Trib: Female bicycle messenger has the grit to thrive

By Jason Cato
Monday, September 29, 2008

Indoctrination into the cut-throat bicycle messenger world, where time is money and money comes per delivery, can be daunting.

Lindsey Welsh lucked out, and she knows why.

“I’m the new kid on the block,” said Welsh, 29, of the South Side, who six months ago became the only full-time female bicycle messenger in Pittsburgh. “I get treated very well, because I’m the only girl. I didn’t get the normal rookie treatment; they had to be nice to me.”

About 15 riders work full time for Pittsburgh’s four bicycle messenger companies: Steel City Delivery, where Welsh works, Jet Messenger, Quick Messenger and Stat Courier.

Brad Quartuccio, editor of Bloomfield-based cycling magazine Urban Velo, said Pittsburgh’s messenger scene is like those in most other cities.

“Messengering has always been a male-dominated thing,” said Quartuccio, 27. “It’s a boys’ club that tends to be jockish.”

Although he said Pittsburgh’s industry is more mellow than some other cities, he said Welsh definitely has the moxie, work ethic and congeniality to hold her own with the guys.

“She gets up in the mornings and rides,” Quartuccio said. “That’s the No. 1 part of being a messenger — you go do your job. She earns respect by being reliable and doing her job well.”

Plus, Welsh is as competitive as they come, he said. “She’ll throw elbows.”

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