's im waiting on. i never sent you any other orders, you know i always call you if im going to send you stuff. so, either give me the pod's or drop the three off you have then call me and we'll go from there.

...we both got a bit testy with each other for no real reason. what ended up happening is one of two things...sometimes the paging system pages the wrong messenger or sometimes other dispatchers type in the wrong messenger number. which one of the two happened? i have no idea. im my mind it still shouldn't matter cause i always call to notify messengers about pick-ups to prevent situations like this one from happening. obviously i was wrong...mainly cause it's slow and messengers will take work any way they can so it's sort of understandable.

today i don't go to work cause i have to do my duty as a citizen and head to jury duty. i rather be at work but welcome the time off from yesterday...peace.

Monday, June 9, 2008

by any means necessary...

first off, i apologize to the chicago cuttin' crew for scaring you cats into thinking you would not be able to get in or out of canada without a passport...turns out i was wrong. anyway, as some of you may or may not know...the worlds are less than a week away...for those who don't know it's very simple. world's take place one weekend a year where messengers from all over the world get to showcase their skills and try to prove to the world that their city does it better...

...chicago will be represented with a strong presence from the chicago cuttin' crew and the unveiling of the cuttin' cruiser. i wish you cats all the best and don't forget...if you can't beat them racing at least out dance them...ha!

oh yeah, i know there's going to be other cats from chicago that may not be part of the ccc but will still be attending the event. good luck to all attending and remember, ride hard but ride safe...peace.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

simple math...

i swear it wasn't our fault. we were trying to plan it out properly. as some of you know it's been a bit slow at work. we've had busy and steady days but for the most part things aren't the way they used to be. that being said, we lost a couple of bikers big deal. this opens up the board but me and the other dispatcher felt that hiring another person to fill the slot would be ok.

so what happens? there's some miscommunication and we end up hiring two more people...damn!! well, we'll make due and hopefully work will pick up. then we get more news...a messenger that has been injured for a couple months now has been cleared to come back to work...what?! if you're doing the math you will notice that we lost two and got three and now we're up one messenger too many from what we originally wanted. it doesn't end there...a driver has had mechanical problems and his car is out of commission. he can't afford to not work so we give him the option to bike. no big deal for him because he has biked, how many does that make?

-2 + 2(should have been one but...) = 0

0 + 1(injured biker) = 1

0 + 1(driver) = 2

now we have two more messengers than what we had when we lost the first two...not good but we'll make due. im sure the work will come and we'll spread the love accordingly but it's still annoying that even when you're trying to plan out the perfect amount for a crew it somehow doesn't work out properly...oh wells.

Monday, June 2, 2008

silly messengers...

at the risk of making our company look bad i have to share some of these gems...i should state that the company i work for isn't the only one to experience messengers that are not all their(ifyouknowhatimean). anyway, this is mainly about drivers and not bikers...i know, i know, im supposed to be mainly about bikes. well, first off, not much exciting news to report. second, these are too good to not tell.

anyway, all these incidents have one thing in common...creative ways to deliver packages. these messengers/drivers were not given permission to do such things and they did have consequences...still, these are too funny. one driver, instead of calling us to see if we could get a hold of the person the delivery was going to decided to tie a rock to the envelope using some rubber-bands. he then threw the package over the fence and made it to the porch...what?! who does something like that? one cat was delivering to a big deal, right? well, he decides that he doesn't want to go all the way inside the school to make the delivery and approaches a little girl playing on the swings. he then gives her the package to deliver inside for him...what?! his dispatcher called him and asked him how old the little girl was..."i don't know...umm, 8?" yup, you heard right, he gave an eight year old a package to deliver...holy cr@p.

these next two incidents were done by the same messenger on back to back day, nobody was home. he didn't bother to tell anyone at base. the company sending the package called to ask where the package was cause the people at the delivery still had no idea where their package was. we call up the driver and he tells us in a very calm and normal tone..."it's in the grill in the backyard". what?!!! how is the person receiving the package supposed to know that the messenger left the package in the grill. sure, the docs may or may not have been sensitive materials but i was laughing so hard i thought my stomach was going to blow up. the next day the messenger is delivering to a different one is home. what does he do? he places the package on the flag pole and raises it...holy sh*t!! are you serious? how is anyone supposed to see that? who in their right mind does that? messengers are a special breed.

the last one is a special one...this messenger would stop at nothing to make sure the package was safely delivered. again, no one was home. everyone assumed all was ok cause the messenger called in clean. no big deal...wait. the client calls and is wondering where the package is at...awww, sh*t! here we go...we call the messenger and he, much like the other messenger, tells us he has placed the package on top of the fridge. wait...what? the man took a screw driver and unhinged the door somehow...he then walked into the house and placed the package on top of the fridge inside the house. how he put the door back is beyond me.

i gotta say this for messengers...they are some of the most creative people i have ever known. i know that this makes us and messengers everywhere look bad so i apologize to the messenger community but these stories had me laughing all day long. i should state that these incidents happened throughout many years and not recently. they did not happen to me and i have yet to experience anything this nuts as far as my bikers are concerned.