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  1. #1
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    What do most messenger bike riders ride?

    Are there any messengers on the board? What do most city messengers ride? Fixies? What happens if their bike gets stolen?

    If there's another thread or a messenger website or something just point the way.

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    The ones I've seen in San Francisco were about half on fixies (or at least SS; I didn't pay enough attention to say for sure), half on old beater theft-proof mountain bikes. But they're a dwindling breed--I just saw a story the other day that said e-mail, IMs and faxes have put about 90 percent of them out of business in the last few years.

  3. #3
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    The ones I've seen rode really old rigid MTBs, usually with older hardware....one I saw was reflectored up something crazy....it was like a bunch of reflective tape decided to have a parade or something. Can't say nobody could see the rider though.
    -------- __@
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    Ring Ring, Ring Ring, the bell went Ring Ring Ring.

  4. #4
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Most the ones I have seen are on old MT bikes
    Not too much to say here

  5. #5
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    Either old beater mountain bikes, or fixed gear road conversions.

  6. #6
    Grumbly Goat Bushman's Avatar
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    I rode an old Brodie Sovereign mountain bike with Continental slicks and full fenders for years. I converted it to a single speed to save on maintenance costs (gear clusters, chains). I also rode a fixed gear Cramerotti for about 2 years.

    Keep it simple, you dont need a lot of crap on your bike. A singlespeed or Fixed WILL save you money in the longrun, and maintenance time. Best thing you can do is get a quick link on your chain, so you can simply undo it and put it in a bottle of solvent to soak and shake it for cleaning. A single disc brake (front) will save oyu having to buy cantilever brake pads every two weeks, and will save your rims from braking wear.

    as for what happens when you bike gets stolen? if you did'nt lock it up properly, and it got stolen, you lose out on a paycheck everyday. ALWAYS lock it up (see bike security, bike theft threads (SEARCH) properly, and dont advetise that is a nice bike. Ugly it up. Flat black spraypaint is your friend. as are no name generic components. Remove all decals, even on the wheel. Run a bike chain thru the seat and seat stays to prevent seat/seatpost theft.
    You ride a bike, we GET IT, no need to rant about it or look down on others....its JUST A BIKE...get over yourselves.

  7. #7
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
    I rode an old Brodie Sovereign mountain bike with Continental slicks and full fenders for years. I converted it to a single speed to save on maintenance costs (gear clusters, chains). I also rode a fixed gear Cramerotti for about 2 years.

    Keep it simple, you dont need a lot of crap on your bike. A singlespeed or Fixed WILL save you money in the longrun, and maintenance time. Best thing you can do is get a quick link on your chain, so you can simply undo it and put it in a bottle of solvent to soak and shake it for cleaning. A single disc brake (front) will save oyu having to buy cantilever brake pads every two weeks, and will save your rims from braking wear.

    as for what happens when you bike gets stolen? if you did'nt lock it up properly, and it got stolen, you lose out on a paycheck everyday. ALWAYS lock it up (see bike security, bike theft threads (SEARCH) properly, and dont advetise that is a nice bike. Ugly it up. Flat black spraypaint is your friend. as are no name generic components. Remove all decals, even on the wheel. Run a bike chain thru the seat and seat stays to prevent seat/seatpost theft.
    Well uh, if it's locked up properly why do you need to ruin a perfectly nice bike by roughing it up like that?
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    Well uh, if it's locked up properly why do you need to ruin a perfectly nice bike by roughing it up like that?
    Right now in chicago there is a guy with an angle grinder stealing bikes. They have him on video several times, but he still hasnt been caught. Stolen several nice looking bikes in the area that were locked up properly.

    People have taken to trying to keep their bikes lower profile than the bike next to them.

  9. #9
    Grumbly Goat Bushman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    Well uh, if it's locked up properly why do you need to ruin a perfectly nice bike by roughing it up like that?
    you don't ride much in the big city do you? Allow me to elaborate. Here in Vancouver BC there is an average of 20 - 30 REPORTED bike thefts a day. The number of bike thefts that go UNREPORTED is triple that. Tnanks to the Mayor suporting the over 3000 drug addicts by providing them with a place to shoot up, there is and lot of addicts that need to steal to get their fix. Bicycles are the PREFERED item, as they command 10 - 30 bucks per bike when sold by thr thief. That gives the addicts a couple of hits. The average addict in vancouve rBC has a $250 - 400 dollar a DAY crack, cocaine or meth habit. Do the math....they need lots of cash to support their habit, bikes provide that cash.

    A nice flashy bike, particularly something like a Brodie, Rocky Mountain, COVE, Kona, Norco VPS, Banshee etc etc etc tec etc etc are particularly attractive targets for bike thieves. Riding a bike like that around, with its blatant advertising in the form of decals., is like yelling out FREE CRACK in the midle of Main & Hastings. Even entry level to midgrade bikes are targeted. This is where 'uglying up a bike" comes into play. (and i'd hardly call a nice satin black paintjob ugly....)

    By "uglying up" a nice bike, there is a lesser chance of it being noticed by a thief. I also make it as difficult as possible (timewise) for a thief to steal my bike, A: by uglying it up, B: by using a 14mm chain and ABUS DiSCUS lock for the frame and rear wheel, C: by using a 14mm chain and Discus lock for the front wheel, frame and whatever 12" steel lamppost i lock it to. There are no accessories on my bike to steal, nothing really too attractive. It would take a thief far too long to work thru the locks on my bike, its easier for them to go to another bike , say that nice flashy Rocky Mountain locked up with a cable lock next to me.
    Last edited by Bushman; 08-06-07 at 04:26 PM.
    You ride a bike, we GET IT, no need to rant about it or look down on others....its JUST A BIKE...get over yourselves.

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    Most people in Tallahassee that are/try to look like messengers ride single speed conversions. Try to know the crime rate for the areas you'll be locking your bike in and get an appropriate lock(s) to match. Any flashy bike is going to be a target for theft.

    ***

    Blaming programs that have been proven to help lower rates of crime and disease (drug addiction is a disease) for high numbers of bike theft is simply ignorant.
    Last edited by dynamitemonkey; 08-06-07 at 01:54 PM.

  11. #11
    Sleeper JeeperTim's Avatar
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    Drug addiction is NOT a disease. It is a behavior. Those who have it chose to expose themselves to it at some point in life. They bear some responsibility for it.

    A disease gets the innocent and guilty alike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeeperTim View Post
    Drug addiction is NOT a disease. It is a behavior. Those who have it chose to expose themselves to it at some point in life. They bear some responsibility for it.

    A disease gets the innocent and guilty alike.
    True enough. What I meant (and I apologize for my poor wording) is that addiction is better treated as a medical or psychological problem rather than a criminal issue. Alcoholics get to go to AA meetings not jail and their drug of choice destroys far more lives than all illegal drugs combined. Safe injection sites arenít meant as a place where addicts can continually go to get high they are intended as a first step toward treatment. A liquor store is a place where you can continually go to get high.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeeperTim View Post
    Drug addiction is NOT a disease. It is a behavior. Those who have it chose to expose themselves to it at some point in life. They bear some responsibility for it.

    A disease gets the innocent and guilty alike.
    I mean you can make up definitions for words all you want if that floats your boat. But, it might be confusing to other people.

  14. #14
    Grumbly Goat Bushman's Avatar
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    here is an example of a flashy, catch a bike thieves eye, bike:



    here is an example of an "ugly" bike:




    now if you were a bike thieve, and both those bikes were locked up side by side, which would you choose......

    the nice shiny flashy one, cuz the owner of petes pawnshop likes hi end mountian bikes and pays more. More $$$ = more drugs for the thief.

    Ugly up your bike, lock it and keep it!
    You ride a bike, we GET IT, no need to rant about it or look down on others....its JUST A BIKE...get over yourselves.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
    here is an example of a flashy, catch a bike thieves eye, bike:

    I must be confused, I thought that was the ugly bike...

  16. #16
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    Oh, to answer the question, every messenger in Portland rides a fixie. A former messenger posted once that Portland messengers used to ride mountain bikes, until they started mimicking New York messengers. He thinks in a flat town like New York, fixies make sense, but in a hilly town like Portland, they make no sense.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    Oh, to answer the question, every messenger in Portland rides a fixie. A former messenger posted once that Portland messengers used to ride mountain bikes, until they started mimicking New York messengers. He thinks in a flat town like New York, fixies make sense, but in a hilly town like Portland, they make no sense.
    One thing i noticed about NYC is that 100% of food delivery was done on mountain bikes, but 100% of the financial district delivery seemed to be on fixed gear.

    In chicago it seems to be more mixed for messengers, but fixed gear is an extremely popular commuter bike here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
    I also make it as difficult as possible (timewise) for a thief to steal my bike, A: by uglying it up, B: by using a 14mm chain and ABUS DiSCUS lock for the frame and rear wheel, C: by using a 14mm chain and Discus lock for the front wheel, frame and whatever 12" steel lamppost i lock it to.
    Just hope that bike thieves don't start investing in these.

  19. #19
    Grumbly Goat Bushman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    Just hope that bike thieves don't start investing in these.

    damn..... i'm not sure i would post that publicly....

    in any case i have lots of different locks to choose from, i can always throw on a fuugettebaout lock with the lock, etc.
    You ride a bike, we GET IT, no need to rant about it or look down on others....its JUST A BIKE...get over yourselves.

  20. #20
    ex-everything. soze's Avatar
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    Steel NJS frames, Timbuk2 bags, Fidel hats, and white belts. The jury is still out on whether Vans or Chucks are the **** though.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott430 View Post
    Are there any messengers on the board? What do most city messengers ride? Fixies? What happens if their bike gets stolen?

    If there's another thread or a messenger website or something just point the way.

    Most messengers probably ride track bikes or fixed wheel conversions, with or without brake, these days, although it is not uncommon for a vet to ditch the fixed for a road bike at some point.

    I prefer to use a road racing bike, freewheel, gears, brakes. YMMV.

    Robert

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    In downtown Houston, the "in" bike for messengers seems to change from year to year. Back around the year 2000 or so, mountain bikes dominated. By 2005, there seemed to be a few more road bikes than mountain bikes, with road bikes from the 1980 to 1990 period very popular. In 2007, there are a lot of single speed bikes (often cheaper "new" models, or conversions of 1980's road bikes) with road bikes being second, and mountain bikes third.

    Most of the experienced messengers prefer older bikes, often ten or twenty years old. Great wheels, great tires, but too old to be interesting to most crooks. If a messenger is riding a new bike, it is usually a bike that sells for $300 to $700 "new"...don't want to tempt the crooks.

    Most Houston messengers use either heavy-weight Kryptonite or OnGuard u-locks, or heavy weight chain locks. Most messengers say they NEVER hear of a messenger getting a bike stolen due to a crook opening a good lock. The thefts occur when the messenger gets careless...just leaned the bike against the building because it was gonna take two minutes to buy a cup of coffee...why bother locking up?

  23. #23
    takin' it to the streets malpag3's Avatar
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    In Detroit it's mixed. I'm not a messenger but I ride with them. They tend to like uglied up road SS or fixies (don't get me started on why they make no sense in the urban setting).

    A few of us ride slicked up MTB's. I ride my crappy Giant Boulder SE with Conti Slicks. It's heavy as crap but it's gotten me first place in an Alley Cat race so...it does the job =p

  24. #24
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    I'm a former Boston messenger. I personally chose to ride fixies just due to the easy and low maintenence costs. Putting 300+ miles a week on a bike can take a lot out of it. Locking the bike depended on the area of town... sometimes the "free lock" technique would work (locking the wheel to the frame) and sometimes I'd lock to a post of some sort. Overall it's a personal preference - the bike doesn't get you more jobs. Being efficient and willing to ride in the crappiest weather (blizzards can be fun) will get you more jobs/money. I never had a bike stolen so I can't speak to that.

    Rob

  25. #25
    Used to be fast surfjimc's Avatar
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    I messengered my way through college and grad school in LA and New York. In LA I rode a 10 speed beater bike; lots of hills so the gears were handy. Now most of the messengers I see here ride fixies.
    In New York I rode an old Raleigh fixie conversion. It didn't look like much, but it was light and fast and no one stole it. It also survived a couple of hard hits by taxis. I tried it with a bmx freewheel for awhile but went back to fixed.
    50 miles a day on a fixie will do wonders for your fitness and speed.

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