Below is a firsthand account of ECMC in Stockholm, the pre-event in Copenhagen and the Viking Quest in between. A big thanks to Simon Busk for writing this for us as well as for the pics.
As always if anyone has a story they’d like to share about an event please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and Ill be sure to get it up on here!
My name is Simon, they call me Snus or Busken on the streets. I’ve been a messenger in Copenhagen for the last 6-7 years. I’ve been going to championships since 09 and i frequently hashtag my Instagram pictures with #messlife and I believe in keeping my selfiegame strong. Enough about me, let’s talk about the 2014 ECMC’s in Stockholm Sweden. But first let me tell you a little bit about Viking Quest and the Copenhagen messenger scene!
The last couple of years the messenger scene in Copenhagen has been dwindling, a lot of people left the scene as the business was shrinking and working conditions for messengers where being ass-raped by people towing the company line. Most people racing alley cats where media students on carbon bikes and pr consultants on Japanese steel frames. When i got asked to put up a pre-event i thought it would be impossible because of the lack of enthusiasm in the scene. Weed, booze and the amazing spirit of the CWMC’s in Lausanne made everything seem possible so me and Toto teamed up and decided to make shit happen! And boy did shit happen, in the end we got help form everyone in the milieu, old and new, exenger and messenger all pulled together in order for an epic week of drinking and biking with vikings! The infusion of foreign messengers to our little city was GREAT! A much needed vitamin injection for our little scene, the young guys got to see what it’s all about and the old legends could once more bask in the glory of days passed. Again a HUGE thank you going out to everyone who attended the pre-event!
Getting from Copenhagen to Stockholm is roughly a 700km ordeal, and how to make this possible for 60 people was a bit of a hassle, but in the end it all panned out pretty ok. The guy who planned the trip (me) got hospitalized a few days before with blood poisoning and a kidney infection, so some aspects of the trip got fucked up. but in the end most people survived and odin was pleased.
Getting to Sweden was a rough ride for some, rain, hail, thunder, crazy swedish roads and i guess a lot of people where not really ready for surviving on the roads (not bringing water bottles and burners! #messlife!) but for me it was quite easy, i packed my bike up, wrapped it in plastic bags, taped the shit out of it, got up early, smoked a blunt and got on a train. A few hours later i was riding my bike though the insanely beautiful streets of Stockholm. Celebrating the return to my native country, and trying to feed the enthusiasm of being at the ECMC’s, i make my way to the dark heart of Sweden. The systembolaget, one of the reasons i as a young adult decided to flee my country and seek refuge as a messenger on the streets of Copenhagen. As i stand there, in the midst of government oppression i finally find two overpriced and lukewarm cans of beer and i make my way to pay for it. Trying to pay for the alcohol turned out to be a problem as i could not produce any valid picture id. This was going to be a theme for the entire ECMC-weekend, the lack of and price of alcohol! A bit discouraged, i made my way to the HQ to find nothing but smiles, kisses, Swedish mouth tobacco and friends. Things where probably going to be TOTALY EPIC AND KICKASS anyhow! The rest of the thursday was quite slow, we went on a small group ride through the parks and on the bike paths of Stockholm, the ride ended up in a place called Långholmen, one of MANY islands making up the city of Stockholm. The party was quite slow, a 33cl beer was 20kr (roughly 2 euros) and people where mostly sitting around a bonfire.
Hillsprints/Alleycat/Viking Bar friday During the friday the last of the CPH/SF crew arrived, and it seemed like ALOT of people from rest of the world/europe also dropped in. I started the day out working the registration, giving a hand in setting up the out of towner-alley cat and trying to be as helpful as a semi-drunk swede recovering from severe blood poising can be! I can’t tell you much about the hillsprints or the alley cat, the hill sprints was FUCKED UP! We wen’t up the Hammarby backen, which is a ski slope during the winter and a bloody mess of gravel and stones during the summer. Jospehine from swizneyland and Beaver from back home won the whole shebang in the end! I briefly saw Beaver whizz pass me on his way up the mountain. Me, i was on my way down, down in to the hole! A hole filled with VODKA that is! At the end of viking quest we briefly thought we had some money over, during the excitement in not loosing any of our private money on a messenger event. Valtho came up with the idea that we should use the money to buy cheap booze in Copenhagen and bring to Stockholm! Being from
scandinavia, we know what to bring to Stockholm. Without double-checking the balance on the account we proceeded to buy about 37 liters of vodka to give away for free for all the attendants of viking quest. We figured that everyone would be to broke to buy their own booze in Stockholm, and rather then using the leftover money on something for us, we would like to share it with everyone who came to the event. Said and done, as everyone else was racing from Hammarbybacken to Medborgarplatsen dodging cars and running red lights in the out of towner alley cat. I was hauling 16l of vodka and about 20l of disgusting lime soda from one end of town to the other. Riding up and down the hills with all that weight on my back HURT my newly inflamed kidneys AS FUCK, but hoping people would be grateful for the free alcohol was making me push through it.
The out of towner alley cat was fast! Martin from Poland won, together with sauce from florida and another polish guy i cant remember, just behind him Paul from SF, Toto, Valtho and another bunch of beats came in. The alley cat ended in HQ and the party of the night was supposed to be held there. As more and more people where arriving, i was chilling out, trying to recover from hauling all that booze on my back. Again the mood was a little bit reluctant, people where starting to click up. German speaking people grouping with other people speaking angry, the french being the french as usual. You know the deal, you’ve all been to these kind of things before. Sitting quiet on the asphalt i recognized this and thought it would be a great idea to bring out the free booze! We had roughly 16l of 50% vodka 50% disgusting lime soda mixed up in 2l bottles, this should be enough to get the party started… and i guess it was! We held a little speech that no one listened to, and declared the bar open. Drinks was free for everyone attending viking quest and 10kr for everyone who didn’t attend. This being a messenger event of course people where assholes and they where not paying the lousy 10kr for a drink! That’s #messlife for you! As people where starting to black out and drunken fights raged on the dance floor i realized that my mission for the night was fulfilled and i started to make my way home in order to get a few hours of sleep before the qualifications.
Waking up on saturday morning was easy for me who poured drinks instead of drinking them, the race course was situated a few km outside of town on a university campus. I was sweating a lot in the high summer sun as i was making my way out there. The qualifications was scheduled to start at 11, i was in heat 3 and as i rolled up around 11.30 i was getting a bit antsy, thinking i was a bit late for the start. Once i made it up the small hill to race course i realized that Sweden is NOT Switzerland. The course was barely set up, and a lot of my messbros from Stockholm was walking around with stern looks on their faces and sweat coming out of theirs foreheads. I guess we where not starting heat 3 at 12.00, i rolled a jointed and laid down to relax under a tree. Slowly my friends from around the world started showing up, i rode around the course a couple of times and as time drew closer i started getting the jitters. Even though i knew my body felt like a bunch of wet paper bags i still got the tingling butterflies in my stomach, i had to pee three times and my legs where restless. It quickly dawned upon me that it would be a quite quick qualification, every heat would get a different manifest so it would be impossible the judge how you did according on your time, only placing in the heat mattered. I on the other hand had NO plans on qualifying, just being there and not being in a hospital was enough for me. The course was a fun one, most of the checkpoints knew what was up and i really enjoyed riding around the racetrack in a leisurely pace, making smalltalk and having a few beers. The stannous checkpoint was not as bad as they usually are, i guess they where hung over, the basque checkpoint most certainly brought the party! After completing my run, things stayed the same for a few hours. Joints was rolled, people made their run for qualifying and we hung out in the shade. Johannes from Swedish Drinking Team fame was doing a wonderful job MC’ing the event, as his voice got blurrier and blurrier the event slowly decayed down in the ECMC’s of years passed. Things where moving slow and no one really knew what was up. Would there be another alley cat tonight? There was supposed to be side events? And what about the party? Where was that going to be held? Questions was buzzing, and i decided that i was time to get some booze again. I grabbed Beast aka Sonny Boy and he in turned grabbed some guys bike and we set course for the remaining bottles of vodka. Learning from my mistake the previous night, i realized i needed help carrying all this booze, as beast and me where bombing through the empty streets of Stockholm it dawned upon me how much i love the messenger community! They might be a bunch of pretentious cunts with bad tattoos and a highly skewed image of their occupation, but i love doing shit like this! Who else get’s to host a party for a couple of hundred friends you never met before in a foreign country? Well, not cab drivers! Thats for sure! Anyhow me and beast are bombing through Södermalm with our bags filled with booze, the sun is still high in the sky and it should be dark now. The water is blue, the city is stunning and 10k’s away all of our friends are waiting! As we get to the race course, the track stands are about to start, and it’s past 9 in the evening. People are getting a bit antsy, the Copenhagen max ud crew gathers and we start mixing the drinks. As we are pouring the booze, Toto tells me that he talked to Jumbo and that Jumbo mentioned that arm wrestling competitions used to be a staple on messenger events. I think it sounds like a brilliant idea, so we make it happen! People gather around a small pick nick table in the middle of the plaza and shit is about the get down! What happened next was a stormflood of testosterone, friendly competition, national rivalry, enormous feats of strength and all out awesomeness! Men and woman fought epic battles of arm strength and will against each other. Legends was born and stories of brand new heroes was sung in valhalla! In the end Maggie from Stockholm took the womens title and Martin from the ever so epic Team Latvia became the winner of the mens final.
In some way this felt like the climax of the event, people had all raced during the day and now they got a well needed output for the frustrations and triumphs of the day! After the event my voice was properly fucked from screaming so much. I tried to nurse my sore throat with beer, people where slowly moving either back to town for sleeping or out to a techno tent by a lake in the forrest. I chose to get back with Kalle to sleep, but i heard tales of epicness through out the night.
Once again the Stockholm crew was running a bit behind schedule, but during the sunday it wasn’t to bad. I spent the day working the Omnium Cargo checkpoint where i was security, making people put their bikes in the bike parking area and forming straight lines while waiting. When working a checkpoint you loose the oversight of the race, but you do get a chance to get right in to the action. Not long after the Cargo race was on, it stood clear that a few riders was going MUCH faster and working their manifest smarter then the others. Jumbo from Copenhagen was absolutely flying, and behind him Hans from Copenhagen was also riding fast. After them it seemed like Robin from London, Arvid and Andreas from Stockholm was also killing it. Jänis from Latvia was as always a gracious sight on the track! In the end Jumbo took the W after spending about an hour racing for full blast. The main race lasted for three hours and the riders had a multitude of manifests to complete, they all got to choose jobs on the manifest, so trying to figure out who was in the lead was absolutely impossible. The three hours went by in a blur of sweaty bodies, angry screams, crumpled up manifests and running away with peoples bikes. After pushing it REAL hard for three hours in the sun, the race came to an end and it started dawning upon me that this would all come to end tonight. The familiar post-championship lump in my stomach started setting in. Being a couple of hours late, this meant that people actually was getting on the way to the final party quite quick. The final party was situated in a night club down by the water in Södermalm, on the other side of town. The swedish alcohol and drug culture got a brush with the messenger culture, the bouncers of the club was a bit dumbfounded about what to do about all the weed smoking and drinking outside of their establishment. Eventually we got to get in, but all bags had to be searched and no alcohol was allowed on the premises. The mood did not get much better when people found out that despite the Stockholm crew subsidizing the beer with 10000kr, a beer cost 35kr (roughly 3.5 euro). The prize ceremony eventually got underway and Marleke from the Netherlands got a bad ass carbon frame for the ladies race, beaver took the first spot in the mens final and Jojo from the PROUD By-Expressen crew got second place and also fastest working messenger! Quite a day for Copenhagen! Right after Leah announced to votes for the next ECMC (Milan got it!!) we all got kicked out of the venue, the party moved on to a nearby park and i made my way to the car in order to drive all throughout the night back to Copenhagen. Once again a championship was over, this one was an Epic one! The story is the same, so many new and old friends. Friendly and familiar faces, rookies falling asleep with their shoes on. Maxing out and chistoleing under a sky that never gets dark. Swimming, biking and hanging out in one of the most beautiful cities in the world was NOT a bad thing!
The last cheques have come in, the coin has been rolled and counted and the grand total is finally in!
This year was the 5th annual MAYDAY race to benefit the BMEF . We were hoping to raise the most money to date and we did! We raised $7065!!!
This brings our 5 year total funds donated to the BMEF to $20,906.84!!
A huge thank you to everyone that has made the trip to Toronto to support MAYDAY!!
Another big thanks goes to all the awesome locals that race, party, drink, provide floor space, dj equipment, food, party spaces, and anything else that our guests might need to make their weekend awesome.
A third heartfelt thanks goes to the hugely supportive sponsors who together donated over $10,000 in prizes just this year alone!
And the biggest thanks of all goes to the incredible folks that I organize this with, Emily, Mark, Kevin, Jimmy, and Sunny. You guys and gals stepped up when needed, gave up sleep and sanity to make this happen and I look forward to doing it all again next year!
Please like our facebook page so that we can keep you in the loop on the happenings for MAYDAY 6! Mark it on your calendars! May 1-3 2015!
CMWC is just around the corner so this is a call out for any and all topics that you’d like to discuss at the open forums in Mexico City. I want to get a solid idea of what should be on the agenda this year. This discussion is also taking place on the messenger mailing list as well as on Facebook here at the IFBMA fb group.
As points get listed and talked about on Facebook and on the mailing list I will also post them here.
TOPICS SUBMITTED SO FAR:
Steph from London has submitted this:
OPEN FORUM AGENDA CMWC MEXICO
PROPOSAL FOR A CHANGE TO THE VOTING SYSTEM OF CMWCs
I have spoken to quite a few people who feel the system is not as good as it could be.
From what i know, the issue has been brought up before and apparently, nothing has been done about it because no one was bothered to do something about it but i could be wrong and there could be other reasons.
Having the 1st open forum at the beginning of the event is fine..people just arrive, they are fresh and ready to listen..so once the agenda has been brought up and discussed, get the bidding cities to do their thing..bidding cities should have some materials that people can look at through the event so whoever wasn’t at the 1st open forum can catch up and people can look through the materials over the weekend.
The 2nd forum should ideally be on Sunday. On Monday,most people are either gone or too fucked to attend so it doesn’t make sense to vote then.
It could be argued that people who are serious about voting should arrange their trip to stay until then but the reality is that people don’t/can’t stay on Monday (especially if the CMWC is in Europe, countries are closer, people head back Sunday night/Monday morning) so we should accommodate that and have the second open forum on Sunday…
The time when the main race finals are done and before the prize giving, when people are chilling and before the big party, would be ideal to get the bidding cities on stage again and remind people it’s time to vote and give them a deadline to do so.
Depending on logistics, there could be a couple of volunteers manning a ballot box for a few hours at the end of the day so participants have plenty of time to vote. Make it simple, give your rider’s name/number, one ballot paper, write the city you’re voting for and cast your vote.
We need to make sure this is done thoroughly so have a list of all registered participants and once they have voted, cross their names.
During the prize giving, someone would be counting the votes..IFBMA council members maybe, as organisers will be fairly busy and the winning city would be announced once the prize giving is over and before the party start.
People would be told in advance (ie on the website of the next CMWC organiser if this proposal goes through) that the voting system has changed and what it involves.
Scooter (Scott Vercoe) from Melbourne, Australia posted the following on fb:
CMWC Voting System.
It was 10 years ago I put in a bid for Sydney and took the Worlds out of the traditional Europe/North America cycle and was on the IFBMA council. I still think the way we did it back then can’t be beat.
2 years out from the year you plan to host CMWC you put in a proposal to host the worlds. Everyone can put in a proposal. This is done at the 2nd open forum of that years CMWC.
1 year out, intending host cities’ bids are voted on. This is done at the first open forum of that year. Cities can only present a bid if they had put in a proposal the year before.
The biggest advantage of this way is that you can vote for the hosting city in the first open forum.
The first thing that happens at any committee meeting is urgent business. And if voting for host cities isn’t the urgent business of an open forum at a CMWC, I don’t what is.
This also allows for everyone to celebrate the winning city throughout the event.
Trying to vote for host cities at the 2nd open forum where everyone is bent out of shape after racing and partying doesn’t make any sense to me. In my experience, only the keen ones attend the 2nd open forum. And with this system you can have it on a Monday.
I don’t think the IFBMA can start telling host cities when they need to hold an open forum. It’s dangerous ground in mandating a schedule for a CMWC.
That’s my thoughts. I’m gonna go check that the lids on my bottles of back in my day rants haven’t shaken loose.
Keep it real, kids.
From Matteo in Milan:
It would be interesting if we allowed the cities that wish to apply for the CMWC to send via email 1 month before the start of their event a detailed presentation of the event, enablaling those who wish to read the presentation the possibility to download it.
It would also be useful to assign a point system to the presentations, thus facilitating those who vote.
Obviously these presentations will be used during the open forum.
From Andy Zalen in DC
Keep the initial Open Forum, but forget the 2nd one altogether.
Instead, at the start of the Awards Ceremony, all bidding cities get up and
make one last, brief presentation to win over undecided voters. All
registered participants get a numbered ballot slip (same as their race
number) in their registration packet. A ballot box is made available
beginning at the end of the initial Open Forum until the end of the Awards
Ceremony – people have until then to cast their vote. Or more specifically,
make it say, 15 minutes after the final presentations, so that the votes
can be tallied and announced by the end of the Awards Ceremony (votes may
be tallied as they are cast during the weekend, so that it doesn’t all have
to get counted at the Awards Ceremony). No proxy votes, just one available
vote per attendee that they have to personally submit.
To take that idea even further, the ballots could be accompanied with the
Open Forum agenda items which need to be decided on. This addendum could be
created at or after the Open Forum and distributed later that evening
and/or during the course of the rest of the event. Again – only one ballot
per racer. So often the Open Forums get bogged down in heated debate. If we
eliminated the need to come up with “the answers” – voting on the issues,
voting on if we should vote, etc. – the Open Forums would just be about
raising the questions and concerns, and offering possible solutions.
Perhaps this would make the Open Forum run smoother and more efficiently,
and we could be more satisfied we gave all attendees a fair and equal
chance to exercise their opinions.
I’m pretty sure we abandoned the consensus method soon after Buffalo Bill
stopped attending, but I don’t know if the by-laws were ever amended to
reflect this. It’s been a straight majority rules vote for many years now.
I am also pretty sure that the by-laws were amended to allow for the IFBMA
council to take decisions amongst themselves on certain matters during the year, outside of an actual CMWC. If not, there must be a provision for
this, in the case that some timely issue comes up that needs to be
addressed before the next Championships.
I have some other ideas but that’s all for now.
From Bega in DC
On several occasions, the 2nd open forum has been scheduled for sunday
but on at least some of those occasions hasn’t successfully happened
for various reasons such as lack of organization or lack of interest
or people being already drunk or the finals ran late and the forum was
scheduled for a time when the bunny hop was still going on and thats
not really fair. and thus the forum has been suddenly moved to some
other unplanned time and location. it is my belief that if it is
scheduled for sunday, it should happen for real on sunday.
its not really supposed to be a “vote”. its supposed to be a consensus
(which is not the same thing as a unanimous decision – consensus means
that no one wishes to block the decision which means everyone accepts
the “vote” not necessarily agrees with it – it rarely happens after
only one vote). at least as recently as chicago, a motion was made to
change it from consensus to a straight vote but that proposal was
tabled and has been tabled at at least 3 open forums that i remember.
i would suggest that it has gained more headway recently, and at least
a couple of times, the vote has been taken this way as a single vote,
not necessarily for the worse at those forums. truthfully if at least
most people walk away thinking it was at least somewhat fair, youve
done at least somewhat of a good job.
proxies should be eliminated. whenever you have the forum, people who
want to participate should show up. at different forums, proxies have
been treated differently with little if any consistency. proxies dont
function in a consensus format. they barely work in a voting format.
they cause controversy and breed uninformed and uncaring voters.
im really excited to see people having these sorts of conversations.
ive always personally believed that having the conversation is more
important than the final decisions.
Shawn “bega” Blumenfeld
Please discuss! and if you have anything you’d like to have talked about at the Open Forums please post on fb, on the messenger mailing list, or send me an email to email@example.com and I’ll get it up for everyone to see. 🙂
Hope to see everyone there!
The first weekend in May 2014 marks the 5th anniversary of MAYDAY in Toronto. This event began as a small fundraiser for the BMEF (Bicycle Messenger Emergency Fund) and quickly grew into the largest single supporter of the BMEF. As a direct result of the money raised at MAYDAY, the BMEF was able to raise the amount of assistance paid out to an injured messenger from $300 to $500. To date MAYDAY has raised over $14,000 for the fund and hopes to surpass the $20,000 mark this year!
The organizers have gathered together thousands of dollars in prizes from some really amazing sponsors (AllCity, Abus, Bern, Bikurious, Cogswell Bicycles, Coupe Bizzare, Cycle Solutions, Detroit Bikes, Hoopdriver, Knog, LaBicicletta, My Little Bike Shop, Nice Rack, Passage Tattoo, Regal Bicycle, SendIt, Sweet Petes, The Bike Joint, Trash Bags, UML, Vans, Velocity, and more!) Most of those prizes are to be raffled off in the new format raffle this year! There are great parties each night, lots of delicious food and the best part is that the whole weekend is a fundraiser so you can still feel good about yourself on monday morning when you wake up with no underwear, a drawing of a penis on your forehead and no money in your pockets….because hey, it was all for charity!
For more info you can check out the Facebook event here:
And to donate directly to the BMEF please click here
SEE YOU SOON!!