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.

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