[Last year the Chicago Reader launched a weekly transportation column written by Streetsblog Chicago editor John Greenfield. We syndicate a portion of the column on Streetsblog after it comes out online; you can read the remainder on the Reader’s website or in print.]
In two-way radio speak, “10/9” means “please repeat.” That’s exactly what Christina Peck and Nico Deportago-Cabrera, former and current Chicago bike messengers, respectively, did at the North American Cycle Courier Championships in New York City earlier this month.
The NACCC (pronounced “nack”) tests the mettle of messengers from all over the continent, as well as visitors from other parts of the world (although they’re not eligible to win), with races meant to simulate a day of two-wheeled delivery work. Back in 2009, Peck won top overall honors at the championship race in Boston, and her good friend Deportago-Cabrera was the top male finisher.
This year, on October 9—which is also 10-9 Day, or international Messenger Appreciation Day—the pair repeated those very same feats in New York. Peck, who now works for Godspeed Courier in San Francisco, was also the overall winner in the 2013 NACCC in Seattle—that’s a total of three overall North American championships. On top of that, she’s been the first-place female in two Cycle Messenger World Championships, in Mexico City in 2014 and Melbourne in 2015.
Deportago-Cabrera, who rides for Chicago’s Cut Cats Courier food delivery collective and as an independent contractor, is no slouch either. In addition to being the top male finisher in the main NYC race this year, he was the first-place out-of-towner in a nighttime “alleycat” race (a messenger-style competition in live traffic) held in Manhattan earlier that weekend. (Out-of-towners are often ranked separately because they don’t have the hometown advantage of knowing the street grid.)
I caught up with these speedy folks last week to discuss their achievements, and the state of the courier industry.