Bike Messengers Who Come to Race Like Hell


San Francisco newcomer Sinclair Fung accidentally stumbled upon QCR registration the day before and was told he would be welcome at the ride even if he wasn’t a bike messenger. Photo: Alex Washburn /


Seriously - how could you now be intimidated? Photo: Alex Washburn /


Ukiah (organizes SF Sprints) spent some time fixing a flat before the start of the QCR main race. Photo: Alex Washburn /


The crowd mingles. Photo: Alex Washburn /


Justin (who usually rides for Vista Solar) took the train from San Jose to compete in Quake City Rumble. Photo: Alex Washburn /


Because you can't have a fringe event in SF without the pot. Actually, this was the only blunt I saw. Photo: Alex Washburn /


Fact: Bike messengers love dogs. Photo: Alex Washburn /


No seriously. They love their dogs. Meet Oso (spanish for bear). Photo: Alex Washburn /


Andres (who usually rides for Nation Wide Legal) was one of the first people I met at QCR and answered every silly question I had. Photo: Alex Washburn /


Once the manifests were available the laid back vibe flipped and it was game-on. Photo: Alex Washburn /


'Mister Pista' provided sick beats in the form of the portable audio device and let other people play DJ. "I've got all kinds of music... punk rock, regular rock..." Photo: Alex Washburn /


Riders take a first look at the manifest and start forming a game plan to tackle the event. Photo: Alex Washburn /


This was the only all-girl posse I saw teamed up for the main event so I was totally rooting for Molli (far right) and her friends. Photo: Alex Washburn /


After 15 minutes with the manifest riders were allowed to start. Photo: Alex Washburn /


Riders gasping for air bring PBR (a sponsor) for extra points to the manned checkpoint at Chrome on Valencia. Photo: Alex Washburn /


Zach Morvant charges out of Chrome on Valencia eager to catch up with the rest of his team already on the way to Mission Workshop. Chrome and Mission Workshop were both sponsors of the event and served as manned checkpoints during the race. Photo: Alex Washburn /

A rider speeds away from Mission Workshop during Quake City Rumble

A rider speeds away from Mission Workshop which served as a manned checkpoint during the QCR main race. Photo: Alex Washburn /

Until this past weekend, bike messengers to me were those crazy guys dodging around my SUV in traffic with ripped thighs and sick tattoos oozing a coolness that took me back to my High School days and made me feel awkward and insecure.

After attending the Quake City Rumble bike messenger event this weekend? Well, they still have ripped thighs and sick tattoos, but I also realized they have a camaraderie amongst them you wouldn’t believe, that there are more lady bike messengers than you can imagine, and that they’re all unnecessarily nice to intruders with cameras who don’t know anything about bikes.

Quake City Rumble has been going on under the radar in San Francisco for over a decade—a beautiful PBR-fuelled event best summed up by the San Francisco Bike Messenger Association web site: “race like hell, then party like shit!”

It’s a gathering of riders that lasts three days and events include things like a scavenger hunt across San Francisco, a hill climb designed to destroy even the toughest quads, a ladies only event, and a BBQ.

I only had the pleasure of attending the main race on Saturday, which was supposed to start at High Noon, but kicked off around 1pm. Riders were given manifests detailing places in the city they needed to find and things they needed to do to score points. As soon as manifests were out, all the shit talking ceased and then riders began whipping out their weapon of choice: GPS, smart phones and paper maps, while others waited calmly, planning to tackle the city by memory.

My takeaway? Quake City Rumble is totally epic in spirit. I kind of wish I knew something about bikes.