One of a handful of female legal bike messengers in the city, Kirgoz loves being out in the elements every day.

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LEGAL BIKE COURIER
Esra Kirgoz

What do you do? I work as a legal bike courier. I (mostly) deliver legal documents to/from attorneys’ offices and courthouses, serve process, and deliver packages to architects on a bike. I am one of about 25–30 messengers in Seattle, and one of only four females. The number of messengers used to be way higher, but there aren’t many around anymore, mostly because of the court system going online.

How did you get started in that field? I was traveling in Central America and I needed a job when I came back. Having had friends who were bike messengers and being involved in the bike community, I got a part-time job as a courier, then transferred to a different company for a full-time position. After traveling, experiencing new cultures and being so in love with it, getting a job as a courier felt great; it felt as if I was traveling (well, only within the greater Seattle area), being outside and still making money.

The company I work for also has the flexibility for taking time off to travel, sometimes long periods of it, as long as there is someone to cover my shifts while I am gone. So it seemed like a perfect fit for me. 

What’s a typical day like? Legal bike couriers have your typical Monday–Friday hours. I usually go in to our base, located in the Belltown neighborhood, at 8:30 a.m. My dispatcher gives me jobs if there are any from the previous day — those are called overnight deliveries that clients want delivered the next day for a cheaper price — then I go out to the field. I start doing the overnight deliveries, and then dispatch calls out the same-day deliveries on a radio (like a two-way radio). Depending on what part of the town I’m in, I claim those. It gets hectic sometimes, and sometimes we can be fairly slow. 

What’s the best part of the job? The are several cool things about my job, such as working for a very small, local company owned by one person; working outside; being in the elements every work day; knowing the city very well; and getting to ride my bike for work.

What surprises people about what you do? There’s still a stigma about women doing physical work (surprise!), so I get people confused about me, being a smaller-built female, zipping around town on a bicycle carrying a giant bag. I often get comments like, “Oh, such a big bag for someone your size” or, “Do you have to ride your bike in the rain?”

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