2 definitions by gremotherapy

Top Definition
Usually an inner, large city courier that delivers mail (packages) by bicycle. Can be known as "messenger." Messengers can be found riding fixed gear bicycles (fixie) or any variety of bicycle suit for timely travel. They can be seen with a large "messenger bag" style backpack, radio/cell phone, and bike lock.

Messenger culture includes fashions that are functionable before fashionable, meaning that the styles of clothing messengers tend to wear are suited for purpose and not pleasure. Messengers are exposed to inclement weather including heat, rain, snow, cold, and ice. Pants, if worn as opposed to shorts, may either have the right pant leg or both pant legs rolled up, or cut shorter so as to not get caught in the crankset.

Fixies are usually customized or built from scrap for personalization. It is common to see brightly colored bicycles for visibility purposes. Handlebars may be cut short to produce a narrower, or more streamline messenger so as to allow the rider to pass between vehicles in slower-moving or standing traffic. Brakes may not be present on some fixies, but some city or state laws require it, so messengers may only affix one to the front tire.

Messengers may also be seen taking part in spur-of-the-moment or organized "alley cat" races which simulate the duties of the average day of work. Winners are awarded spoke cards which are placed in the spokes of the rear wheel.
"I hired a bike messenger to deliver a gift so it won't be late to your party."
by gremotherapy February 20, 2010
Alley Cat

A type of race that bike messengers partake in for fun that simulates the average messenger's work day.

Most often, alley cat races are designed as a "checkpoint" race, meaning that racers must pass through certain points on the pre-defined route in succession before completing the race. Some check points require actually dropping off/picking up items or even completely silly games (like spinning around in circles and pinning a tail on a donkey) before receiving clearance to proceed to the next checkpoint.

Some races mimic "sprints" or "time trials" like those commonly found in professional bicycle races.

Cheating, taking alternative routes, or otherwise "breaking the rules" are generally acceptable as that bike messenger culture can be highly competitive and require messengers to "do what it takes" to get the job done.

Awards are generally bragging rights in the forms of spoke cards. Before spoke cards were fashionable, these cards tended to be regular playing cards from a deck. The winner (first place) usually receives an Ace of Spades and can proudly wear it in the rear wheel. Instead of wearing numbers on their shirts or bags, spoke cards can be used to identify competitors at the finish line and check points.
"I was on my way to work and was nearly run over by a pack of messengers racing an alley cat."
by gremotherapy March 16, 2010

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