Streetfilms: Scraper Bikes and the “Bike 4 Life” Ride

Born in the streets of Oakland, scraper bikes have become so much more than just a colorful trend of tricked-out bicycles. Scraper bikes have become an Internet phenomenon via YouTube, a practical means of greening urban space, a social movement, and a rallying cry for young people organizing against violence in their community.

Tyrone "Baby Champ" Stevenson, who styles himself the "Scraper Bike King," says the bikes were created by Oakland teens who coveted but could not afford scraper cars, the souped-up sedans painted with bright colors and with rims so large they scrape the undercarriage. Scraper bikes are such a hit that many teens skip the cars and keep pedaling well past the age of 16.

Last weekend, Stevenson organized the second annual "Bike 4 Life" ride to call for an end to violence in Oakland’s neighborhoods. "We’re trying to bring together a gun truce," he says, "because a lot of people in our community are dying from guns." This Streetfilm features scenes from the ride and more from Stevenson about the movement he helped launch.

  • This is so awesome! I thought of going, but forgot. If it happens again, I need to make it over to Oakland. If you guys know when the next one is, please post it!


  • ZA

    So awesome and so right!

    Hey, maybe the Oakland PD might let somebody make a bike frame from welded gun barrels? Swords to Plowshares!

  • Bob

    The scraper bike movement is cutting edge of the sustainable transportation movement in Oakland and beyond.

    Let’s hear it for the youth!

    Much Respect.

  • East Lake Biker


    We need you and your tunes in the East Bay. Look foward to seeing you on the next ride.

  • Wonderful event. Last year Baby Champ created our “AC Transit Scraper Bike.” We were pleased to be able to participate in this event.

    Check out the AC Transit Scraper Bike

  • This was a fantastic event. Thanks for the film. Bikes rock.

  • Notchie

    Great post, but you REALLY NEED TO STOP using the word “so” inappropriately. “So” needs to be used with “that”. When you say “Scraper bikes have become so much more than xyz” you leave the reader hanging. So much more than xyz that… what? that what???? Please stop degrading human communication!

  • Notchie

    Just to clarify, the correct opening sentence should be: “Born in the streets of Oakland, scraper bikes have become much more than just a colorful trend of tricked-out bicycles. ”

    Just get rid of “so” and all will be well. Thanks!


This Week: Bike Lights, Carlson Boulevard, Holiday Lights

Here are this week’s highlights from the Streetsblog calendar: Tuesday Light up the Night. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Light up the Night is an annual bike-light distribution campaign done in conjunction with Bay Area Bicycle Law. Volunteers install hundreds of white front lights and red back lights on bicycles for people riding in the dark. […]

To E-Bike or Not to E-Bike

An e-bike used by a business to haul sandwiches in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo: Ben Cooper via Flickr) You’re seeing electric-powered bicycles more and more on the streets of New York these days, so far mostly ridden by restaurant deliverymen. But are they just early adopters of what will become a more widespread trend? Today on […]

Oaklavia Will Open the Streets of Oakland This Weekend

Oakland will become the latest city to temporarily liberate city streets from car traffic this weekend with its first ciclovia event. Oaklavia will open the streets from Uptown through Downtown and West Oakland to cyclists, walkers, skaters and strollers, artists and performers. Kids on their first tricycle will wander across the lanes in safety, games […]

BART Staff Opposes Rush Hour Bike Access on Rear Cars

BART staff has shot down a proposal from Director Robert Raburn to allow commuters to bring bicycles aboard the back cars of rush hour trains. In a memo [pdf] to the BART Board, Executive Planning and Budget Manager Carter Mau recommended maintaining the current policy, which prohibits bicycles aboard its most crowded trains during peak […]