Re: [messengers] NIU assistant professor delivers insight on bike messengers

Date: 13 Sep 2011 17:39:16 +0200
From: Kenton Hoppas <kentonhoppas@xxxxxxxxx>

The author of this book is also a main feature in the movie Career Courier.

He worked as a messenger for three years and really put into words what it is like to be a bike courier. 


Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 13, 2011, at 4:17 AM, Joe Hendry <messvilleto@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> NIU assistant professor delivers insight on bike messengers
> Northern Star, September 13, 2011
> By Chelsey Boutan
> When assistant professor of sociology Jeff Kidder first rode
> his bike down New York City's
> streets, he was afraid.
> Angry commuters, red lights, traffic, one-way streets -
> Kidder struggled to weave through the urban maze so he could pick up an
> application at a bike messenger company.
> "It's sort of like being in the middle of an aluminum Grand Canyon," Kidder said. "It feels very
> frightening."
> Kidder's interest in this subculture grew as he worked as a
> bike messenger for his doctoral research, which became the foundation for his
> recently published book, "Urban Flow: Bike Messengers and the City."
> "A bike messenger's self identity is really wrapped up
> in their work, and I find that very interesting," Kidder said. "My
> book tries to unpack what about this job allows that to happen."
> For more than three years, Kidder worked as a bike messenger
> in New York City, Seattle and San Diego.
> Kidder said having direct experience with the group's activities is the best
> way to study a subculture.
> "Jeff's research shows that participant observation is
> much, much more than simply describing the experiences and culture of persons
> in a unique setting," said Kirk Miller, department chair and associate
> professor of sociology.
> By taking this approach, Kidder experienced the freedom but
> also the dangers of being a bike messenger. Kidder recalled a close call he had
> while he was working in New York City.
> "I was riding during a blizzard, and on my way home, I
> slipped and swerved in front of a car that hit me head on," Kidder said.
> "I don't know how, but I didn't get hurt at all."
> Even though this occupation can be physically and
> psychologically demanding, Kidder said solving the problem of getting through
> traffic quickly to deliver a package allows for spontaneity and creativity that
> is structured out of most jobs.
> "For many of us, work is just a means to a paycheck so
> that we can realize our true selves somewhere else," said Kidder.
> "[Bike messengers] show us that being an active participant in the
> decisions we make throughout the day helps make what we do seem like it
> matters."
> Kenton Hoppas, owner of a Aloha Bicycle Courier, a bicycle
> messenger company in San Diego,
> said Kidder's book encapsulates the lifestyle well.
> "I felt proud to be a bike messenger when I was reading
> his book," Hoppas said. "He accurately wrote about everything that a
> bike messenger feels."
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