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/

London's calling 2013 final

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.”

 







 


When you asked cycle couriers what they like the most about their job, some answers come up again and again, like the sense of freedom, riding your bike all day long for a living, the flexibility of the job, keeping fit etc…but one reason that stands out is the sense of community, hardly found in any other profession.

And that sense of global community was demonstrated once again a few weeks ago when 6 courier cities came together and put on races on the 31st of May to raise some fund for a friend in need.

The friend in question is Andy Duncan. Originally from Scotland but settled in Utrecht for many years, Andy is a veteran messenger, philosopher, bicycle mechanic, and former president of the IFBMA ( International Federation of Bike Messenger Association) and he  has been diagnosed with terminal cancer a few months ago.

He expressed wishes to go and visit a couple of his friends who now live by the beach in Mexico. So Hannah and Dee put the word out there to see if we could all get together and make this happen. And we did, plotting secretly so he didn’t have a clue what was going on.

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So we raced, each local community getting together to raise global funds for a brother. And we did alright, Andy got a cheque for over 3000 euros, which should help him on his way to Mexico or wherever he fancies.

On the 1st of July, his friends unveiled the whole thing..Andy was touched.

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And this was his response:

“Here is a post for those of you who do not know about the messenger community. I am still rather overwhelmed, so the words are a bit clumsy, but something beautiful happened yesterday. Unbeknownst to me, on 31st May, simultaneous alleycats (an alleycat is a sort of “treasure hunt” for messengers) were held in cities across Europe to raise funds for my continuing struggle with cancer. All the planning and execution for these events was scrupulously kept secret until yesterday evening when a large bunch of my colleagues turned up at the shop – inexplicably accompanying the Boze Poeet (aka Willem-Jan Rijper) who had some time ago arranged to come by and look at bags. Even as I stood there with my sales pitch, extolling the virtues of Chrome Bags, surrounded by colleagues still enjoying their secret, I had no idea what was going to happen. And then Jorrit made a little speech explaining it all and presented me with a cheque for an amount that will pay for a nice trip to the sunshine to visit Hannah and Dee and/or help out when it is time for me to stop working altogether …. and I was overwhelmed suddenly with the love. 

If the rest of humanity conducted itself with the same grace, humility and compassion and with the same spirit of collectivity as the messenger community, there would be no war and no exploitation, and we would be able live together, in peace with ourselves. HG Wells once said that he knew there was hope for the future of humanity whenever he saw an adult on a bike. The messenger community is what history has made of this.”

So there you go, that’s the kind of stuff that bring us together and makes it special to be part of the courier community. Andy decided,after all, to go to the Cycle Messenger World Championships in Lausanne in a few weeks and we’re sure glad he will be among us.

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On the subject of solidarity, today i got a message from Lukas, one the organisers of the European Cycle Messenger Championships, which took place in Bern a few weeks ago.

I got in touch with Lukas when we starting selling the World Courier calendar to let him know some of the proceeds would be going towards the organisation of the ECMC (likewise some of the cash went to the CMWC and various courier funds). So money was sent to them a while back and he told me that, as a thank you, they would be raising cash for the LCEF. And they did, over £1000 so thank you Lukas and thank you to the Bern crew.

 

The brand new LCEF cycling jerseys printed in collaboration with Hackney GT have finally arrived a couple of weeks ago and they have sold out pretty much instantly.

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We still have a few Large/Xlarge items left in short sleeves and long sleeves version and also in the jacket version.

But if you didn’t get your mitts on one of these great tops, fear not; we’ve just put through a new order, which should be available in 2/3 weeks.

Likewise, if you’re abroad and are coming to the CMWC in Lausanne, there will be a LCEF stall with all our merchandise, including some cycling jerseys.

So if you wish to pre-order, get in touch here: londoncourieremergencyfund@gmail.com

Below are the chart size:

Men’s cut//

chart size short sleeve man

 

chart size long sleeve man

 

Women’s cut//

size chart short sleeve woman

 

size chart long sleeve woman

A few months ago, Apollo Gerolymbos got in touch with a fund raising idea..build a couple of bikes with donated frames and bike parts, raffle some tickets and give all the proceeds to the LCEF. With the help and generosity of cyclists from the Fixed Gear and Single Speed Forum, he built these two beauties ready to be taken for a ride.

The Peugeot Equipe

bike 2

The Specialized Langster

bike 1

Few weeks later and with £1010 worth of raffle tickets sold, i met up with Apollo and his friends  at the Jolly Butcher in Stokey to draw the winning tickets.

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And our lucky winners are Sabine Rosenkranz and James Robinson so congratulations. Story goes that James pledged an extra £50 donation if he won one of the bike and he kept his word. So thank you Apollo, thank you James and to all the peeps who donated towards this project and all of  you who bought tickets…we’re touched.

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Where do couriers like to go on holiday? courier events of course…with other couriers, riding their bikes and doing courier things.

These coming months are packed with messenger races and championships that will take us in all corner of Europe,well Switzerland mainly.

The summer kicks off with the Bern ECMC 2013 pre-event in Milano. I’ll be heading off to sunny Italy next week to help out my good friend  Matteo and catch up with fellow messengers.

  More info here: http://ecmcpreevent2013.tumblr.com

Check the teaser: http://vimeo.com/66745450

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The pre-event will be followed by a ride to Bern, Switzerland, where the  18th European Cycle Messenger Championships will be taking place.

Everything you need to know is here: http://www.ecmc2013.ch/index-en.html

http://vimeo.com/66585455

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Few weeks to recover and it will be time to ride off again. The whole messenger community is eagerly waiting for the 21st edition of the Cycle Messenger World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. It promises to be an impeccably organised and extravagant event.

The Lausanne crew have been working hard for the past couple of years, after securing the bid at the CMWC in Warsaw to host the largest messenger event of the year. They have been racing, winning and partying harder than anyone else and brought their jacuzzi everywhere they went.

So very much looking forward to hit the mountain roads and spend that first weekend of August by  Lake Leman with the messenger family.

All info here: http://cmwc13.com/en

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5dU6okY6CM

Now all i need to do is find that beer voucher Josephine gave me a couple of year ago.

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But before we breathe in the clean air of the Swiss mountains, our first port of call will be Paris for the CMWC 2013 pre-event: Paname Experience 2. 

The Paname crew are renowned for putting on grueling alleycats and riotous parties. So it’s back to the homeland for me. I will definitely have to curb swearing in French at drivers; that might get me into trouble.

All details are here: http://www.panamexperience2.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZS6JrbvQ-c&feature=plcp

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More events, races, alleycats etc will be happening all over so check your courier calendar for any local events.

And London? well, the 6th edition of London’s Calling will be on the 6/7/8 September.

We have a cracking team of young, enthusiastic couriers, who are working hard to bring you a devilish event.

More info very soon… 

London's calling 2013 final

When we started the fund 5 years ago, we had a few hundred pound collected from a couple of races after 2 of our courier mates suffered a bad crash on the same day. 

We got thinking of ways to raise more money so we would be able to sustain the fund and help out any riders who needed it in the future.  

Bought and worn by cycling enthusiasts all over the globe, the famous London LCEF cycling cap was our first bit of merchandise. A full range of LCEF goodies is now available and the LCEF cycling jerseys are coming soon.

Donations have also been a great help to the fund especially in those early days. More recently, after the passing of  Steffan Davies, a keen cyclist and familiar face in the courier scene, many of his friends have donated to the LCEF in his memory.

I would also like to mention Lees Solicitors/Bike Claims Solicitors in Birkenhead, who have made a generous £250 donation a couple of weeks ago.

 And of course,the London  and the world courier community have contributed heaps to keep the fund going and make it bigger and better year after year so thanx to all of you.

But once in a while, someone from the wider cycling community gets in touch and it goes like this “hey, i got  a great idea and i’m gonna raise money for your fund”;  which is exactly what Apollo Gerolymbos has done…he’s gone and built a couple of bikes with parts donated for this project.

bike 1 bike 2 Now those two bikes are top prizes in a raffle in aid of the LCEF , raffle tickets are £5 and are on sale until the 31st of May.

Apollo has raised £250 so far so help him to raise more and get in with a chance to win one of these two beauties, check out the full story and get your raffle ticket here:

http://www.cyclelove.net/2013/04/london-courier-emergency-fund-bike-build-raffle/

You can also check Apollo’s blog:

http://ablogbyapollo.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/lcef-freecycle-builds-the-raffle/

 

 

 

 

 

Another great night at the Horseshoe…another great Donkey Derby.

Thank you to everyone who raced and those who came to support them. 

Congratulations to our winners Max, who also did fastest time overall at 22.79 and Momo.

Along with Tommy and Sam, they will be competing next weekend at the Grand Finale: Rollapaluza National Series (more info::http://www.rollapaluza.com/calendar/) so come and support.

All results from last night roller race here: http://www.rollapaluza.com/rollapaluza-donkey-derby/

Thanx to everyone who came, brilliant turnout..was great to see the new courier generation on those rollers.
Thanx to Gertie for setting it all up and running the show,  Jo,Simone and Max..also Ram, Alex and Timi for the sound…to the Horseshoe for having us and Caspar@ Rollapaluza.

And we raised about £250 for the LCEF.

See you all on the road..ride safe…

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