For bicycle messengers (and other cyclists), the winter is what separates the professionals from the wannabees. I realized this earlier today as I was walking downtown in Chicago on a cold, gray and windy day as I watched a lone cyclist struggle to pedal fast down the street.
Once upon a time, when I was out of high school looking for a summer job, I wanted to become a bike messenger. It was partly inspired by my love for cycling and watching Kevin Bacon in the movie Quicksilver. I decided against the bike messenger gig because it would have involved a 14 mile round-trip ride plus whatever miles I would cycle during the workday.
Seeing this lone bike messenger today also reminded me of a time about 10 years ago when I was working a freelance gig at a local university. On one very cold, snowy day, a bike messenger (who was less than six feet and 150 lbs.) walked into our office to deliver a 10 ream box of paper. I will never forget that moment he walked in — out of breath, dripping wet and his glasses so fogged up that I’m surprised he knew where he was going. My mouth dropped wondering how this rather small guy could deliver such a large, heavy package in near-blizzard conditions. It turns out he rode more than two miles with the box on his front handlebars.
Recalling this incident again today reminds me of an earlier post I wrote about showing up. It prompts me to ask:
What is it that you want to do so badly that your willing to show up every day, no matter how bad the weather or how crazy you look doing it? What is it that you love doing so much that your salary is secondary to your personal satisfaction? What are you willing to do that all the wannabees don’t want to do?
Creative Commons photo courtesy of Jesse.Millan