When you asked cycle couriers what they like the most about their job, some answers come up again and again, like the sense of freedom, riding your bike all day long for a living, the flexibility of the job, keeping fit etc…but one reason that stands out is the sense of community, hardly found in any other profession.
And that sense of global community was demonstrated once again a few weeks ago when 6 courier cities came together and put on races on the 31st of May to raise some fund for a friend in need.
The friend in question is Andy Duncan. Originally from Scotland but settled in Utrecht for many years, Andy is a veteran messenger, philosopher, bicycle mechanic, and former president of the IFBMA ( International Federation of Bike Messenger Association) and he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer a few months ago.
He expressed wishes to go and visit a couple of his friends who now live by the beach in Mexico. So Hannah and Dee put the word out there to see if we could all get together and make this happen. And we did, plotting secretly so he didn’t have a clue what was going on.
So we raced, each local community getting together to raise global funds for a brother. And we did alright, Andy got a cheque for over 3000 euros, which should help him on his way to Mexico or wherever he fancies.
On the 1st of July, his friends unveiled the whole thing..Andy was touched.
And this was his response:
“Here is a post for those of you who do not know about the messenger community. I am still rather overwhelmed, so the words are a bit clumsy, but something beautiful happened yesterday. Unbeknownst to me, on 31st May, simultaneous alleycats (an alleycat is a sort of “treasure hunt” for messengers) were held in cities across Europe to raise funds for my continuing struggle with cancer. All the planning and execution for these events was scrupulously kept secret until yesterday evening when a large bunch of my colleagues turned up at the shop – inexplicably accompanying the Boze Poeet (aka Willem-Jan Rijper) who had some time ago arranged to come by and look at bags. Even as I stood there with my sales pitch, extolling the virtues of Chrome Bags, surrounded by colleagues still enjoying their secret, I had no idea what was going to happen. And then Jorrit made a little speech explaining it all and presented me with a cheque for an amount that will pay for a nice trip to the sunshine to visit Hannah and Dee and/or help out when it is time for me to stop working altogether …. and I was overwhelmed suddenly with the love.
If the rest of humanity conducted itself with the same grace, humility and compassion and with the same spirit of collectivity as the messenger community, there would be no war and no exploitation, and we would be able live together, in peace with ourselves. HG Wells once said that he knew there was hope for the future of humanity whenever he saw an adult on a bike. The messenger community is what history has made of this.”
So there you go, that’s the kind of stuff that bring us together and makes it special to be part of the courier community. Andy decided,after all, to go to the Cycle Messenger World Championships in Lausanne in a few weeks and we’re sure glad he will be among us.
On the subject of solidarity, today i got a message from Lukas, one the organisers of the European Cycle Messenger Championships, which took place in Bern a few weeks ago.
I got in touch with Lukas when we starting selling the World Courier calendar to let him know some of the proceeds would be going towards the organisation of the ECMC (likewise some of the cash went to the CMWC and various courier funds). So money was sent to them a while back and he told me that, as a thank you, they would be raising cash for the LCEF. And they did, over £1000 so thank you Lukas and thank you to the Bern crew.