Humans of Red Bull Illume: Nico Deportago-Cabrera, Bicycle Messenger, Red Bull Athlete
When I was young, I was really reckless. I played in a band and all I did, was getting drunk! Until my car got hit by a van. Thank God I didn’t get hurt, but this accident got me in the life that I am living right now. I lost my driver licence and with 22, quit drinking. As a consequence, I started to ride a bicycle. And the more I rode, the more I fell in love with it. I also fell in love with my hometown, Chicago. At one stage, my band broke up and I needed a job. So I became bicycle messenger. Well, this was 9 years ago, and I’m still doing it! But the most important thing for me was that I always thought that travelling the world was only reserved to fortunate people, to people with money. That I would always remain a by standard. For a long time I figured, I’d be stuck here in Chicago for my whole life. Becoming a bike messenger opened up the world world to me. It was a total game changer! Suddenly, I had access to a big international community, which holds races all over the world. Before 2009 where I became 3rd at the North American messenger Championship in Boston, I had not even a passport, never really quit Chicago. 2 months later, I got invited to Tokyo and I decided I wanted to see what the world championships were all about.
Today, I just have to show up in a city, announce myself, and someone would propose me his coach for the night, people I’ve never met before. So even if the community doesn’t know you personally, you have a connection through this job. Some of my best friends I have never seen in their own city. Upon discovering this whole sub-culture of the messenger scene, it became my ticket to the world. What I really want to say, I learned how accessible the world is. And when you like to travel, you don’t need to spend much money. It changed the whole perspective of what I could do with my life. It is still the less paid job that I have ever had, but when I look back to this kid who was mentally and spiritually in trouble, I would never have for seen what I’m doing now.