during a track stand contest at the
Multnomah County Bike Fair in June.
(Photo © J. Maus)
Portlander Mike Cobb wants to represent Portland at this year’s Cycle Messenger World Championships in Tokyo and he’s looking for a bit of help to get there.
Cobb — who works for local bike-powered cargo delivery company B-line PDX — is an expert pedaler, but he’s also one of the best at not going anywhere at all. Cobb is a two-time track stand world champion and he hopes to defend his titles in Japan. (He’s also won four bronze medals — one in track stand, one in riding in backwards circles, and two in the cargo bike races).
A track stand is when you stay balanced on your bicycle without moving or putting your foot down. In competition, the last man (or woman) to put a foot down is the winner. They’re a time-honored tradition and just one of many disciplines that will test the limits of messenger talent at the event.
chimes out of old bike parts.)
Cobb says since 2004 he hasn’t found anyone who can track stand longer than him (he credits stopping to practice at all red lights and 10 years of yoga as his magic recipe), but he’d rather be known for his cargo bike racing prowess. In fact, Cobb was all set for his Tokyo trip with full sponsorship from a cargo bike company, but when organizers pulled the cargo bike event at the last minute (turns out there’s not much of a cargo bike culture in Tokyo), Cobb was left holding the bag. No event. No sponsor.
For Cobb, the event is a chance to not only display his skills and bring home some hardware, it’s also an opportunity to connect with the world-wide messenger community as a representative of Portland and Oregon.
I can vouch for Cobb’s skills, both on the bike and off. He was a vendor at our BikeCraft event last winter where he sold a wonderful collection of handmade wind chimes made from old bike parts. I watched him track stand at the Portland Mercury’s booth at the Multnomah County Bike Fair back in June. With his arm in a sling due to an injury, Cobb mounted a bike and remained still forever, even as vicious bystanders hurled water balloons at him at point blank range.
If you are interested in sponsoring Mike’s trip (he’s got varying levels of support available), or want more information, check out his “Mission Tokyo” website.