The evolution of bike couriers, from messyingers to messengers

It’s a little known fact that today’s fixie riding New York messengers are actually a completely different breed to the messengers of the eighties. New York is a messenger’s petri dish with survival of the fittest tested to its extreme and the effects of the super-heated evolution can be seen in mere decades. What’s happened is the old dinosaurs of message delivery have been completely wiped out by yellow cabs and bicycle theft, making way for the modern generation of fixie riding daredevils.

Observe below this time capsule from the eighties. Clearly the eighties cycle messenger was not comfortable on his ten speed. His nervousness, the bobbing of the upper body and the poorly adjusted seat height are indicative of a man who has not fully evolved to suit his conditions. Some historians have dubbed eighties cycle couriers as “messyingers” due to their messy riding style. But mostly people just commented on the tennis socks.

Some say the eighties couriers died out because they were too slow. Some say they just spent too much time “cycle dancing”. My own theory is that a reliance on the massive helmets of eighties hair for crash protection left them vulnerable to head trauma.

I’ll refer you now to item number three (below), an historical documentation of Japanese cycle couriers who are either from the nineties or anyways look like should be. Notice the evolution from ten speed roadsters to mountain bikes and the practice of the then quite common survival technique of karate kicking wayward pedestrians. (Hey, when you’re cycling down a hallway, office staff are pedestrians.)

This brings us at last to the modern day cycle courier represented by Wilee in Premium Rush, the movie named after an energy drink. What you’ll notice here is a breed of cyclist actually evolved to survive what would be for you and me career ending crashes. Cleverly, the modern day New York cycle messenger now wear actual helmets instead of helmets of hair but for some reason that historians can’t explain they’ve taken a notion to remove the brakes from their bikes.

At this point it seems there is nothing that can kill off the New York messenger, except of course the internet, which has evolved to deliver entire documents across town in mere seconds.

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