Chicago man named North America's fastest bike messenger

ByLaura Podesta via WLS logo
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
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The fastest bike messenger in North America lives and works here in Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- You've seen bike messengers tearing through Chicago's streets on two wheels. But did you know the fastest bike messenger in North America lives and works here?

Nico Deportago-Cabrera is officially the fastest bike messenger on the continent. He won the title last week at the North American Cycle Courier Championship. It went down on a closed course in New York City.

"So literally you are delivering and picking up packages on a course, earning fake money, and at the end of the day the person who earns the most is crowned champion," Deportago-Cabrera said.

That winning total was $281 for three hours of cycling. It's decent money, but the 31-year-old from Logan Square admits he takes serious risks to earn his living.

His friend and colleague, Blaine Klingenberg, was struck and killed by a tour bus on Michigan Avenue in June. Police said Klingenberg ran a red light. His family is now suing the tour bus company for wrongful death.

"Incredibly unfortunate and it's certainly not the first time it's happened to a cyclist. I just hope it puts us on people's radars," he said.

It may sound contradictory, but Deportago-Cabrera said that's why he uses daredevil maneuvers on the job, such as touching buses or weaving in and out of traffic.

"While they might not always like that, I'd rather they know I'm there! See me, rather then surprise them," he explained.

Now sponsored by Red Bull, Deportago-Cabrera is taking his job to extreme levels. In one video you see him racing - and beating - a Chicago cab.

So, in his quest to get packages to their destinations, does he ever go through red lights?

"On occasion," he said.

Yet, in 10 years of being a bike messenger in Chicago, Deportago-Cabrera said he's never received a traffic ticket.