Stephen has been a bike messenger in DC for two years. Prior to that, he studied sociology at George Washington University.
It was not too cold when I met up with Stephen, however, the wind was blowing a little and there was a lot of snow and ice on the streets and sidewalks. Both of which create challenges for Stephen.
He is dressed for the job: helmet, heavy coat, messenger bag, radio, and pants that are pinned so as to not interfere with his peddling. His bike leans against a pole nearby. “I’ve got four other bikes…different bikes for different occasions.”
Most of his jobs are downtown. Transporting documents for law firms. In fact, he says more than 90% of his work is for law firms and lobbyists. Occasionally he gets the odd request to pick up some pet food or something like that.
As we talk, some other couriers show up. I detect that they have their own lingo. One of them talks about an area of DC they call “the hole.” They mention dangerous jobs like going from Capitol Hill over to Arlington to an area that was not plowed. Hopefully they get some hazard pay or something for taking such assignments.
Occasionally Stephen’s radio will squawk…and there is the chance for work…but unfortunately that is not the case while I am there.
Check out the video to find out what Stephen is going to do with the $10. And keep a look out for these guys when you are driving…try not to hit them, they really do earn their living.
How did I forget to ask him about the mullet?!