Right about roundabout just about 25 years ago this ad appeared on the back cover of Iron Lung, a Seattle bike messenger zine. Shortly after Kathleen said “fuck off Charles” and just before she opened her own bike shop right around the corner from Wright Bros.
25 years ago I was a messenger wannabe, still three months from my first messenger job. I was working at the Elysian inside Game Works and applying to grad schools. I wrote a little note to the editor of the zine and they reprinted it on page 2
here and now I'm re-reprinting
I know now what I knew then
but I didn’t know then
what I know now
I’m not a messenger but I have So much respect for those who are. I identify with them more than all the damn CBC- neonclad - “on your left” - STP -rearview mirror on the helmet- Burke Gilman - Gregg's Greenlake - weekend warrior gomers I see on the road. I appreciate the individualism, the freedom, the attitude and the day-to-day grind of riding for a living, even though I don’t do it. I don’t own a car. I own 3 bicycles. I ride to work everyday and I ride for fun too. I got a $47 ticket for not having a headlight on the way to the bar. It was 10:30pm on Capitol Hill and the damn cop spent 20 minutes lecturing me on bicycle safety and about his first bike in 1955 and how it came with a headlight. The aesthetics of my stripped down bike were lost on Officer Friendly: no lights, no reflectors, no fenders, no derailleurs, no toe clips, no stickers, no decals, no name brands, one speed, one hand brake. The ultimate bar bike.
I picked up Iron Lung at Wright Bros. But now I’d love to have it mailed to me. I saw the bike zine article in Bicycling Magazine… …when popular culture finally gets around to looking at what’s really going on, it’s usually stale. And it was.