Friday, October 07, 2005

Bicycling Magazine/Bike Messenger Appreciation Day

Check out the November issue of Bicycling Magazine on the shelves of newsstands now. There is a cool 5 page spread of photos from cycle enthusiast, journalist and photographer: Francois Portmann.
These guys can sure deliver a package.

Here is something I wrote today, about: Bike Appreciation Day. Hosted by the well organized:

He had all the right elements to fit the profile. The messenger bag, helmet with building guest pass stickers all over it, fixed gear bike and the infamous heavy bike chain and lock, the moniker of any working cycle messenger. Judith stood on the corner of 6th Ave. and Bleecker St. and wondered if he was a Bike messenger or a “pos-enger”, someone who just looks the part. Judith is a working messenger and had volunteered her time today to celebrate the 2nd annual bike messenger appreciation day. When she is not zipping through traffic at breakneck speed to deliver your packages, Judith works for the NYBMA, a loose knit organization of couriers trying to stand up for their fellow employees right to the road and offering financial support to those injured on the job. Most bike messengers don’t have health care, are not covered by the companies they work for and are left to fend for themselves, while providing a necessary and fast service to the business community. The NYBMA hosts many events, film screenings and bike races in order to raise funds. Today was just one way the messenger community was giving back to its own. Judith was standing on the corner handing out free food to working messengers. The brown paper bag contained a bottle of water, a bagel and a banana, a quick snack for those on the go and a newsletter from the NYBMA. Judith fronted the money, but knew she’d make it back tonight as the appreciation will continue at an after work party. 49 East Houston Street has become a hub for bikes and cycle activists alike. It is the home to Time’s Up, the environmental group and the NYBMA where messengers gather to make plans and throw parties. It became a major site this summer, as the registration center for the 13th annual Cycle World Messenger Championships, which finally got its proper due in New York City and Jersey City. This was the 2nd year the NYBMA had hosted the appreciation event and both times had worked with the city to obtain a permit. Other messengers waited under a tent, putting together the food packs and signing up new recruits for the organization. Some bikers cruised up 6th Ave and ignored Judith’s handout, others took it from a quick hand-off like a feed zone in a professional road race, not wanting to loose any time on their runs. The guy who fit the profile turned out to be the real deal. He took the brown bag with a smile. That seemed to be the number one goal of the messenger appreciation day.


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