Bike messenger pedals to medal in World race
Boston Globe, July 11, 2004
By Joe Berkeley
Adam Ford, the fastest bicycle messenger on Earth in
2003, had to settle for a new title this year: fastest bicycle messenger in
Ford, a South End resident, finished third overall in
both the sprint and the main race behind competitors from Switzerland and
Denmark, in the 2004 Messenger World Championship held July 1-5 in
The competition featured some 150 couriers from all over
the globe, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, France,
Spain, and Canada. Ford was looking to defend his first-place finishes in
last year's sprint, a 250-meter test of raw speed, and the main race, a
longer event held on open roads.
Chilly temperatures and torrential downpours made the
riding treacherous, said Ford.
''After two days of rain, half the course was under
water," he said.
Many riders couldn't see the submerged ruts in the road
and potholes. Some got off easy with a flat tire.
Others -- according to Ford as many as 10 percent of the
field --crashed out of the race.
While the weather was harsh, the citizens of Edmonton
were welcoming,according to Ford.
''When I was riding around the city the first few days
getting oriented, whenever I'd pull over and pull out a map someone would
stop and ask me if I needed any help," he said.
To train for the Worlds, Ford rode his bicycle every
day, first on long training rides in the morning, and again in the
afternoon as a courier for RS Express in Boston. Last year, he logged
20,000 training miles.
As far as words of wisdom for the casual urban cyclist,
perhaps riding a mile from apartment to coffee shop, Ford said, ''as
always, vigilance is the key to safety in riding in Boston. And wearing a
helmet is absolutely imperative."