heard about this, and figured, oh, what the hey...

so here we go - my casually-written proposal, for a trip that im headed off to do anyhow...

my name is joel metz, and for the past 8 years, ive worked as a bike messenger, mostly hear in san francisco. theres a really tight international community of bike messengers, and every year, we hold an event thats equal parts race, party, employee convention, and extended family reunion - the cycle messenger world championships. this coming year, its the 10th annual event, and its being held over the labor day weekend in copenhagen, denmark.

ever since copenhagen was selected as the host city at last years championship in budapest, ive been planning a short trip around the event, as i do every year (see http://www.blackbirdsf.org/magpie/2001tour/ for a still somewhat bland version of last years 3-month trek), and it seemed the perfect excuse to visit a few places ive wanted to visit for a while. the plan, as it stands, is to fly from sf to reykjavik, spend a week there, then on to copenhagen for 2 weeks around the cmwc, and then on from there to hamburg for a week before returning to sf.

why reykjavik? well, sometime in elementary school, one of those penpal places came through, advertising "pen pals from all over the world!" - and i, of course, just to be a pain, demanded a pen pal from iceland, which they did not have. since they were so obviously lying when they claimed to have penpals from all over the world, i refused to accept a pen pal from anywhere else. ever since then, iceland has been high on my list of places to visit.

why hamburg? ive been to a fair bit of other places in germany, but not so much in the northern region. ive got plenty of messenger friends in hamburg, and that intrigues me, because working there takes an interesting twist compared to how messengers work and are paid everywhere else in the world - the companies actually work for the messengers, taking a small fee from their incomes, rather than paying them commission on the jobs they do. its a complex pay structure, and one i dont fully understand, but i want to see it first hand. that, and i want to go see st. pauli matches (germanys smallest division 1 soccer team - and notoriously punk/left-wing in the face of legions of right-wing soccer supporters).

during the entire trip, im planning to keep extensive diaries (as i did last year), as well as documenting the trip with photography (both with black and white film, and hopefully - if i get one before then - a digital camera). new for this years trip, ill also be carrying a minidisc recorder, as one of my great frustrations last year was the host of *sounds* i heard that i wouldve loved to have recorded, and have available to upload into my online diary. im definitely planning on making an online report of the trip, ideally as it happens, but at least in copenhagen, that will depend on how involved i will be in the organization of the event, because as a past organizer (cmwc 1996 here in sf), im usually called in to assist when things go wrong (or even if they dont), which is a big part of why i show up early and leave late at cmwc.

my diaries tend to be train-of-thought, and sometimes disjointed, but in travelling by bike, i have a tendency to run into things that perhaps others might not - and by not riding around as your standard touring cyclist, working a route out of a book, ill hopefully be discovering things about the cities i visit that will hopefully be as much of a surprise to readers as they will be to me. i dont honestly know exactly what ill be doing when i get to any of the cities on my tour - thats part of the beauty of it all - i tend to plan structures of my trips, but not the specifics - i prefer that to unfold as i go.

iceland, im supposing, will be me like a kid in a candy store - a visit to a country ive dreamed of visiting for the past 20 years. copenhagen, where ive been before, will be a fantastic insight into the event that unities bike messengers from all over the world, through the eyes of a messenger and event organizer, rather than the articles that have been published in the past, written by outside journalists. hamburg is an afterparty of sorts for me - an investigation into an interesting labor structure, and some crazy footballing as well, i hope.

that about covers it - my little, offhand proposal for this contest thing. its something im going to do regardless, so either way i win...


-- joel metz : www.eeph.com/~magpie