by Scott Larkin

Vito by George Pinkston

Walking in downtown San Francisco several years ago, I saw a messenger riding through slow traffic. He wove in and out, in and out, like a needle stitching all the cars together.

The memory sticks with me for some reason. I suspect it's because of the utter grace of his motion, his silent unintended mockery of all the drivers sitting trapped in their unmoving cars.

I'm positive that he was riding fixed. Maybe I just picked up on the fact that he was a messenger, and so I assumed that he was on a fix. But I'm sure I remember the precise movements of his legs, the way he pedaled to speed up and to slow down. The subtle adjustments he made in his speed and direction were like the tiny corrections a bird makes in flight.

If my niece ever asks me what grace means, I will take her downtown and wait for a messenger on a fixie to pass.

Scott Larkin edits his own linked site and zine on cycling advocacy issues, where a longer version of this article appeared.

v1.0 written January 2004

© George Pinkston, Old Skool Track.

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