Portlanders make strong showing at Cycle Messenger World Championships

Some serious loads for the Cargo Race.
(Photos: Mike Cobb)

Five Portlanders just returned from Chicago where they competed in the 20th annual Cycle Messenger World Championships. The event featured the 250 best professional cargo couriers and messengers from around the world who put their skills to the test with a race around Soldier Field, a cargo bike race, sprints, a track stand competition (where riders balance on their bikes in place, without moving), and more.

Former Portland State University track racing star Anita Dilles, now racing for Portland Pedal Power, competed in the track events. She took 1st place in the match sprint, 2nd in the scratch race, and 3rd in the tempo race — an effort that earned her 2nd overall. Dilles also won the women’s track stand (and finished 10th overall among the men). Fellow competitor Mike Cobb sent us updates from Chicago, including the photos below of Dilles in action.

Dilles in black

Winning style!

For Dilles, who also works part time for local cargo bike specialty shop Joe Bike, this was her first ever messenger race. “It was an awesome introduction to the scene,” she shared with me via email this morning. Here’s more from Dilles:

“For me, the race was challenging and fun: I’m accustomed to racing just to be the fastest (in road, track, and mountain biking), but in a messenger race there’s a lot of route finding and strategic package pickup/drop off to contend with, as well as plenty of heckling from the checkpoint operators.”

Cobb, a part-time fabricator who also works part-time as a courier for GoBox, represented Portland (and his sponsor B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery) quite well himself. He finished 4th in the Cargo Race, 2nd in the skids competition, and 1st in Men’s track stand.

The Cargo Race was Cobb’s main focus. He actually finished 3rd; but there was some confusion at the end that ultimately put him in 4th. Cobb says the top three spots were all Bullitt front-loader cargo bikes. He rode a Surly Steamroller with a fixed gear and a Blue Sky Cycle Cart trailer.

Portland’s prowess on the track was also evident on the men’s side with Al Urbanski and Joe Prettyman of the Sizzle Pie/Blaq team earning 1st and 3rd overall. Also representing Portland was local professional messenger Damian Riehl.

Nice work to all the competitors. It sure is great to know that such a (relatively) small city like Portland can compete with the the world’s best human-powered delivery professionals.

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