Raw footage for Chicago Slices. Jack Blackfelt, a bike messenger, talks about the plight of the working man and the city's "strong arming" of the messengers, and takes us on a tour to see him in action. He falls off bike in mid traffic.
00:00Copy video clip URL Driving footage on the way to meet Blackfelt.
2:06Copy video clip URL Two men, one is bike messenger Jack Blackfelt, stand in front of camera. The sound is very fuzzy with background noise on Des Plaines Street.
2:50Copy video clip URL “This is where my office is, but it’s ironically in front a monument for the police martyrs of the Haymarket Riot … I’ve always been labor-minded, as a revolutionary activist, as a political activist.”
4:30Copy video clip URL The City Ordinance to keep tabs on bike messengers in the city is discussed. Blackfelt gives his opinions about the ordinance. Was it enacted due to safety or was this an attack on an already weakened group of people without health care benefits or any union protection?
7:09Copy video clip URL Blackfelt shows his wounds.
11:12Copy video clip URL He begins riding the opposite way of on-coming traffic.
12:38Copy video clip URL Audio improves.
14:32Copy video clip URL “As far as it goes with bike messengering, there is a level of aggression that you have to hold yourself by. [Alderman] Burt Natarus said that we’re just a bunch of arrogant and dangerous people. I guess the trick word is ‘arrogant.’ If you’re not arrogant doing this out there then you’re in trouble …”.
16:13Copy video clip URL Blackfelt describes what he carries on his back and basket.
17:56Copy video clip URL Blackfelt explains why he never rode a bicycle. “It felt very artificial to me. It impaired my workings, my rhythm … the helmet was completely foreign.”
19:14Copy video clip URL Blackfelt tells a story of police pursuing him.
21:00Copy video clip URL Begin bike ride through city. Videomaker Doug Sawyer trails Blackfelt in a car.
29:00Copy video clip URL “I think I caught my back wheel on someone’s bumper.”
32:00Copy video clip URL Sound cuts in and out as Blackfelt makes a turn on Dearborn. He approaches Lake and Dearborn: “the maze.”
36:30Copy video clip URL “Downtown gets to be a routine in the same certain situations. It’s the same jerks doing the same things and the same people thinking you’re big a jerk for doing your thing.”
37:10Copy video clip URL “If you slow up a bit I’ll show you a San Francisco trick.”
39:05Copy video clip URL Voice screams. Blackfelt falls in the middle of traffic. After holding on to the car to gain speed (the San Francisco trick), he falls after dipping between cars and almost hitting a newspaper vendor standing in the middle of the street at the red light.
43:16Copy video clip URL “That’s why I always tell people, ‘Yeah, this job keeps you in good shape, but not necessarily in good health.”
47:22Copy video clip URL “It’s a very fun job and I love it for that reason … but it really should pay a lot more considering the risks. Considering the handful of people a year in the United States that die on the job as bike messengers. That’s the hardest part for me, to think about that. And I do, relatively often. I think about it in terms of labor and just that we could be better protected if we organized.”
57:22Copy video clip URL End of tape.