monitors, analyzes and corrects media reporting errors and bias concerning messengers and couriers.


Messenger Institute
 for Media Accuracy





He's enjoying a sweet ride


Indianapolis Star, June 20, 2004


By Robert Scheer


On any given day, you can find Scott Spitz navigating six lanes of chaos in Downtown Indianapolis to make sure the legal documents, or portfolios he carries, get where they need to go.

Scott Spitz

Scott Spitz checks his cell phone for a new call he's received from his dispatcher at CD&L. -- Robert Scheer / The Star


With a one-shouldered satchel, Spitz can only carry envelopes and small parcels, but figures he needs only 10 minutes to deliver desk-to-desk within the high-rise district. As the capital city's only full-time bike messenger, he'll tell you how vulnerable he feels perched atop 15 pounds of steel and tires barely wider than your big toe.


"I haven't been hit yet, but I'm sure it's going to happen," he says. "One motorist tried to put me into a parked car the other day. I could feel him behind me, really angry."


Spitz, 27, an Indiana resident since the age of 3, competed as a runner in his childhood, but has since developed a love of bicycling. He uses it to earn a living as a contractor with CD&L, a nationwide delivery service that operates an office in Indianapolis. Scott Hahn, general manager at the local CD&L, says the company dispatches cars, but he gets requests from Downtown businesses for Spitz because they'll get their delivery a lot sooner than with an automobile-based service that must deal with traffic jams and hunting down parking spaces.


Head to an international city like New York or Chicago, and you can find large packs of bike messengers hanging out in front of coffee shops waiting for their next runs.


Spitz spends a lot of time by himself on the south side of Monument Circle watching the pigeons and chatting with office workers about bicycles and their virtues relative to polluting autos.


"That's pretty cool," Spitz says about spying a European ultra-compact and highly fuel-efficient Smart car tooling around the Circle. He says he'd be a lot happier seeing these on Indy's roadways rather than the gigantic SUVs popular today. "I remember going to a protest recently and everyone was yelling, 'The (Iraq) war is about oil.' Then they got in their cars and drove home," Spitz said.


Gwen Frisbie-Fulton, Spitz's girlfriend, says, "He works hard, and the minute the weather goes bad, he gets a lot of runs, and he comes home dripping with sweat, like he's been swimming." She says that because of his influence, she has begun to use her bicycle for commuting and to do errands.


"Scott wants to show people that it's easy to live just with a bike. I used to think it was impossible to live without a car, but he showed me that you can do it and have a real connection with the city."


Spitz encourages anybody interested in bicycles as alternative transportation to attend Critical Mass, a bike ride through town that leaves the last Friday of each month at 5:30 p.m. Downtown under the Artsgarden.





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