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Urban FlowBike Messengers and the City$
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Jeffrey L. Kidder

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449925

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449925.001.0001

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The Lifestyle

The Lifestyle

(p.42) 2 The Lifestyle
Urban Flow

Jeffrey L. Kidder

Cornell University Press

This chapter provides an overview of the lifestyle of bike messengers. At its most basic level, the messenger lifestyle is about bikes and beer; it revolves around urban cycling and various forms of intoxication. As a bicycle subculture, any messenger gathering has alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and harder drugs as mainstays. This chapter first considers alcohol use by bike messengers before turning to racing events known as alleycats, examples of which are the Cycle Messenger World Championships, New York's Fourth of July Race and Monster Track, and Seattle's Dead Baby Downhill. It then describes the three most common bikes used by couriers: mountain bikes, road bikes, and track bikes. It also compares occupational messengers and lifestyle messengers and explains how outsiders have appropriated various aspects of messenger style. Finally, it examines how bike messengers and the messenger subculture have been portrayed in the media.

Keywords:   bike messengers, messenger lifestyle, alcohol use, alleycats, mountain bikes, road bikes, track bikes, occupational messengers, lifestyle messengers, messenger subculture

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