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May 23-29, 2007

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bike messenger chaos

You want it when? Bike messenger chaos at the 2003 European Cycle Messenger championships in London.

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By Felipe Buitrago

IT HAS been over 100 years since Western Union first employed bicycle couriers in New York and other large cities for more efficient delivery services.Still going strong and some still using a fixed-gear bike, the couriers of North America will be congregating in San Francisco from Thursday, May 24, to Sunday, May 27—and then will head down to San Jose's own Hellyer Park Velodrome on Monday, May 28 (if the track maintenances stay on schedule)—for the Velocity Tour 2007. This is where surly city bikers and messengers will test their speed on the track in team and individual events.

Messenger races of this caliber are not uncommon. The world over has several organized competitions with the sole purpose of proving who is the best bike courier over a closed circuit. In this case the area comprised between the streets Keith, Mendell, Evans and Fairfax. But a four-day courier contest isn't just for speed and sense of direction—it's also a test of agility that requires nerves of steel. How long can you skid on a bike that has no brakes and doesn't coast? Lock up the rear wheel and lean forward to find out, but be careful not to flip over the handlebars. Track stand contests will also be held. Start with all extremities on your bike to keep balance, and take one hand off, then the other. The king and queen of the event are those that hold out the longest and with one foot.

And let's not forget the entertainment factor. Many local bands will be joining in the festivities like the Roger Mores, Murder of Crows and ONESTEPSHIFT.

So those of you who were inspired by Kevin "Quicksilver" Bacon's words, "If the road says one way east—BOOM! I go west," get ready. The North American Cycle Courier Championships will be hitting the Bay Area for nice four-day weekend of cycling and entertainment. (

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