February 5, 2009
SQUID Part II
So I sort of got side-tracked with some other projects and never got to post these photos of my man SQUID, the legend amongst all NYC bike messengers!
It was great getting to know Squid, he’s an upstanding guy. His wife, Amy Squid, is a photographer and super nice, too! So next time I’m in NYC I hope I’ll get to hang out with the whole fam.
So let me tell you about Squid.
First, actually I will tell you about my project. I’m traveling the country, working on a photo documentary on bike messengers. The mysterious American subculture! If you’ve ever been in any huge city, you will most likely find sometimes scary lookin guys on bikes with packages sticking out from their mess bags. Some have tatt’s some mohawks and crazy hair. Some look like really nice people, some old, some young, guys and girls. But there is something mysterious about all of them.
What I have found is that these are working professionals no matter what kind of outer shell they are wearing. They are proud and passionate about what they do. They aren’t obsessed with money. Instead they prefer to live in tiny places and do what they love during the day.
Their bikes to me, are always interesting and fascinating. They all are a reflection of the character of the people who ride them. Sometimes they are old and beat-up, yet perfectly tuned riding machines. Those are the kind of bikes I like the most. Many are fixed-gear, single speed types. Many with no brakes. The no brakes thing is sort of a pride thing. There are obviously safety benefits to having at least a front brake but that’s not really the point.
This was my second trip to NYC for the project. But this recent trip I was set out to photograph just one person. Kevin Bolger, AKA Squid. Stop any messenger in all of NYC and ask them if they know Squid. They will most likely respond like, “Of course I know Squid. Everyone knows Squid” and from my experience they all talk highly of him. And there’s a reason for that!
Meet Squid again
I don’t have the story officially from the Squid himself but from what I hear, he left NYC to pursue college, quickly quitting and coming back to his roots. Spent several years as a bike messenger.
What I love about his story is just that this is a guy who followed his passion and considered nothing else. He’s a doer who is now operating his own NYC bike messenger business, CycleHawk He also started a cycling team that races on the Velodrome, built up by NYC bike messengers. His team of messengers also will be competing in Tokyo in a world championship messenger competition. I’m still waiting on the date for that. If I am not shooting a wedding, I will be there for SURE!
So the reason he’s a legend, I believe is not just from longevity, but it’s credited to his congeniality and his dedication to the sport and the profession of bike racing and being a bike messenger. And it’s just one of those stories of hard work producing results that I love so much.
OK so here are some more shots.
He built this bike to handle bigger loads. He had some sort of fancy wine in it that he was delivering when I met up with him. It’s like a huge grown-up tri-cycle! ha! I love it.
It’s good for marketing, too. Love that hand-painted logo!
Right outside the CycleHawk headquarters, Squid didn’t seem too surprised that one of his bikes got stripped by some lowly thief! Here he is, very distraught.
Still very upset.
But he double-locked his UNHOLY VENGEANCE wheel set so he is happy about that!
Here he is at his CycleHawk HQ about to run for a delivery.
His business partner was equally as nice of a guy
Inside the office, it’s real small but has everything they need. It’s a logistical genious of an operation. This guy makes sure that all messengers are running efficient routes for the fastest delivery possible:
I like Squid’s bike even though it got ripped off! So here are some cool bike detail shots
An old sticker with Squid’s happy mug on it, but I love the remnants of an old Pabst Blue Ribbon sticker. A favorite here in Summit County!
I think I know who ripped off the bike. She looks guilty. Don’t worry Squid, I served justice and tackled and roughed up that woman for you. She’ll never steal anything else from you I GUARANTEE IT!
OK NON RELATED. But after the shoot I went to one of my fav places in Chinatown, the Singapore Cafe. (Sorry I have ADD, sometimes another blog post will end up in the middle of another)
So when I was in Singapore a while back I fell in love with Roti Canai and Curry! This is the only place in the WORLD that I have been able to find it. Roti is like a pancake, but you dip it into the chicken curry. I can eat it forever.
It pairs PERFECTLY with TIGER BEER!!
Sorry, that was like a commercial. Yeah, just pretend that was a commercial. OK…
Anyway, thanks Squid for taking the time to meet with me and showing me your HQ! Hope to see you again soon! Maybe in Tokyo-yo!
And congrats on your growing biz!
OK Peeps, my next stop for this project is San Francisco! Stay tuned!