NYC’s own Austin Horse was crowned this years fastest cylce courier in North America. This weekend was the North American Cycle Courier Championships hosted in Philadelphia PA over labor day weekend. Hundreds of messengers from around the country and Canada descended upon Philly for a great event which included racing, rides and parities. The main race was on Sunday and luckily the weather cooperated. Austin completed 5 manifests in a grueling main race to be one of only two other riders to do this. That’s like competing in 5 allycats in one three hour race. Congratulations Austin! Austin is a member of the bike team 4916 and a diligent volunteer with Time’s Up environmental education and direct action group.
More results from the NACCC on the NYBMA website.
Play in Traffic Productions was on hand to record the action with 6 cameras rolling including helmet cameras. Special thanks to Bilenky Bikes for lending us one of their amazing tandem recumbant bicycles at the race. We will be working on video content of this years NACCC and getting it online soon.
Joe Hendry put up some video on Youtube of old cycle courier championships. Check out the nostalgia.
Here is an article from the Philadelphia Inquier about this years NACCC written by: Joe Bewley
This bike race would daunt even Lance
Professional couriers cycled furiously through Fairmount Park in
By Joel Bewley
Philadelphia Inquirer September 4, 2006
Think of it as a mini Tour De France, but with the riders stopping
every so often to pick up and deliver packages.
The course ran through Fairmount Park, where nearly 125 professional
messengers gathered yesterday for the finals of the sixth annual North
American Cycle Courier Championship.
Nine mock businesses were set up at different locations. After starting
near Memorial Hall, riders were given three hours to collect and
deliver five packages spelled out in their manifests, or work orders.
“It is designed to simulate a day of work,” said Kevin “Stewy” Stewart
of North Philadelphia, one of the organizers.
While the work was the same, the atmosphere was not.
The spacious course was just blocks away but worlds apart from the
cramped Philadelphia streets where some of the riders earn their pay.
No automobile traffic to fight, no red lights to challenge, and no
chance of getting “doored” by someone coming out of a parked car.
But it was a little hairy at the beginning, when riders sprinted from
the starting line to find and unlock their bikes, which had been placed
in 26 rows of four based on qualifying times.
Less than a minute in, a couple of cyclists wiped out as the group
crowded through the second turn.
Meredith Begin, 25, a courier from Washington, went down hard, but got
up, shook it off and kept on racing.
She finished with blood oozing from both knees, an elbow and several
“I knew when I headed to the inside of the pack it might be trouble,”
she said as her boyfriend photographed her battle wounds. “But that’s
part of the race.”
More than 250 messengers registered for the competition, but less than
half showed up in Saturday’s rain for the qualifying race.
The top hundred were supposed to advance, but race organizers gave
everyone who rode in the downpour an automatic bump to yesterday’s
“I’m used to riding in the rain, so Saturday was no big deal for me,”
said Joe Lumbroso, 24, a former courier from Portland, Ore. “I just
wish the airline hadn’t lost my tools.”
Lumbroso didn’t bother to replace his wrenches, pump and other
essential items, and was helpless after blowing a tire 10 minutes into
“It was disappointing, but I’m not sorry I came,” he said. “I met a lot
of great people. The messenger community is a really tight subculture.”
It’s a cocky, grungy world of piercings, tattoos and the ability to zip
through the city like a bolt of lightning, said Isaac Adams, 24, a
courier from West Philadelphia who helped organize yesterday’s race.
Couriers prefer fixed-gear bikes with no brakes instead of street
racers with several speeds.
“You can’t fake it,” Adams said. “If you can’t ride, if you don’t have
the look and the attitude, then you will stand out as a phony.”
Only two riders were able to deliver all five packages within the
allotted time. The winner, Austin Horse, didn’t necessarily fit the
Unlike several riders, who wore T-shirts, cut-off shorts and sneakers,
Horse, 24, was decked out in cycling gear and sported a 20-speed bike.
He rode down for the race from his home in the Lower East Side of
Manhattan, where he works as a messenger during the day and delivers
food at night.
Horse, who has no tattoos, isn’t against body art. But making a living
as a courier, it’s a matter of economics.
“Good tattoos cost a lot of money,” he said. “If I have $100 to spend,
I would rather put it toward some food or something more important,
like a date.”