the messengers of the Bay Area, known as the San Francisco Bike
Messenger Association, or SFBMA hereby state our mission; to promote
unity and solidarity within the messenger community and to raise
the status of our profession.
In support of our mission, the San Francisco Bike Messenger Association
proposes the following courses of action be taken:
to maintain mutually beneficial relationships with organizations
that share our interests
• to be a national and international liaison
• to greet new and returning messengers
• to give mutual aid and support whenever possible to
our fellow messengers (including the Broken Bones Fund when
• to hold events such as bike races, parties, art shows,
and any other activities that promote camaraderie within the
• to stand up for our worker’s rights
you can do:
are $5/month; you can pay this to our Treasurer when you get a membership
card. Her name is America Meredith, just ask around or see her at
one of our general meetings. Announcements for these are posted
at several messenger hangouts, including the Wall. Attend SFBMA
San Francisco Bike Messenger Association was created in the winter
of 1990-91, the brainchild of messengers including Parté
King, Nosmo King, Markus Cook, and Joe Corio. They wanted an organization
in which messengers could pool their talents to work for the betterment
of the entire SF messenger community.
Initially anyone who worked in the SF messenger industry (bike/scooter/car/walking/motorcycle
messengers, ordertakers, dispatchers, etc.) was automatically a
member of the SFBMA.
help out couriers injured on the job or whom had legal problems,
the SFBMA held the "Hard-Luck Benefit Series" of concerts
to raise money. One of the first SFBMA annual events that continues
to this day, is Joe Corio's Groundhog Day "49-Mile Ride."
While not the first bike messenger association (New York messengers
formed the Indepedent Courier Association in the 1980s), the SFBMA
has been influencial and given the world Messenger Appreciation
Day, October 9th (10-9), when Parté and Nosmo King convinced
Mayor Art Agnos to declare this a SF holiday.
1996, SF hosted the Cycle Messenger World Championships, three days
of racing with 600 participants from throughout the world. It was
a colossal group effort, led by SFBMA president Megan Redington
but including the efforts of hundreds of volunteers. A CD compilation
of SF bike messenger bands was produced for the event: "Pothole"
and a booklet of practical tips for messengers was published. CMWC
opened many SF messengers to the worldwide messenger community for
the first time.
by the success of CMWC and also the success of the Exotic Dancers
Alliance in organizing under the SEIU, Wendy Fallin, Limor Geisler,
and America Meredith called together the first meeting to actively
seek union organization of the Bay Area urgent delivery industry.
Former CMWC organizers Howard Williams, Bok Choy Mathewson, and
Joel Metz helped transform the SFBMA into a labor-advocacy group,
with the help of Lance Schroeder, Eric Scudder, and countless others.
The SFBMA formed an alliance with the International Longshore and
Warehouse Union, Local 6 and our community devoted years to transforming
the local industry. Several multinational corporations who undercut
locally owned businesses were driven out of the SF messenger industry:
Fidelity National Title, DMS, and Express Legal Services. Messengers
won class-action lawsuits against messenger companies for wage and
overtime violations. Ultimately, Speedway and Professional Messenger
employees organized under the ILWU Local 6. In the ensuing years,
more messengers took the reins of the SFBMA, including Rak Affonso,
Carey Dall, Bernie Corace, Jason Whitehead, and Damon Votour, who
served as SFBMA President longer than any other individual. They
reached out to local politicians and established community ties
that the SFBMA still honors today. One effort that continues is
to get messenger companies to comply with laws regarding employee/independent
past years, the SFBMA has had to redefine itself, as the ILWU union
drive has ended, although the ILWU still provides the SFBMA with
office and meeting space. Currently, SFBMA members are writing a
new mission statement that details how the SFBMA works toward to
foster local messenger community, to improve our working conditions,
and to work in solidarity with like-minded organizations. Editor
Sammy Shiraco publishes the SFBMA's monthly newsletter, Cognition.
The organization sponsors a host of annual events, including the
Russian River Ride, the Quake City Rumble alleycat race, and 10-9
Messenger Appreciation Day Celebrations.
(top to bottom) by Paul Littell, Erik Zo, and Lance Mitchell