Squid hates it when we call him a legend. “Yo, I gotta be dead to be a legend man. I’m in my prime!” he will tell us. So we will just have to call him a living legend. What else can you call him really? He is one of the most iconic bike messengers NYC has ever seen. He has been in movies and mags around the world.
Guest Post: Squid Talks CMWC, Mexico City
June 6, 2014
I was lucky enough to take part in the 22nd Annual Cycle Messenger World Championships this past weekend in Mexico City, Mexico!
- Hundreds of cycle couriers from around the world gathered for this most epic event. I want to say a Big Thank You to the CMWC Mexico team and all the wonderful people who volunteered and worked so hard to pull it off!I got in on the same flight with four other NY’ers on Thursday afternoon. Proud to say our city rolled deep with 15 total!
I missed the track racing at the Olympic Velodrome and group ride to the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, and the KOM hill climb (Congrats Cooper Ray for bringing NY it’s first World Champ title of the weekend!). Not to worry though, plenty of mayhem was in store for the next few days.
Thursday evening was a pub crawl. I drank enough Mezcal to last me the whole weekend. It was great to see old friends and meet some new ones too.
A little misty that I missed a few of the insane evening events but at 42 years old I have to pick my battles, and decided to focus on day drinking and going to bed at a semi respectable hour.
Friday evening brought the alleycat and more than 200 people gathered in the threatening rain. As the messenger gods laughed, it started to pour and pour and pour! An unbelievable onslaught that would have cancelled any ‘sanctioned’ event. On Safa’s command we blazed into the streets, mixing some of the worlds most intense traffic with a monsoon and a few hundy cycle maniacs. I lasted about 90 minutes with a pack that gelled around me. I stopped to help a guy who went down hard and ended up getting lost (no big surprise). All good though, met a random MC cat and we toured around until catching on with another group of stragglers.
Big Ups to NY’s own Crihs Thormann for the win. As I understand, it was a sprint finish among the lead pack. Saturday brought the qualifiers for the main race, the one event I was sweating. In my 14 previous World Championships, I only managed to qualify for the final twice!
Such a beautiful city and the people are so friendly and peaceful in my experience. While the traffic was intense and insane, the drivers are looking out and the aggro level that's so prevalent in the US is virtually nonexistent. A history rooted in magical culture and mixed with modern day amenities.
The course was a beautiful masterpiece mixing brains and technical ability. I had a smooth run and delivered 19 packages for a strong mid-pack finish. My goal was accomplished! I made the final. With little or no interest in how I performed in the actual main event, my party mode was fully engaged.
Eighty World Champions gathered on Sunday to battle it out on our bikes to see who was the best! Congratulations to Raph from Lausanne and Christina from San Francisco, 1st and 3rd overall, true champions and truly awesome and humble people.
I managed to deliver two packages in the final before taking a break with Todd Danger and riding one of Mexico City’s biggest/baddest roller coasters. My first time on a triple looper, a perfect way to goof off during the race.
Back to the course and I delivered one more then made the rounds and got some pics while visiting the awesome checkpoint crews.
Of all my Championships this one stands out for many reasons. Helmets off to Mexico City Crew and Congratulations to the Melbourne crew who will be hosting the 23rd annual in Melbourne.
Keep an eye out for tons of photos/videos from Tak and many others in the coming weeks.
Ride Safe and Holler!
Kevin “Squid” Bolger is the hardest working man alive. A veteran NYC messenger, he's raced nearly every CMWC since 1995. He’s been sponsored by Chrome since 2004. Check him out at CycleHawk.com
Warsaw II: An Iconic Messenger Pack Returns
November 15, 2013
We built the first Warsaw—our iconic professional-grade messenger backpack—way back in 2003. The bag was designed to take shoulder-strap bags to the next level by offering messengers the ability to carry bigger loads with improved ergonomics. Messengers were stoked on the Warsaw, relying on it for everything; they earned a living, won races, and traveled across continents with their bag.
This year we decided it was time to remake the Warsaw. As much as bike messengering looks the same, a lot of things have changed since Billy Souphorse and the Godspeed crew got the first 10 Warsaw bags we made. When we made the Warsaw the focus had been shifting from delivering small items and mail, to larger documents and file boxes. Now the focus is shifting to meal delivery. Because the business of delivery is changing, we want the Warsaw II to be able to adapt.
We sat down with friends, employees, and messengers to remake the Warsaw. We added to our collective experience with veteran riders like Billy Souphorse and Squid Bolger. The Warsaw II is still based on the original, so it’s large enough to carry a file box. Even though the Warsaw II is deeper, it’s slim enough to split traffic. We removed the yoke—separating the shoulder straps helps to improve load carrying, stability, and comfort. The Warsaw II’s strap retention system keeps excess straps out of the way until you need to expand the bag. We simplified the organization to make it easier to find small stuff. We also added a tool pocket to the bottom of the bag, now tools are quick to find—and accessible separately—without digging through your cargo. The side pocket is there so give you quick access to mail and FedEx envelopes. We moved the ID holder so that the flap prevents rain from soaking it. Finally the stash pocket, it’s still there.
After multiple prototypes, we had a design which Squid, and crews across the country carried and worked with. After months of testing, the final version of the Warsaw II was approved. So after all the revisions, all the stories, and the decades of shared experience from riders and messengers, we’re ready to introduce the Warsaw II; a bag of epic capabilities for professional messengers.
March 25, 2010
Kevin “Squid” Bolger is the hardest working man alive. There is no one who has done more for the bike messenger than Squid. Born in Queens, NY in 1971 Squid started working as a bike messenger in 1992. A year later he was riding fixed and by 1995 he went to his first CMWC in Toronto. That Halloween he organized his first of many alleycats in NYC. In 1996 he hopped freights to CMWC SF in 96 and scored his first urban cycling sponsorship that year. He raced every CMWC from 1995 up until 2007 when his son was born. He’s been sponsored by Chrome since 2004.
He’s raced on the velodrome and the street, bringing urban bike culture to the main stream around the world. He’s had numerous race victories including overall win in 2003 at Kyotoloco, Monster Track IV and two consecutive Cranksgiving wins.
Squid has organized some of the biggest, baddest messenger events on the planet. This year Squid is producing the 7th Annual Velo City Tour in association with Grime Bikes: http://velo-city-tour.tumblr.com/. Really pumped to be taking this successful format and going global with it!
In 2004 Squid founded the New York Bike Messenger Foundation, a 501c3 Nonprofit that benefits Messengers and their families when they are hurt or killed on the job nybmf.org. In 2006, he formed Cyclehawk. From 2007-2011 he was a partner at Cyclehawk Messengers. Squid works part time in the summer with Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group, and does safety outreach with delivery bikers, high schools, senior centers and nypd.
Squid has worked as a technical consultant and had a speaking part in the feature film 'Premium Rush' ( http://www.premiumrush.com/) a movie about NYC bike messengers slated for release late. He's working on a book about his 20 years on the street and behind the scenes involvement with the growth of global cycling culture and the explosion of urban cycling culture in the states. Squid is also working on bike messenger action figures and trading cards, a Velo City Tour cycling jersey, a limited edition custom bike with Brooklyn's own Squarebuilt and messenger artist Greg Ugalde.
And last but not least the biggest media feedback I ever got (so far) was on the Ellen show: http://youtu.be/iXR14MKTH8M