Urban Velo

Corey’s Stories – My U-lock Weighs A Ton

corey_cmwc2012It isn’t easy being a bicycle messenger in NYC. And by that, I am not referring to the bicycle riding part.

I was in an upward bound elevator yesterday. The doors to the car opened a few floors early. A woman was preparing to enter when a girl’s voice said: “Mommy, no”. The woman looked to me and the lit white up arrow on the door frame. I acknowledged with a nod that the elevator was indeed heading up.
Just then another smaller child, two possibly three years old, with a giggly face surrounded by curls came bounding toward the car as the doors began to close. I do not know if it was because of her short height or slow reaction time, but the sensors failed to stop the doors. I could foresee her getting crushed by the giant hulking metal doors.

Instantly I reacted, leaping forward to grab the doors and prevent a tragedy. The speed at which I lunged shocked the girl. The mother, having the same protective instinct, yanked the girl from the imminent danger of the doors a second later.

The moments earlier happy face turned into a mask of horrified fear. I tried to smile to let her know that everything was fine, but she began sobbing loudly. The doors to the elevator closed. The elevator resumed its slow upward climb. Two floors later I could still hear the muffled wailing of the frightened child as her mother consoled her.

Although the mother thanked me in the moment just after I saved her little girl, it stung just a bit knowing that somewhere that girl may be forever terrified of bicycle messengers or cyclists in general. Damn.

About Corey the Courier

Corey started riding as a messenger in 1990, making him one of the old school veterans still working the grind. He got his beginning in Philadelphia and operated Vespid Couriers from 1998 - 2008, organized USA Cycling road races from 1996-2004, and had his hands in CMWC 2000, ESPI 2005 and NACCC 2006. An "accomplished" alleycat racer and fixture in the courier world, Corey currently rides at Elite Couriers in NYC and is sponsored by Bern Helmets, Boombotix, Ergon, Revolights, Abus, Rapha and Sealskinz and Tifosi Optics.

View all posts by Corey the Courier →


  1. CharlesApril 15, 2013 at 11:36 am

    When I was 5, I went to O’hare International Airport with my father to pick up my grandmother. I got in the elevator first and my dad said “Stop the doors.” So I hit the stop button after which the doors shut immediately with me being alone in the elevator.

    I eventually realized I needed to pull the button and the doors opened. My father wasn’t there but we were quickly reunited.

    The moral of the story: I’m not afraid of elevators and the little girl won’t be afraid of bike messengers. :)

  2. ChrisApril 15, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Rest easy. I have two young children. Kids’ emotion valves run loose. They are also 1,000,000x more forgiving than adults. Trust me, you are hero until she forgets you.

  3. BettyApril 15, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    She’ll probably idolize you. I’m sure she heard her mom thank you.

  4. SnakehawkApril 23, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Corey is more man than a can of backhand.

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