Hi I’m Ed the exenger — Photo by the inimitable Andy White @ fyxomatosis
“From short pants to cool hats and bags big enough to hold a filing cabinet, bike messengers everywhere have a unique style. Riding a bike through the crowded streets of any city requires a wardrobe of practicality and freshness that clearly distinguishes couriers from geared-up roadies.” pedalpushersonline.com
My recent post about the recent Oxford HGV death that” linked to Moving Target “the world’s most useless messenger zine” gained me a link in its sidebar (thanks Bill), making my pageviews spike upwards dramatically. This made me pretty happy as Moving Target is a site that I regularly read.
Now my post has fallen off the end of Moving Target’s homepage linkroll and my millions of page views are now back down to the usual tens of thousands only. So, I thought I’d attempt some blatant traffic driving and discuss the rising popularity of the fixed gear bicycle and the concept of the fakenger/posenger/ex-enger…inspired by the fact that the fakenger article on MT is its most popular apparently, so I thought I’d sell out. I can’t wait to see my Google Analytics stats go psycho!…or not.
I admit it, I am a posenger (exenger). I once worked as a courier and it was one of the best times of my life. However, I haven’t delivered a package since 2001 but I’m dressing more like a “courier” now than I did when I was actually picking and dropping. Also, in 2003 almost two years after hanging up my pager, I obtained a fixed wheel/gear bike which is in direct contrast to the courier ghetto bike that I used when I was on the job.
I thought I’d attempt to coin my own term for it though, exenger… ex-Messenger…to try and differentiate myself from the hipster masses. Whaddaya reckon?
Associated with the fakenger/posenger meme is the rise of the fixed gear (or fixed wheel) bicycle AKA fixie. I’ve noticed quite a lot of internet talk about the fixed gear bike trend/craze/fad. I’ve also noticed that there are definitely quite a few more fixed gear riders on the streets of Oxford than in previous years, which I guess isn’t surprising given the coverage in publications such as Cycling Plus and also the influx of students from the USA now that term has started and the weather has improved.
I did a search on Technorati the other day and discovered that there was a big spread in the New York times last Sunday about fixed gear/wheel bicycles. Does this mean, as Iconic’s blog suggests that riding a bike with a fixed wheel has jumped the shark?
Couriers and the accoutrements of the profession have long percolated into popular culture viz. Crumpler (and other brand) courier bags becoming ubiquitous, Kevin Bacon’s Quicksilver movie and numerous articles about “urban assault riders” with “kamikaze, counter-culture” lifestyles being examples.
So, couriers have long had cred and cachet but now it’s become a damn sight easier to obtain the paraphernalia. Anyone can walk into their local Specialized dealer and buy a Langster fixie for £399/$600 or a Kona Paddy Wagon (£450) to get that special Zen, courier feeling…notwithstanding the fact that a lot of couriers don’t even ride fixed bikes. There are also an abundance of courier (shoulder) bag makers on the Web that will ship their wares to any location to help you complete “the look”
My take (probably not surprisingly) on it is that I think it’s fine to mimic the courier thing…one less car and all that. However, in a bid to big myself up…with only a little digging it’s possible to discern the exengers (like me) from the fakengers who have never been a working courier. In your face fakengers…vive l’exengeur!!
“if, in a year, fixies are no longer hip…well, enjoy the great prices on cool bike gear.”
I might have more to say on the matter later but that’s all for now. Time to ski Mt Mattress.