Day Labor from Minka on Vimeo.
Brendan O’Neill Kohl’s “Day Labor” is a charming short film that imagines what would happen if everyone started hiring day laborers to do their work for them. It starts with one enterprising (read: lazy) bike messenger, and snowballs from there. And though the film ultimately is not about bikes, Kohl features a bunch of real Seattle messengers, which is more than enough reason to post on this Seattle-based, bike-centric site.
Sure a little kid would probably be better off in school than working 13-hour days as a messenger while smoking a pipe, but damn if this kid isn’t the biggest bad ass I’ve ever seen on a bike.
Photojournalist Lewis Hine played an integral role in the creation of child labor laws in America. Hine took a post with the National Child Labor Committee in 1908 and spent the next ten years documenting child laborers and their working conditions around America. Though real child labor reform didn’t come about until 1938 (thanks as much to the Great Depression as anything) Hine’s photos nonetheless helped show America the destitute, exploitative conditions in which young children were forced to work.
Ira at the Seattle Bike Expo 2010. (Photo by Charlie Clay)
I first met Ira Ryan while reporting on the Seattle Bike Expo for a Seattle news website. Appropriately enough given that Ira is a high-end custom frame builder, we were both listening to a panel at the time on frame building featuring legendary builders Ken Taylor, Bill Davidson, and Glenn Erikson. I noticed Ira standing nearby and stuck up a conversation. Rather than bolting for the door to escape my barrage of questions, Ira happily engaged me in conversation about the frame building industry, randonneuring and racing, and the Portland bike scene. That conversation continues today with Ira discussing his foray into frame building, his love of adventure racing, and his participation in Rapha’s admittedly-impressive, but purple-prosed marketing scheme, the Continental Project.
Craig in his basement bikeshop, Tommy’s.
Seattle bike messenger Craig Etheridge may very well be the nicest guy to ever sit atop a bicycle. He’ll also tear your legs off in a race while simultaneously encouraging you to ride harder and laughing with heckling spectators. Craig is the reigning Cycle Messenger World Champion, made a run at the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championship podium, and routinely tears it up at local cyclocross and mountain bike races. I sat down with Craig in his basement bike shop (inexplicably named Tommy’s bike shop) to talk about the world championships, career messengering, and the growth of single speed cyclocross.