Boston Collective Delivery is a bicycle messenger cooperative, offering same day delivery by experienced riders, who value sustainability and community. We aim to replace traditional car service with solar-electric cargo bikes, to help you save money while decreasing our carbon footprint. Our drive to innovate is only rivaled by our desire to perform professionally and reliably on and off the bike.
What is a worker cooperative? A Cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise. Cooperatives are based on the values of self help, self responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity.
The founding members of BCD were initially inspired by messengers that we met at the 2011-2012 East Coast Messenger Stage Race who ran their business collectively in New York City. The beauty of their atypical approach coupled with dissatisfaction in the working conditions and pay of our former employers fueled the call for a business that prioritized and respected its workers. We began to organize in Winthrop Square and held meetings in parks after work to put down on paper a framework for a business that resembled a cooperative. We reached out to the Cooperative Development Institute in Northampton, MA and also worked with Noemi Giszpenc, who connected us with the Boston Center of Community Ownership. We began to meet other members of worker-owned cooperatives at WORC’N meetings and started to mold our cooperative identity as we developed our courier business. BCD’s official launch was in 2012 during the International Year of Cooperatives. We found our home at 12 Channel Street in HQ Boston, a unique co-working space which is led by Marty Walsh at Geekhouse Bikes.
We feel our cooperative identity facilitates our social mission in promoting the bicycle as the most efficient form of transportation in city centers. We continue to advocate for the multi-faceted, far-reaching impacts and uses of the bicycle, including sport, health benefits, environmental benefits, and traffic mitigation. We are most fascinated and driven by the ability of the bicycle to bridge communities, as we believe the bicycle is a vehicle for lasting, sustainable transformation. Our messengers love riding in this city and feel it is a great privilege to take our wheels to these streets. Our unique line of work allows us to see the continually growing inequality that cooperatives like CFNE, BCCO, WORC’N, and CERO tirelessly combat.
We have a critical relationship with Valley Green Feast, another worker-owned cooperative; each week, we bring the local, organic produce they receive from their partner farms to doorsteps in Boston via our solar-electric cargo bike. Inter-cooperative models like this are pivotal to establishing Co-op supply chains that will guarantee the respect of workers in each step of the economic process.
Another client we love working with is Sofi at Olives & Grace; her commitment to local sourcing definitely supports the community to which we ourselves feel we belong. Other partners we are proud to work and collaborate with include Boston Bikes, Equal Exchange, Lyons Group, and Cocobeet. We are very grateful for the constant support of Pedro’s, Bern,VOmax, and Mavic, whose products keep our bikes running smoothly and our workers riding safely. Elite racer Kurt is another key ally; read more about BCD racing.
BCD is a curious collection of talented artists, musicians, and athletes combined into one. In our community we consider ourselves professionals; we compete nationally and worldwide against some of the top messengers. This level of performance keeps our company unique, and we truly love and value our global messenger family.
We at BCD are excited to continue to contribute to our city in a responsible and innovative way; we look forward to collaborating with others who share our vision of a more sustainable and equitable Boston through both bicycle and cooperative-based endeavors.
During the 2013 Cyclocross season we had the privilege to bring on our long time friend and teammate Kurt. We watched throughout the season as Kurt entered 26 races in the Elite racing category. Here are some words he has to share with us about his season.
It’s hard to believe that in the last four years I’ve entered almost one hundred cyclocross races. What started as a fun and curious challenge shifted into a focus into how competitive I could become. After moving up in the amateur ranks in 2012, 2013 meant a whole new game as a category 2 racer in the elite field. Competing this season meant showing up to the big UCI races with some of the world’s top riders, and to the small grassroots races with the best locals. I competed in 27 races overall in the 2013 season.
After Quad Cross, the local season opener was Green Mountain CX, my first UCI race. New England CX racers all know this is a demanding course and right off the start I felt myself gasping to hang on to the pace. I got pulled with a few laps to go and felt as if I gave all I could. The next day, Sunday, I finished on the lead lap with all the power I had.
Sometimes things just happen and even if you’re feeling on top of your game things still go awry, like breaking your chain in the middle of the race. That’s how it went at the Midnight Ride of CX, a night race under lights. After a frightening start, barreling into darkness at full speed hearing only brake pads and tires skidding, I made it through the mess and felt like I was moving up; I was on my feet running halfway around the course to the pit a second later. The pit mechanic fixed my chain in minute or two and I jumped back onto the course while my heart was still pounding and rode it out the best I was able.
My next challenge came three days later at the Gran Prix of Gloucester amongst a stacked field. I felt comfortable in the pack sprinting off the line and had found my way in the mix for half of the first lap when I got a shoulder from somebody passing with power. Losing my line I swerved off course and my stem was knocked to the side. I had come ready with a pit bike this time and after a quick transition I was back in the race. Gloucester conditions were much drier than in past years; the course was very dry and dusty on the second day of racing. This dust proved to be a factor in the race: when riders stormed onto the course a wall of brown dust enveloped all but the top riders at the front. I finished on the lead lap and felt all the endorphins one can feel. Dust lingered in my nose for days, regularly reminding me of the intensity and grit of that weekend.
The following week was highlighted by the Providence Cyclocross Festival, which is always a big production. The field again was stacked with the best riders in the country. The course was fast and the top riders used their speed to break the field. Just around half finished on the lead lap both days.
The calendar for the next few weeks included some smaller races in rural New Hampshire and Maine that I hadn’t done in the past. As exciting as the big races were, these smaller races – with no announcers, few spectators aside from other racers, maybe one vendor, and a fraction of the number of racers – had a sense of competition that was much more intimate but just as fierce.
Starting line at Hannover CX
Orchard Cross turned out to be a party. Celebrating the end of the harvest on a Sunday in late October at Apple Crest Orchard in Southern NH with cider donuts, grilled corn, beer, a costume race, and a ripping fun course was a blast. The alluring course flaunted its autumn flavor as it weaved crisply around the orchard and through rows of crops; a set of nicely-groomed BMX style dirt rollers were also included in this two-wheeled hayride of sorts. Hanging tight in a fast group the whole race, holding on until the end, and staying smooth throughout were just as satisfying as all the delicious food they had there. It was a perfect fall day and one of the season’s highlights.
The next Friday James and I hopped in the car to head to Northampton via the Mass Pike. We were out past Worcester, about 20 or 30 minutes before we would have reached I-91, when we saw something dark in the lane ahead. Approaching fast, I jammed on the brakes and we locked into a skid. The unknown object turned out to be a car crashed out in the left lane and we weren’t slowing quickly enough. While locked in a skid I drifted the car into the middle lane. There was another car blocking that lane too so all in one motion we drifted back to the left lane, narrowly avoiding the accident in the darkness. We saw a few more cars and a large pickup truck with a huge trailer jack knifed up ahead. We were certainly shaken up a bit after narrowly avoiding this multi-vehicle accident in the darkness. Our gracious host Rebekah from the wonderful Valley Green Feast, one of BCD’s delivery partners, helped calm our nerves by taking us to Stone Soup Farms Co-op Launch party. I managed to race extremely consistently on both Saturday and Sunday, finishing on the lead lap each day and wholly exceeding my expectations.
A few weeks later was another weekend event in Sterling, MA: Bay State CX. At this point in the season we turn the clocks back, the sun is lower in the sky, and generally the temperature is noticeably cooler. No exceptions here, just add rain. These were the hardest races of the year without a doubt. I warmed up the best I could and prepared myself for the start. The ground was frozen solid but had a slick layer of thin mud as the rain had thawed parts of the surface and the bicycle tires scraped it away. Maintaining smoothness and a decent pace required intense focus and precision, as well as patience. The ice, rain, and mud were the typical mix of CX conditions we know and cherish here but had not seen yet this year. Greasy-feeling off-camber sections and steep, lumpy descents gave this course technical features that really broke apart the field. Seeing the upset of Jeremy Durrin beat Jeremy Powers was exciting to watch. Somewhere around half of the elite field finished on the lead lap both days.
The last big weekend event was NBX in Warwick, RI, right on the Narragansett Bay at a beautiful state park. I had raced here before and love both the venue and the course, which includes a rather long beach section, twisty lines though rooty pine trees, and a fast, paved downhill. The delicious taco truck there helped fuel me to consistent rides both days and I even finished in the money on Sunday! Twenty fourth place scored me $18. It does seem a little silly after paying almost $50 just to register but I’ll take it. It takes plenty of recourses to support a cyclocross season and clearly I don’t do it for money but anything helps. Towards the end of that race I felt solid and during the final laps I was passing riders whom I never see in a race except for at the start. They must have been having problems and I benefited. It happens to every racer; I have been on the other side of that many times myself.
Ice Weasels was the last race of the season and a local favorite. With a new venue this year it was different, but it maintained its festive spirit, or maybe it was all the beer they had. The high of the day was 20 degrees and the first snow of the year was starting in the afternoon, with a few inches forecasted to stack up that evening. A large fire, tents, and drinks kept the party together and I had a wonderful time even though there were some stressful moments. An icy off-camber stretch across the top of a hill caused many people to hit the ground. A hand injury made half of the race quite frustrating while trying to glide over the frozen earth. On the drive back my car was overheating while not getting any heat inside. As I made my way to Boston, cold and weary, hoping not to breakdown, all I could think was “please just get me home.” Indeed I made it but not without damaging my bike on the rear rack of the car. I felt better when I finally got warm and into bed, at last able to begin recovering from the shock I had absorbed from the day. I felt as if my body and equipment had all been fully exhausted and I felt strain on personal relationships. It seemed for a moment like everything was crashing down. There are highs and lows in this sport and all of them make me come alive. There are no regrets here, only lessons learned. I feel grateful for every one of these races for which I was lucky enough to line up.
Kurt raced the Bern “Allston” and the “Morrison" helmet, Bern’s first cycling specific offerings. BCD has put the Allston to the test in elite competition and in our daily courier operations this season.
With generous support from Pedro’s our race and work bikes have been rolling smooth and respond impeccably to the rigorous demands of competition and work.
Thank you to all of our sponsors and supporters! We look forward to developing the team as the Co-op grows and promoting the sport in 2014!
Boston Collective Delivery will soon be providing local food delivery for Valley Green Feast which will be expanding their capacity to Boston. Please follow the link and sign up for updates when we start taking our first orders. Valleygreenfeast.com/Boston
"In order for something to flourish, a seed needs to be planted and the bud nurtured. Over time, the cultivation of what is solely an idea can turn it into a reality. In South Boston, engrained in our spirits and imbedded in our persons are ideals and mores that foster those seedlings of growth. From personal progress to provincial produce to pedaling provisions, here are three examples of when you combine a little ingenuity, some hard work and a lot of determination: anything is possible." - South Boston Today
Produce box of a beautiful fall bounty, radishes, cabbage, spinach, rainbow swiss chard, sweet potatoes, squash and apples.
Through a collaborative partnership, our two co-ops will provide you with a non-commitment based, year round local food service that lets you decide what you want and when you want it. we carry customizable produce boxes (mini = $23, small = $32, medium = $45, large = $57, x-large = $70), meat, dairy, tempeh, bread, baked goods, coffee, tea, kombucha, honey, maple syrup, fermented foods, flour and so much more!
BCD Believes that constant vigilance and mindfulness is key to riding and working safely in Boston. When situations occur that are out of your control the proper gear is essential to preventing serious injury. Bern has been one such company that has been setting the precedent with design and advocacy in multiple sports. Our Cooperative is proud of our sponsorship from this world famous Massachusetts Company! Thank you to Bern for Setting up the BCD team with lids and gear to make our ride time safe and enjoyable.
We strive to make every delivery a priority, working together cooperatively allows us to work efficiently as a team.
The ability to work as a team and self direct comes from our experience in racing and working professionally together. These qualifications and our commitment to democratic governance, social responsibility and sustainability is what sets us apart from the crowd.
Our electric assist cargo bicycle service in conjunction with our cycle couriers is one way we are innovating and working together for the maximum benefit of our workers, clients, and community. BCD is committed to promoting sustainable business practices by actively contributing, along with many other organizations and local business to the lasting health of the greater Boston area.
If you are unfamiliar with the worker cooperative movement this is a recent interview from Eric of Red Sun Press representing WORC’N on WMBR’s What’s Left (hosted by Linda of Dollars and Sense). Eric does a great job of introducing the audience to what Coop’s are all about AND i think we got a little shout out there!!!!!! The story starts at 19 min. Here is the link if you want to jump to it http://wmbr.org/archive/What’s_Left____9_14_12_5:58_PM.mp3