Urban Flow: Bike Messengers and the City

It’s never a good idea to publish your thesis as a book unless you have several years dedicated to parsing out the obtuse academic bits and only leaving the core of your argument in place. Unfortunately, Kidder kidded himself into thinking that his topic was so juicy that it could hold up the tottering components of rotting wood from his dusty sociology paper. He vacillates between striking a “Hey I’m just one of the grime-encrusted guys” pose and a nasally “As I explain in further detail in future chapters” tone. We’ll be rollicking along, fully immersed in decent prose about the day to day life of these road warriors, and then clunk! get doored on some text like: “Speaking of capitalism, for example, Karl Marx states…,” and “couriers are engaged in a dialectical relationship with the city’s built structures,” then layering in quotes from Weber and obscure German sociologists. Despite the fog of pseudo-intellectualism that strikes such a false note, I did appreciate the reminder that the reason messengers enjoy their jobs so much is that it involves a lot of play and the concept of flow as defined by Csikszentmihalyi.