Sunday, February 1, 2009

King of the Street

“I’m probably no longer the King of the Street, but I gave it my best.”—David 'Leo' Leopold, bicycle messenger

I’ve come to the conclusion that my “blogging” is becoming mundane at best…perhaps it’s because my inspiration (what there is of it) comes from actually being in the saddle, communing with bike and nature. The short commutes to work, all two and a half minutes, and the occasional breaks in weather that would afford a sustentative ride, really don’t deliver any satisfaction or clarity of thought. I know…some of you will say, “Well then, get out and ride!” I’m working on it—(enter self-depredating, ineffectual and profuse excuses here).

But this morning on CBS’s Sunday Morning, a feature called “On a Roll” by Steve Hartman infused some thoughts of a “better time.” In 1985, the late founding anchor Charles Kuralt interviewed 24-year old David 'Leo' Leopold, who currently operates Cavalry Couriers, a Manhattan Island bike messenger service. Much of the historical video was aired on the November 26, 2008 CBS Evening News (“On the Road…Again”) with anchor Maggie Rodriguez (for Katie Couric). Although I vehemently disagree with Leo’s riding courtesy and disregard for safety, I imagine myself doing the same…

Of course, it can only be fancy—which acknowledges any real possession of skills and stamina that being a bike messenger would require. And the small spaces between motor vehicles…well let’s say, where “I (Leo)can ride between objects that leave me an inch and a half, so technical that it’s like a surgeon’s hands…” , I would be stuck (wedged, if you prefer) between delivery vehicles, going wherever they decided—a cargo sandwich as such. If you prefer the analogy to be medically apropos, substitute—I would be stuck like a subdural hematoma between the dura mater and the arachnoid meninges...(Why We Wear Helmets).

But can you imagine? The exhilaration of flying along the streets with the fluidity of a fixie—being able to experience the “joy of passing everything that moves on the island of Manhattan; and, of doing this one thing better than anybody else on the planet Earth.”