Sunday, November 7, 2010


Instead of having sex with his smokin'-hot girlfriend this morning, Ken sent me this little gem from Bike Snob's cyclist taxonomy:

The Messenger

Like cobblers, blacksmiths, cowboys and Luke Wilson, bicycle messengers continue to exist despite increasing irrelevance and a constantly shrinking demand for their labours.

  Even though the rapid disappearance of paper means they have less and less to deliver, no other cyclist is as romanticised as the Messenger, especially outside the cycling world.

They have even been immortalised in the 1986 film Quicksilver, starring Kevin Bacon. (Quicksilver is the greatest bicycle messenger movie ever made, inasmuch as it is the only bicycle messenger movie ever made.) Interestingly, despite being on the wane, Messengers are at the peak of their stylistic importance, as evidenced by their influence on Urban Cyclists all over the world.Of course, people aren't taken with all Messengers — they're just taken with the "cool" ones. These aren't the ones who deliver things on bicycles because it is the only type of work available to them; rather, they're the ones with expensive university degrees. In this sense, being a Messenger is less a job than it is a lifestyle choice, and they're sort of a cross between surfers and stylish mail carriers.
Most importantly, unlike other cyclists who will try to recruit new prospects, Messengers often discourage aspiring Messengers. This is because the mystique of the Messenger depends on people thinking it's hard, and if people discover that riding around the city all day is actually pretty easy and also a lot of fun they might start running their own errands and the entire house of spoke cards may topple.

Why other cyclists don't like them: They act as though they're performing a public service, despite the fact that they're the only ones out of all of us who are actually getting paid.

Compatibility with other cyclists: Will allow Urban Cyclists to look at them and drink near them at bars. They hate moneyed interlopers, yet they will also model articles of clothing that cost more than their monthly salary for purveyors of Urban Cycling gear.

via Bike Snob NYC writing for The Guardian

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