These guys are nuts, they must break every traffic rule in the book.

Try at your own risk!!

Views: 576

Location: New York, NY

Comment by Andrew on December 28, 2008 at 9:21pm
We have had a few of these vids at the Bicycle Film Festival over the years
Comment by DamianM on December 28, 2008 at 9:42pm
Ahh the giddy rush of watching your first Lucas Brunelle film.
Kinda dangerous finishing the Saturday night slot at the film fest with one of these, my trip home, while short, had me doing some things in king st traffic I probably shouldn't :)
Comment by Doddsy on December 29, 2008 at 3:44am

Those guys are so balls out.

I don't really like the way they show off so much and i especially don't like the lack of skill amongst a lot of the riders. So many New York messengers just seem to act as if New York is the be all and end all to being a cyclist.

No offence intended to the better breed of riders that come out of New York, Im just a little annoyed at the lack of industry regulation. Street kids who think they are hard core because they are a New York bike messenger on a track bike yet only make $40 a day if they are lucky. Hipsters with NO BRAKES Tattooed across knuckles.

When i started back in 98 i was out of my league in comparison to the amount of skilled riders that we had in our fleet. We had close to a hand full of South Australias best cross country riders, We had a Down Hilling State Champion and a few others in the top 5 plus some past champions, same went for a couple of the Roadies also.The amount of skill amongst messengers used to be insane.

We used to ride our mountain bikes in and chip in 5 bucks each during the lunch time lull so that a van driver could drop us at the top of Mt Lofty and we'd get a taste of the dirt on our lunch breaks.

Emails and Fax Machines took off and companies kept hiring nimrods without any cycling experience or skill so that they could rip them off. Most of the skilled messengers have left over the years and the amount of bottom feeding dregs have increased tremendously.

There are still good messengers around but most of the ones you see in that movie are not. New York is New York and they've had to stand up and fight for there rights as cyclists... They still didn't get any so they applied a typical New York F#*K YOU!!! attitude, they never had any lanes so they took lanes, they used to get arrested and bail each other out of Jail and stuff like that. Cycling in New York has come a long way but the working rights and training for messengers hasn't.

Maybe its a good thing that a lot of companies stereotypically hire street kids, with drug addictions, social insecurity issues and stuff like that, but it seriously brings the industry down and it is bad for Cyclings Image.

Personally i'd like to see the Job turned into a trade where you have to pay some money. do a little course and then pass a test. that would ensure skilled and trained workers on the streets we'd also need to see some form of government regulation to stop companies from fleet stacking, Its hard to make a living when every time its quiet and you wonder how your going to make rent, your company hires more riders (Mail Call). Messengers should be riding across town with at least 4 non urgent deliveries, not 1.

Alley Cats should be fun, social and confusing, You should struggle to figure out which way to go (no set order for each checkpoint), you should learn new things about the city, something historical or just go to some random locations with great views maybe you should have to be at certain checkpoints at certain times (if you choose the wrong way you'll get disqualified). None of this point to point go here and then go here ride as fast as you can crap.

I guess thats why i don't ride in them anymore.

Messengering is about riding smart not fast, Its more about getting the work than it is about doing it.

If i honor my contract in Toronto my bonuses and monthly income will come to around $3250 a month (including paid flights and tickets to the hockey), the average wage of a north American cycle messenger is $1200....

Why they are trying to figure out who the fastest is, is beyond me.

Teach me about your city and confuse me then give me a good place to grab a Pint and a nice meal after the Alley Cat and i'll be there. (Make DFL (dead last) the biggest prize also).

If not its not a real Alley Cat, its a race of idiots.
Alley Cats aren't about winning its about catching up with your mates and learning about the city your riding in.
Comment by Timmy G on December 29, 2008 at 7:45am
as silly as these guys are, it's a bit of fun to watch! there is a san fran one and that would be quite challenging as a cyclist as it's so damn hilly!!

but yeah doddsy you make a bunch of valid points. i don't really know anything about riding, and i'm about the furthest from a courier as you could be as i've hardly ever ridden a bike, unfit as hell.

so was this race part of raising awareness for cyclists (by them taking lanes, running reds, going through zebra crossings, etc.) or was it just some fun and games?
Comment by Doddsy on December 29, 2008 at 12:13pm
Timmy g asked.
"so was this race part of raising awareness for cyclists (by them taking lanes, running reds, going through zebra crossings, etc.) or was it just some fun and games?"

These races are pretty much just fun and games, Bike messengers and most cyclists in New York city completely take lanes. New Yorkers have a complete dog eat dog mentality, If you don't look after and stand up for yourself people walk all over you. Most cyclists in New York run red lights as it is considered to be the same as J-walking. The not giving way to pedestrians and relying on motor vehicles to slow down is what annoyed me about this footage. Its a little hard to tell on a lot of those intersections unless you look for it but on a lot of the red lights that were run the traffic with the green light was already banked up so a lot of the motorists with the green lights had nowhere ahead to go, a lot of these motorists were just trying to sneak through the intersection before the lights changed. Most of the intersections were like dodging traffic in a parking lot. In a lot of cases if you ride close enough to the back of the stationary vehicle the only way you'll get hit is the motor vehicle trying to sneak through the intersection runs up the back of the motor vehicle in front of it...

Riding around Boston, Toronto and Montreal with New York messengers was a little bit strange they were completely oblivious to the traffic around them, they'd just ride down the middle of any lane and not make room for motorists trying to get by, Needless to say there was a lot of motorists yelling abuse at New Yorkers and messengers from all around the world telling the New Yorkers to let the motorists past.

If a cbd road has four lanes of traffic heading in the same direction its ok to take a lane, but if its a narrow road like Sydney you should really try to let the motorists through when safe and practical. (if there isnt much room take enough room to make the motorists merge around you to avoid them trying to squeeze past.)

Messengers had a positive effect on Cycling in New York City for a lot of reasons (they also had a lot of Negatives.)

At one time there was as many as 7000 cycle messengers in New York, without them that would have equated to more than 21000 extra motor vehicles. (in congested areas bike messengers do at least three times the amount of deliveries as motor vehicles).. They also had a very big social network (global). A lot of people have become cyclists because of bike messengers, a lot of them are idiots on track bikes (thank god those idiots aren't behind the wheel of a car.)... Its a little out of hand these days, You ride around most cities in North America and you can't tell who's a messenger and who isn't. Most messengers these days aren't even considered messengers amongst the old schoolers but if all of this egotistical bollox gets people on bikes i guess its a good thing.

This whole New York Messenger race scene had a lot to do with messengers who are completely disillusioned with the system and sick of other road users putting there own safety at risk. I guess its there way of saying "Up your's if anyones going to put my safety at risk its me when i'm having fun."

A lot of messengers in North America resent non messengers trying to dress and ride like them but i genuinely feel they have themselves constantly showing off to blame for this emergence of hipsters. I think they should be dealing with the cyclists they have created and not turning there back on it.

The whole messenger race scene has really fizzled out since non messengers have been trying to get involved, the re emergence of Hard Court Bike Polo is now the chosen messenger sport due to the fact that the organisers don't have to worry about idiots doing stupid things in Traffic...

Hard Court Bike Polo is much more unskilled (non messenger) cyclist friendly and it gives cyclists the opportunity to improve there in close and technical riding skills awayfromcars
Comment by kirby on December 29, 2008 at 5:21pm
WANKERS everyone of those pedestrians they nearly took out and the cars that were nearly clipped now hate cyclists. well done idiots. no i didn't bother to watch the rest of this vid'. this is why we have a bad rep, yes i know people out there will disagree with my view but jesus guys this is not the way to engender nice feelings for us with the general public
Comment by Timmy G on December 29, 2008 at 7:52pm
guys, you can't expect every cyclist to be a perfect representative. you can pick up a bike for $250 and be an asshole - the level of entry is very low.

that being said, i found the video very entertaining, and yes maybe people like me posting it up on here (as if it wasn't already public enough on youtube!) might encourage more people to strap on video cameras and be a copycat, but hey - those kind of people are going to get their inspiration from someone sooner or later!


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