Interview: A Black Cyclist Invites Us Into The World Of Bike Messengers & 2016 North American Cycle Courier Games
Sponsored by Clif Bar and presented by The New York Bicycle Messenger Foundation, the event introduces a culture that often goes unnoticed.
This weekend, nearly every block in New York City will be flooded with 400 cyclists taking part in the North American Cycle Courier Championship, an event designed to bring together the most eclectic and skilled bike messengers in the country.
Since 1998, the NACCC has presented a space where cyclists get to share their love of the sport while expanding their networks and the subculture. Kicking off today (Oct. 6), messengers will ride throughout SoHo and Brooklyn to events that celebrate the art and cyclists' additional work. Coinciding with Messenger Appreciation Day (Oct. 9), the big race will kick off Saturday through Sunday with trick competitions and performances to follow. Reigning champion Austin Horse tells VIBE the importance of NACCC and how NYC's history ties into the sport.
"I love how the NACCC brings people together in friendly but intense competition- it takes the natural kinship amongst messengers and supercharges it," he said. "I think so many people are coming because of what NYC represents to bike messengers- it all started here and they are coming to pay homage to this city."
The idea might seem trivial to most, but bike messengers have quietly implemented themselves into popular culture for decades. From films like the 1948 classic Bicycle Thieves and 2012's Premium Rush, few have told the story from a black perspective. Enter Kenya Reynolds, an experienced cyclist who uses the sport to meet fellow bike lovers and soothe her soul. "Movement is my freedom. It's meditative," Reynolds tells VIBE via email. "It's how I cope with whatever it is I'm going through. It keeps me sane. Especially when I'm riding my track bike. Nothing else matters when you're on the saddle except your breathing and keeping the pedals moving. All of the things you were stressing about just kind of float away with each motion."
We talked to Kenya about her journey with cycling and her favorite activities in NACCC. Check out the interview in the gallery above.