I’ve always wanted to be a bike messenger. It seems so cool – riding around fast in the city, dropping stuff off, getting fit, making a little money, going to special bars where you sit with other messengers and talk about gears and stuff. Well, it looks like my dream will never be realized simply because the Internet is forcing many companies to shut down simply because it’s easier to send a PDF than to hire a sweaty guy to carry it across town for you.
“There is really not much left. It’s dying,” says Matt Flores, co-owner of Wheels of Justice, a San Francisco courier service. Flores recently halved his full-time bikers — “document clerks,” as he calls them — from eight to four. His top runner earns $50,000 a year, he says.
I know that messengers still ply the streets of New York but bike messengers specifically are a dying breed. The last few services I’ve seen have either driven vans or motorcycles, proving that pedal power is no match for fossil fuels and the “Send” button.