Bike messengers put a lot of stress and strain on their bikes, riding through rain and snow and all weather conditions like a modern Pony Express. The guys at Denver Boulder Couriers in Colorado are no exception. They pedal up to 50 miles on an average shift, riding for seven-plus hours to deliver packages and documents to businesses, hospitals, law offices and government agencies. There is no time for mechanical failures or maintenance problems with their bikes. Denver Boulder Couriers has a secret weapon to keep them on schedule: Gates Carbon Drive. “It’s super efficient, it’s really light, there’s no lag time when you’re coming out of a stop sign or stoplight,” says DBC messenger Sam Reinish. General manager Tim Quinn says ease of maintenance is another big advantage: “There hasn’t been any.” Check out the video of their Primus Mootry with the Carbon Drive System.
Check out more videos about Gates Carbon Drive here.
Bike messenger Jason Maurer of Denver Boulder Couriers was screaming down Baseline Avenue in Boulder when a car parked on the right side of the road suddenly pulled out into traffic. “I was hauling,” says Maurer, recalling his worst crash while working. “It was a college kid. He didn’t have his blinker on or anything.”
A sunny day on the streets of Boulder
Maurer tried to avoid the car but he had nowhere to maneuver, so he slammed into the vehicle and hit the pavement hard. Lesson learned: motorists are knuckleheads who don’t look out for cyclists. “I’ve gotten better at predicting what cars will do and to be more defensive. Now I just assume people don’t see me when they’re driving.”
Call it the messenger school of hard knocks. But one thing is certain, working as a courier in Boulder is much more pleasant than in a major city. Maurer, 31, landed in Boulder after a stint in the U.S. Marines, and he has been a messenger for three years. Aside from dealing with bonehead drivers, it’s a sweet job for someone who grew up mountain biking. “You’re outside every day. And I get to ride all the time. I hate getting into cars.”
Like most couriers Maurer has an eye for cool bikes and new technologies. He loves riding the two Carbon Drive bikes that are available for workers to use at Denver Boulder Couriers—a custom Primus Mootry and a Trek District belt drive. “Having the Carbon Drive really lightens up the load. I never get passed. And it feels effortless when pedaling.”
The belt drive is also super quiet. “It’s totally stealth, like a hybrid car. You come up behind people and they don’t even hear you coming.”
Maurer puts 30 miles or more on his bike per day, dropping off paperwork at architecture firms, law firms, City of Boulder government employees, banks and making pharmacy deliveries in all weather conditions.
Maurer even took one of the belt drive bikes out into the snow during his rounds last winter. Winter riding requires some straight up messenger style–gators to keep the road slush off his clothes. “It saves your pants from getting all sloppy at the bottom.”
Gators--and a lube-free Carbon Drive--keep the pants clean in winter riding
What’s the best part about being a courier in Boulder? “The people are less stressed than elsewhere. All the receptionists that I deal with are in a good mood.”
Just watch out for college kids who don’t use their blinkers.
When Gates went looking for cyclists to street test its revolutionary Carbon Drive System, it focused on the most hardcore group of riders out there: couriers and messengers. These guys ride everyday, all year, through rain, sleet, snow and hangovers. Their bikes must be reliable and fast, no compromises accepted. In honor of all the hard-charging bike messengers across America, Carbon Drive Systems has launched the Courier Project.
Here’s the deal: Gates has provided Denver Boulder Couriers with two bikes equipped with Carbon Drive—a stock Trek District singlespeed and a custom Primus Mootry. The goal: have the couriers ride ‘em hard and collect their stories here.
So far, the feedback is highly positive. “F-ing wow! Pardon me. Love the thing,” says Tim Quinn, general manager of Denver Boulder Couriers. Before getting onto a Carbon Drive bike, Quinn was skeptical. “My initial thought was ‘These guys are trying to reinvent the wheel.’ Boy was I wrong. The drive train is very smooth and completely silent.”
Quinn stomped uphill on one of his first rides, impressed by the Carbon Drive’s ability to efficiently transfer power from his legs to the drive to the pavement. “Pushing the gear is seemingly effortless. The lack of friction makes the bike easier to pedal than any of my bicycles with a chain. I really do believe it will require less wattage to push this thing around town.”
And it’s so much quieter. “The mental factor of hearing nothing helps as well. It’s nice having a silent machine under your feet.” Quinn has ridden both the District and the Primus Mootry, which are both ready for any of the messengers to take out for a delivery run. “This is a great application for urban cycling,” Quinn says. “I want one!”
Anything else, Tim?
“Oh yeah, my pants have not gotten dirty.”
No lube, no fuss, lightweight, ride it hard then hose it off and put it away wet. Stay tuned for more stories from the mean streets.