Come to Look Mum No Hand in London Fields this Saturday to meet Rebecca Reilly, messenger legend and author of Nerves of steel. The evening is organised by Emily Chappell and there will be a raffle with prizes from Swrve, Brooks and the LCEF.

Emily’s interview of Rebecca is here: http://www.movingtargetzine.com/article/rebecca-reilly-nerves-of-steel-heart-of-gold

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The Sister City Alleycat series put on to raise funds for the 2014 Cycle Messenger World Championships in Mexico has been going on for a few months now. Every city that joined was paired with a sister city that was chosen by the organisers in DF . Each city send their sister city a work jersey and a mess t-shirt (or something similar).  Cities do the race on the same day, work together on ideas, share themes, race formats and photo. On this occasion, London and Zurich in Switzerland have been teamed up. 

Both cities will be racing simultaneously.
We’ll have Swiss themed checkpoints and both cities will be swapping local goodies so Swiss chocolates coming this side of the channel and the finest selection of Cadbury bars for our alpine buddies.

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House of Pistard will be printing some limited edition t-shirts for this alleycat…artwork by Chris Bock in Zurich…entry  will be £5,  £12 with the tee or £10 just the t-shirt.

Get in touch at: londoncourieremergencyfund@gmail.com if you would like one.

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The London courier community has lost one of his brother. Young Josh has ridden off and left us all quite shaken. All my thoughts are going to his family and friends. I’ll remember him with a big smile on his face, his lips all swollen after crashing at the last London’s Calling, raising his pint to good times with the mess family.

Rest In Peace Josh…

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Some words from Clarence:

“I was first aware of Josh by noticing the BDP tattoo behind his right leg and his in your face way of riding before I got to spend much time with him. If anything that Boogie Down Productions tattoo was nothing but a glimpse into one of the most energetic and straight talking courier I had ever met. 
From talking to other people who knew Josh and reading the comments left on various forums I have been left with a much greater sense of loss. The comments have been testament to his approach to life and has been helpful in coming to terms with his passing. Many have been reflecting on his young age but his experiences from these various anecdotes appear to show a life lived to the full. 
On the road Josh will be missed. For most of the couriers the road is what keeps us together. Even though Josh was now on a path to pursue other things he will always be a courier. His love and knowledge of all things bikes was extraordinary as were his bar-spins. 
With the help of James, a fellow courier, this piece is our way of celebrating his life.”

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Josh’s funeral will be held on Friday 21 February at 2.30pm at St Mary’s Church, Church Lane, Walberton, Arundel BN18 0UD.
 The nearest train station is Barnham (from Victoria) 2 miles away. The number for Barnham Station Taxis is 01243 551 753.
And of course, times like these makes us miss our departed friends even more. Those riders who were part of our community and left us too soon. On the 23rd February, it will be 10 years that Sebastian Lukomski passed away. I think of him every time i go past that spot on Southwark Bridge…never forgotten.
 
 

If you wonder how it all happened behind the scene during one of the shoot for the new courier calendar, check Ben’s link here:

http://twelvepictures.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/the-naked-courier-calendar-shoot.html

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Calendars are on sale online here: http://houseofpistard.bigcartel.com/

Also available at Full City on Leather lane EC1 and London Green Cycles, Chester Court, Albany st, NW1.

Or get in touch at: londoncourieremergencyfund@gmail.com

That’s right, the new courier calendar 2014 is here. This edition is UK only so all your favourite couriers from London, Glasgow and Edinburgh in the buff. Eleven photographers and Richie Andrew, our graphic designer, have combined their talents to bring you the 4th LCEF calendar…all the proceeds from the sale of these calendars will go to the LCEF and the BMEF (Bicycle Messenger Emergency Fund). So if you’re looking for that special Xmas pressie, look no further.

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The calendars are on sale online for £10 @ http://houseofpistard.bigcartel.com/, we deliver locally and ship internationally. You can also get a copy on the Bagaboo website: http://www.bagaboo.hu/

They will  be available at Full City,72 Leather Lane EC1 and at London Green Cycles, 4 Chester Court, Albany St NW1.

Or get in touch at londoncourieremergencyfund@gmail.com

You can also come along to the Bullseye LCEF Xmas party this Friday, a super bash to celebrate the winter holidays, and grab a copy.

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We will also present you the new LCEF 5th anniversary limited edition t-shirt courtesy of Xander Mac of the House of Pistard. Baker extraordinaire, Julia and myself will get our aprons on and provide sweet delights on the night so come and help us blow our candles.

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In other news, we’re starting to look into the new year and all the exciting events coming up. We’re only a few months away from the CMWC 2014 (Cycle Messenger World Championships) to be held in Mexico City. We will be sure to get our ticket , catch up with the worldwide messenger community , ride in the Mexican sunshine and raise more funds for the LCEF.

More info @ http://mexicocmwc.com/

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We will also be on our way to Scandinavia a few weeks later for the ECMC 2014 (European Cycle Messenger Championships) in Stochkolm the 1st weekend of July and the Viking Quest pre-event in Copenhagen.

London will be hosting our biggest fundraiser in September. London’s Calling will present the British and Irish Cycle Courier Championships..more info to come soon.

In the meantime, i will be celebrating the New Year in Duisburg, Germany where the XxX Yeahs of Mess will take place from the 28th December for an awesome week of winter messenger games, take a look at the program @ http://xxxshit.wordpress.com/

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Special mention also to the Bike Syndikat 15th Anniversary weekend we attended a few weeks ago. Our friends over in Cologne threw a great weekend of races and parties to celebrate the 15 years of the Bike Syndikat, a courier/bike shop co-op.

Check out Spoke Magazine @http://spokemag.de/news/bike-syndikat-15th-anniversary

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To all of you who have supported us , made donations, help out at our events and to all the good people i have met through the year, i wish you a happy holiday season and a happy New Year..

See you  on the road..

The last few weeks have been busy, busy..riding, travelling, partying and raising some serious funds for the LCEF.

While in Lausanne for the Cyling Messenger World Championships, we held a LCEF stand that was very popular with messengers and locals alike and raise nearly £3000 in a couple of days selling the LCEF merchandise. Looking trough the pictures from the event, it seems every second rider is wearing one of our cap so thanx again to the global courier community for supporting us and an amazing time.

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While there, i bumped into Lukas, one of the organisers of the European Cycle Messengers Championships in Bern. Back in April, as part of the world courier calendar sponsorship, we sent £800 from the sale of the calendars to them to help with the organisation of the ECMC. He told me the event had been a success and made a healthy profit so they decided that they wanted to return the favour and made a generous donation of £1200 to the LCEF.

Back in London, we got on with the organisation of the 6th edition of London’s Calling, a 3 days event of races, cycling events and parties that bring the London courier community together and is one of our main fundraising weekend. Over 100 riders registered and we made a profit of over £2000..thanx to all of you who came and took part and contributed to making the event a success…all results, pictures etc here: http://www.londonscalling2013.org.uk/

Another sweet touch to this weekend was the £900 cheque that was handed to me by Brenda from the Hackney branch of the London Cycling Campaign. The money was raised during the night ride from London to Dunwich back in July. More info about the ride and its origin here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunwich_Dynamo. They also have a Facebook group if you would like to join or are interested in other local rides.

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Last but not least, i have received an email from Bo’s mum, Kathie last week. She’s impressed with the work we do so she’s making a monthly donation. As much as we appreciate larger donations, we are also touched by individuals who dig deep in their pockets and support us on a regular basis.

The continuous support from the cycling community is keeping us going and giving us the enthusiasm to organize more events. Our goal now is to spread the word within the London courier community. We would like every new cycle couriers in this city to know that we exist and that we can bring support and financial help when they need it the most so tell everyone you know who rides a bike for a living about the LCEF.

The 6th edition of London’s calling will be held on the 6/7/8th of September.

3 days of races, parties and bike mayhem courier style….

Check our website and register here: http://www.londonscalling2013.org.uk/

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That time has arrived. Time to pack the panniers and ride in the sunset…well not quite, but in a couple of days, along with a crew of London couriers, i’ll be heading off to Paris for Panamexperience 2, the pre-event to the Cycle Messengers World Championships in Lausanne.

I’m very much looking forward to hit the homeland and ride my new road bike, first on the streets of the French capital  then,  get on the country roads all the way to Lausanne.

Once there, we are expecting amazing scenery and a top notch courier weekend with a main race over the 1000 hills of Lausanne, partying with the world courier family and an opportunity to raise funds for the LCEF.

We’ll be representing and holding shop to sell the LCEF merchandise and link up with other messengers working on similar initiatives.

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So if you’re heading that way, see you on the road or catch you on the race course.

Another long distance ride was taking place last weekend: the Dunwich Dynamo. 

Full history of the ride here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunwich_Dynamo

Clarence, a fellow courier, has done the DD for the past few years and hope to inspire other riders to join in the fun. Here are his thoughts on long distance rides:

“Long distance fix…

How it all started, i’m not really sure.But once i caught the bug, all i could think of was the next one. I just about managed to make it to London Fields for my first DD and i had never done anything like that before.

I had spent the whole day fretting about the idea of riding 120 miles after a week of couriering and to most people in and out of the courier scene, it seems plain stupid. Weekends, for the average courier, are more rewarding off the saddle with an endless supply of booze, food and weed (feel free to insert a drug of your choice).

However,  since going through my first DD in 2009 (it was the one that rained all the way), I have realised that there is still a small group of couriers who have caught the bug too. The same faces seem to pop up on most rides and it’s even more exciting when they manage to bring another rider along. Besides, it’s the least we can do to honour the couriers who started the whole thing 21 years ago.

Since that day, i have done the DD  three times, London to Brighton during the day and at night time riding both ways once. I have also ridden to Cambridge and have taken it as far as Millport in Scotland for a 12 miles time trial. Dates and rides fade me like the stop and start of our daily grind.

The ride for me starts as soon as I receive the text, see the flyer or just hear talk of the ride. Some call it nerves or butterflies but I genuinely get excited at the thought of it and the planning starts then. This rush of blood through me is what makes me ride through the harshest conditions as the crushing feeling of not doing it after all this preparation is such a downer. Besides, it’s either raining or it’s not raining.

Most of my preparation is spent on the bike. As long as the bike is okay, the rest can wait. I’ve gone from carrying enough food to feed a small family for  a week to having peanuts and coconut water. Most of these charity rides have rest stops and there is always the odd volunteers giving out free refreshments, bless them.

If you are not registered, some organisers might escort you out of their “private land” so stealth is the word (shout out to the “security” guy on the 2013 Cambridge night ride rest point). All the madness aside, you quickly realise that you are surrounded by an overwhelmingly positive group of people and that’s enough to keep you pedaling.

I work on my track bike so it made sense to progress it into the wilds. And those hills are all mainly easier than they look as you approach them. It feels much faster as you have less traffic and in some rides, there are no cars at all. You are then free to put your bike to the test, no cycle lane, just you and all the tarmac you can see for hours. The more people I’m on the ride with on fixed gear, preferably with no front brake, the more confident I am. You can stream and you quickly find out that your speed is not compromised. All you are now doing is regulating your speed and enjoying the breeze. It feels like you are coasting, heaven.

The most uttered response when i asked another courier if they want to ride to Brighton, Dunwich etc is “why the fuck would I ride to Brighton?”. I can relate very much to this sentiment as that was the same reason behind my late entry into this invigorating and adrenaline long distance fix.

It quickly transpired to me that it was all about the ride and nothing to do with the destination. Most of the talk around you will be riders telling tales about the different aspects of their ride; the joyous bits, the hairpins and the downhill drops into complete darkness.  The search for the nearest food spot is the most some will get to see of the destination. A vast majority of riders jump straight into their awaiting cars or coaches to return home. It’s what happens during the ride that will stay with you forever. As much as they tend to be group rides, it’s  very personal in the sense that you get to break your own barriers as you are taken out of your comfort level. It has not necessarily gotten easier with the more rides I’ve done but i have become more efficient in every aspect, from not wearing too many clothes, not changing the bike too much before the ride and making sure your tyres have the right pressure.

I reckon riding for cash is also one of the reason behind the lack of couriers on most rides. There is no docket, party or a promise of free food at the end of it. One would be hard pressed to name five couriers who are on the road for the health benefits. However, among the few i have ridden with, we have all  marveled at the high energy levels, confidence and a renewed sense of perspective you have when you jump back on the same bike the Monday morning after a weekend ride. I have not got into the science behind it but the feeling I get makes me feel untouchable.

The consumption of alcohol and smoking is an issue with some participants but i go with the mood of the group. Some rides have been much improved by pub stops and smoke breaks. In true courier style, I would consider it cheating doing the ride sober and drug free. And you have to pour a lil’ liquor for the fallen soldiers. Groups I have ridden with tend to go as fast as the slowest rider.

Considering how the DD has come of age, this might be a good time for a new generation of couriers to explore these rides or come up with some new ones that best reflect the moment. It will be good to see more couriers, or anyone, taking that beast that is the fixed wheel out into the world of long distance cycling, as I’m sure at one point in history, that was the only kind of bike you could buy. In a way, this is nothing but taking it back to the bare basics and letting man and machine work it out.

Clarence Takunda Chodofuka.”

 







 


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