Santa Cruz bike messenger in the news


Rick Graves (pictured here) owns Clutch Courier Service in Santa Cruz. The Santa Cruz Sentinel ran a nice story about him and his business on Sunday.

Rick Graves leather hairnet

I see Rick and his messengers around town fairly frequently, usually pulling a small cargo trailer with an old bicycle (almost always geared), but sometimes with the messenger bag mentioned in the Sentinel story and once with a Yuba Mundo Cargo Bike.

Rich Graves

According to the Sentinel story, Clutch Couriers grew 35% in 2009, with growth continuing this year. On his blog, Rick makes a big deal about his service and professionalism while eschewing the “alternative transportation” label. He writes:

Why are bike messengers relegated to the title of ‘alternative’ transportation; a moniker that carries with it a connotation of separateness or exclusivity that restricts our broader appeal to those who don’t share ‘alternative’ political viewpoints?

If you can provide superior goods and services at a comparable price, using alternative transportation methods, you become the preferred choice. But you have to get in the door first. Presenting yourself as ‘alternative’ from the get-go sets up a division between you and the rest of the world that may sabotage opportunities to bridge the gap.

Most large law firms that find us on the internet don’t know or care about our transportation methods. They want immediate results and are willing to pay for it. The pro bike courier just happens to be the most effective method.


Rick gives some examples and more discussion at his blog. What do you think about Rick’s approach?

Photo by Richard Masoner

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