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Marcus Cook Award 2007 goes to Andy Zalan
9.10.07 by Buffalo Bill

Andy Zalan

The International Federation of Bicycle Messengers and Associations today announced that Andy Zalan, of Washington D.C. is the 2007 recipient of the Marcus Cook Award for services to the international bicycle messenger community.

The International Federation of Bicycle Messenger Associations (IFBMA) is pleased to announce that Washington DC messenger Andy Zalan has been awarded the 2007 Markus Cook Award. The Cook Award is given annually to bike messengers who best represent the camaraderie and community spirit of the international messenger community. In the past year, Andy set up the Destination Dublin race series in Washington that enabled several DC messengers to travel to the Cycle Messenger World Championships in Dublin, Ireland. His annual bike messenger calendar is a tribute to those who work day in and day out.

However, beyond Andy’s accomplishments of the last year, lies a decade long history of community advocacy and bridge building among American and European messengers. Andy is one of the founders of the District of Columbia Bike Couriers Association, one of the first organizers of alleycat racing in Washington and he brought the world to his city as host of the 1998 Cycle Messenger World Championships.

Andy has been instrumental to the continued success of the CMWC and is a critical component of the international messenger community. In his nomination for the award, veteran Swiss messenger, Luk Keller accurately summed up the international messenger community’s appreciation of Andy Zalan:

He never loses the spirit. He unites every aspect of what I like about messengers (he’s uncomplicated, he can race, he can party, he’s good-looking, he’s smart, friendly, badass…helpful) and by being the way he is he unites the messenger mob with the messenger snob.

With all this in mind, the IFBMA and previous Markus Cook Award winners are pleased to welcome Andy to the list of winners.

The other nominees were:

Shawn “Bega” Blumenfeld (organiser 1998 CMWC, 2003 NACCC and many other things besides) – Washington DC
Jörg Fuffich (Berlin messenger acitivist) – Berlin
Neal Keogh (organiser 2002 ECMC, 2007 CMWC) – Dublin
Nadir Olivet (organiser of the Grand Prix of Guatemala) – Toronto
America Meredith (messenger memorial curator) – San Francisco
Messenguerilla (s) – Zurich and everywhere
Slo Mo (Keirin) – Berlin
Graham White – Dublin
Josh Whitesnake (Mess Mag publisher) – NYC

Past recipients are:

1998 – Joe Hendry, Toronto, ON, CN
1999 – Rebecca ‘Lambchop’ Riley, DC/NYC/SF/etc, US
2000 – John Kenda & the Philadelphia BMA, Boston/Philadelphia, US
2001 – Joel ‘Magpie’ Metz, SF, CA, US
2002 – Derek Chadbourne, Toronto, ON, CN
2003 – Wayne Scott, Toronto, ON, CN
2004 – ‘Buffalo’ Bill Chidley, London, England
2005 – Jean Andre Vallery, Sarasota, FL, US
2006 – Amy and Kevin ‘Squid’ Bolger, NYC, NY, US

AZ and me
I first met Andy Zalan in 1994, at my first Alleycat. He had driven up from D.C. with Urk the Commander and a couple of other D.C. messengers. He showed me his messenger ‘zine, Rush. He was enthusiastic about meeting messengers from other cities, and totally into messenger events. After that I ran into him again at CMWC 96, and in 97 he came over for ECMC in Amsterdam, and rode down from Holland to Barcelona for the CMWC. At CMWC, he led the D.C. messengers in their sucessful bid for CMWC 98. In the end, I think AZ has been to all the CMWCs since 95, which means that he must be the most CMCed messenger in the world.*

  • Slomo tells me that Stef from Berlin has only missed one since 93. So AZ is the second most CMCed messenger in the world. Sorry AZ!

I was working for Timbuk2 as ‘messenger liaison’ in 97/98 (basically I gave messengers bags, beer and sometimes cash), I saw a lot of Andy in the next 9 months or so. We hung out in DC in March, and went to the legendary Ides of March Alleycat in Richmond, Virginia. I feel obliged to share with you that I pushed him round some of the course.

It was the D.C. crew that came up with the idea of having a group photo of all the participants. That picture has 600 messengers on it, which must be some sort of record (apart from being a record of who was there). It was a cool event, really gritty. The prize-giving was held in the National Ballroom, which is in South West D.C.. This was where all the Go-Go band played in the 80s, and the area has the reputation of being rough. In the end, the only messenger that was a victim of crime was AZ himself.

The legendary Boston messenger gang, the Blackouts, had earlier given AZ a Blackouts team-shirt with the number 13 and AZ on the back in large letters. At the end of the night, around 3am, it started raining, a heavy, humid down-pour that pounded the pavement, and made rivers of the road. Andy was standing outside as the last revellers were leaving. Out came the Blackouts. They were pissed off. An organisational screw-up (not intentional) had meant that the female skid comp had been passed over in the presentations. This meant that a Boston girl had been denied her moment of glory. The Blackouts upbraided AZ, and took ‘their’ shirt back off him.

AZ still had to go back to the race-course and stack barriers. It was 3am, tipping it down with rain, and a bunch of messengers had just taken the shirt off his back.

Messenger gratitude.

10-9 AZ. You deserve it.

  1. Bill, you didn’t mention that 1998 in DC is also where the MCA began (AZ is wearing the Blackouts shirt in the group photo too)

    — Joe    16 October 2007, 17:30    #
  2. Andy went to Jefferson Junior High. Andy had a car named Bessie plus he had Nutella. Andy. Andy. Andy. O Andy. Slainte.

    Maura    9 November 2007, 00:07    #
  3. az i take my hat off to you.good job ,keep it up. basically …… u care about all of us messengers world wide.congradulations

    — chito biker 94    19 November 2007, 10:29    #
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