Bike Courier History Goes on Display in Fishtown

A photo from the upcoming Courier Archive show at Transport Cycles.

A photo from the upcoming Courier Archive show at Transport Cycles.

The Constitution Center, the National Jewish Museum, the African American Museum, and even the Mummers Museum are all mainstays of history and knowledge in Philly. Soon, there will be one more venue—albeit a temporary one—to view objects of another group’s history.

This Friday, from 6pm to 10pm, Firth and Wilson Transport Cycles in Fishtown will be hosting the Philadelphia Cycling Courier Archive Show.

An activity such as taking packages from point A to point B can seem so menial to some, but for those within the courier culture, this event will not only be a party, it will also be a unique chance to view items from courier history.

The organizers of Friday’s event utilized some informal crowd sourcing and asked the messenger community to lend anything they may have that relates to courier history—literally anything “from a zine, spoke card, t-shirt, jersey, tin, poster, etc.,” reads a Facebook post about the event.

Items not only from Philly will be on display but also from many of the bike messenger championships that have taken place around the world.

“A lot of the messengers in Philly have been collecting this stuff and there’s a lot of guys that have been around for twenty plus years who are ex messengers but are still in the bike scene who still know each other and it just came together really well and all this stuff just ended up here,” Simon Firth, owner of the Transport Cycles, said.

One such guy who has been involved in the messenger scene is one of the show’s organizers Michael Dailey. He rode the streets as a courier from 1999 to 2008 and has stayed active in the messenger community since being off the road. He and a group of friends in the cycling group Landlords Cycling who have been involved in putting on shows and races for a number of years thought this show would be a good idea.

“We just started asking people for donations of their stuff and we got a pretty good response,” Dailey said.

Firth and Dailey will also be lending a few of their own items to display at the show.

“I’ve got on old messenger bag that predates the all these fancy ReLoad and Timbuk2 bags,” Firth said. “I’ve got a Guardian newspaper bag which is what the messengers in London used to use before they got fancy.”

It’s going to be a busy weekend for Philly’s courier crowd. They are hoping for a decent-sized event since it falls on Friday and this show is also serving as a welcome party for the “Rocky 13” messenger race that will be taking place on Saturday.

-Zach Mentzer

Topics: Biking in Philly

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