Wednesday, September 24, 2008

#10 Bike Messengers

Being a bike messenger is extremely underground. Its so underground that try asking someone how you get a bike messenger job and they won't be able to tell you. Try going to It doesn't exist. You don't become one, you're born one. Last week I saw the most intense bike messenger I'd ever seen. He was riding his fixy, pant legs rolled up, talking on his walkie-t, drinking a stumptown, and carrying two huge boxes. One was strapped to his bag and the other was under his arm. I was pretty impressed because I didn't learn how to ride a bike until I was 13.

Many skills are needed in order to become a messenger, and many of them don't come naturally to most people. You need to be able to ride a bike in an urban environment at about 50 miles per hour. You need to be able to feel comfortable in both professional office settings AND local hipster hangouts. You need to remember all names of all of the architecture firms in town, and that's like a big jumble of alphabet soup in your head.

A bike messenger needs to be able to carry and deliver anything in their bag, and I mean anything. Drawings, boxes, computers, even dogs. If people need to send it across town, they'll be looking at you.

So if you do have what it takes to become a messenger then there are certain rules that you have to live by. Always keep random pieces of paper in your back spokes. Drink coffee at least three times a day at Portland Coffee House on Alder and Broadway. Never turn your walkie talkie volume down when you walk into an office. Eat lunch sitting against a blank wall in front of the US Bancorp tower where you can make fun of people in suits. Always make fun of people in suits. Get an ironic tattoo. Talk about how everyone has fixies now and you're thinking about getting a mountain bike. If you can do that, then I have a cute little cocker spaniel I need sent across town by 5:30.


marcus said...

you didn't learn how to ride a bike until you were 13??? nice. admiting shortcomings is uber underground. (notice usage of the word uber - also underground).

Felipe said...

wow i saw the most underground bike messenger ever! he had a cycling cap, tattoos along both arms, a cut off jean vest with a t-shirt underneath and short shorts. His fixie had stickers all over too and he looked really angry probably because it's freezing in London and there are so many buses and taxis on the road just in his way. Geez, don't those dweebs know that bike messengers not only look mega cool and underground, but they have a job to do too.

Anonymous said...

actually, that's a photo of a cavalier king charles spaniel, not a cocker. not that hipsters would care about the name of some dog breed that you want sent across town...
your blog is great, by the way.