Tag Archives: exenger

“Exenger” update…on course for the OED?

Mercury Messenger Calgary cargo bike

One way to stop an exenger

The most popular post on this blog is Coining a Phrase? “Exenger”. Since I haven’t checked since writing that  post a couple of years ago, I decided to perform a search using a well known search engine to further chart the spread of the etymological phenomenon of the word “exenger”.

I discovered that thanks to the venerable Moving Target blog and its forum, the unstoppable march of the word exenger has moved onward, beyond the confines of MT and the London Fixed Gear and Single Speed Forum!!

Exhibit A – Flickr photos tagged with “exenger”. Admittedly, they are all photos of Bill, the Moving Target honcho.

Exhibit B – Andy at fyxomatosis.com has seen fit to use it as a noun on his fine site.

Exhibit C – The entertaining thatmessengerchick blog recently had a piece called “Exenger fantasies”

Exhibit D – Now that Messenger of Doom has hung up his pager, he often refers to himself and other ex-messengers as exengers.

Exhibit E – The Offical Dutch Cycle Messenger Championships 2010, allowed you to register as a “Messenger, Exenger, Realenger, Hipster or a Tricker”.

The next stop in exenger’s inexorable rise is surely the vault of rejected words at the Oxford English Dictionary…seeing as I live around the corner from OUP, I might just pop in and suggest it to them!

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Coining a phrase? “Exenger”

Fakenger bag and Bill’s millions by pocketmonsterd. Used under a Creative Commons Licence

Before I created this post claiming to coin the term exenger (to refer to ex-cycle messengers) last May, I checked Google for any prior mentions of the “word”. Apart from some results such as some German, Star Trek fan-fiction about the USS Exenger, misspellings of the word “exchanger” and expired domain name pages for exenger.com…there didn’t seem to be any results that related to cycle messengers/couriers. I’m not claiming that I am the first dude to ever think of this portmanteau…but I think I was the first to put it online.

Anyhow, I decided to do a the same search again and lo and behold, now the first four results are courier related. How about that?

The first 2 results are from the London Fixed-gear and Single-speed site…some say the definitive fakenger website or at least right up there with the London Bicycle Fakenger Association.

Results 3 and 4 are from Bill Chidley’s Moving Target zine…a favourite blog that I recommend.

In fact, Bill has used the term exenger twice since my post according to the Moving Target blog search for “exenger”. Furthermore executing a Moving Target forum search for “exenger”, yields another 4 mentions.

Googling for ‘exenger AND courier’ or ‘exenger AND messenger’ yields results on rollapaluza.com the London roller race organizers, fyxomatosis.com (my fellow high school alumnus, Andy White’s site) and most authoratively the Messenger Mailing List archive of the International Federation of Bicycle Messenger Assosciations (the organisation responsible for the Cycle Messenger World Championships in which I competed in 2004). To the best of my knowledge, all results have been since my exenger post on 3 May 2007.

Anyhow, little things amuse little minds but it tickles me no end that this seems to have happened. Maybe it will get in the Oxford English Dictionary one day??? More like the UrbanDictionary.com

Perhaps I should buy the exenger.com domain? Erm, maybe not.

Enough time wasted on this post…I’m off to cycle Mt Mattress.

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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.

Here is the Urban Dictionary’s definition of fakenger and posenger.

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!!

Despite all that, the messenger “look” is a darn sight better than golf chic being the new punk, in my opinion…and as Iconic says:

“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.

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