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A history of bicycle messenger bags
6.06.17 by Buffalo Bill

Just read this, written by my old friend, Rebecca Reilly

“In 2015, some jag-off stole my Cocotte. I was absolutely despondent. I barely cared about my $1,200 laptop even though I didn’t have the money to replace it. I didn’t care about the precious data on it. I didn’t even think about the tools, keys, and miscellaneous irreplaceable goodies hidden in its pockets.

My heart was broken that someone had stolen that dirty, stained, smelly, torn, 16-year old messenger bag that had never seen the inside of a washing machine. I won it in 1999 at the Toronto North American Championships, but more importantly it was the best damn bag I’d ever owned. Being pretty booby, finding a strap that worked with my frame was impossible. It was cushioned in all the right spots, held its form when you put it on a flat surface, was easy to sort envelopes and best of all, it could crunch neatly into low-profile bag, or expand to accommodate a case of beer, a 10-lb. bag of cat food and a 20 lb. of kitty litter. That bag earned me money in Washington, DC, New York City, and Toronto. She was there at the end of my messenger career and just by looking at her patches, I could go back in time to happy places and exciting friends. The “messenger” bag, in its current mass-produced incarnation, would disintegrate with the rigors of my old messenger life. Now it is an ubiquitous thing. So much so, in fact, the “messenger” in messenger bag is merely an identifier, and has little to do with its original purpose.

To many of us the former and current messengers, there is an important distinction that needs to be made. Messenger bags were designed with a purpose, and a culture in mind. The creation, evolution and spread of the messenger bag is two parts legend and one part verifiable facts. Much like the book I wrote, Nerves of Steel: Bike messengers in the United States, these important histories sometimes need to be captured without prejudice so the reader can sort through and find the consistencies in these oral traditions to determine the truth.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Rebecca Reilly: Nerves of Steel, Heart of Gold

  1. Bill you are precious, thank you, will you be in Montreal?


    — rebecca    13 July 2017, 04:51    #
  2. Pleasure! Unfortunately not.


    — Bill    13 July 2017, 08:40    #
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