Longreads

To earn money during a rough patch as a freelancer, Sam Riches worked as a bike courier, delivering food in Toronto during a six-month period. While the job lacked in pay, it offered one intriguing benefit: a crash course in human nature.

When you’re broke, your body becomes your last resort, a mostly reliable means to make money that also comes with great precarity. If you get injured in a low-wage job with no employment insurance, there’s nothing to fall back on. You pay with your health.

I feel this job in my body. My neck cracks, my shoulders pop, my ankles creak. Some nights, I ride until my legs turn numb and the wind whips tears in my eyes and the world becomes fuzzy at the edges. Then I have a choice. I can keep riding or I can stop and wait until my path becomes clear again.

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