When bike messengers gather to test their mettle

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Bike messenger reflecting own the coming bike messenger championships

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Ever come across a bike messenger who did not like a bit of speed?

“This bike is just a year and a half old. This year, I hope to be going to the European and World Bike Messenger Championships. I have a friend who has been in the European Bike Messenger finals twice now. You have to make qualifications and then you can ride the main race. And then you also have the biggest Alleycat race in Europe – and then you have 200 participants, but no cars. It is huge chaos with 200 riders on bikes. You just go and ride your best. You have the same conditions for everyone and the focus is on performance. I would never win and never will because the levels are so high. The Germans are really good.

“I have raced in many Alleycat events, but never an official one.

“My friend finished 77th out of 200. It was really harsh and it is in the week and you are always at a party and always drunk – and then you have to get on the bike and win the race.

“This year the European Championships are in Stockholm in July. And the World Championships are in August in Paris. For the first time, they are in Europe. We are all going to go there and it is going to be huge. Then it is not 200 participants. It is 2000. There are no male and female categories. You are just a messenger. And sometimes the women are really, really, really tough.”

Photographer’s notes: Bike messengers get in the miles and the bike handling skills to be decent speedsters, given a bit of space. I am chuffed at the idea they band together to race amongst their own.

In a couple of weeks, the European Cargo Bike Championships are being held in Holland. And then the thrills of individual messengers in Stockholm. But the big event will be Paris.

Oh, Alleycat racing is basically an unsanctioned race. Some are truly mad, w racers on the streets with cars. Better organised events basically means anyone can race, as long as your bike is in good working condition. You do not need a racing license that is required in what most iff us know as road racing. Some Alleycat races are limited to fixed gear only bikes. Others are for all comers. It is a bit extreme – which might explain why Red Bull is one of the larger sponsors of main events.”


Links: It may be dated, but one of the better liked articles about bike messengers.. I’d Rather Be A Bike Messenger link here…

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