So many people want to be bike messengers. Here's why everyone who wants to, can't:
I had a conversation with judge a few years back. Before he became a judge he practiced law in DC. I asked him if he ever used bike messengers. He was like, "Yes. We used them all the time...until fax machines came about."
The Fax Machine killed the bike messenger industry.
Email made sure it was dead.
PDFs and Digital Photography are the nails in the coffin.
Internet cuts need for bike messengers (MSNBC.com)
"Around the country, high-speed Internet, which allows larger documents to be e-mailed quickly, is beating cyclists in the race for fast and cheap delivery of urgently needed material.
"I enjoy this. It's a lot of fun. But it's not a tenable way to make a living," said Portland courier Stephen Wagner, taking a break on a park bench. "You'd be dirt poor if you did this for a living."
"The reason is straightforward. High-speed internet, PDF files, digital photography and digital audio have been eroding bike-messenger revenues by between 5-10% a year since 2000, or so reckons Lorenz Götte, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Zurich (and a former bike messenger himself). The revenue slump has sent wages tumbling. In 2000, messengers in San Francisco could make $20 an hour. Now the average is closer to $11."
That doesn't mean that the culture is dead. Keep in mind that NASCAR was built around guys runnin' (messengering) moonshine. Now it's the largest spectator sport in the US over MLB, NBA, or NFL.
"During the Prohibition era of the 1920's and early 30's, the undercover business of whiskey, or "moonshine", running began to boom. More of a problem than secret manufacture of moonshine was the secret transportation of it. The common term for moonshine runners was "bootleggers". Bootleggers were "men who illegally ran whiskey from hidden stills to hundreds of markets across the Southeast. These men were the real Dukes of Hazzard, only there was nothing funny about their business. Driving at high speeds at night, often with the police in pursuit, was dangerous. The penalty for losing the race was jail or loss of livelihood." (1)
"As bootlegging boomed, the drivers began to race among themselves to see who had the fastest cars. Bootleggers raced on Sunday afternoons and then use, the same car to haul moonshine Sunday night. Inevitably, people came to see the races, and racing moonshine cars became extremely popular in the backroads of the South. Bootlegging continued even after the end of the Prohibition era, because of the huge tax placed on whiskey upon repeal of the Volstead Act in 1933."