Re: [messengers] The Slowly Fading Cult of the Messenger

Date: 15 Apr 2010 14:55:18 +0200
From: Corey Hilliard <coreythecourier@xxxxxxxxx>

I don't know about tricks, but I do like the t-shirt Krillz gave me two days
ago. Yay, GRIME!

I'm getting tired of reading more "there's less work for bike messengers"
stories. 20 years on the road does that...

Corey the Courier

On Tue, Apr 13, 2010 at 3:15 PM, Joe Hendry <messvilleto@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> The Slowly Fading Cult of the Messenger
> The immortal class is looking a little more mortal these days.
> New York Times (City Room Blog), April 13, 2010
> With fewer packages to deliver and an increasing number of urban riders
> draping themselves with shoulder bags and cutting through traffic on track
> bikes, some say the cachet of being a bicycle messenger is wearing off for a
> new generation of street riders. It certainly is not the same as it was in
> 2001, when Travis Culley could write in his ode to the urban cowboy, “The
> Immortal Class: Bike Messengers and the Cult of Human Power,” that:
> I am sometimes seen as a social misfit, a freeloader, a junkie, but I am
> also envied for the color, the vigor, the picture of America I can find
> while they push their way through the weekday treadmill routine.
> Joseph Lanza, a messenger of six years who goes by the street name Joey
> Krillz, said that he had recently noticed a shift in attitude among some of
> the younger riders, especially those who prefer brakeless fixed-gear bikes.
> “Previously, in the scene, if you were a courier, you were it,” Mr. Krillz,
> 29, said. “But now it’s like, no one cares if you’re a messenger anymore.
> It’s all about the tricks.”
> As fixed-gear bicycles have become de rigueur for young urban cyclists in
> cities around the world, a new type of riding has grown up in the past two
> years, riders say. With so many now braving traffic in Midtown, the radical
> aspect of just being in the street has disappeared and a new style is
> emerging, one that appears more tethered to skateboarding and BMX bikes than
> to messengering.
> Some call it “700cmx” in reference to the rim size favored by those who
> ride this way. For most, it is known as fixed freestyle.
> But Edward Laforte, one of the few sponsored fixed-freestyle riders, who
> goes by Ed Wonka, has an even more complicated name for it. He said he
> preferred to connect this style of riding — in which bar spins, twisting
> bunny hops and riding backward, or “fakie,” are some of the primary tricks —
> to off-road, and he calls what he does “fixed mountain bike street,” he
> said.
> As a sponsored rider, Mr. Wonka, 20, has traveled to various world cities,
> where he has seen the scene spreading. “I see people popping up all over the
> place doing tricks,” Mr. Wonka said. “Everyone has a trick bike in Japan.”
> In what is perhaps an indication of how new it all is, Mr. Wonka’s
> sponsorship extends only to free equipment — he is currently working as a
> real estate broker to pay the bills.
> In fact, there are only a handful of riders in New York who are serious
> about these tricks, said John Watson, known as Prolly, who writes an
> influential fixed-gear blog, Prolly Is Not Probably. Those who do ride this
> way can often be found at the Brooklyn Banks (before they were closed for
> work on the Brooklyn Bridge) or on Thursday nights under the Brooklyn-Queens
> Expressway in Williamsburg, practicing their tricks for hours in so-called
> “peel sessions.”
> The style, developed in New York and Philadelphia, has been “blowing up” on
> the West Coast, Mr. Watson said. “It was like that in skateboarding, too,”
> he said. “The East Coast starts out with the gritty street riding, but then
> the West takes it over.”
> Despite the small number of serious fixed freestyle riders in the city,
> their influence on bike fashion has been pronounced. It is spread via a
> number of online sources, from Mr. Watson’s blog to others like Locked Cog,
> zlog and Trick Track.
> If messenger style is practical and grimy — an all-weather,
> long-hours-in-the-saddle kind of bohemian aesthetic — fixed freestyle
> fashion owes a debt to hip-hop and skateboarding. Flat-brimmed fitted hats
> are common, as are small designer T-shirts.
> And the bikes are changing, too, becoming smaller, heavier and more
> sluggish to ride but better for flying down stairs or grinding on ledges.
> “Two or three years ago, people just wanted to ride and have their
> messenger bag,” Mr. Wonka said. “Now you see kids coming out with their new
> trick frame and their new trick setup.”
> Luckily for messengers like Mr. Krillz, the sturdier, slower trick frames
> appealed from the start. “I’m just an old skateboarder, so maybe I looked at
> riding a track bike in the city a little bit differently,” he said. “You
> just start jumping off curb and, you know, it makes the day-to-day of
> delivering packages a little more interesting. Instead of just A to B, I can
> throw a third dimension in there. Maybe not get there as fast, but having
> just as much fun.”
> And, he added, there is room for profit. Mr. Krillz and Mr. Wonka recently
> started a T-shirt company that they hope will appeal to both groups of
> riders. “It’s a T-shirt,” Mr. Krillz said matter-of-factly. “A T-shirt can’t
> be specific to one type of bicycle.”
> -------------------------------
> Mess media
> Bryant Watch
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