Monday, June 2, 2008


so I'm doing the Dublin Messengers blog now and don't really have any time to write anything here.
If I do feel the need to get something more personal off my chest, I'll certainly post here, but I'm finding the other blog serving my needs quite adequately.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Back in the saddle

Once again I'm back, and I don't think I'll really ever stop questioning my motives. After CMWC, a story for another time, I really needed to get away from bikes and everything/one surrounding them. For as long as I can remember my life has revolved around bikes, and maybe not always in a healthy way. It really is an obsession with me, no joke. I crave bikes, I need to be around them, I need to talk about them, I revere them, I wonder why?

Being introspective is not one of my strong points, many people will bear witness to that. My ability for self-analysis is stunted at best, but I feel for some reason I need to analyse this thing I have with bikes.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to sound cool, or elitist; 'I love bikes sooooooooo much more than you'. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love bikes the way many other people do, and I see that in other people all the time, it's beautiful. Now I'm thinking about that guy who got arrested for having sex with a bike... no, it's not like that either.

Is it something about the permanence of bikes? They are solid, tangeable objects that, if broken, can be fixed, usually by myself. They are simple, reliable, unquestioning. There aren't many other facets of my life I can talk about in that way. I've often joked; 'at least my bikes will always be there!'. But am I really joking? Maybe I've found something in them that I know can never be taken away from me by anyone.
I've had a lot of bikes in my time, and it is so difficult to part with them. Right now and old Klein I used to work on is back on the streets being used by someone else, and I worry about it! Am I sick?

Then there's the job. The other part of my life, intrinsically tied to my love of bikes, that seems to define who I am. I've done this job for so long now it's like sleepwalking. I guess any messenger you meet will tell you how like a drug it is, and it's true, once you get on you never want to get off. The highs are so high and the lows, well, you can keep putting the lows off for another day. I've tried other work, many, many times, but the bike keeps calling me back.

I'm not in this job for the kudos, the races, the travelling, or any of the other great things that have happened because of it, what it all boils down to is I'm in it because it allows me to ride my bike, a lot. I hate delivering packages! I don't give a shit what you need delivered. Just tell me where to go and let me ride there, that's all I ask.

My grandmother always hated that I did this job. She wanted me to work in a bank or be a priest. Seriously. She thought that being a 'messenger boy' was beneath me... and I guess some of that sunk in. A couple of years ago I had major crises of confidence in this job. Was I wasting my life? Should I get a real job? I spent a lot of time being embarrased about what I did for a living. But that's what it is, a living. I ride my bike to live. My bike helps me to live. My bike has given me so many opportunities I would never have dreamed of. New and amazing friends, ridiculous street racing, travelling to stay with strangers, organising the goddamned CMWC ferchrissake!!!(another time...), and, of course, in the messenger community, a sense of family that probably holds me together.

'2 wheels spinning in a joyride for the soul'. I don't know who said that, but it's in an old mountain bike video I love and it's always stuck with me. The sentence resonates with meaning for me. Those 2 wheels have raised my soul at times when I thought nothing could. Just me, my bike, and a journey, it doesn't matter where. On road, off-road, uphill, downhill, dodging traffic, laps of the velodrome, when it's just me and the bike I feel like there's a protective shell around me. Nothing can harm me. Sure, I can be knocked down, injured, killed. But nothing can touch ME. All there is, is the hum of the wheels, the rhythm of my legs and the never-ending journey in front of me.

It's been a while since I've written anything here. This doesn't make sense, and in all honesty probably sounds like the ravings of someone who shouldn't be walking the streets, never mind riding a bike on them. But I assure you, whoever you are, I'm not mad, I just need to allow this stuff to spill out from the overflow in my head. Maybe my next post will make a bit more sense, but at least, for now, I've cleared a little bit more room upstairs from some fresh thoughts.

Time to sleep now, perchance...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A week in the life of me and NYC

Oh New York...

The love/hate relationship I have with that city just grows more confusing every time I visit.

This time I was travelling for a courier race, Monster Track. A huge scary beast of a race. It was also a great excuse to hang out with all the people I'd met in New York working in 2006.
Everyone I know there is amazing. It's that simple. Good people who opened their arms to me. The place on the other hand...

Don't get me wrong, I love Brooklyn. Fucking A1 love it. Manhattan though... it makes me angry, frustrated, lonely, bitter. I really don't like Manhattan. Sure there's sooooooooo much to do there, but at what cost!? Racing and dicking around on my bike in Manhattan is one of the most unique and fun experiences I've ever had, but working on the bike there is a different story. It's a hard, lonely, painful job, with little reward. I think this is why the community is so strong there. Really if they weren't so tight I think they'd all go crazy. It would certainly make the job a lot more difficult. I have a lot of respect for full-time messengers in New York.

I flew into JFK amidst the 1st big snow of the year. I don't know how we landed, but we were stuck on the runway for over 2 hours... this was extremely not fun... at all... Then hauling my bike bag through the snow to get a cab to Brooklyn. Fuck the subway, i was tired, hungry, and most importantly, thirsty. To the Levee!!! The barman was nice enough to let me build up my bike inside, so I got a little tipsy while doing that... then people started arriving and my heart was aglow. I was so surprised at how many people rode out in that shitty snow to come say hi, it was really sweet. To celebrate this fact I propmptly got shit-faced, started an argument and... well I don't really remember much after that point. Ah! You've gotta love the Irish.

Thus began a week of couch surfing, bike riding, being smelly, awkward situations, extreme drunkenness, loving, hating, not really sleeping... you get the picture...

Monster Track itself was extremely fun. My self-preservation instincts kicked in and told me I didn't really want to go careening around Manhattan with all this ice around. And I listened. A DFL team of like-minded individuals was assembled and we decided to race together at our own pace and basically get drunk while doing it. We found it a bit difficult to go slow really so we decided to abandon the race after the first section and hang out at the Trackstar checkpoint. This was a sweet choice as the shop was crowded and all the racers had to come in and sign 666 on their asses before they could move on.

Once the race was over we rolled over the Williamsburgh Bridge to Brooklyn for the after party. I'm not a huge fan of these things as they generally end in a fight, specially in this city where a lot of people take these races WAY too seriously. Put a lot of really drunk messengers together for a few hours and it's really not a pretty sight, so I took off and went to another bar for a more civilised drink. Don't get me wrong, I still love all these people, it's just that sometimes it's better to bow out gracefully and live to fight/drink/cycle/whatever another day.

Ok, let's call this a part one, it's getting long, and I know how easily distracted I am...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Day

7.45 am. beep-fucking-beep. Find my phone... snooze. Repeat until 8.03. Finally my brain realises I have to get up and drag myself from slumber. Peek through the curtains to check the weather... lately this has been a depressing start to the day, wind and rain being a dominant trend.
The hunt for clean clothes begins, it's all about looking good after all... Next on the list, coffee. My lifeblood. Without my beautiful cup of coffee in the morning I don't think I'd ever be able to leave the house.
8.45am Bag on, radio on, call into base. Never really get any work at this stage so it's out to the garage to clean my bike. Then roll towards town. By the time I get to the base I'm generally awake and have had a couple of run-ins with pedestrians/motorists/swans. Time for coffee number 2...
First runs of the day are generally fun unless it's pissing rain, in which case I'm bitter about every job for a while. Cruising around Dublin 2 early in the morning is fun when the sun is shining and everyone else is making their way into their office space for the day.
11-11.30am Coffee number 3. This time with a cigarette and a pastry of some sort. This is generally the first food to pass my lips. I'm rubbish at eating in the mornings and it's only around this time that I can stomach any food. Enough to keep me going till lunch, and stave off the grumpiness that generally approaches around this time specifically because I haven't eaten anything up to this point. I like having coffee around the docks, it's sweet to sit by the river and look up towards the city. Dublin can look pretty at these times.
1.30-2pm Lunch. These days it's only about a 30 minute lunch, which consists of eating some overpriced excuse for a sandwich from Leeson st. I hate queueing with a passion so I just find the place with the smallest one and take whatever I can. A few minutes to digest and it's back on the road, a muffeled cry of 'Next!' from my base controller telling me to get my ass in gear.
I suck in the afternoons. For some reason I do way less work later in the day, I don't find it as much fun. There are more people on the streets and therefore more chances of hitting someone/being hit.
5pm Work begins to slow down, or I start hiding from work. The streets get crazy at this time with people leaving work. Town becomes a nightmare to ride around. So many cars, so many pedestrians, all in a rush to get home. This part of the day always makes me a little angry. I feel like 'what are these people doing on my streets? Where were they all day? I was here, working, this is my space. How dare you just come out of your office and assume you can walk out in front of me/not indicate/open your door in traffic. I've been out here for 8 hours, this is MY space, these are MY streets!' So it's a bit silly, but hey I can't help the way I feel sometimes.
6pm Hometime. The sweet, sweet click of turning my radio off for another day. Bye-bye base controller, bye-bye city. Leaving the streets behind for the evening, satisfied with a job well done. No crashes+no fuck-ups=job satisfaction. Ride home with the wave of commuting cyclists, taking tows from those who think they're really fast and wanna beat the messenger. That's fine, I'll draft you all the way up the canal, makes my ride home a lot easier. In the door for coffee number 4, at least. Internet on, feet up, assume the position. If I have the energy to change my clothes first I will as it makes me feel like a new person to get out of my work clothes. You actually feel like you can do something constructive with your evening if you're in new clothes by 7pm. Early in the week i just chill though. A bit of work on the CMWC, some emails, some myspace. Followed by an episode of CSI or somesuch... Easy on the brain.
By 11pm I'm fading, eyes getting heavy, time to hit the sack. Attempt to get clothes ready for the next day, charge my radio, but mostly forget. Crash into bed with some soothing tunes and away we go to dreamland for a while... only to be shaken from my reverie by that incessant beep-fucking-beep...

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Waiting in Stanstead...

"Suddenly the silence broke and there we were... Noise rushed in and filled the vacuum. Deep breaths were taken, lungs were filled, brows were wiped. A collective, fleeting, look of confusion passed over many faces; young faces, old faces, foreign faces, sad faces, happy faces. Faces that wouldn't see another dawn, faces that had seen too much already.
Time rushed at us all, bundling us along. Like a coiled spring suddenly released we burst forth, full of untapped energy; aimless, driven, chaotic, beatiful and frightening.
The future beckoned, uncertain and perilous, sure to end in tragedy for some... but all that anyone knew for certain was that the past, history itself, began right there, right then."

Not sure what this is about, but while waiting for my delayed flight in Stanstead I felt compelled to write it. Maybe it will become something else, it seems like a good beginning for something.
Sitting there, looking around at everyone's bored, impassive faces, it seemed easy to imagine time somehow stopped, a collective holding of breath for an interminable amount of time.
Then suddenly, like a thunder clap, everything began again, sound and movement rushing back into being. But what if it wasn't time starting again, what if it was time beginning for the first time.
The begining of life somehow occuring at a shitty Ryanair airport terminal. Our collective history implanted into our minds, but this being the real starting point for everything. And for one brief moment you have an inkling that something isn't quite right, a feeling like waking up wearing somebody else's clothes, but being told, that, no, that's what you came to the party in, and then your brain just doing what it does best, ignoring the improbable and just accepting what it sees in front of it, and forcing you to just go on with things.

Well, these things go through your head when you fly with Ryanair, trust me...

Monday, December 25, 2006

Xmas Day

What promised to be a shitty christmas got off to a more than promising start, when a bunch of us Dubliners decided to meet up for a ride around the deserted city streets.
Inspired by a bit of wine we decided to spice up some of Dublin's statues with our messenger gear.
The Famine Monument has never looked as cheerful.

Putting a smile on my face today is something I didn't see happening, but again I was shown the value of friends, and how some time spent with good ones can change everything.

So I'll leave the 'bah, humbug' aside for the day and try to continue in the same vein. It's funny that one of the most annoying times of the year for me can produce little gems of hilarity that will stick with me for a long time.

So check out the photos and maybe some of them will put a little smile on your face as well.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Beginning of the End

So.. here we are. Finally comitting to writing a blog.

It will be good for me. Maybe not for others.

Last day of work yesterday, joy. I'll put my lycra away for a couple of weeks and try to realise that there is more to life than riding my bike, sleeping and getting drunk.

Leaving the country will be good. Returning will not.

But all good things must come to an end... like this... my first, brief, posting.

Oh, and by the way, the photo has nothing to do with anything, just wanted to put it there. That will be a theme for most things I write here I would imagine...