Damian Riehl: On Rarer Occasions


Change is always good, and a bright future is ahead…

We ride in circles

“Last year has seen a lot of change in the Portland messenger work landscape, and really all over the world. It makes it harder for people who have been around to continue with the kinds of competition that are turning things upside down. From large companies folding, to larger companies gobbling up smaller ones, to sandwich delivery services creating a potential blight by hiring absolutely anyone, to creators of application based delivery services which runs the delivery logistics like an Amazon warehouse to anyone with a smart phone (with mad dash, first-come, first-served tactics and the illusion of supporting the local economy)–the pay is being driven down more and more and putting pressure on everyone to adapt.

People like Eric “Sharky” Young have moved on. We partnered as the bike portion of delivery for one of the larger, and super shady delivery companies for years in Portland (one fun example is a fuel surcharge to clients that was not passed on the the independent drivers). We both had been around since the mid-90’s, so making the change to something new wasn’t easy. Lucking he’d been helping his wife who’s been a buyer of vintage for years and going all in with his efforts in that department worked out very well for them. I continued on the bike, planning to find a way to get TCB Racks(shown) rolling as it should, as it deserved, and using the photography that I love, that I taught myself over the course of the past 4 years by carrying a camera with me everywhere, every day at work–checking with security to avoid the courthouse X-rays, and always finding room when my bag was stuffed–to find a way as well.

It’s come to this–a much less often sight of Sharky downtown, running monday delivery of flowers to office lobbies. And now for me, the occasional subbing for whoever needs a day free, a Super Sub as we call it. And digging deep. I’ve finally put together a web page that I’ll no doubt be making many updates and changes to as I learn the ropes more, and I’ve taken to the idea of writing more (look at this mess!)–like as in a traditional blog. And how about the idea of a photo book?

I’ve got five or so different avenues of income, mostly based in photography (almost all of which I love doing), and it’s pretty great how much potential there is in each particular area. I know I’m going to get along just fine. I’ve never felt more in control of things, and it took finally losing control to get there.

So here’s to the hard work of paying it forward and trusting yourself. To the hard road that lies ahead and to knowing you’ll get on just fine. To always doing what you love, continuing to do more of it, and realizing how lucky you are, always.

And here’s to the rarer occasions, the one’s we always look forward to.” – Damian Riehl