Article in Time out Sydney
Habitat: The streets of Sydney’s CBD
Dress: Shorts, satchel, two way radio
Credo: “Get out of the f***ing way”
Any job that requires you be impervious to insults, near misses with pedestrians, broken bones, dislocated joints and face-scraping grazes is no run of the mill crust-earner.
Unsurprisingly, bike couriers don’t brag about their injuries. They take pride in avoiding accidents. “Pedestrians are by far the greatest hazard to urban cyclists. My biggest fear is being knocked off my bike by a jaywalking pedestrian then going under a bus or truck,” says Simon ‘Shifty’ McKenzie.
From time to time, angry drivers take aim, but most messengers are circumspect about road rage. “Taxi drivers pull u-turns in front of you and don’t indicate. People swing their car doors open without looking. We all have to deal with the same dangers every day. We’re brothers in arms,” says Shifty.
“Taxis and buses have issues with us as we do them but it still amazes me how much good a friendly wave or apology can do.”
Sometimes things boil over. One courier had his revenge: “I once stole the keys out of a car that cut me off and threw them down a drain. I can assure you it’s difficult to reach in, turn the key and remove them from an occupied car.”
After work, couriers congregate near the old Post Office on George Street at Martin Place, standing around with Coopers and a rollie in hand, talking about their bikes. “This isn’t a job you choose,” Shifty says. “Usually it’s a job you get into because it looks cool or because you may have trouble getting another job. For a job with no qualifications it beats the hell out of flipping burgers or pouring beers.”
Tribal site www.cycling.org.au