The minor adventures of a motorcycle courier

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by JoeyBones, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    BSK and BCBADGER: By all means, PLEASE share some of your stories! I'd LOVE to hear them. Don't worry about style or grammar or anything else. If your adventures were anything like mine, the stories will tell themselves!

    Bill: Your wish is my command..... http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=397261

    Also, I came across another picture of that TS 185 I had in Alabama (the one that's airborne in the earlier pic). In an early example of a Givi Top Case prototype, made from some scrap cedar my friend had laying around....

    [​IMG]

    This bike was my only transportation back then, and I lived by myself in a little apartment (yes, at age 17 - it's a long story) so I had to fetch groceries somehow...... I seem to remember circular-sawing and nailing that thing together IN my apartment, and then vacuuming up the sawdust.....
    #81
  2. MoBill

    MoBill Smiles when says dat Supporter

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    Love it!

    You had a vacuum at 17?
    #82
  3. britman

    britman Britman

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    5 years full time as a f’ln lunatic in London in the mid 80's.
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    Had lived in London for about 18 months. Hated the job I had and knew every street Ha-bloody Ha-ha.
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    Got a job at Pony Express cause I was a warm body on a Honda 400 twin &#8211; piece of crap. Looked the dogs bollocks in cowboy boots &#8211; what a plonker.
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    Soon moved on to high tech Belstaff waxed cotton jacket and pants. What a load of crap that was. Wore Wellington boots everyday and thick wool socks. No frickin Gortex back then. Feet so hot and sweaty the weave of the sock would get embedded into the sole of your feet. Your feet looked like white playdough at the end of the day. Closest I&#8217;ve ever come to getting trench foot. The Belstaff had to be treated nearly every day otherwise it would leak like a sieve at all the creases like your elbows.
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    Handlebar muffs that pushed back onto the brake and clutch levers so you had to ride with your left fingers extended straight to stop the clutch slipping. The fuckers would fill up with water when parked in the rain. And of course it fucking rained. It was London. Rain, rain, rain. After a few months you became immune to it. Cause then it got cold and it fucking rained. Wore so many layers I could have steamed a piece of fish in my armpit.
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    Learnt how to ignore all rules of the road except for red lights. Never jumped a one.
    Learnt all the traffic light phasing for central London.
    Learnt where all the quiet payphones were.
    Learnt to chat up the receptionists so you could use their phone to call in.
    Learnt where it was quicker to walk 25 yards down an alley than ride half a mile around the block.
    Learnt how to fix flats in the dark and rain by the gloom of a street light &#8211; if you were lucky. The rain puddles came in useful for locating the hole in the tube.
    Learnt where all the bus stops and turns were so you didn&#8217;t get squeezed by them.
    Learnt which way streets were numbered.
    Learnt how to get around traffic snarl ups due to IRA bomb scares.
    Learnt that the Guardian newspaper messenger bag was the best at keeping packages dry.

    <o:p></o:p>
    Hated in this order Black cabs, Royal Mail lorries and Volvo drivers. Still hate Volvo drivers.
    #83
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  4. no

    no dreaming adventurer Supporter

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    Great stories, all. :ear
    #84
  5. britman

    britman Britman

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    Rode the wrong way down one-way streets. Rode up flights of steps. Rode, paddled the bike on the sidewalk when the traffic backed up. Could squeeze thru gaps with about an inch each side at 40 miles an hour and then do it again, again, again. Knew the correct speed to get thru the timed lights in Slough without getting caught at a red light.
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    Carried the master tape for Supertramp &#8211; Crime of the Century. Other important bits and bobs for RAK Records plus many other record companies whose names I&#8217;ve forgotten. Went into so many business&#8217;s and private homes you lot couldn&#8217;t imagine. Had a cuppa with Sting in Hampstead in the kitchen of his gaff near the pub on the one-way system. I had no idea who the Gordon Sumner was the delivery was addressed to.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Got stopped by the Special Branch who couldn&#8217;t wait any longer to take a look inside the metal briefcase I had strapped to my bike. I&#8217;d had it there for a bout 2 hours as I skipped from delivery to pick up across London. It had about $80,000 of cocaine in it. They&#8217;d been watching and sweating that no one would steal it. Wanted me to wait for them to bring their own fake courier bike to deliver it. I&#8217;d been paid as a cash job so I didn&#8217;t care what happened to it. Figured that the customer wouldn&#8217;t be using us again so I buggered off.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Had to pick up dry cleaning, Mc&#8217;Donalds, deliver presents to wives and girlfriends. &#8211; don&#8217;t mix those up &#8211; the girlfriends presents were always wrapped better. Paid parking fines. Delivered coffee.
    <o:p></o:p>
    IBM used Pony Express for a multi drop job once a week.This was something like 25 or 30 pick ups and drop offs starting in West London at 4 in the morning and ending up in Essex. Quicker you did it the sooner you got on with the rest of the day. That was a hoot absolutely flying across London with minimum traffic until the worker bees started emerging at around 7am. One time I walked into the last drop and jumped up and down on the entry mat. The front of me fell off. I was cased in frozen slush from neck to crotch and knees to ankles.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Move onto Delta Dispatch cause Pony Express got bought out and sucked. Did buy a green / white leather jacket subsidized by Pony Express. had the Pony Express logo of cowboy on horseback at full gallop on the back. Fitted some arrow shafts to the back and staggered into Wells Fargo bank yelling Indians, Indians. Security guards didn&#8217;t think it was funny.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Delta Dispatch had better radios so not as much standing around phone boxes but you could tell when the money jobs were being handed out cause a rider would be told to call in. After a couple of months I was one of them cause I was a regular long hour suck up the crap jobs brown noser. I discovered Helly Hansen yachting gear which was 100% waterproof on the outside. This rubberized pull over top was like wearing a tropical rain forest next to your skin BUT it kept out the wet and the wind.
    #85
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  6. MoBill

    MoBill Smiles when says dat Supporter

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    :lurk

    Hope Joey is reading. This is great stuff. Bring it please.
    #86
  7. Thylex

    Thylex Adventurer

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    So it's not just a Swedish thing! :rofl:rofl
    #87
  8. britman

    britman Britman

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    Pulled up next to a grey Ford XR3i turning off Picadilly.The attractive young blonde woman driving saw me leching at her and put her finger to her mouth in a Ssssh manner. Realized it was the young Diana. Nodded my head and looked away. A couple of weeks later the engagement was announced.

    After that I started carrying a cheap camera with me and earnt extra money as a snapper. Took photos of all the “faces” I saw on the streets. Police action etc. The Daily Mail and Express bought my photos. I didn’t ask for a credit – plonker - but the money was welcome. I would dash into the paper and drop off the roll of film and let them decide if they wanted it. Started to carry a pager so they could text me yes / no and the money. If they didn’t want it I’d pick up the negatives and drop them at another paper. Could have made more money but enjoyed riding my bike – masochist. Part of it was just for the adrenaline zipping across London when the dispatcher thought I was in place A and I was in place B and having to get to place C for the next pick up.
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    Carried a check for 300 million pounds from Esso (now Exxon) to the taxman. Carried original blueprints for oil refineries. 6 foot tube - that was fun bungee strapped across my back.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Watching a messenger get wrapped around the rear axle of a 18 wheeler who got pissed off at him. Didn’t die – lost both legs. Driver jailed for 20 years cause of my testimony. Yeah I embellished the truth a little to make sure the jury got pissed at him.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Had a good young friend Guy get killed by another wanker. Elton John wrote a song for him.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Riding down Hanger Lane on a CB200 splitting lanes between a van and flat bed 18 wheeler. Van moves over and I end up with my right handlebar and mirror under the flat bed with about to squash me fucking dead wheels in front and behind me. That taught me a lesson.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Smelling burnt wiring on my bike, panicking and then remembering I was going past the coffee factory near Hanger Lane. Did this so many times I felt a right twat.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Racing Keith on his GS1000 from a red light on the Edgeware Rd at 3 in the morning. I’m on a CX; he leaves me standing. A dark blue Triumph 2.5 PI (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triumph_2500) whips by with police alarm clanging. Down the road Keith is stopped with police car. I mosey on by looking the other way and circle back to find both him and car gone. Get back to Clapham to find Keith already at the apartment 3 of us shared. It was a Special Branch car and they wanted to make sure he hadn’t stolen the bike. The only rider I know who got pulled doing 120 in a 30 and rode away scot-free.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Going to work early so I could go around and around Marble Arch hanging off a GPZ550 scraping the pegs.
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    Being seduced by Middle Eastern brown eyes behind a yashmak in a Roller when the oil money came to town in a BIG way.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Getting knocked off by a Nigerian Embassy car – they paid me off cause I had a small hole in my skin on my knee.
    #88
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  9. MoBill

    MoBill Smiles when says dat Supporter

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    Holy crap. Great one liners...each one a story eh?
    #89
  10. britman

    britman Britman

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    Racing down Park Lane with other messengers. Absolutely nuts.
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    Never got busted by the police – how this happened still amazes me.
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    Averaged about 200 miles a day every day for 5 years. Thatsa lotta kerb side oil changes, chain lubes and chain adjustments. Bikes were on the whole pretty reliable although the sub frame on the GPZ550 did break. Didn’t notice for a couple of days until I noticed how low the bike was sitting. Stripped it down, got it welded, reassembled and ran it into the ground.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Spraying the inside of your face shield with anti fog every night knowing it would last about 30 minutes in the next days rain.
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    Drinking too many pints in various pubs after work and then zooming home and up early to do it all over again.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Knowing where every pothole and manhole cover was in central London.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Knowing when the Changing of the Guard took place so as to keep away from the tourist hordes. http://www.changing-the-guard.com/
    <o:p></o:p>
    Putting pennies on top of the front fork springs on a CX500 (English pennies were bloody big) to help stiffen the front up.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Seeing the Queen Mother cruise down Bond St. in her Roller whilst shoe shop salespeople brought boxes of shoes for her to look over. The bodyguards popping in and out of her limo like ferrets in a rabbit warren.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Having a bank account in Mayfair – hey it was convenient – and getting a kick out of depositing my pay check every week noticing the other clients looking a bit miffed that a messenger was rubbing shoulders with them.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Using a Yamaha 90cc step through moped whilst the CX was off the road waiting for parts. Popping little wheelies on the Yamaha at Oxford Circus. The dispatchers took pity on me and kept me in town or they gave me a series of pickups and drops spanning the whole of central London.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Riding through Spitalfields Meat Market and getting cursed at by the butchers and their boys as I weaved past blood stained white coats carrying slabs of near quivering meat.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Getting annoyed with myself when I had to use an A-Z Streetfinder to look an address up.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Getting really annoyed at wannabe Black Cab drivers wobbling around the streets on their mopeds learning “The Knowledge”. The plonkers would simply stop in the middle of the road looking for street address’s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxicabs_of_the_United_Kingdom
    #90
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  11. MoBill

    MoBill Smiles when says dat Supporter

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    Thou kicketh ass: :lurk
    #91
  12. tractorking

    tractorking Retired Moto Courier

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    Hey Joey
    Reading this thread a rush of memories came back, Id like to share some of those so heres my story.

    I started as a Motorcycle courier in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1992.
    I grew up riding bikes and being a courier seemed like a great way to make a buck or two while doing something I enjoyed. Of course the romance of being a motorcycle courier was a big part of it, I mean there are stories throughout history of 2 wheeled couriers treking great distances with the single mind set of delivering the package at all costs.

    I had just moved to SF and had a friend who lived in an apartment where a big pile of rusting motorcycles sat in the courtyard untouched for at least a year. One rainy day I began sifting through the pile and buried at the bottom was a balck 1974 BMW R75/6 that someone had rammed into something head on. I went through the DMV process and eventually got a title. After a few used parts the front end was complete and I was riding around.

    I got a job at Quicksilver Messenger Service and my first delivery I got hopelessly lost trying to find a very hidden address. Time went by and things smoothed out and I was mixing it up 10hrs a day in the highways and byways of the Bay Area. I had a Belstaff Jacket and pants, some old school motocross boots and a beat up helmet, topped off with my over the shoulder courier bag. I would ride sometimes +300 miles in a day, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Rafael, Sanjose, it would not be unsual to pass over all five bridges in the bay on a good day.

    One of the most memorable jobs I had at Quicksilver was delivering news film for the FIFA World Cup held in Palo Alto. I had full press credentials that afforded me full access and parking permits to park right at the front of the stadium. I would show up at the start of the matches and roam around awhile. I spent time in the press boxes surrounded by a hundred tv announcers screaming GOOOOOOAAAAALLLL in a hundred languages.

    At halftime I would run down to the field, collect film from a bunch of photographers and then blaze off to the News Agency about 15 or so miles away and try to return for the final pickup before the game would let out to avoid traffic.

    One occasion I returned a little late due to the heavy traffic, Brazil had won and the crowd had flooded the streets in celebration. I rode down the street trying to get to the stadium and the crowd became thicker and thicker until finally, I left my bike in the middle of the street surrounded by celebrating fans and made my way to the pick up. I was acctually suprised to find my bike later and it was stillin one piece on the stand.

    On another trip I got jumped by some Secret Service type guys as they thought I was there to kill the Columbian president.

    I later went to work for the imfamous Lightning Express (LX) owned by the reknowned Ray Roy and the late Chris Crew.This was the hardcore of Motorcycle companies. Quicksilver had mostly bicycles and drivers and one or two motos to fill the gap. Lightning had 20 motos, 8 bikes and 2 drivers.

    During the 89 earthquake that disabled the Bay Bridge, Lightning bought a motorboat and had couriers on both sides of the bay using the motorboat to ferry the packages across the bay to awaiting riders. This was hardcore.

    The BMW was a great out of town bike but since I was low on the totem pole at my new company I was doing mostly in-town work. Rookies got in-town short jobs and Vets(Gravy Dogs) got the big runs as it was all commision based. I picked a Honda XL600 and was suprised to find out later that pretty much everyone that worked there had the same bike as a back up. When we were on standby downtown on a slow day there would be 4 or 5 XL's lined up. We would eventually get bored if it was slow and take a group ride to find the best jumps in the hills of the city.

    As a rookie I had to take the bottom of the barrel. The day I got the XL 600 was Halloween the year of the dreaded El Nino winter where it rained buckets for 6 months. The bike still had dirt knobbies and the tail/brake light wasent working, but what the hell, I was hardcore.

    I had delivered packages in town all day in the pouring rain, when I came into the office at the end of the day (6:30pm) ready to go have some beer and party in the streets. My dispatcher informed me he had 15 packages going south all over the bay area that had to be delivered in 3 hours. This was definatly going to take me far from home and it would be midnight by the time I got back.

    I told him I would do it but while I was there in the office I was going to bitch about it. He said I could bitch about it today but not tomarrow. So I proceeded to rant and rave for about 30mins and then set out.

    It was dark, I had no tail light, It was raining and the dirt tire were scary at 70mph in the wet. The deliveries were big houses in the hills with no street lights and very diffcult to find the address. I scared many children, the strange guy in black riding a motorcycle on halloween.

    I finally got home at midnight-thirty.

    I was frickin HARD CORE. I had proven myself and after that day I mostly got good jobs. I was officially a Gravy Dog!

    One day while making delivery's on a misty grey day I was flowing through traffic and came to a stop light, there were cars backed up and I filitered my way to the crosswalk. As I passed the row of cars I had noticed a young kid on a 2 stroke waiting behind the cars. He saw me go to the front and eventually made his wasy to the front in the other lane. The light turned green and he zipped off the line at high revs. I knew the next light would be red from experience and I put-putted along, came to the next line of cars where the kid was sitting at the back. I slowly motored to the front of the line and he, once again made his way next to me.

    At this point I had a few minutes to observe him. He was riding a 2 stroke 125 street bike that was tottally illegal and probably his big brothers race bike. He had a Oakland Raiders jacket, you know with the big pirate skull on the back and a helmet adorned with Flying Tigers teeth. I realized that his friends were in the cars around us and that highschool had just let out.

    I was sporting my red white and blue Evil Keneviel leathers and contemplating popping a wheelie or something. I decided that this was my work and I didnt need to impress anyone. The light turned green and I laid on the thumper pretty hard to get a jump on the traffic and the sketchy kid. I heard his throttle rev pretty high behind me and I said to myself "dont drop the clutch". Sure enough, the next I heard was a bang and silence and a bang, and then plastic debris flying by my left side. Then the kid came sliding past me on the pavement. Then the bike pogo-ing end over end, front wheel, big bouce, back wheel, big bounce, front wheel. Suddenly it was an arms length away on my left side, I popped up on the side walk and speed away to safety. I looked back and saw the kid skittering out of the way of traffic. He had looped the bike

    I have to tell you, I never laughed out loud so hard in my life. Call it cruel but I had a serious case of Freudenschade. I eventually rolled back by and a friend of his was helping pick up the scraps and all seemed ok except a bruised ego.

    On another day I was riding through Union Square and came to a stop light, noticed some sort of frenzy and realized there was money flying everywhere. I jumped off the bike and rounded up about $500 in random bills. I soon found out that some one had attempted to snatch a wad of cash from a tourist and the money went flying in the windy streets. I felt bad and gave it back to the guy, you cant have bad Karma when you ride a motorcycle everyday.

    I remember the crappy stuff too:
    So tired I drafted a semi for miles to stay out of the wind and not think.
    I carried a box bigger than me and my bike on the backrack, it was an airfilter for a rooftop airconditioner, lite but big.
    Getting sideswiped, Traffic tickets, breakdowns and flats.

    Thats all for now, theres more if ya'll wanna hear it. :gerg
    #92
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  13. MoBill

    MoBill Smiles when says dat Supporter

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    :eyes -------------->:lurk
    #93
  14. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    Tractorking & Britman: Thanks for the stories. I'm really glad to hear from others with the same kinds of experiences I had!

    - VERY cool that someone else rode up steps.

    - I really wish I had thought to carry a camera or take some pics back in those days.

    - I just KNEW that as crazy as I was there were others who were crazier. And it sounds like London in particular was a pretty wild place to be a courier. Ditto for San Francisco!

    By all means....please share more stories if ya got 'em. This is GREAT stuff!
    #94
  15. Stretch67

    Stretch67 Mad Scientist Supporter

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    Thanks, guys. Great stories.
    #95
  16. tractorking

    tractorking Retired Moto Courier

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, California

    Fun stuff

    Speaking of steps we had an address, 1201 Montgomery, that was pretty tricky to get to. The street brokeup several times as the building was located on a steep hill over looking the Bay. The shortest route, end of the street, up a flight of steps, on a street for a block, then up some steps. I loved doing that on the thumper.

    I also ripped straight across Golden gate park many times, for those that dont know, it a pretty big park, about 3 miles long and a mile or two across.
    If you were in the Richmond and had to get to the Sunset, you could go the long way through the streets, but if you were in the right place a nice rip across the grass and dirt through the trees was quit a blast.

    Chris Crew was a legend in San Francisco. He was one of the owners at Lightning and was notorious for being chased by the police.

    Chris would haul ass with the cops in tow and if he made it to the city they were toast. He would rip into the garage, spray paint his helmet a different color, change his bag and his jacket and finish out the day delivering packages.

    On one occassion all the couriers were hangin out at a local dive called Harvey Wu's Place.

    Harveys was a small store with a little kitchen counter and was owned by one of those older Chinese mafia types. Harvey cashed paychecks for messengers and everyone had a tab for buying beer and food during the week before payday. The best analogy of the place and the characters is the Cantina scene from Star Wars. On a Friday you could cash your check, pay your tab, get a 40oz and pick up a little herb from the guys out front. Harveys had it all!

    So we are all standing around on Friday night around 6pm, drinkin and smokin, when Chris Crew comes ripping around the corner with his gal on the back. He pulls up, she jumps off and they casually exchange a hug and chat for half a second. In the distance police sirens were coming closer. Around the corner comes two police cars squeling tires. all light and sirens wailing. Chris drops the clutch and takes off in a wheelie, right hand on the throttle and the left hand high in the air giving them the finger.

    Apparently they had tried to pull him over and he bolted, got some distance so he could drop off his gal and then headed out to ditch the cops.

    Cant get away with that stuff these days.
    #96
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  17. britman

    britman Britman

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    North metro Atlanta
    Some messenger friends left Delta to start their own company. Holborn Globetrotters (amazing the names you can think of after a spliff or two). The company is still going strong 25 years later http://www.londononline.co.uk/profiles/78073/ although Ken left to live the hippy, organic life in Wales or SW England somewhere. As far as I know Keith (he of the Special Branch stop mentioned earlier) is still running the company.
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Located a few blocks east of the British Museum this more central location was great for in town jobs so I bailed from Delta and worked for them. No radios which was a bummer, but no weekly fees which was good. By now all the receptionists in London knew messengers wanted to use a phone so no radio wasn’t too much of a pain for the riders. It did mean the little Hitlers aka dispatchers really had to ramp up their game to make sure all jobs were picked up quickly. A BIG plus was that a higher percentage of the jobs were cash – luverly jubbly – shaking out yer pockets at the end of the day and adding to the jar on the chest of drawers. Very fiscally responsible and all declared to Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Ha ha.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    What a bunch or rascals and vagabonds we were. A very tightly knit group who really looked after each other. Bikes were fixed, lent, stolen from each other, sold, resold so that everyone could keep ripping up the streets of London. Fuck Baker Street and Gerry Rafferty – nothing to do with the thread just hated that song. Baker Street was a real pain to use. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    The police used BMW’s and they could really cut through traffic. Seemed to be used for escorting The Royal Family and visiting heads of state. The lead rider would have a whistle to get road users attention and if you heard the whistle you’d better move cause they would steam roller you out of the way. One day one of the local street characters, a little old guy nicknamed Titch, was doing his usual traffic directing act from a traffic island in the middle of Clerkenwell Rd when a bike cop pulled up next to him. This cop was a large beefy, red faced, red haired S.O.B who I’d seen around town quite a bit looking officious. Well he pulls up next to Titch and his best cop voice ask “What the hellareyou doing” cause of course only cops can direct traffic. Titch in his best Titch voice calmly replied “Why don’t you fuck off” and gave him the English bird. Well the cop went bright red as all the onlookers laughed. Sensibly he decided to go fight another battle and gathering all his dignity rode away with that straight backed posture that only Beemer riders seem to have.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Didn’t think anything of finishing work on a Friday night and riding a couple of hundred miles to visit friends outside of London. The riding became such a part of a messengers life it just seemed natural.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    One day I’m in bum fuck can’t remember where in the countryside on a roller coaster 2 lane road. It’s 4.30 in the morning and I’m heading away from London on THE cash job of the day. Summer time, not raining, and the sun is peeking. I see a single headlight in my mirror and figure it’s a guy on the way to work so I keep ripping up the road. The bike behind zips by me and the rider gives me a thumbs up. It’s a cop on a cop bike and if I’m doing 20 over he’s got to be doing 50 over. So I tuck in behind him and get escorted for about the next 25 miles. We zip by other vehicles like jet fighters.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Slowly an undeclared war developed between messengers and other road users as traffic became more congested. Leean had a swift answer to road rage. She had a 1lb lump hammer secured in a clip on the gas tank of her MZ. If someone pissed her off she’d pull up next to them at a stop light. As the light went green she’d smash their wing mirror and zoom away.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I never resorted to those tactics I’d just move the mirror so they couldn’t see out of it.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Lots of messenger companies sprang up with riders thinking they were going to get off the road and earn big money. They’d hire anyone on 2 wheels and most couldn’t ride a bike let alone cope with the demands of city traffic. I soon got to recognize the sound of a bike wrecking. There’s something unmistakable about metal and plastic hitting blacktop. I’d say that 95% of the time it was rider error. They’d see a gap and try to squeeze through or they’d hit pedestrians stepping into the road. Too much pressure from the dispatchers and not enough common sense. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Note my riding had got more sensible or I’d just got much better. I swear there were days when I could feel the vehicles around me and see pathways through the traffic before the gaps opened. It was a very meditative state of mind. Hard to explain without sounding like a complete nut job. I don’t remember being on the brakes , on the gas, on the brakes, on the gas. Speed wasn’t always your best friend it was being able to read the traffic flow and use the road accordingly. BUT you know there were days when I’d be completely fucked without a drop of adrenaline left in me and those days were good. It just felt much safer to be weaving through the traffic rather than being stuck in a hole with no way out.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Most of the time as a messenger was pretty boring but looking back it was some of the best working years of my life to date.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    The people I rode with were in the main outstanding riders, not at the same level as track riders but as street riders. A completely different breed. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I worked from 1983 to 1988 and quit at the age of 35 when I had to be dragged off a Black Cab driver in the Wandsworth one-way system. The bastard had tried to push me into the fence at the edge of the sidewalk and I snapped. Too many close calls with people trying to kill me. Yep I honestly believe most of the Black Cab drivers would try to clip you cause we had taken a lot of work from them. So I got a real job and moved to the countryside. Gave the bike I’d been using, a CB200, to a friend who wanted a small bike to restore. Don't knock the CB200. It took me through France and Italy on riding vacations. I racked up 35,000 miles on it. Do remember 35,000 miles was about only 35 weeks of work at about 200 miles a day and it would cruise at 65 whilst sucking a gallon every 60 miles.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Didn’t ride again until 2002 when I bought a Valkyrie. Sold that and got a ST1300 in 2006. Have ridden over 120,000 miles in the US and Canada in the past 6 years.

    Have a feeling in my blood that I need a KLR or DR or something to get onto the forest roads.
    #97
    Phipsd likes this.
  18. theturtleshead

    theturtleshead Tits on a fish

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    831
    Location:
    Medellin Colombia ain,t nowhere better
    I actually worked for that pair at Holborn Globetrotters for about a week,couldn,t live with that no radio crap.But I do seem to remember drinking in a hole called The Thunderer across the street from their office.I seem to remember I went to work at Mach 1 in the mews between John st aand Grays inn rd.
    Just to add a touch of flavor,John st changes name half way up,can you remember the name of the other part? and my old mate Mark Vatcher who was the controller at Rueter Brooks at the time lived in that street in the house where Charles Dickens wrote all his greats!!!
    Al theturtleshead
    #98
  19. britman

    britman Britman

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    North metro Atlanta
    I drank at The Pakenham Arms. http://pubphilosopher.blogs.com/pub_philosopher/2005/01/the_pakenham_ar.htmlTurn

    John St becomes Doughtry St. I still have my old A-Z :lol3

    What year/years did you work as a messenger?
    #99
  20. tractorking

    tractorking Retired Moto Courier

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, California
    Britman,

    I had very similar sensations as you. If I woke up feeling really smacked by a hangover, as soon as I got on the bike I felt completly normal and well.
    It was like I was more comfortable on the motorcycle then walking.

    Quote: "Have a feeling in my blood that I need a KLR or DR or something to get onto the forest roads."


    Funny you should say that, I have one of each, both 650s, one was a work bike I still have and I just got a newer KLR recently.