messenger ‘Olympics’ spins in Queens
Metro (New York edition), July 5, 2005
Cyclists from many nations competed in Flushing yesterday to be the
By Amy Zimmer
KISSENA PARK It was a weekend full of peddling hard, sleeping little,
and checking out “rides.” There was also the occasional fractured
finger and broken collarbone.
For the 13th Annual Cycle Messenger World Championships, injuries are
no surprise. The event — hosted here for the first time — was to
benefit the New York Bicycle Messenger Foundation’s “emergency fund.”
After 750 riders from 30 countries hit Jersey City’s main race on
Sunday — a simulated delivery course won by Karl Stranski, from
Switzerland, in the men’s division and Sweden’s Jojo Reeder in the
women’s group — the championships culminated at the velodrome yesterday
for a track bike race.
“New York bike messengers were the first one to use [track] bikes and
now it’s an international scene,”[actually
that’s not true – see for example 1934] said Jack Blackfelt, a bike
messenger for 17 years, of the bikes that can only be stopped by
locking the back wheel.
“Track bikes are a very big part of the culture,” he said.
“Aesthetically, they’re purer and prettier. You can decorate them
better since they have fewer components to get around.” And bike
messengers like them because they have fewer components to fix.
Some messengers have been racing at the velodrome for years, but it was
only last year when the track’s potholes and weeds were replaced by new
asphalt — thanks in part to NYC 2012’s interest in strengthening the
city’s Olympic bid.
“The stuff you learn on the street applies to the track — avoiding
danger at all corners and being insane,” said Bucky Turco, a former
messenger who helps organize track bike events at the velodrome. “It’s
a marriage between sports and lifestyle. It’s a very colorful, eclectic
Until this weekend, Jason Gandy, 32, of Brooklyn, held the world record
in the “track skid” event, where riders pedal fast to a line and then
lock their wheel to see how far they can skid. Gandy’s 479- foot skid
recorded five years ago at the championships in Philadelphia succumbed
to a 509-foot skid by a rider named “Squirrel.”
Gandy hoped to defend his title, but got into a bad crash over a week
ago. He skidded anyway, placing fourth. “I wasn’t supposed to race at
all, but you know how it is.”