Breakaway News Volume No. 23 Issue No. 12 December 2018

Holiday Greetings

It’s the season for giving, which means it’s the season for shopping, which means it’s the season for shipping, which means it’s the season for calling Breakaway to deliver that special something to you so you can give it to that special someone and wow the pants off him/her/them! We want to thank all our customers for being with us another year, and wish you all a happy, healthy holiday season.

 Holiday Rush

 We at Breakaway pride ourselves on our ability to get deliveries done in all sorts of conditions, but even we aren’t entirely immune to the holiday season. Many stores and offices close early, and everyone is trying to get work done at the last minute. Please review the back of this newsletter for some tips to make sure your packages get where they need to go during this busy time of year. 

 By The Numbers

 Fitness app Strava, it’s fair to say, has revolutionized our ability to track our physical activity and compare it to others. Their numbers also reveal some interesting trends. For example, 36 million cyclists from 195 countries logged 6.67 billion miles (with a “b”), from Sept. 2017 through Aug. 2018 (and drank vast amounts of coffee). Something else caught our eye:  Globally, community by bicycle is up almost 43 percent vs. last year.  In the U.S., it’s up more than 30 percent.  Great news for the planet! 


 “…and then I read that quote, and it really resonated with me. It said, ‘Love is wisdom, and hatred foolishness.’ ”

“That’s funny…I’d have thought it was the other way around.”

 Just one of the many conversations overheard by our messengers every day.

Light the Lights

 As you read this newsletter, we’re already in the middle of Hanukkah.  The 8-day Festival of Lights started on December 2. As we wish a Happy Hanukkah to our customers, we remember that this year is especially poignant and ask everyone to keep the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh in mind as we light our menorahs and hope for a more peaceful year to come.

 One Last Ride

 As all our readers know, we at Breakaway HQ are big cycling fans, and that means we follow the big races and the people that call those races. Sadly, commentator Paul Sherwen, former pro, British national champion, and commentator on the Tour de France (with constant call companion Phil Liggett) for 33 years, passed away at the age of 62. We’ll miss him, and wish him a final good ride into the great beyond.

 Stump the Band

 Last month we asked wanted to know who created Day of the Dead icon La Calavera Cantina. Answer: Mexican lithographer Jose Guadalupe Posada, who created her as social commentary.

 T-Shirt Question

 Coffee is beloved by cyclists and Europeans, but before coffee, people drank beer for breakfast. Who first brought coffee to Europe and popularized it? The first person to call Gil Ortiz with the correct answer will win a coveted Breakaway T-shirt.

Breakaway News Volume No. 23 Issue No. 11 November 2018


Breakaway Courier wants to wish all of our loyal customers a happy, healthy Thanksgiving holiday. This is the most highly traveled holiday of the year, so get ready for some long lines and lots of time in the car! This also means that you should call Breakaway to handle all of your holiday delivery needs, rather than venturing out to do it yourself.

 Impending Coma

 It’s November, and that means it’s the beginning of the holiday season, or, as we like to call it, “Eating Season.” Yes, it’s the season that kicks off the day after October with a massive sugar and candy binge from the Halloween loot, straight through Thanksgiving dinner, and on to the Christmas and Hanukah offerings. Forget Winter; food coma is coming. Wake us when it’s February. We should have fully digested by then.

Reader Poll

How many of our food preppers out there are going to use marshmallows on their sweet potatoes this year? No prize for answering first, we’re just really curious. Let us know when you answer the trivia question.

Standard, Savings

It’s that time, again! Daylight savings time is coming to an end, and we revert back to Eastern Standard Time, completing once again one of the most useless exercises in chronology that was ever put in place. At least, we all get an extra hour to sleep in.

Uber This, Lyft That!

Tooting our own horn edition! We’ve had some amazing successes with our French cargo trailers! Customers are amazed at their capacity, the fact they’re green, and that they perform so efficiently, even with all those Uber cars in the way!

“E” For Everything

Once upon a time, someone invented paper. For centuries, paper was the medium of choice for everything business; letters, documents, invoices, etc. Now, however, it’s the 21st century, and we think we should all join it. You can order online, pay online, track your package online, see your invoice online. You can even read our newsletter online, including back issues! Because paper is so last century.

 Ladies, We Need You!

As cycling advocates, we have long agitated for better cycling infrastructure here in our fair burgs. But what if that’s not all there is to it? A new study says that one way to make city cycling safer is to have more women cycling. Or, as the headline cheekily noted, “Fewer angry dudes.” So for all the dudes out there: we know you have a Strava PR to set, but really, slow down and let the ladies play through.

Stump the Band

Last month we asked who the first European was to sight the Americas. Answer: A Norse-Icelandic explorer named Bjarni Herjolfsson.

 T-Shirt Question

Although an icon of the Day of the Dead, La Calavera Cantina is a modern invention. Who originally created her, and what for? The first person to call Gil Ortiz with the correct answer will win a coveted Breakaway T-shirt.

Breakaway News Volume No. 23 Issue No. October 2018

All Hallow’s Breeze

 Halloween arrives this month, on a slightly warmer breeze than usual. What’s really scary is, the longer we write this newsletter, the faster it seems to roll around. Not to worry; if you’re short of teeth-shattering sweets to give out, you can still call us to deliver them to you by the truckload.

Irish Edition

 We bring you this edition of the Newsletter fresh from our trip to Ireland! Ireland was verdant and serene, and we’re feeling especially lucky. Don’t worry: we’re relaxed but raring to go with deliveries and rushes. They might just come with shamrocks, and maybe a leprechaun or two.

 Pumpkin Chunkin

 We actually enjoy Halloween, but, we are a little afraid of…THE ATTACK OF THE PUMPKIN SPICE EVERYTHING!!! Yes, the terrifying tactic of making everything taste pumpkin-like kicks off this month, with pumpkin burritos, pumpkin Pringles, pumpkin beer, and pumpkin spice you-name-it. Horrors! Of course, we’re not averse to delivering your favorite pumpkin spice treat, so call us. We’re ready for it!

 Leaf Peeping

 Another tradition that starts this month is leaf peeping season. The forests and trees of New York and New England all start to pop and burst with color as the trees get ready to shed their leaves yet again for the winter. If you’re too busy to take a drive, no worries. We can always bring you a box of leaves.

 Elevator Talk

 Then I said, “You’re not allowed to have any communication with me. I’m represented by a firm.” Confused friend: “Then why are you talking to him?”

Just another conversation overheard by our couriers every day.

Explorer One – Two

October 8th is Columbus Day. Interestingly, October 9th is Leif Erikson Day, the day we celebrate the first European to set foot in the New World, in Newfoundland. Two celebratory explorer days back to back? It’s an embarrassment of celebrations! Get the longboat ready!

Congrats, Valverde 

 We love cycling and cycling races, like the World Championships held last month.  Many fresh young faces showed their prowess and established themselves as the new talents that will dominate the sport. But we especially want to congratulate 38-year old Spanish rider and new World Champion in the road race Alejandro Valverde. We love to see an older guy showing the younger crowd how it’s done.

 Stump the Band

 Last month we wanted to know which monarch is commemorated in Central Park. Answer: King Wladyslaw Jagiello of Poland.

 T-Shirt Question

 Although the first European to set foot in the New World, Leif Erikson wasn’t the first to sight it. Who was? The first person to call Gil Ortiz with the correct answer will win a coveted Breakaway T-shirt.

Breakaway News Volume No. 23 Issue No. 9 September 2018

Labor Daze

 It’s already upon us. Labor Day weekend has come and gone, heralding the end of summer, the start of school, and soon some holiday shopping. As you relax and enjoy summer’s last gasp, remember that Breakaway can help you with all the work you’ll be returning to once the fall season is in full swing.  We can’t help you put off work, but we can help make it more painless.

 Office Rivalry

 As of this writing, a most unusual set of circumstances has arisen: the Yanks and Red Sox are in first and second place. Naturally, this boosts the inter-office rivalry between Breakaway New York and Breakaway Boston. Which office will have bragging rights? Which home city will prevail? We’re mostly bicycle racing fans, so we’re not invested, but most of our couriers are! Stay tuned!

 Shoe Leather

So, here’s an odd statistic: fully ten percent of shoes that are brought to the cobbler for repair of some sort are never picked up. They’re fixed and ready to go, but the party who thought highly enough of the shoes to bring them in just forget or never showed up. That’s a lot of unused shoe leather! If all those people just called Breakaway to have their deliveries done, maybe they’d have their shoes in better shape a while longer.

 One Last Grand

 July is already a memory, and the glow of the Tour de France has worn off, but right on its heels is the Vuelta a España. The last Grand Tour of the racing season is already well under way, and it started with a bang, with challenging mountainous stages almost right off the bat. This will be the last fix for fans like us this season. For Yankees and Red Sox fans, it merits merely a “meh.”

Off the Cuff

 Buildings continue to rise above our humble HQ in Hell’s Kitchen as the Hudson Yards development continues apace. According to our ad hoc and completely unscientific survey, there seems to be a 50% vacancy rate among the new buildings. Lack of services maybe? We know there will be plenty of new restaurants - if you’ve got the dough for it. To reserve a table, be sure to bring your mortgage broker. End rant.

 Very Intermittent

The newest craze sweeping the fitness world is intermittent fasting. Basically, you spend about eight to ten hours out of 24 eating, and then the rest of the time, you simply don’t eat. Some folks are down to two, even one meal per day. Not to be outdone, we at Breakaway are committing ourselves to eating only once per week, and then the rest of the time drinking hydrogenated water. Immortality, here we come!

 Stump the Band

 Last month we asked which large southern constellation was split into three. Answer: Argo Navis, which was split into Carina, Puppis, and Vela.

T-Shirt Question

 What monarch is commemorated with a statue in Central Park? The first person to call Gil Ortiz with the correct answer will win a coveted Breakaway T-shirt.


Breakaway News Volume No. 23 Issue No. 8 August 2018

Dog Days

The dog days of August are upon us. Sadly, August’s arrival means summer’s imminent departure. It also means heat. Lots of sticky, summer heat. But, it also means that you have yet another reason to call Breakaway. Our couriers have been heat-treated and can withstand temperatures approaching 200° F. So, stay cool in the AC, and let our guys deliver your goods for you. Just have some water on hand, if you don’t mind.

 More Dog Days

Speaking of dog days, it’s widely believed that the term refers to our canine friends seeking relief from the heat. In fact, it actually comes from Sirius, the “dog star,” which appears just before sunrise during parts of July and August.  The ancient Romans believed that the presence of the bright star brought extra heat (and also caused fever, madness and thunderstorms!)  Good days to stay inside with the AC on!

Time/Food Restricted

 The latest research in the field of nutrition is very interesting. It seems that “restriction” is the new magic bullet that can save your health. Studies have long shown that restricting caloric intake without malnutrition is a powerful deterrent to cancers and other age related illnesses. Now it seems that restricting the times you eat is at least as powerful a tool for weight loss and health, with benefits like increased muscle mass, lower body fat percentage, better sleep, and more energy. The key term is “without malnutrition.” That means Doritos are out, nutrient dense foods are in. Sorry.


 “I missed you!”

“I missed you too!”

“Great! We missed each other!”

Just another titillating conversation heard by our couriers every day.

First, and Last

Congratulations to Geraint Thomas, winner of the 2018 Tour de France. Thomas is the first British-born rider to win the Tour and the third from mighty Team Sky. Also of note was Texan Lawson Craddock, who crashed on the very first day, fracturing his scapula, yet still completed the race even as other healthy riders dropped out. He finished in last place, earning the unofficial yet prestigious Lanterne Rouge, and raised more than $200,000 for his local velodrome. Now that’s Texas tough!

Roman Holiday

 This is the first newsletter written by the editor post-vacation in Rome! The Eternal City is an amazing place, with amazing sights, amazing folks, and amazing food which people love to eat outdoors, sometimes late at night. Which led us to wonder: When does everyone go to bed? They’re up all night eating! Don’t you have to wake up for work?! Most importantly, how can I live like that?!

 Stump the Band

 Last month we asked what empire served as the precedent for Indonesia’s current borders. Answer: The Majapahit Empire, which lasted from 1293 - 1527.

 T-Shirt Question

What large southern constellation was split into three? The first person to call Gil Ortiz with the correct answer will win a coveted Breakaway T-shirt.

Breakaway News Volume No. 23 Issue No. 7 July 2018

Go Fourth, Have Fun

We wish all of our valued customers a very happy and safe Independence Day! We hope that you, like us, will be celebrating July 4th with a barbecue and the libation of your choice, while watching the rockets’ red glare and fireworks bursting in air. Make sure you get those deliveries in early for the holiday, and stay safe out there.

Why Ask Why?

Why we like bicycles: in a word, simplicity. Why we’re not too fond of cars: because they’re complicated. Why do we write such good newsletters? Because we ride bicycles. Why are we so good at quick, efficient deliveries? Because, we ride bicycles!


A heart-felt farewell to Walter DeRienzo, former owner of Personal Messenger Service. Breakaway merged with Personal last year, with the understanding that Walter would stay on a year while we integrated the companies. Now, he’s finally retiring, and is off to his native Uruguay. He worked alongside us in our office and is so likeable a guy that we bought him two cakes and a send-off package. Good luck Walter!

Complaint Dept.

Here’s our complaint: Windows 10 isn’t printing our invoices properly. It’s a perfect time for ALL our customers to sign up for electronic invoicing. Call Maria in Accounts Receivable at 646-674-8351 to get started. Really, it’s painless.

We Haul

Think that only vehicles can haul a lot? Guess again! Our cargo bicycles can haul as much as 400 lbs. Have a lot of stuff and want a small footprint? Call us and see what our cargo bicycles can do for you!

Tour Time

July is a month that we at Breakaway look forward to, because of that big annual event, the Tour de France. This year, unusually, the Tour is starting a week later, on the 7th. Which is just fine with us, because we’re always so into it, we don’t know what to do when it ends!

Final Stretch

Have you got a semi full of goods coming into the city? Do those goods need distribution? Have those goods come from all over the world, just to languish at the final stretch because navigating the city is complicated? Give us a call and see what our Last Mile Service can do for you. Whatever you have arriving, we can stage it, organize it, and deliver throughout the city, making sure your customers get what they need when they need it. Don’t blow it in the last leg!

Stump the Band

Last month we asked what conflict paved the way for modern espionage operations. Answer: The Great Game, a conflict waged between the British and Russian empires.

T-Shirt Question

What empire served as the precedent for Indonesia’s current borders? The first person to call Gil Ortiz with the correct answer will win a coveted Breakaway T-shirt.


Breakaway News Volume No. 23 Issue No. 6 June 2018

Not Another Tie!

The change from May to June is wonderful because we get to go from remembering fallen heroes to recognizing the heroes in our own lives: our Dads! Here’s to all the fathers out there who stayed up late waiting for us to come home, helped us with our homework, and taught us life lessons that we still live by. Our couriers are standing by to help you get that perfect gift to the hero who helped raise you.

Taste of California

Congratulations to Egan Bernal of Team Sky for winning the Men’s Amgen Tour of California. The Columbian grabbed hold of the leader’s jersey on the 2nd stage, and held it to win overall. This, as his Sky teammate Chris Froom wins the Giro d’Italia across the pond. Congratulations also to Katie Hall of United Healthcare for winning the women’s Tour of California.

Generally Speaking

A while back we told you about our fancy new French trailers.  They’ve now acquired appropriate new monikers:  Sherman and Grant, after the logistical genius generals credited with winning the Civil War. Their likenesses also adorn the trailers, so keep an eye out for them around town, hauling up to 100 cubic feet of cargo.   And if you have a large bulk delivery to get done quickly, give us a call to send out the generals!

All Pretty Interesting

Speaking of bulk ordering, we are now offering our customers an API – that’s Application Programming Interface for the less techie among us. It’s a faster way to get your orders into our system so that they can be dispatched and delivered even more quickly.  Interested?  Have your tech people call our tech people.

Hubway, Flubway

Our Boston Breakaway brethren love cycling. As do we. And as do many people in Beantown. To prove it, Boston has its own bike share scheme, called Hubway. One rider took it to extremes, however, when he took a Hubway bike onto the northbound I-93 in the O’Neill Tunnel. A little extreme, but we love the commitment!


Or, we should say, lack of tubular. We hope. Our Fearless Leader RK has already been singing the praises of tubeless tires for his road bike. Now, he’s agitating for tubeless tires for his Brompton folding bike. Brompton, get on that, will ya?


“I would date him, he’s cute and all, except he has no money.”

Just another titillating conversation heard by our messengers every day.

Stump the Band

Last month we wanted to know which venerable, classic bicycle race finally added a women’s event. Answer: Liege-Bastogne-Liege, aka “La Doyenne.”

T-Shirt Question

“The Americans” has finally ended.   What conflict paved the way for modern espionage operations? The first person to call Gil Ortiz with the correct answer will win a coveted Breakaway T-shirt.

Breakaway News Volume No. 23 Issue No. 5 May 2018

May Finally in Play

Breakaway wishes all of our customers a happy May Day, especially now that it seems that winter’s icy grip has finally eased. So, by all means, go out there and get some sun! Also, for all our customers of the Islamic faith, Ramadan Mubarak!

Text Now Not Vexed

It took a bit longer than we expected, but text messaging is now a part of our dispatch software. This means that if you want text updates on a job you’ve ordered, just give the phone operator your number, or enter it yourself when you order online. Our vendor helped solve the problem when he reached under our desk past the thicket of cables in the power strips to plug the console in.

Saddle Up

May is National Bike Month – the perfect time to trade in your traffic jams or delayed trains for a delightful sail to work on your bicycle. New Yorkers take 450,000 bike trips daily, and about 1 in 5 of those are commutes. If you’re ready to join us, Bike to Work Week is May 14–18. Not up to a whole week?  Try it out on Bike to Work Day, May 18. Of course, here at Breakaway, some folks are lucky enough to spend their entire work day, on a bike. 

Are You Experienced

Since 1998, economists have been writing about the “experience economy.” This is the next stage:  agrarian to industrial to service to, finally, experience. What is it? Basically, people are paying to have experiences. Businesses are providing memorable events for customers, and this experience then becomes the product. Heck, we’ll do you one better. If you want the experience of being a bike messenger, come work for us, and we’ll pay you!

Same Digs, New Nabe

Oftentimes, people move to see new places and experience other locales. But nowadays, you don’t have to go anywhere for that. Here at Breakaway HQ we don’t even recognize our own neighborhood anymore, surrounded as we are by construction sites with 70-story behemoths rising all around us. It’s like being at the bottom of a fish bowl! We didn’t move an inch, yet there’s a brand new city being built before our very eyes.

Perchance to Sleep

Probably no commodity gets shorter shrift in our new world than sleep. Whether partying all night, binge-watching the latest Netflix series, or just plain old catching up on work or study, sleep often gets sacrificed for productivity or play. This isn’t ideal, however, since both body and mind are renewed during sleep. So, don’t worry about that last errand. Let us do it, and sleep in a little. Maybe a cat nap.

Stump the Band

Last month we asked what the last stronghold of the wooly mammoth was before extinction. Answer: Vrangel Island, in the North Sea off Russia.

T-Shirt Question

Women’s professional cycling has really taken off. Which very old race has finally added a women’s event, and only for the second time this year? The first person to call Gil Ortiz with the correct answer will win a coveted Breakaway T-shirt.

Breakaway News Volume No. 23 Issue No. 4 April 2018

Easter Egg Face

We would like to wish our customers a very happy Easter Sunday. What’s noteworthy about this Easter is that comes on the 1st, and that’s also April Fool’s Day, so it’s the perfect opportunity for some cut up to really make this Easter memorable! We’re ready to deliver that Easter bonnet or whoopee cushion whenever you need it.


This newsletter was worked on by videoconferencing. Now you know.

Spring Classics

March Madness has subsided, but now, for us cycling buffs, the real madness begins, albeit overseas. It’s the start of the spring cobbled classics in Europe, when pro cyclists put their posteriors to the ultimate test, by riding their road bicycles over some brutal cobbled roads of the old countries. We can’t wait for the thrills, spills and chills!

New Hires

Not sure why, but lately we’ve been swamped by a whole plethora of folk applying for a coveted position of bike courier with us. Lots of folks who say they’re from Washington and all muttering about having to get out of some “snake pit” seems to be the only common denominator. Could be a bit problematic; we don’t know if we have enough positions for them all.


“I know, I know. I would’ve gone out with him, except…”

Just some of the titillating conversations heard by our couriers every day.

New View For You

We realize that, more and more, information is being moved electronically. This, of course, includes our invoices. If you prefer all things electronic, and are cranky about receiving this newsletter in the envelope with your bill, we can e-mail a PDF of your invoice instead, meaning that you can get it immediately, instead of waiting for the newsletter to be written and included.


Have you got junk? Of course you do; we’re Americans in the 21st century, and that means we all have 3 bedrooms worth of stuff in a 1 bedroom apartment. We just want to remind you that we move stuff. Lots of stuff! We also move food, because after stuff, what else is there? So give us a call and let us handle your stuff!

Stump the Band

Last month we asked about Purim in other cities, and which one had the most. Answer: Ancona, Italy, with four Purims in one year, for salvation from an earthquake, two fires, and a riot.

T-Shirt Question

Wooly mammoths coexisted with humans a long time before dying out. Where was their last stronghold? The first person to call Gil Ortiz with the correct answer will win a coveted Breakaway T-shirt.




Breakaway News Volume No. 32 Issue No. 3 March 2018

Smiling NY Eyes

The clover is in bloom, shamrocks are everywhere and the green beer will flow from many taps. It’s Saint Patrick’s, and Breakaway wishes all of our clients a happy Saint Paddy’s Day, and all the luck o’ the Irish! Be sure to factor the Parade into your deliveries, and be extra nice to our leprechauns when they come for pick up!

Holy Schlamoly!

Aside from Saint Patrick’s Day, this March marks the start of a plethora of religious holidays that are observed not just here in the burg, but around the world. So, here goes. Happy Purim (March 1st) Holi (2nd) Lent (14th) Good Friday (30th) and start of Passover (31st). Holy mackerel, I’m exhausted.

Spring Ahead

March is also the month of the vernal equinox, as we finally head into spring on the 20th. Why is it that the older we get, time speeds up, but spring always seems to take longer to arrive? Anyway, March also marks the arrival of Daylight Savings Time on the 11th, so set your clocks accordingly.

March Meshugah

It’s also time for March Madness, the NCAA’s yearly strategy for destroying productivity all over the country by making people mesmerized with college hoops. This year, there’s a twist; Yeshiva University, for the first time in 80 years, has made it to the NCAA Division III tournament. Will the Maccabees be able to hammer their opponents on the hardwood? Tune into the madness to find out.

Just Saying

What’s with the lack of civility? When did listening to a smart phone out loud on the subway not make one a total dimwit? Just saying!

Electric Avenue

Tesla Motors helped popularize the idea of electric vehicles, and now others are starting to get in on the act as well. We went to kick the tires on an electric cargo van called the Chanje, which would drastically reduce our carbon footprint but is also heinously expensive. We love the idea, but controversy erupted over the name. How is it pronounced? We personally like adding a French twist to it: Shan-ʒe, rather than change. Makes it sound rather cosmopolitan.

Bulk Effect

What’s a sure sign of business growth? Instead of sending two or three things by courier, you have to send dozens of things! Especially if it’s e-commerce. Well, we’ve got you covered. Our logistics team can help with everything from warehousing to last-mile delivery. Contact our logistics department for more info, and see how we can complete 300-500 deliveries per day for you.

Stump the Band

Last month we asked what cyclists wore before the advent of Spandex/Lycra. Answer: Both shorts and jersey were constructed of wool.

T-Shirt Question

Some communities celebrated more than one Purim. Which celebrated more than any other? The first person to call Gil Ortiz with the correct answer will win a coveted Breakaway T-shirt.