Screengrab: No Weather Productions

This Man Has Survived 30 Insane Years as a Bike Messenger

New York City Cycling
by Matt Hershberger Aug 14, 2014

At best, a bike messenger is going to be in your life for a grand total of 30 seconds. And that’s only if they’re delivering something directly to you. If you pass them on the street, it’s likelier to be two to five seconds of contact, and at best, the contact will be unremarkable.

In New York City, bike messengers can have a reputation for being slightly insane. And to be fair, you would have to be slightly insane to be a bike messenger in New York City. Bill Meier certainly seems to have that shred of insanity: “If you look at me,” he says, “you are definitely rolling the dice. It’s a 50-50 chance that you’re gonna get me, or I’m gonna fucking kill you. And definitely one of the two is going to happen.”

Meier is 52 years old and has been a bike messenger for 30 years — first in San Francisco, now in New York, where he works for a pizza company. He started biking when he dropped out of the San Francisco Conservatory and hasn’t stopped since. A thin, gaunt man with a bushy beard, Meier has seen some shit, and he tells the filmmakers at No Weather about some of that shit in this 10-minute documentary.

He talks about attacks and tips and divorces and “houselessness” with both a weariness and a sense that he has no plans on ever giving up. “The day I can no longer ride a bike,” he says, “better be the day I’m fucking dead.”

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