10-9: Bicycle Messenger Appreciation Day

In 2007, Chicago declared the ninth day of October Bicycle Messenger Appreciation Day.

Arguably, no other job has been as glorified, vilified or mystified as that of the bike messenger. Despite carrier pigeons, telephones, fax machines, email and 3D printers, (not to mention ill-tempered motorists or extreme weather), the bike messenger continues to deliver.

Further, the world has not failed to notice the bike messenger.  Popular culture paints the messenger as a somewhat comical, rebellious scofflaw that may or may not have a zen-like understanding of the energy of city streets: a necessary evil of corporate America and one of its most wary observers.

To prepare for this momentous day, check out these messenger-related resources:

The Immortal Class Class follows Travis Hugh Culley's journey through Chicago's streets as he tries to survive and thrive as a bike messenger while examining those who live beyond the automobile.

Sociologist Jeffrey L. Kidder presents perhaps one of the most comprehensive portraits of the bike messenger lifestyle in Urban Flow.  This work is a well-documented look at the bicycle messenger subculture of speed, creativity and bicycle bravado.

Portlandia character Spyke (played by Fred Armisen) typifies messenger angst.  "Cars, man! WHY?!?!"  Start with season one—you won't be sorry.

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