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These events weren’t only there for open forums, but also to encourage a bit of competition and fun. Bragging rights were had and while you were there competing, you were making friends all over the globe. It’s safe to say that the CMWC has changed since it first began. Now with cycling more popular than ever, new riders are looking to have a taste of messenger culture. The only question is, is the CMWC ready for non-messengers to be in attendance in such numbers? One thing’s for sure, most alleycats in major cities are over-run with city bikers.

All of these thoughts were spiraling through my head as I began to plan for the CMWC 2009 in Tokyo. I had been invited by a few of the organizers and was told that this was going to be the biggest yet. Knowing Japan has some of the most talented fixed freestyle riders in the world, I knew I had to go. It presented a perfect excuse to finally get over to Japan and ride with people. All was going well until I made a post on the NYC fixed boards about my attendance in the event. Someone posted that I didn’t belong there and people like me were ruining these events, telling me to take my shiny bike and money elsewhere.
Sure enough, after I made a few posts to my blog about attending the CMWC, I got similar feedback from people. To be honest, it bummed me out. I’ve been riding a bike in NYC for nearly six years now and have never once felt unwelcome at an event. The bike messengers in NYC hang out with everyone. If there’s a party, all kinds of people in the “cycling scene” show up. Compared to other cities, it’s a very welcoming scene. I guess I was foolish to assume the world community would embrace the same ethos. It was too late though; I had already purchased my plane ticket.

We boarded our plane and some 13 hours later landed in Japan. On the car ride from Narita Airport to Tokyo, we got in a rather heated discussion about whether or not non-messengers were welcome at the CMWC. Once again, I was discouraged from even showing my face at any of