The Truth about Bike Messengers

I don't work downtown, so I don't know how many bike messengers are actually in DC. I think it probably pales in comparison to other cities, but it's nice to see that the stereotypes surrounding bike couriers are universal- fixie, stubby bars, tats, etc. But are they true?
So, is it true that bike messengers exclusively ride fixed-gear bikes and carry messenger bags with big chain-link locks?  No, not really.  The one essential piece of equipment for a bike messenger is obviously a bicycle.  Although fixed gear bikes are often the bike of choice for messengers, due in large part to their simplicity and lack of components that could be broken or stolen, other bikes are popular among messengers, as well.  This FAQ from the New York Bicycle Messenger Association answers the question of what bike a messenger should used based on the rider’s personal style and preference.  Naturally, this makes sense, as the rider will be spending a significant amount of time on the bike, so getting one that suits the terrain and rider seems natural.  In general, it seems that flat handlebars and slick tires are relatively commonplace, and from there, many of the choices on gearing and brake systems vary by rider.
Sorry to disappoint, but on the other hand, nice to know I don't need to get any ironic tattoos and super-skinny jeans if I decide I want to change careers.

h/t Utility Cycling

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