D.C. Gigs: Pedaling Around Town With A Bike Messenger


When it comes to health and wellness, fitness is, of course, elemental. And with some folks in D.C., there's no need for the gym because they get plenty of exercise doing their everyday jobs. In the case of the woman we'll meet next, that job consists of pedaling around the city as she ferries documents and other important materials among people in official Washington. Kate Schrock is a bike messenger and in this month's edition of "D.C. Gigs," she stopped for a moment to talk with producer, Marc Adams, about the rewards and challenges of being a two-wheeled warrior in the nation's capital.




Good morning. How are you doing?


All right. About you? You picking up?


Picking up, ITC.




I'm Kate Schrock, I'm a bicycle messenger in Washington D.C. I'm 29 years-old and I've been a bike messenger off and on for six years. I was on my way to a job where I was a waitress and I saw a bike messenger roaring down the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue and said to myself, This job sucks. I want to do what that guy's doing. I like being a bike messenger because you can do whatever you want all day long, mostly, and get paid to ride your bike. I'm not necessarily the bread winner in the family right now. So, I get -- I have a partner and she gets me benefits and we get insurance and stuff like that, dental. So, that's -- without that, I don't know what I would do.


When we go to embassies, it's usually taking passports, whether it's regular passports or official or diplomatic ones and running them to be processed for visas. And then, of course, and then there's State Department, which is papers that need to have stuff done to them. I don't know, I just pick up the envelope and drop it off. The amount of security in D.C. is one thing that sets it apart, absolutely. I have a belt that doesn't have any metal on it. All I have to do is take off my bag, toss it on the belt, walk through the scanner and I'll be done with that as fast as possible. Some places like State Department and the EPA, the guards there are really -- you have to stand and wait before you go but other places you can just toss your bag on and walk through. But, yes, dealing with security is kind one of those fine tuned skills, I guess, you pick up along the way.


Let's see what we got. A new job. Whew, another one to ITC, score. Doubling up. Another one, my lucky morning. Look at that. Select. The car door is probably one of our most dangerous nemeses. I've fortunately haven't had a dooring in a long time. I tend to ride in the middle of the lanes these days. The fun stuff is when you've got eight minutes to get to ITC and you're still up at McPherson Square and you got one more pickup and you're throwing out all the stops, you know, like, rolling into loading docks and throwing your ID at them and grabbing the thing and running to the elevator and yelling at people to hold it and grabbing it and running down and just busting down Pennsylvania Avenue, as fast as you possibly can. That's when it's fun but it shouldn't be stressful if you're doing it right.


That was bike messenger, Kate Schrock, talking with producer Marc Adams. Do you have a distinctively "D.C. Gig" you think we should feature on the show? Let us know by sending an email to
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