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The first ‘official’ North American Cycle Courier Championships was held in Montreal, 1998.
The inspiration for that event and the true origin of this grand tradition was held on July 4th Weekend in New York City, 1997.
As I am (ok at this point was) traveling to Denver Colorado for the 18th Annual (right now on the A train), I am inspired to tell a little story about how I perceive this all coming to be.
I started working as a bike messenger in September of 1992. I luckily survived long enough to fall in love with the job and quickly gravitated towards the extreme satisfaction of what my Los Angeles compatriots might categorize as ‘Fixie Foo’.
Rebecca at Times Square Checkpoint
This is all pre cell phone and internet and as such my community at the time consisted of my brother and the yahoos we worked with at Champion Courier.
We hung with messengers from other companies after work at Washington Square Park mostly in the summer and played tag on our ‘fixies’, drank mad forties and smoked tons o blunts.
A good life, free of responsibility for me at the time.
The first organized messenger competition I ever heard of was CMWC London 1994.
Can’t remember where I read about it but my mind was instantly blown.
I imagined a live traffic event with real deliveries testing the limits of who was the ultimate warrion (that’s a female/male version of warrior that I just made up).
As fate would have it I went to a hardcore punk show at Dos Blockos on the lower east side of Manhattan in the late summer of 1994. Was there with my buddy Pierre (I think), we had been hangin at Tompkins Square Park and somehow or another ended up at the show not far away near the corner of 9th St. and Ave C.
Turns out one of the bands that played was Endangered Feces! The lead singer was a bike messenger in Boston named Eli. He and his awesome girlfriend Corinne saw our bikes locked up out front and we all chatted heartily about #messlife etc. they told me that the CMWC was to be held in Toronto Canada 1995 and invited me to go with them.
I gave them my contact info, pretty sure it was my Moms address and phone number in Queens as I was transient at the time.
Best Checkpoint: Polaroids at Washington Square (way ahead of the selfie game)
Lo and Behold I ended going to CMWC 95 in a van with a bunch of hardcore Boston ne’er do wells and had the mutha-f’in time of my life.
Funny aside is that I met several NYC messengers that I knew by sight there, including James (The General/007) Moore and Felipe (NYC King) Robayo.
That’s a whole nother story though and not gonna do it justice right now as I’m on the plane ordering some merlot and hoping to finish this up before I get too loaded nawmean.
Anyhoo I was spiritually inspired to organize a messenger event in my city! As crazy as it sounded to my family and friends I hosted the first modern day U.S. Halloween Alleycat on October 31, 1995.
Amazingly nobody died and Champions were born, friendships created and a spark became a fire.
I went on a ten year tear of organizing insane events which ultimately culminated at the 13th Annual CMWC NYC in 2005. Yet another good story I’m not going to get into on this flight haha.
After CMWC Toronto 95 all of North America was kick started into organizing alley cats and events. The CMWC in San Francisco 96 further juiced the mess fam. And for me the ‘fixed gear no brakes’ alleycat there proved that things were getting bigger and better.
Of course all of this was before cell phones/internet and was extremely punk rock. My insincere condolences to you hashtag kids who don’t know about squatting or freight hopping, sorry you will never experience the epic rawness of your forbearers #lol.
Back to NACCC! After traveling to alleycats in Boston, Philly, DC and Montreal I decided to invite all NA cities (and beyond) to a do or die no holds barred event in NYC on July 4, 1997.
I galvanized my community and mailed flyers and posters to almost 20 cities around the world.
In the year leading up to it I went to as many events as possible, notably the Chicago Memorial Day Weekend jam where along with my small but completely insane crew we enamored three cities to come party with us.
Also a Montreal alleycat in December 96 that solidified Toronto and Montreal crews attendance.
All said and done 8 cities and more than 100 riders participated at Apocolips 97 on July 4.
Call me crazy but this event also originated the modern day alley cat spoke card!?
My idea was to give a souvenir to each rider for their $5 investment to the madness.
More than that I wanted to bestow a token of protection on each participant.
I purchased two decks of tarot cards at the local LES witch shop and had some Philly kids number them the eve of. Still got mine! Apropos I got the hanged man’ signifying guilt or culpability for hosting the event.
I was so proud that the top female and male were from Minneapolis and Toronto respectively. Having out of towners win proved that a level field was provided.
Amber (Minneapolis) and Alex (Toronto) NACCC Zero Champions
The flyers that were mailed out months in advance had all the checkpoints marked. Grand prize for female and male was roundtrip airfare to Barcelona CMWC! It was anybody’s game and so many kids played to win.
We ended up at the (at the time) abandoned Brooklyn waterfront in Williamsburg (surreally this area is now populated by high rise apartments for the mega rich).
Two good friends of mine Ryan and Dave (RIP DAVE!) brewed 300 bottles of Apocolips Brew. Also my buddy InShane donated an ounce of mushrooms.
We BBQ’d and drank and tripped on the waterfront. Seeing the Macy’s fireworks on shrooms and home brew reflected in the east river (as above so below) was a moment I will hold dear until I jump this planet on a ufo or something.
After the waterfront jam we did a group ride to the after party at a squat on South 1st St. One of you old farts who is reading this tell me the name of the Boston cat who ended up in the hospital on that ride.
Several punk bands played at Johenio’s spot. Notably the Wives (NYC) killed it (!) and hilariously (to me at least) the Dregs (NYC) ended up fist fighting Booze Ass (Toronto).
It was July 4 Weekend in the mad 90′s. M80′s were flying like hungry pigeons.
One of my stand out memories was Chicago getting (understandably) mega pissed at M80 tossage. I think it was Jack Blackfelt who yelled ‘Don’t Fuck with Chicago!’ and rode off with his crew only to ride back a few minutes later and ask ‘How do you get to Flatbush Ave from here?’
OK I got a good buzz on now and been rambling for a bit I guess. Just want to shout out all my old skool peeps and encourage you young goons to organize more rad jams.
Ride Safe and See You on the Street !
Welcome Home NACCC NYC 2016
Was lucky enough to make it to the 18th Annual NACCC in Denver this past weekend. Was a short trip for me
(I blame my kids! haha) but well needed and appreciated.
Special Thanks to Kryptonite Crew for getting me out there and my Cyclehawk Posse for holding down the Biz!
It was an epic event, well organized and friendly. Had a lot of fun holding down the NYC NACCC 2016 checkpoint at qualifiers with Meryl.
Feels a little surreal to say but I have been part of these awesome events and community for well more than 20 years now. My priorities have changed but I still love it dearly and am proud to be a part of the magic!
Tons of great photos and stories from Denver are popping up, just do a #DenverNACCC search and you will be jammed with goodness.
Props to @womensbma give them a follow if you on IG!
Congratulations to the winners above all Kelly from Montreal and Austin from NYC for winning the main event. Milwaukee won the bid to host in 2017, Holler!
Full results posted at Denver NACCC FB Page
NICE WORK DENVER!!! #would
Saturday August 22, 3PM. Meet at BK side of the Williamsburg Bridge Bike Path
So Sad to hear Dave did not make it. Love You Bro. Thanks for the Posi Vibes and the Help. You Will Be Remembered!!! Your benefit party was epic and I’m so glad I got to see the outpouring of love for you from the community. Photo by Daniel Leeb
Such a Great Person, Heal Up Fast Brother! Hope to See You All Soon!!!
Go Fund Me (come on now and pony up $5 if you can’t make it to the events!):
So this is happening, This month in Maspeth, Queens!
In the mid 90′s the human powered roller coaster rocked Canada and there have been many attempts to bring it back since then. I worked on it for a few years with some crazy foos, check the archived page here
Props to Nadir who has done this event wild style in the past and is bringing it to California in September:
SEE YOU THERE YO!!!
CHECK SOME HISTORY HERE APOLOGIES FOR DEAD LINKS!