Bike Messengers x The Red Bulletin

(Article Courtesy of The Red Bulletin)

Every year, bike messengers from all over the continent gather at the North American Cycle Courier Championships to compete, carouse and commiserate. This is their story.

Hunger pangs give way to an enthusiastic greeting as Nico Cabrera is among the last to arrive at a watering hole in Milwaukee’s East Side neighborhood. He’s welcomed by a cadre of misfits whose belligerence varies — one says he’s been drinking all day — each with unkempt hair. Most of the men and women haven’t seen the likes of a straight-edged razor in years. A guy wearing a Sponge Bob shirt has a mullet that looks straight out of “Boogie Nights” and another’s beard is so biblically long, there’s reason to question if it got caught in the wheels of the bicycle he rode to Good City Brewing, parked among some 200 others outside.

All are dressed like they just raided a Goodwill store, except Cabrera, who dons the onesy of an Olympic cyclist. There’s a reason for that: He just rode the 90 miles up to Milwaukee from Chicago, where he lives.

“Biking is more than just a job,” Cabrera says. “We race our bikes on the weekend or we go on long bike rides. We go bike camping. We just generally get around our daily lives on our bicycle. It’s a big deal when it’s like, ‘Hey, I’m taking the train today.’ ”

His shoulder-length hair, trim body and regular use of words like “rad” make him a better fit for a group of surfers on the left coast, though he was raised in suburban Chicago.

Cabrera is the most recognizable among the group. He’s here for the North American Cycle Courier Championships (NACCC, pronounced “Nack”), a conclave of the best messengers from around the world, who participate in a grueling, hours-long race that calls for competitors to have marathon-like athleticism and navigating knowhow. Cabrera is the NACCC’s reigning champion and is fresh off a third-place finish at the World Championships in Montreal.

Read the full article at The Red Bulletin

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