Pedal Express says “Vote YES” on Measure BB

Vote YES! Measure BB

By Dominic Lucchesi

Our job at Pedal Express is to make deliveries across the East Bay by bike.  Our work week is literally spent riding around Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville, loaded down with packages of all shapes and sizes.

With so much time spent in the saddle, we get a unique perspective on the cycling infrastructure in the East Bay.  The condition of which influences our routing, and can often determine how fast we can make a delivery.  That being said, the condition of our roads leaves much to be desired.

In case y’all didn’t know, election day is next Tuesday, November 4th.  Measure BB is on the ballot and is super important for all road users in Alameda County, but it’s especially critical for cyclists, pedestrians and public transit riders.

In a nutshell, Measure BB is an increase in the transportation sales tax to fund critical improvements, including restoring cut bus service, making unprecedented investments in safer walking and biking, and repairing potholes on local roads.

With one week left to go before election day, Pedal Express is officially endorsing a “Yes” vote on Alameda County Measure BB.

We’re no good at writing about policy, but these folks are!  Click on the links below for detailed analysis of the election and Measure BB from some of our friends in the know:


Bike East Bay

Walk Oakland Bike Oakland

East Bay Express





2014 NACCC group Photo by Ben Hovland

2014 NACCC Minneapolis

One week removed from the event, here is a brief rundown of my 2014 NACCC experience…

I’ll admit, I was apprehensive about traveling to Minneapolis for the 2014 North American Cycle Courier Championship (NACCC).  I’m a bit of an introvert and the thought of being in a strange city with 100+ people that I didn’t know… well, shoot, I was nervous!  Thankfully, I wasn’t alone – Pedal Express co-owner Savanna made the journey as well. In fact, there was a nice Oakland contingent in attendance (shout out to the amazing Lauren, Molli and Heather representing FWOD).

Pedal Express is the only bicycle courier company in the East Bay Area (and we are proud of it!) but at times the job can feel rather isolating. Although there is a thriving messenger community across the Bay in San Francisco, our paths rarely cross – East Bay messengers are kind of an oddity.

[Correction: we were recently joined in the East Bay by the crew at Darling Courier – representing the island of Alameda!]

I went to NACCC primarily to network with the greater messenger community. There are a ton of people across the globe doing the exact same thing that we at PedX are doing – moving shit with bikes. I wanted to hear about other peoples’ experiences. What are some of the challenges that they face? And how can we help each other be successful during a time when large corporate entities (i.e. Google, Amazon, Postmates) are all trying to get into the delivery game?

NACCC is a unique event in that it is organized by and for messengers. The vibes were positive, and I was pleasantly surprised by how many people were already aware of Pedal Express. Folks in attendance came from all over – The Midwest (Minneapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee) and the East Coast (NYC, Baltimore) were well represented. Canada too. SF had a significant presence as well; lots of TCB riders along with the eventual Women’s Champ, Christina Peck of Godspeed Courier. Oh yeah, there were a bunch of Aussies running around too.

One of the industry topics that was widely discussed throughout the weekend was the shift away from legal work and business-to-business delivery, and the growth of business-to-consumer deliveries. The challenges of food delivery was an especially popular topic.   I gained a lot of valuable information that can and will be applied to Pedal Express, to make PedX  even more effective in the months to come.

Throughout the course of the weekend, there was a bunch of bike racing, beer drinking and swimming in rivers (I’ll let the photos fill in the blanks). The tooobing trip on Labor Day was magical – totally one of those moments that will be forever ingrained in my memory banks. I want to say THANK YOU to the organizers for throwing one hell of event, and for showing us around your beautiful city.  I returned home with a greater sense of awareness and respect for the messenger community.

Lastly, Minneapolis is awesome. The riding was fantastic, and the scenery was gorgeous. The people were hospitable, and the food was delish. Totally my kind of town.

Over and out.

– Dominic

Pedal Express Turns 20

20th Anniversary Flyer

By Dominic Lucchesi

It’s hard to believe, but Pedal Express was founded over two decades ago in 1994.  Obviously, I personally have not been with the company for that long – I was 9 years old when PedX made it’s first delivery.  Still, I am fascinated by the history of Pedal Express – such a unique company, with an activist tradition that remains strong ’til this day.  I’m just honored to be a small part of it.

Touring the Pedal Express office, you can find stacks of old photos, sweat-stained uniforms, and binders full of marketing material – Pedal Express memorabilia dating from 1994 to today.  Several “generations” of people have come through Pedal Express over the past twenty years.  All of them with their own story to tell; all of them contributing something to the unique character of Pedal Express.

To me, Pedal Express represents the best of the modern courier industry.  While we work exclusively by bicycle, Pedal Express is about more than just bikes.  Pedal Express is about community.

I recently contacted David Cohen, one of the original founders of Pedal Express.  While he no longer resides in the Bay Area, he continues to live a largely car-free lifestyle, and has been a great source of information about the early days of Pedal Express.  Yesterday, on the eve of the 20th Anniversary of Pedal Express, David shared some of these stories with me.  I’ve posted the (almost) full transcript below, both for you to enjoy and for historical purposes.

Before I let you go, I’d like to invite you to our 20th Anniversary Party.  It will begin at 7pm on Saturday, June 14th at the Golden Bull in Downtown Oakland.  We’ll have Goldsprints, music, a raffle, and vegan birthday cake.  I guarantee it will be a night to remember!

Dave with some Emerson School kids

Pedal Express Origin Stories – By Dave Cohen

AFBAC Genesis of PedEx

Pedal Express was an outgrowth of a group that I formed in the early 90’s called the Auto-Free Bay Area Coalition (AFBAC), which itself came about through a collaboration to create a Berkeley Car-Free Day in 1992.  The organizational aim of AFBAC was to support anyone wishing to live a car-free or car-reduced lifestyle and to do lots of public outreach.  We did programs in high school driver’s ed classes, created elaborate street theater performances, published a newsletter, and even got involved in a lawsuit to stop the widening of I-90.

AFBAC also made some wonderful One Less Car shirts that incorporated a gnarly but cute illustration on the front that depicted caribou attempting to get across a pipeline, oil wars, oil spills, traffic jams, fish and birds dying, a man in a car shooting up gasoline into his veins and other things I can’t even mention.  As I said, ‘gnarly’, but it also had a certain levity to it.  At the bottom of the illustration were the words ADDICTED TO OIL and BRAKE THE HABIT NOW.  The slogan, ‘One Less Car’, was on the backside and we sold hundreds of them. Our CARS KILL EVERYTHING shirt didn’t sell nearly as well – it didn’t have the cuteness factor.

CAT Trip

In October 1993, AFBAC organized a trip to the Center for Appropriate Transport (CAT) in Eugene, OR. I chartered a Green Tortoise bus to take us there and back. The folks that signed up were bike visionaries and activists from both sides of the bay. Lots of folks from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (also the Bay Area Bicycle Action – BABA – a sort of rogue alter ego of the SFBC) came, as well as AFBAC folks and East Bay Bike Coalition members.

The trip was a blast! It was like going to bike heaven and we turned Eugene upside down for 36 hours. I can’t tell you if we ever slept because all I can remember is riding all over town at all hours with an arsenal of bikes and getting into intense conversations with Jan VanderTuin, the CAT founder. Most of all we were blown away by the cargobikes and different bike designs, the machine shop, showroom, repair collective, advocacy groups, and a delivery service, Pedaler’s Express, all under one roof.

I came away totally taken with the idea of creating a delivery service in the East Bay as a fantastic way to do the AFBAC mission every day.  In reality, I was thinking about this long before the trip. In my work to create a Berkeley Car-Free Day, my dream was to have cargobikes and trailers throughout town, with riders ready to run errands for the elderly and anyone in need. Finally, I learned that only a handful of folks had trailers and that there were no cargobikes around. Bummer… That’s when I started thinking about creating a delivery service.

So, while running AFBAC, I began pondering how much better and more effective it would be to be doing the work every day in the streets, demonstrating an exciting, fun alternative, rather than running a volunteer advocacy group. I loved the ruckus AFBAC caused, but it was missing something. Once I saw what Pedaler’s Express was doing and the Longhaul bikes, I was sold. I discussed this idea with two other trip participants; David Carcia, a SFBC activist, and Michael Studebaker, founder of Studebaker’s Delivery (which was the only bike messenger service in the East Bay at that time).

Post CAT Trip

After the CAT trip, many of us continued to get together in San Francisco to plan a vision of a CAT in the Bay Area – we were going to call it something like The BayCat. We had lots of folks with pretty diverse skill sets, but in the end we couldn’t really agree on how to get things organized and even where it should be – the East Bay or SF. A few projects did emerge from the Cat trip, which included the Bicycle Dojo, Bogart’s Trailers and a few other ideas, but as far as I know, Pedal Express was the most substantial project to be birthed from the trip.

Anyways, David, Michael and I started planning our business on the bus trip back and during the months that followed. Mike was interested in this because he wanted to see if he could lend his expertise to another bike transport business and we all felt like the work we would be doing with PedEx wouldn’t really conflict with Studebaker’s. His ideas and business realism helped us get onto sure a footing. We all decided to put in an equal share of money to purchase our first two Longhaul cargobikes and cover some very basic operating expenses. Nobody got paid until probably 8 month later. For months while we waited for our bikes, we began to work on our business and marketing plan.

Launch Event

Sometime in April 1994 Jan VanderTuin and the bikes arrived on a Green Tortoise bus. It was so totally exciting to have Jan personally delivery the Longhaul cargobikes. We set up a special event for that evening at the Missing Link to introduce the company and the concept to the community. We packed the house with all sorts of folk, including lots of Berkeley luminaries. Jan showed an amazing slideshow at the event about the history of cargobikes and how they can be a great addition to the transportation mix of any community. There was wine, cheese, and local foods all donated by local businesses. I wish we still had the program sheet we made up for the event – perhaps it’s still somewhere in the PedEx files.

Jan Gassed Silly

Right after the event Jan and I brought the Lounghauls over to my apartment on Delaware St and we partied some more with Mike, David and a few other folks. That night Jan slept on my couch right next to the new the fresh, new cargobikes. In the morning I got up to treat Jan to some yummies at the Cheese Board and coffee at Peet’s, but I was barely able to move him off the couch. When he finally “came to” I realized that my bedroom had the powerful fragrance of the fiberglass LongHaul containers which were still off-gassing and that Jan had been breathing that sickly smell in all night long. I urged him to get up and get out before he succumbed to the fumes. I finally had to pull him out of my place into the fresh morning air of Berkeley to revive him. We had a great weekend with Jan once he was detoxed with some black Peet’s.

The Nightmare

As we began planning the business and getting the word out, I had a series of nightmares about all kinds of things. One that I can remember vividly revolved around the question of what to do if you really needed a bathroom in the middle of a delivery run. I dreamt that I was riding in downtown somewhere and need to ‘go’ real bad. The only place I could think of was up three flights of a narrow stairway. It occurred to me that I didn’t have a lock so my only choice was to carry a loaded LongHaul up the stairs which was absolutely excruciating. I don’t remember if it was number 1 or number 2, but carrying a LongHaul up three flights scared the shit out of me when I woke up.

Home Office

So for the next several months we operated out of my apartment. It was a great way to keep expenses down, but also a great way to really piss off a roommate. With the bikes taking over the living room and the office taking over my bedroom and life, there wasn’t much space for anything. In the beginning, we didn’t have much to do as far as deliveries, but I was talking with folks from at the Berkeley city offices and others and things looked promising. It was mainly David Carcia and I who did all the groundwork for the biz as Studebaker was already running his own company and he was mostly hands off.

First Delivery

Our first real delivery I can recall was for a bike event in Oakland right near City Hall. They wanted us to show off the bikes and make a delivery of food. We found out that day, to our surprise, that we were assigned the job of picking up a massive order of burgers and fries from McDonalds. This was total letdown and I was totally crestfallen at using our bikes for such an errand. We ended up delivering the tainted goods, but then afterwards had a lengthy private ritual of burning sage in and around our still off-gassing fiberglass containers. Nothing like food snob bikeheads.

Mock deliveries

For a while I went on mock deliveries around town with all sorts of packages and envelopes to give people the impression we were off and running. I’d walk into buildings and go up stairs to make it look real. A number of folks remarked to me about how impressed they were that we got off to such a quick start. Perhaps it’s time to let the real truth out.

Earliest Clients

One of our earliest clients was the City of Berkeley contracts with the transportation and planning commissions. I was on the transportation commission for a couple of years so I had a bit of sway on the inside.   The Bread Garden came on pretty much in the beginning and we collecting day old garlic cheese baguettes for years. I think that Palm Press came on board around the same time.

Articles – LA TIMES

Our first article appeared in the Contra Costa Times, but the real big piece was the LA Times in June 1994. That month we also had an article in the Oakland Tribune and a report on NPR.

Ice Cream Bike?

So, early on some Berkeley residents were a bit confused by what we were up to. Some folks thought that we were advertising for something and others thought we were just delivering lunches. One day I was slowly riding down towards West Berkeley on Berkeley Way and I overhead a young boy exclaim to his dad “look, an ice cream bike.” At that moment his dad chimed in quickly to say “no son, that’s PedEx. They deliver packages and do good work for the City of Berkeley.” I rode on with my fist up and belted out a huge “YES, you tell him daddy.”

Slowing Down Studebaker

By the end of summer 1994, Mike Studebaker decided to back out of Pedal Express. At some point we started thinking erroneously that Studebaker was ready to buy cargobikes and go into competition with us. We decided to fight back with the only weapon we had. After several months of eating those day old garlic cheese baguettes, we began to realize that they had some rather intense deleterious impacts on our energy level and physical stamina. They sort of made us feel like we had 10 lbs of air pressure in our tires.

So, one afternoon we hatched the brilliant idea of handing the baguettes to the Studebaker riders. The next morning I had some 10 or so day olds to distribute to our mistaken archenemies and sure enough I had an early sighting of one of Studebaker’s messengers coming out of an office building. After a friendly chat I told him I had a little present for him. I showed him a garlic cheese baguette and he told me he loved those things. I remarked how pleased I was and told him “why not take a bunch and give them out to your fellow colleagues.” He was so happy and gladly took 5 baguettes.

After about a week of doing this we got a call from Mike telling us that he knew what we were up to and to cease and desist. Our brilliant plan went out with a whimper.

Alan Van Tress and the Night of 87 Deliveries

After Studebaker left PedEx we soon hired Alan Van Tress as a rider and to put him on track to become a member/owner. Shortly after Alan came on we had one of the greatest, lucrative, longest and most tiring jobs to be ever taken on.

It was November and mayoral race was on between Shirley Dean and Art Jelinek. The night of the election it was clear that things were going to be close and it ended up being so tight that a runoff election was soon called. A few weeks later, on the day before Berkeley prepared for the runoff, the city offices contacted us and told us that they needed us to deliver some 87 packets to the precinct captains, with each packet containing a listing of the voters in their district. We were delighted by the news and made sure we were well-fed and ready to do it. The city then called back and said that the packets wouldn’t be ready until 4pm and needed to all be delivered by 12 midnight. I remember that we all looked at each other and said “Holy Shit!”

By the time 4 pm rolled around the city didn’t have the packets ready and it wasn’t until at least 5:30 before they had them ready to go. That meant that we had a little more than 6 hours to make 87 deliveries, but it wasn’t really until 6:30 when were able to get the packets back to my apartment and have them all organized so that we could efficiently make the deliveries to virtually every part of town.

Oh, one thing I forgot is that it started raining at about 5 pm and didn’t stop until the next day. When we all headed out to start the deliveries is when the rain started coming down like crazy. Raging rivers were flowing down the streets. We had our waterproof messenger bags, pannier and lots of plastic bags to hold the torrent back from our important documents.

So, out we went with me taking care of all of North, West and Central Berkeley, Carcia all of South Berkeley and the south hills, and Alan took the majority of the hill deliveries. Back in those days we didn’t have cell phones, so the whereabouts of any of us wouldn’t be known until we all got back to my apartment. All I can tell you is that we all had stories of riding upstream through what we all described as rapids. David and I returned to my apartment at about 11:30 pm ragged and soaked, but real happy we got the job done. Alan rolled in after midnight with stories of weary precinct captains starring him in disbelief and offering him tea and biscuits. It sure was a night I will never forget.

First Real Office

By the winter of 1994 we found ourselves in an office at the Berkeley Store Gallery Annex, which was located at the NE corner of Shattuck and Bancroft. Our entrance was on Bancroft side. There were two rooms – one just big enough to fit in our 2 bikes and the other a nice size office space. Bonnie Hughes, the art diva of Berkeley at the time, let us use the space for something like $50 a month and totally helped us incubate the business.

Bonnie put on all kinds of events at the Annex and then a diverse group of organizations began moving into the main space just outside our door. Nick Bertoni and the Tinkers Workshop moved in, a jazz performance space called Beanbenders set up in the Annex, and EcoCity Builders called the place home for a while. Also, BFBC held huge meetings there, the library held book sales, and it became an all-around amazing community center. One time I was making some marketing calls and one of the great all-time jazz saxophone players, Dewy Redman, was practicing with a stunning quartet. So much fun…

Feelmore Collage

Feelmore Adult Gallery + Pedal Express = Instant Gratification

By Dominic Lucchesi

I remember when Feelmore Adult Gallery opened in downtown Oakland a few years back.  My partner and I poked our heads into the shop late one night.  The welcoming attitude of the staff, and the laid-back nature of the space made me feel comfortable – generally not the first adjective most would choose to describe your average adult store.  I’ve popped in a few times since then, and have enjoyed watching Feelmore become a prominent, progressive member of the local business community.

Pedal Express is proud to announce that we are partnering with Feelmore to offer local, same-day delivery of a wide variety of sex toys and products beginning May 1st.  We are stoked to be working with Feelmore – a local business that’s as bike friendly as it is sex positive (very!).

“Since opening, we have allowed bikes to be parked in the store while our clients shop… With delivery, we are taking things a step further, as it is a win for everyone.  Removing gear, securing the bike and packing away the helmet for a bottle of glycerin/paraben-free lube takes dedication.  Feelmore wants to take the stress out of shopping.”

To celebrate National Bike Month (and, coincidently, National Masturbation Month), deliveries during the month of May will include a free gift with online purchases.  In addition, cyclists coming into the shop will receive ten percent off their purchase.

feelmore ebx

Nenna was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about Feelmore, bikes and East Bay living…

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Nenna and I own Feelmore Adult Gallery which is a progressive adult store.  We opened February 14, 2011 with a lot of hard work.  We are located at 1703 Telegraph Ave in the Uptown District of Downtown Oakland.

Your favorite thing(s) about living/working in the East Bay?

My favorite things about living/working in the East Bay is that you can find so much.  From the type of work, food, people, sexual perspectives, and information…You can literally get full yet want more.  But more importantly, the great majority of small businesses that make up the area.  There are so many unique businesses out there that can support Feelmore’s expansion and vision.  We will continue to ask our Social Network community with whom we should partner to meet their needs!

Why did you choose to work with Pedal Express?

I posted a question on Facebook that I would like to offer bike delivery for our products and someone on our timeline suggested we try Pedal Express.  After doing my research, I saw that they [Pedal Express] are a cooperative and I’m potentially looking to move Feelmore towards a co-op – it just made sense.  

I like the ownership mentality in my business and see the smiles and professionalism that Pedal Express has demonstrated even before our first order.  This also gives Feelmore a chance to be sustainable and eco-friendly as we become more invested in our community.  With Pedal Express being in business for 20-years, our clients can trust that their privacy will be protected as all packages will arrive in wrapped packaging by a company that has a quality reputation.

What kind of products does Feelmore offer?

We sell everything in the sex toy universe.  Our expectation is for customers to purchase products that they need in a hurry, or don’t have access to public transportation, or simply would like to support keeping their car off the road.

Why is it important for you to operate a bike friendly business?

Feelmore has been bike friendly since day one.  Oakland is steadily getting up to speed on what the community needs, but a huge need for many cyclists are bike racks.  As we did not have any in front of our store, we let people know they were able to bring their bikes in for safety.  In fact, I want to make sure all of our future expansions are also bike friendly.  In the past, we partnered with a local bike shop on a workshop entitled: ‘Bike Safety for Sex Workers’ as a way to teach bike safety for sex workers that are using their bikes to get to and from appointments.  There is more than one way for Feelmore to interact with the biking community as a cooperative component.

Bike to Work Day, ERR Day: an Instagram Alleycat

Bike to Work Day is coming up on Thursday, May 8th.  BTWD is an annual event held during the spring across the United States that promotes cycling as an all-around great way to commute  to work.  There will be Energizer Stations, set up across the Bay Area to provide encouragement, free food, coffee, and schwag to bike commuters.

Coincidentally, this event provides the makings for an interesting DIY alleycat.

I don’t know if anything like this has been done before, so bear with us as we present Bike to Work Day Errday, the first Instagram Alleycat.

Bike to Work Day, ERR Day

How Does it Work?

Energizer Stations will be set up throughout the Bay Area on Bike to Work Day.  The goal of the race is to visit as many as possible.  The person(s) who visits the most Energizer Stations, wins.

Energizer Station

Click here for a map of East Bay Energizer Stations.  And here for a SF map.

How do you know who makes it to a checkpoint?

Simple: Instagram.  You must take a picture at every Energizer Station that you visit, and post it to your Instagram feed (yes, you must have an Instagram account to participate).  In order to be counted, each photo must have three things:

  1. The location
  2. Use the hashtag #btwdERRday
  3. Mention @pedxcourier (so we can tally up the results)


There will be literally hundreds of Energizer Stations set up across the Bay Area.  Feel free to visit as many (or as few) as you want.  Have fun with it – stop to chat with the volunteers, eat some snacks, drink hella coffee, but don’t forget to ‘Gram!

What else do I need to know?

This is a pretty casual “race.”  There is no starting place and there is no finish line.  The goal is to have FUN while celebrating your favorite mode of transit: the bicycle.

Any and all Energizer Stations from Oakland to Concord to San Francisco are valid checkpoints.  We will keep track of the race via Instagram.

Most Energizer Stations are open from 7am ’til 9am, so this will be the official race time (early bird gets the worm!!) .

There is no entry fee.

There will be an after party at Pedal Express HQ (1501 Powell St, Emeryville) from 5:30 – 7:30pm.  Come through after work and hang out with your favorite bike messengers!  We’ll fire up the grill and have a cooler or two full of beverages; we’ll also hand out spoke cards and announce the winner(s).  We’ll try and rustle up some prizes for ya too (holler at me, if you want to donate).

Emeryville Energizer Station

Anyone down for a full day of bike shenanigans won’t want to miss this.  See you on the streets!

– Dom, Nick, Savanna & Kevin (Pedal Express)

* Later on in the evening, there will be a bike film screening of Aftermass: Bicycling in a Post-Critical Mass Portland.  Film starts at 8:30 and is right down the street from us at PLACE for Sustainable Living.  For event info, click here.


"A picture of the team just after the World Championships bicycle racing in the Netherlands last year"

De Fietskoerier Utrecht: “The Utrecht Bicycle Messengers”

By Dominic Lucchesi

The Netherlands

Continuing our look at Bicycle Courier Companies worldwide, this entry takes us to the Netherlands.   A country known for it’s extensive network of bicycle paths and facilities, the Netherlands appears to be a cyclist’s dream.  27% of the country’s trips are made by bicycle – this figure jumps to 59% in its cities (for context, the bike mode share in Oakland is 1.8%; in Berkeley, it’s 8.0%).  So, you can see why we’d be interested to know what life is like for a bicycle courier in that part of the globe.


Some time ago, I chatted with Tobias of De Fietskoerier Utrecht (The Utrecht Bicycle Messengers).  Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands.  Interestingly, due to its central location, Utrecht is an important hub for the country’s rail and road transport.   It’s also been the religious center of the Netherlands since the 8th Century.  Neat.

A super cool dude, here’s what Tobias had to say about his profession:

Who are you and where do you operate? And for how long?

We are “De Fietskoerier Utrecht” (translated as “TheUtrecht Bicycle Messengers”) and as our name says, we operate in Utrecht and around.  In January 2014 we celebrate[d] our tenth birthday.  

Can you give us an example of a typical delivery and an atypical delivery?

Difficult, we really do everything.  A lot of work to and from the chamber of commerce and the courthouse, furthermore a lot of design companies and printing companies.  A growing amount of medical deliveries, such as blood, medicines (and sometimes  even a lung).  As well, people call us to send boxes to Mexico, for now we only do the first few kilometers on bicycle…

What kind of bike(s) do you use?

Mostly fixed gear, but also regular racing bikes, single speeds, MTBs and cargo bikes (Bullitt). Also, we have a solar powered electric car for larger deliveries.

Any on-the-job challenges that you may face?

5 different messengers on the road on the same time can be a challenge to manage, however, in the end it always works out fine.

How many riders are in your crew?

We are a collective with 9 owners. Furthermore a group of about 8 freelancers help us out .

What does the future hold for the bicycle courier industry?

More work, also more work in between cities, with for example a train or car in between. 

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: De Fietskoerier Utrecht!

Click here for a short intro movie for the De Fietskoerier Endurance Team.
"A picture of the team just after the World Championships bicycle racing in the Netherlands last year"
“A picture of the team just after the World Championships bicycle racing in the Netherlands last year”
"A picture of our solar powered electric car with messenger Gijs"
“A picture of our solar powered electric car with messenger Gijs”

Lastly, for bicycle courier service in Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville, make sure to check out the crew at Pedal Express!

Nick is fast on the bike!

The 2013 Pedal Express Holiday List

By Dominic Lucchesi

The holiday season is upon us, and if you’re anything like me, you haven’t even begun your X-Mas shopping.  Not that you have to buy a damn thing.  However, if you are going to spend your hard-earned cash on gifts anyways, PedX is here to give you a few suggestions.

Full disclosure:  the following list is comprised of folks who use Pedal Express in one way or another.  Many of whom have been clients of ours for several years or even decades.  They are all local, small businesses committed to socially just and environmentally sustainable business practices.  Perhaps more importantly, they are all real friendly, hard-working folks who help make our communities more vibrant places to live.

Gorgeous & Green

2946 College Avenue, Berkeley | (510)665-7974

One of our all-time faves.  Pilar and the crew at Gorgeous & Green will blow you away with their meticulously assembled, stunning floral arrangements.  In addition to their vast selection of locally-sourced, organic flowers, you can find awesome vintage glass, jewelry, cards, terrariums and other thoughtful gifts.  Can’t make it in to the boutique?  No problem.  Place an order online or over the phone and have it delivered to that special someone by a handsome bicycle courier.

Pilar and Ryan at the shop

House Kombucha

A recent addition to the PedX family, the Oakland-based House Kombucha makes the best tasting fermented teas you’ll ever have. Hands down.  Pick up a bottle or two (or three!) from your local cafe or super market.  I highly recommend the new Smoked Pear flavor!

The House Kombucha Crew

Twig & Fig

2110 Vine Street, Berkeley | (510) 848-5599

I love making deliveries for Twig & Fig.  The owners are awesome: Suzie is the sweetest and Serge is a bicycle enthusiast who is always happy to show me all the crazy toys in his print shop.  Together, Suzie and Serge produce some of the finest paper products you’ll ever see.  Stop by their shop in North Berkeley to check out a wide selection of papers from around the world, pens, journals and more!

Serge, doing his thing

Heyday Books

One of our longest standing clients.  From their website, “Heyday is an independent, nonprofit publisher and unique cultural institution. We promote widespread awareness and celebration of California’s many cultures, landscapes, and boundary-breaking ideas. Through our well-crafted books, public events, and innovative outreach programs we are building a vibrant community of readers, writers, and thinkers.”  How cool is that?  You can purchase Heyday books on their website or at virtually any bookstore in California.

Heyday Books

City CarShare

I rarely drive, but when I do, I use City CarShare.

City CarShare

Palm Press

We love these folks.  Based out of Berkeley, Palm Press publishes a unique collection of greeting cards for all occasions.  Featuring high quality photographs from all over the world, you can find their products at several local stores.  Keep an eye out for their signature palm tree logo!

Palm Press

Stella Nonna

1407 San Pablo Ave | (510) 524-3400

We handle catering deliveries for these cats.  For years, Stella Nonna was based out of a commercial kitchen near Telegraph Ave.  This past year, they have branched out and opened a stellar new restaurant on San Pablo Ave.  A perfect place for a delicious holiday meal!

Stella Nonna!

The Missing Link Bicycle Cooperative

1988 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley | (510) 843-7471

These folks have been huge supporters of Pedal Express since day one.  Need something for your bike?  Want to buy a gift for that bike fanatic in your life?  This is the shop you want to visit.  They have a super helpful staff and are worker-owned!

For 40 years… Missing Link!

Lastly, I’ll throw in a shameless plug for Pedal Express.  I’ll spare you the Santa Claus/bike messenger analogies but do give us a buzz if you need help with your holiday deliveries.  We specialize in same-day deliveries throughout Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville and beyond!

Happy Holidays, y’all!

This is the Berkeley Mail Room

Behind the Scenes: City of Berkeley Mail Room

By Dominic Lucchesi

“The mail never stops! It just keeps coming and coming and coming, there’s never a let-up! It’s relentless! Every day it piles up more and more and more! And you gotta get it out! But the more you get it out the more it keeps coming in! ”  — Newman

Like most large companies or institutions, the City of Berkeley has a mail room.  This particular room is in the basement of 1947 Center St.  It is here that the city’s mail is received and sorted to be dispersed to the various departments and offices in Downtown Berkeley.

1947 Center St:  Pedal Express spends a lot of time here

For nearly two decades, Pedal Express has worked with the City of Berkeley to help with the distribution process.  A substantial part of our daily routes consist of picking up city mail from the mail room and delivering it to outlying departments such as the Berkeley Housing Authority, Corporation Yards, the Public Health Clinic, and the Berkeley Marina.  At each stop, we exchange incoming mail and take outgoing items to be returned to the mailroom and sorted for other departments.  In this way, the bicycle couriers of Pedal Express act as a crucial part of the City of Berkeley’s communication network.

Alan, on his way to exchange mail at the Berkeley Marina
Alan, on his way to exchange mail at the Berkeley Marina

(We provide a similar service for the City of Emeryville.  To our knowledge, Berkeley and Emeryville are the only two cities that use bicycle couriers for their internal mail distribution.) In addition to our daily delivery duties, Pedal Express is trained to run the City’s entire mailroom operation in the event that Matthew (the mailroom clerk) is sick or out of town.  It just so happens that Matthew has been on vacation for the entire month of November.

Nick, running the mailroom
Nick, running the mailroom

This month, while Pedal Express is busy moving all sorts of things across the East Bay per usual, we have also been in charge of the Berkeley mail room.  It’s an interesting job that provides us with a unique opportunity to work closely with the folks who help make the City of Berkeley function properly. Running the mail room is largely a one-person operation.  Each morning, either Nick or I will pick up the Berkeley mail from the main Post Office before heading to the mail room, ready to sort through hundreds of pieces of mail.

Hella mail.
Hella mail.

Throughout the course of the day, we will deliver mail to 40+ departments in four buildings in downtown Berkeley.  These departments include Mayor Tom Bate’s office, Finance, Parks and Recreation, Rent Board, Planning, Engineering, Revenue Collection, City Auditor,  IT, Human Resources, Police and Fire, and so on.  We have an official badge that allows us to wander the City Hall offices with impunity.  It’s great.

There is some great art work on display at City Hall. This is in the Mayor's office.
There is some great art work on display at City Hall. This is in the Mayor’s office.

Aside from mingling with the busy bees around City Hall, perhaps the most fun part of this particular job is playing with the huge metering machine.  This is what we use to apply postage to the hundreds and thousands of pieces of outgoing mail that the City sends out on the daily.

This is a metering machine.  It can weigh, seal, and affix postage to hundreds of pieces of mail at a time.
This is a metering machine. It can weigh, seal, and affix postage to hundreds of pieces of mail at a time.

Working in the mail room is a unique experience.  We get to see a side of Berkeley that most people don’t.  Still, the mail room job can be a lonely one.  We spend long stretches of time in the basement with very little human contact.  It can start to do funny things to a person.  Thus, we affectionately refer to the mail room as “The Cave.”

After a month working in The Cave, we're ready to go back to riding full time
After a month spent working in The Cave, we’re ready to go back to riding full time

With the end of the month upon us, our time working in the mail room will soon come to an end.  I suppose we’ll occasionally miss the steady pace of city work and the warm shelter of The Cave when it’s raining outside, but lemme tell ya, I cannot wait to get back in the saddle full time for Pedal Express.  See you in the streets!

Congrats to our favorite security guard, Anthony (aka Big Tone) on his Football Pool victory!
Oh, and congrats to our favorite security guard, Anthony (aka Big Tone) on his Football Pool victory!  (I’ll get you my picks tomorrow!)

Bay Area Cyclists: An Afterthought

By Dominic Lucchesi

Disclaimer:  The following is an admittedly emotional and reactionary rant.  Sorry for all the doom and gloom, but I had to vent.  I swear, I’ll be back to my usual, chipper self in the morning.  Continue reading at your own peril.

The news that a cyclist was struck and killed by a truck at 6th and Folsom in San Francisco this morning really hit me in the gut.

I have been working on my bicycle in the Bay Area for roughly six years now (yes, I get paid to ride my bike).  Four of those years was spent riding primarily in San Francisco.  I’ve spent the last two as a worker-owner at Pedal Express, a small bicycle courier company operating in Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville.

I do not own a car.  This means that even when I’m not working, I am riding my bike.  To the store to pick up groceries; to the bar to grab drinks with the homies; even riding to visit my family in East Oakland and San Leandro.  What this experience has provided me with is a unique, street-level view of life in the Bay Area.

I notice little changes in the streetscape that others may not see.  I can tell when I’m leaving Emeryville and entering Oakland by the drop in quality of the street pavement.  For years and months I waited in agony while construction crews worked to complete a short section of the Bay Trail at the Berkeley Marina.  I’ve seen potholes come and go and then come back again…

At the same time, I’ve watched the bicycle infrastructure grow in San Francisco, greatly exceeding anything that we have in the East Bay (colored pavement, protected bike lanes, bike traffic signals, etc).

And if San Francisco represents the most bike-friendly city in the Bay, what does that make Berkeley or Oakland?  While SF is busy transforming Market Street, efforts to add safe bike lanes on Tunnel Rd are in serious jeopardy because the neighbors don’t want to give up a few on-street parking spots.  On 40th St, attempts to add bike lanes were nixed in favor of adding little sharrows and a green strip of paint DOWN THE MIDDLE OF A TRAVEL LANE.  And nobody really seems to know about it.

Despite all the hype and political sweet talk, I can’t help but feel that cyclists are a complete afterthought both locally and nationally.  Me and all of my bike-riding friends are one right turn away from being struck from existence.   And if that happens, regardless of the circumstances, the internet will be buzzing with comments like this:

From my experience commuting to work on a bike is that many riders I see need a basic bike safety course. They appear to create hazards where one shouldn’t exist usually out of impatience.

Ugh.  I swear, it’s almost enough to make a guy give up the bike messenger biz in favor of a desk job and a nice, safe, gas-guzzling Hummer.

Good times

#Eastbaymesslife Recap

By Dominic Lucchesi

Well, I must say, the first “big” event at Pedal Express was a definite success.  The cops weren’t called, we didn’t burn down the building, and tons of folks came out to fill our little office and the surrounding streets with an abundance of good vibes.

#Eastbaymesslife was an evening of food and drank, short films and sprints.  People gathered at the Emeryville HQ of Pedal Express to help raise money for Spokeland Bike Co-Op and the upcoming alleycat, Endless Summer of Slaughter: The Fantasy Edition. A huge THANK YOU to:

  • Hot Italian for showering us with hot pizzas
  • Chrome for throwing down a grip of awesome prizes
  • Mash SF for contributing some schwag
  • Curbside Creamery for coming through and slangin’ your delicious ice cream (congrats on the new shop!)

Lastly, thanks to all the folks who came out to show love for Pedal Express.  The outpouring of continued support from the community sure does make us feel good🙂 Stay tuned for more events sponsored by Pedal Express, your friendly neighborhood bike couriers!