Interview with panel moderator, Kurt Boone from Messenger 841
- What was your experience at SHIMANO BIKE NYC? Did you have a favorite bike or event?
I loved the Shimano Bike NYC shop from the first time I stepped into the store. All the bikes had amazing designs with well-built Shimano parts. It might be unrealistic, but I wanted to ride all the bicycles showcased in the shop. And the many events I attended at the shop brought the passion and love of urban cycling to center stage.
- What made you get into bikes? (And when?)
My first love of the bicycle came when I was six years old and my father put me on a tricycle with training wheels. Even today, that first experience is a magical moment and drives my passion to be involved with all things cycling, from writing news stories and books to designing messenger bags.
- Could you tell us about your riding experience in an urban environment like NYC?
I think that being a foot messenger in New York City and having a lot of friends who are bicycle messengers, I understand the difficulties of riding in New York City. Unfortunately, I am not riding the city streets of Queens, New York, as much as I would like or riding the streets of Manhattan. My apartment is too small to have a bicycle in it. So I take my cycling passion and put it into books, producing cycling events, and designing cycling apparel. There is this thing called a cycling “enthusiast.” I define myself as one of them.
- Some people are afraid to ride in NYC. What would your advice be to them?
My thoughts on riding the streets of Manhattan and New York City in general? If you ride your bicycle, be prepared to follow basic riding rules like wearing a helmet, make sure your brakes work, have enough air in your tires, have working lights and a spare inner tube. From there, always be alert and enjoy the ride.
- Could you tell us about Messenger 841 and its goal?
The concept behind Messenger 841 was to design streetwear inspired by foot and bicycle messengers of New York City. Messenger 841 is very much a streetwear vision like skateboarding fashion, sneaker culture, or hip-hop fashion. Messenger 841 started in 2001 and later evolved into not just fashion but also documentation of the global messenger culture. That is showcased through the work of bicycle messengers. Bicycle messengers are global brand ambassadors for urban cycling. Part of Messenger 841’s goal is to make sure that bicycle messengers are recognized and rewarded for their innovations in the urban cycling experience.
- What do you think we could do to encourage more people to get on bikes?
In an urban setting such as New York City with 24-hour mass transit systems, getting the general population to ride a bicycle is a challenge. Riding a bicycle is not the first thing that comes to people’s minds, whether for travel or recreation. With that being said, I believe that in order to get more people to ride bicycles, we need a few things to occur. First is the ability to ride a bicycle, second is access to a bicycle, third is education on the fitness benefits of riding a bicycle, and fourth is devoting time to riding a bicycle. For example, in number 4, city commuters could ride a bicycle to their local movie theater instead of taking their car. Another idea would be for cycling brands to promote cycling to the masses through advertising. Like advertisements on subway trains to encourage people to ride their bicycle if they have one or offering a way to buy or rent a bicycle in the city if they don’t have one.
Messenger 841 has a number of upcoming projects for the holiday market 2017 where we are releasing a new handmade messenger bag in collaboration with Vessel Workshop that comes with an authenticity certificate and is numbered in manufacturing sequence. In 2018, there will be new photo books on the Cycle Messenger World Championship, which will be held in Montreal, the North American Cycle Courier Championship, which will be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a messenger-style book based on Cinelli cycling caps.