Cycle courier championships sponsor linked art exhibition

As part of the 2003 European Cycle Messenger Championships, the London Bicycle Messenger Association has organised On a Wheel and a Prayer: Images and Objects from London Bike Messenger Culture. The championships - the second that London has hosted - will be held at the Lee Valley Cycle Circuit, the Whitsun Bank holiday weekend of 24th-26th May.
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The courier art expo will be held at 491 Gallery, 491 Grove Green Road, London E11 from 16th until 29th May. The event is being staged by the London Bicycle Messenger Association (LBMA) and will feature "art objects, memorabilia, and the technical aspects of bike messenger culture within the great metropolis of London."

On show will be an archive of the world's longest running courier zine, London's Moving Target.

Bill Chidley, chair of the LBMA, said:

"For at least twenty years cycle courier culture has been an understated, yet vital, force within cities across the globe. Yet, this is the first major exhibition of bike messenger culture anywhere in the world. The LBMA is proud to sponsor this event, which is a significant moment not just in cycle courier history, but in urban history as well."

Chidley estimates that bicycle messengering in London is an industry worth £35m pa.

The European Cycle Messenger Championships were last staged in London in 1994. This year they are being sponsored by Citysprint, one of London's biggest same-day courier companies.

Citysprint marketing director Kim Lailey said:

"I felt that Citysprint ought to be involved in a big way in 2003 ECMC, because it is such a special event, and the best possible shop-window for the London on-demand courier industry. The riders are the company, and if this event can improve the public's perception of bicycle messengers then it will improve public perception of our business and also our brand."

Chidley also sees the championships as way to create positive vibes about cycle couriers, who generally get a bad press.

"Messengers are sometimes perceived as a cycling nuisance. We are keen to promote greater respect for more vulnerable road users amongst our members and of encouraging all messengers to abide by the Highway Code. Cycling is a vital part of this city's transport solution and the messenger community, as its most visible exponent, is determined to be a part of that."

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