Bicycle couriers are most functional in very dense urban areas, in the States these would be epitomized by New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Seattle etc.
After the advent of e-mail, bike messengers in the West took a big hit in numbers, despite their eco-friendliness, in many cases requiring only cigarettes, PBR, and chain lube. In the US, as scott said, there are still populations of bike messengers in major cities (NY and SF especially), but not nearly as many as there were in the 90s. Outside the US, however, huge cities like Beijing and Buenos Aires still retain huge numbers of couriers. Many of these are motorcycle couriers, but you still can’t go anywhere in downtown Buenos Aires without seeing a few bike messengers on each block.
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