Previous Page
Urban Velo
Next Page

Editor’s Statement

It is undeniable that parts of bicycle courier culture have hugely influenced what has become a much larger urban cycling world. The most obvious may be the proliferation of messenger bags and fixed gears, but a fair amount of cycling fashion and public perception has a strong argument for street roots amongst bike messengers. Mini u-locks, alleycats, untaped bars, Aerospokes. Some blame a certain renegade image of city riders to the most rogue couriers, others don’t necessarily see it as a bad thing. I remember seeing the old X-Men courier video on TV as a kid—my first bicycle courier exposure and amazing stuff indeed, but I’m glad their fashion sense didn’t catch on, let alone the insane skitching.

One could call this issue a nod to courier culture, and a look at the changing industry. Traditional paper messenger work has been stretched thin from digital communications and the financial slowdown, the work is changing. Scott Klocksin’s feature “Pushing the Envelope” on page 20 explores a certain shift happening in the courier industry towards more service oriented, direct to consumer work. In dense cities, and for the foreseeable future, the fastest way from A to B is still on a bicycle no matter if it is an envelope, a pack of cigarettes, or a take out meal being delivered.

When speed is a part of the job, all out racing is but a short leap. Street racing may not be legal, advisable, safe or anything else that most people look for in weekend activities, but it is exhilarating to watch and some of the best footage in the world comes from the headcam setup of filmmaker Lucas Brunelle, profiled on page 32. It can be argued pretty strongly that it isn’t helping larger bike advocacy efforts, but it’s not like the people emulating the Fast And The Furious really give motorists as a whole a bad name either. No matter your opinion, street racing is happening and we all have an unparalleled inside look at the past decade and counting through his lens.

The courier business and its influence on the larger cycling culture are changing, but if the past is any guide it will continue to play a part in urban cycling’s future.