Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cold and Slow

Not much happening this week. I spent a good part of the day freezing at the statue.


I got a text from Becky this morning saying that her company, No BS Couriers, was bought out by Professional Messenger yesterday. They're laying off everyone tomorrow. Kind of sad. "Nobs" was one of the best, most respected messenger companies in SF.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Perks: Free Beer

I had a pickup at the Anchor Steam brewery on Mariposa. Amazingly, they've always let me drink beers at their tasting room when I'm there to pick up a package. I mean, every single time I've been there, they've let me drink pints of beer, for free. The tasting room is right next to their offices. Last time I went though it didn't happen. A tour was in progress which they said I could join, but no free beer at that moment. First time walking out of there without a buzz.

Then an hour later at 595 Market I came across this box of beer next to the freight elevator. Bottles of Anchor Steam and Guinness. I put some of the former in my bag. Beer Gods, thank you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Soul on Ice

The same day I found the street art I saw a black man riding a Zamboni through Embarcadero Center.

They put this rink up every year. I used to go to the Ferry Building more often. Lately I've been getting a few tags a week from Pier 1. Their candy bowl sucks though. Mint Lifesavers.


Last week a few buildings hired Christmas carolers to do their thing in the lobby.

Here at the tall and modern 44 Montgomery they were on the jazzy side:

They were much more on the Charles Dickens tip down the street at 235 Mo'. It's an older building:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Mike Bessenger

Signing in at 44 Mo:

This cracked me up:

As funny as the first time I saw "free cowboy hats" on a toilet seat cover dispenser.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Reflecting on the United Parcel Service

Have you noticed the yellow reflectors on the back of UPS trucks? They started popping up earlier this year. I think they were specially designed to be stolen by bike messengers. They fit perfectly on top tubes and messenger bags.

This is the first one I've come across with with a security system - see the ziptie in the middle? On what level was this decision made, I wonder.

Twin Peaks

Last week my ass was handed to me, everyday. On Friday morning, jet lag woke me up at 3:30 AM (was in India from 12/1 to 12/18. wrote all of those posts ahead of time). Instead of going back to sleep, I sent out some emails then went to Safeway and bought groceries.

Twin Peaks

So although I started out fine, I wasn't at 100% the whole day. Which made going up to Twin Peaks a bitch. I was at the De Young Museum when I got the tag and decided to take 7th Ave. which turns into Laguna Honda Blvd. all the way up. I got lost trying to find 440 Castenada, a place I've been a bunch of times. From there, I headed over to a Dentist's office around the corner from the West Portal MUNI station. Not sure what was in the box, but in the past I've delivered mouth casts. I tried to talk the station guys into letting me take my bike on Muni but they weren't having it, even if I took off the wheels. At that point I was holding three, and one of them was a Now going to City Hall.

Top of Market St. looking serious, feeling delirious

Once I got to the top of Market, via Portola, I was happy though. Riding down Market from the top is always a joy. It was a cold and clear day and the city was beautiful.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

free art show?

Today kicked my ass. I rode all over town, then all over town again. I would have done better if I'd slept more than five hours last night. I did get hot at the very end of the day though. Dropped off two in the Presidio, one at the Exploratorium, back to Presidio, climbed Lombard to pick up a tag at 2900 Vallejo that had to be at the Flood Building before 6:00 (870 Market), then dropped one at 3524 Sacramento, got one at 555 Clayton and booked back downtown. Made it to the Flood Bldg. by 5:45, dropped the Clayton at 10 Post right as some bell was chiming six.

Sun reflecting off buildings, seen from the Presidio

Anyway, still downtown on my way out to the Presidio, this arrangement of sticks and garbage stopped me. For a second it looked like an abstract sculpture:

Who would arrange an empty box of Kools, a wet, folded newspaper section and a printer cartridge adjacent to branches like this? It reminded me of that artist who makes outdoor sculptures in nature that creep me out. It's at the park at Drum and Washington, next to a homeless person's shopping cart and pile of dirty blankets. Potentially limited engagement.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

let's go through the tunnel

I was riding back to BART from the avenues in the drizzle at about 21:30 on Geary when I came to the tunnel. It's the one under Masonic that cuts through the top of the hill. During the day I always take it, but at night I worry about getting killed more. I wasn't going to do it tonight but then I rode past this cute girl and noticed the traffic light had just turned red behind me so I said "eh" and veered into it. I mean, it is faster through the tunnel.

in the tunnel...

One of the things I love are lights in a tunnel at night. I also like the lights on the bottom deck of the Bay Bridge. When I was little I used to hypnotize myself looking up at them go by from the backseat of my parent's car, riding back to Oakland from dinner at my aunt and uncle's. And of course the Bay Bridge tunnel...that one's almost overkill.

...out the tunnel

I've become a much safer rider since I started doing this job about a year and a half ago. The few nasty accidents I've been involved in were good lessons. And while there are certainly split second techniques and tricks to help avoid them, I've realized that the best way to decrease the chance of getting hurt is by consistently making sound longterm decisions - longterm as in at least ten seconds ahead of time.


Consistency is important, because as powerless as it makes me feel to admit it, statistics will fuck you up. I mean fuck me up. But you too, maybe. So riding through the tunnel every night would put me more at risk then a person who takes that route only some nights, or never.

Tonight, I took a small risk in choosing to go through the tunnel, but am definitely retarded for deciding to take a picture of me, then checking it out, erasing it because I blinked, then retaking it, all one handed, flying down the wet-ass tunnel about to merge with the road on the right in two seconds.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Triple Five Cal

A rather ominous view of 555 California, taken from some other building. It's the tallest in San Francisco.

When I'm on the long board, I'll only come here a few times a week, which is just as well, because it's a bitch to get past their security. Not only do you have to show ID, but the company your visiting has to be called before you can head up. After the security pass is printed out you have to show it to one of the other guards by the elevator banks who will then check your bag.

555 Cal is one of the very few building with a security system that actually might do something though. Almost all downtown buildings have guards and require some sort of signing-in but I can't fathom how 95% of theses setups could actually be making the building more secure.

I was talking to a guard about this a few months ago and he told me the main purpose of the sign in sheet is to know who's in the building in case of a fire, which I guess makes sense. But overall, I hate wasting even 10 seconds signing in. Being waived up by a guard is a great feeling.

Ian and Magic Basket

Ian and Matt (both Worldwide) doing what they do best at the statue. Both good dudes. Like most SF messengers, Matt also used to work at Speedway. Wouldn't be surprised if Ian did, too.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Pooping at the Four Seasons

The Four Seasons hotel on Market street is the most opulent place to drop a deuce in San Francisco, private residences aside. Notice the silver tray of napkins in place of paper towels.

I will say that gluing down the soap dispenser is a bit tacky, but at least it's full of fancy soap.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Peter "Fast Boots" Taylor

When he first started, he wore big-ass boots and was fast, hence the nickname. He's still fast, but has graduated to Lake's, the same ones I wear. I copied him actually.

Fastboots used to work for Speedway (my company) but now rides for Godspeed, the bad-asses of the San Francisco bike messenger scene.

Peter's a solid chap and a solid messenger. As you can see above, he's a lanky, tall drink of water who has a soft spot for hats nobody else wanted to buy. I'm kidding, it's a nice cap. If you look closely you'll see that even at his part time gig at a bike shop he still rocks the messenger key loop on his right arm.

Godspeed, Fast Boots.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Straightforward Store Names - 1st Place

"Look & Buy"

I think this is on the corner of Stockton and Broadway in Chinatown. The people in the foreground can be seen looking. However, they are not buying.

Friday, December 7, 2007

View from ______ (1 of 100)

44 Montgomery
Floor 20-something

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Perks: Candy

Everyday is Halloween for the bike messenger. At least half of the offices I visit have candy bowls. This one is above average. I'd give it a solid B as there are candy bars to be found. What would be a D? 100% hard candy that looks old.

Occasionally on a really busy day, I'll have to pull an all candy power lunch. Not a well-balanced part of the day, but when you're exhausted and starving with no lunch break coming, holding five hot tags, it's hard to say no to a bowl of any kind of food. I would probably eat Whiskas.

Yes, the wet kind.

As you can imagine, constant exposure to free Kit Kats, Bannana Laffy Taffys (which will do in a pinch, but only then) and New Snickers "After Dark's" has taken away all of candy's magic, and a good amount of enamel.

The noble candy bowl is the most basic of perks. I will go into other, more interesting ones in later posts.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Locks get clipped

Someone was cutting locks downtown today.

$50 will buy something that can snip young and tender cable locks like these.
Unless it's an absolute beater, don't mess with cables
Beaters aren't really safe either though, in a city where crackheads will steal your half-full water bottle (happened three times, in broad daylight).

Either of these will work. I use the one on the right, a lot of people use the one on the left. Right is lighter and more manageable while the chain on the left, though heavy, will allow much more flexiblity in locking, and is favored by track bike/fixie* types.
*Will get into this subject in a later post

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Way's to lock up a bike, part 1

I almost always lock to a parking meter, traffic sign or some kind of pole. If I'm desperate I'll do something like this:Which would be a really bad idea with normal quick-release skewers. I use locking ones that require a special key to loosen:

Most messengers do something to make it harder to steal their wheels. A bolt at the end of an axle is a common deterrent. I'd guess one out of seven use OnGuard locking skewers like me.