In recent years there has been an increased interest in the bicycle messenger culture within the bicycling community. There is something about the image of strength, speed, simplicity, and freedom that highlights the messenger lifestyle and attracts our attention. This interest can be seen in the trickle through of fashion and gear choices that originate among the bike messengers and make their way into other areas of cycling.
In its way, the messenger scene has helped to fuel an awareness of the potential of the bicycle as a real-world vehicle of transportation and attract a growing community of cyclists. Bike messengers have given us a continuing reminder that the bicycle is a valuable part of this world and it’s here to stay.
Bicycle messengers have been around since the earliest days of the bicycle. In the late 19th century bike messengers thrived in many cities throughout the world, as the bicycle was often the fastest method of transporting telegrams and small packages over short distances within an urban area – much like today (although, these days, our e-telegrams put forth some pretty tough competition.)
Today’s messengers continue this tradition with a certain edgy flair that attracts their civilian counterparts. As they weave through tight traffic, or lounge coolly near the city center fountain awaiting their next job, they exhibit a minimalist, no-nonsense style and almost primal life-energy.
But this life-energy is no industry-guarded secret. Many cyclists refer to this same elevation in life-energy linked with their biking. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how bicycling does this, but it may be related to reduced stress levels from the healthy exercise it provides, or maybe it’s just that little bit of added wind in the hair that reminds us that we’re alive on this earth.
That message of positive life-energy is one that every bicyclist can deliver. Whether you ride a 10-speed, fixie, mountain bike, cruiser, lightweight racer, or trike – whatever your style – you are a bicycle messenger. On every ride, you carry along with you a message to all those around you that the bicycle is an enjoyable, clean, and effective vehicle choice that serves many of our transportation needs while simultaneously filling us with life.
So, the next time you’re out on a ride you might consider inspiring yourself with these words:
I am a bicycle messenger…