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Urban Flow – Bike Messengers and the City - Cornell Scholarship Online
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Urban Flow: Bike Messengers and the City

Jeffrey L. Kidder


Bike messengers are familiar figures in the downtown cores of major cities. Tasked with delivering time-sensitive materials within, they ride in all types of weather, weave in and out of dense traffic, dodging taxis and pedestrians alike in order to meet tight deadlines. Riding through midtown traffic at breakneck speeds is dangerous work, and most riders do it for very little pay and few benefits. As the courier industry has felt the pressures of first fax machines, then e-mails, and finally increased opportunities for electronic filing of legal “paperwork,” many of those who remain in the bu ... More

Keywords: bike messengers, messenger subculture, bike races, alleycats, courier industry, messengering, lifestyle, job insecurity

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780801449925
Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016 DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801449925.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jeffrey L. Kidder, author
Assistant Professor of Sociology, Northern Illinois University