My mom has a habit of pulling over and sitting in silence every time an ambulance drives by with its sirens on. She would say a short prayer and only start moving once she felt done. It’s one of the starkest memories I have, her hushing us in the backseat of her ‘88 Honda Accord, trying to instill a modicum of reverence into our young, dumb hearts. I often forget about this but it’s been making its way into almost every dream, every night, for the last 6 weeks.
Los Angeles has some incredibly diverse riding. For those wanting to see the sights and sounds of the city, or to find solitude in the mountains, there’s something for everyone. Portland Design Work‘s new video showcases just that.
One Arm Bandit: Little Wings, Big Things
Photos and words by Ryan Le Garrec
François is what you would call in French a “fonceur”.
Literally, the word means “fast guy” but it’s more of an expression.
It evokes enthusiasm, determination, well, a lot of will and positivity,
and I couldn’t think of a better way to define this guy.
He won’t take no for an answer. From anyone. He is driven.
At the beginning, he was the first messenger working for Hush Rush, that another François created. He soon took the project by himself and managed to develop it into a real company.
FINGERSCROSSED collaborated with Berlin-based fixed gear athlete Til Schuster. They followed him along as he shows us what riding in Germany’s capital is about. He shares his thoughts about the sport, riding, racing, and life as he navigates his bike through the city.
Happy is the Messenger
Photos and words by Ryan Le Garrec
HAPPY IS THE MESSENGER
NO GPS, NO DEVICES
No GPS, no Strava, no smartphone, no device if only an old Nokia burner. No Macbook in the bag but a map book that rarely makes it out. After ten years on the streets, Karadama a.k.a. Karl Heinz Pohl knows the client list and all their locations well enough. He knows enough shortcuts and safe ways to make his day smooth rolling, dodging delays, anticipating complications, chasing any trouble out of his way. You’ll rarely see him hammer but when he does it’s with this emergency motto in his head “it had to be done yesterday”, that kind of speed.
This documentary from the early 90’s looks at the bike messengers of San Francisco. Thanks for emailing this video, Dan!
In an era where events are covered almost exclusively by digital cameras, Crazy Nick takes to the messenger community in NYC with his Polaroid camera.
Terry continues his 4K Chasing series with Stoked Johnny, while he worked a chill cargo bike shift for Samurai Messenger Service.
The Indian capital city is no joke for cycling, yet these talented riders take it on with ease.
… after quitting her studies in microbiology. Find out more about Kelsey’s life as a bicycle messenger in this profile video.
Photos by Chris Lee
Over at the New York Times, there’s a great write-up from the 2016 North American Cycle Courier Championship, featuring photos by Chris Lee. Nico and Christina took home first place from this year’s event, which landed in New York City. Head to the New York Times to see the full piece and check out a few more photos below.
Chances are, you’ve never heard of Fast Eddie. He didn’t win any pro race, or invent a bicycle component, or write any tech articles. In the modern world, there wasn’t really a way to connect with Fast Eddie except in person, on the streets of New York City.
Fast Eddie was as much a bicycle messenger as he was a modern anthropologist. He’d document his world with either a video camera, or a 35mm film camera. Eddie was a tall man, but he had a way of falling into the crowd and capturing intimate moments with his lens.
I knew Eddie when I lived in NYC and he would always give me pointers on photography, or we’d talk about buildings. Eddie was always around and was always smiling.
If you’re unfamiliar with Eddie’s work, check out his book ‘Bike Messengers Life: New York City‘ – most shops in NYC probably have this in store. Here’s an older video project he made, showcasing the messenger scene in NYC during the 90’s.
I endorse this message! … and the music.
… and they use this image from Helmut Newton in 1966 as a header image. Be sure to head over to Vogue UK and read the article.
Photos and words by Cooper Ray
On December 5th, 2015, the world’s toughest track bike race took place in the mountains surrounding a place which was once Tenochtitlán, the capital of the great Aztec empire, known today as Mexico City where more than 21 million people reside.
The race: Cielos Infernales. The only information provided to racers was checkpoint locations, and a finish line. This is not your average bicycle race – you must contend with open traffic, self-navigation, and 10,500 feet of elevation gain (also descending) on track bicycles. There were three peaks to be ascended with winding navigation through favelas between the Sierra Madre mountains. Throughout the race, it was either up, or down, with the descending nearly as difficult as the climbing. With impossibly steep and narrow streets, stray dogs, and uneasy looks from locals, this was a game or survival as much as a race. There is no giving up, you have to finish. This is the first track bike race of it’s kind, and will set the standard for this type of event and hopefully inspire more like it around the globe.
Bienvenidos a Distrito Federal y Cielos Infernales.
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“Cielos Infernales was being billed as the world’s toughest track bike race. The first of it’s kind- long, brutal, fast with miles of climbing into the clouds- on one gear in live traffic. 75 miles and 3 mountain ascents completely unsupported. It’s the first time an all-fixed gear alleycat has required the fitness and endurance of a stage race, and the street handling of a messenger. Plus racing in open streets in Mexico City is always a risk. Traffic is wild, roads are rough, and there’s always a chance of a stray pothole, dog, donkey or car catching you out. ”
San Francisco is an ideal city to ride a bike, both for pleasure and work. This documentary interviews the city’s bike messengers from 1987 who by the looks of it, ride for both reasons!