Behind the Scenes: Travel Channel’s Series on NYC Bike Messengers Dec 1, 2010


Yesterday I was invited by the Travel Channel to gain access behind the scenes at their new show on bike messengers in NYC. On any given day, there are 40 cameras out in the city, following messengers and recording their dispatchers. A select few companies were chosen and yesterday, I spent the rainy day indoors at Quik Trak. It was an interesting look at the inner workings of a middle-sized messenger company. Armed with my 35mm camera, I headed into the office.

Check out more photos below!


I think it’s safe to say that NYC’s bike messenger population dwarfs all other cities. Quik-Trak is a smaller company, with about a dozen dispatchers working a fast-pace job coordinating over two dozen walkers and bikers.


Like most jobs, there are rules to keep you safe.


Many of the dispatchers covered in the show are rich in personality. Even with the cameras in their faces, they managed to keep the ball rolling.


The most interesting part of this experience was seeing how the people were treated by the cameramen. While there’s no coaching, there were times when they were told to repeat something more clearly. There’s no acting here. These are real NY’rs.


Behind the glass, in the flesh.


Out on the streets, nothing stops the crew. Rain, sleet, snow or hail, the messenger works year round.


Each messenger on the show is being trailed by a camera man withHD helmet cams. One pointing forward and one pointing to the rear.


Who is one of the camera men? None other than Austin Horse.


By using Austin as a creative director, the show gets an authentic look into the life of these messengers.


So far, the show is moving along quickly without a hitch. There’s tons of drama to be expected and like all reality shows, this show is sure to give everyone an in-depth look at the real messengers of NYC.

I want to thank the Travel Channel for giving me this opportunity. No other journalists have been allowed on the show and being the first is a huge honor. Check out more photos on my Flickr!

  • Zach FF

    Looking forward to this show — maybe now there will be a show I’d actually watch on Travel without my girlfriend stealing the remote so I can’t change it.

    That being said I’m interested to see if the show glamorizes the job at all and if it addresses the general public’s reaction to bike messengers, in particular the fact that most of the dangerous riding I see (in Chicago at least) is done by messengers.

  • james

    Prolls, this is really good. Not many other blogs carry content like this. I can’t wait to see what you’ve got up your wizard sleeve next.

  • joe

    Ha. I’m glad to see the TV guys get to meet the ever so charming Don at QT.

  • Mitch

    Killing it John. You always post some quality content. Now just quit posting those horrible Vimeo videos. ;)

  • Greg

    you’re not a better photographer because you’re shooting 35mm. get over it! that’s just about as annoying as yelling “I’M RIDING A FIXED GEAR!” to attempt to give yourself more street cred while you ride down the road.

  • Greg, I never said I was. You’re the one who needs to get over it.

  • Wow Greg… what’s wrong with someone shooting 35mm? I mean, I personally wouldn’t (because I love instant gratification and whatnot), but there’s something to be said for how much 35mm forces you to take a minute to really think about the exposure, aperature, and composition – because every time you click the shutter, there’s a cost. On digital, I can stagger a bunch of shots with tons of settings, bracket exposures, etc and then wipe it all if I don’t like it. That leads me to some sloppy techniques I never would have tolerated when I used film. His shots are 100% fine for the web, from what I’ve seen here. It’s like bitching at someone for using Firefox instead of Chrome. They both get the job done. Chill.

    Any idea on airdates yet?

  • scotty npt

    Ha! Sick shots bro! The horse was following me the other day. Dude is the man. Wish they would let me check out some of the footage.

  • Rishi

    Prolly, dude. That 3rd photo is hands down the funnyest thing you have ever. Ever. Posted on your blog. I laughed for an hour

  • I think Greg was noting how much/often John details the 35mm aspect of these newer photos. So much so the it’s become annoying. agreed.

    John is basically saying “I shoot 35mm on my EOS 3” over and over, so the, annoying as yelling “I’M RIDING A FIXED GEAR!” comment does have a place.

    But i see both sides, John is amped about photography so let him be amped about photography.
    But maybe he should ease up on the tech details unless someone asks “how was that shot”

    After all, just 2 weeks ago someone explained to him that 35mm film is the basis for the term “full-frame” in digital photography, and that Canon SLR bodies from 20 years ago can use the EF lenses he already owns.