The Mo’s escape from Japan #00

All #35mm photos by Mo, words by Izuru

Messengers gathered in front of Keirin Berlin

This is the introduction of Mo’s new travel project called “The escape from Japan”. I would like to explain about his character and our relationship to you first of all.

Everyone in this bike-messenger world knows Mo, Mortimer a.k.a @keirinberlin who has kept traveling on his track bike since he closed “Keirin Berlin”, a cycle culture cafe in Berlin which started in 2004 and ended in 2017. Keirin Berlin was a bike shop combined with a cafe gallery and the customers were not only bike messengers, but also so many cyclists from all over the places. It was located right next to Former East Berlin, Kreuzberg, and the reason why he closed his shop was an urban redevelopment in its district. 

He started working as a bike courier in his age of 20 and spent his messenger life in Berlin, Budapest, London, Toronto, DC and finally stopped in New York. In Manhattan Island covering 20km north and south by 4km east and west, it has Central Park, Harlem and Broadway, and it seems this is the place that all bike messengers ride with freedom. The amount of delivery in a day was a massive scale between the 90s and the 2000s because of no broadband internet existed, and a messenger culture such as local alley cat races and CMWC was becoming a huge trend world-widely. Therefore, media like fashion magazines and TV shows picked up its culture since their life style was exclusively unique and it was not even close to a simple bicycle culture and street one. On the contrary, Mo’s style was modest and he was featured in the famous documentary film called “PEDAL” by Peter Sutherland.

It was a part that he was making a call about his order to Steve, a legendary bike messenger, saying “Yo Steve, It’s Mo.”

Leo Power 1999 NYC

He retired his messenger life (#messlife) and returned to his homeland, Berlin and opened a bike shop called Keirin Berlin. Messengers from all of the world started checking his website and bike messengers was standing by at his shop all the time. He kept supporting its culture and spreading the words to the people out there even though delivery jobs had been decreasing everyday at that time.

In 2018, he traveled 9500km in 11 countries from Berlin to Japan across Central Asia and he challenged this adventure again after and tried to travel to Japan. (Unfortunately, he fell from his bike really hard in Korea and couldn’t ride to Japan)

Right now, he is traveling Japan and Southeast Asia riding on KOCMO, a titanium bike (same geometry as his Cannondale track bike he rode in his messenger era), strapping a tent on his bike along with a Moka pot ( an espresso pot by Bialetti ; He is a coffee addict).

Mo had often visited Japan to buy up Keirin frames and he stopped by Circles in 2007. When we went out for eating Misonikomi-Udon together, I wore a sweatshirt of Elite Courier in coincidence, which is a bike messenger company in New York, and we were both surprised that we worked at the same courier office. Since then, he has come to visit Nagoya many times. On the other hand, Rie, who is in charge of SimWorks USA had stayed at Mo’s flat in Berlin before her journey to riding across Europe by bicycle.

He bases at Daisy Messenger when he comes to Nagoya and he also participated in our Critical Mass several times. Mo says Nagoya, which has a unique bicycle culture in a small city, is the most underrated city in Japan.

Mo 2018 Nagoya (photo by Izuru)

The world is connected to be able to ride through and he pedals to get to know things, to see sceneries out there, and to meet people. He is not interested in becoming rich and its status, but he has a heart filled with grief for somebody’s misfortune and raises doubts about politics and its authority.

This is how we describe him in words. It seems as if he was still as a bike messenger or a journalist, a his father’s profession.

>>> #01