Right on, ride on

Ceci n'est pas une vélo


Posted by @teeheehee on 1st March 2008

I’m continuing the bike-centric movie kick I’m on with another documentary called B.I.K.E. (Be Inclusive, Kill Exclusivity.)


The documentary frames itself as being the personal journey of the filmmaker, Anthony Howard, as he attempts to join a radical bike club in 2004 called Black Label (New York City chapter.)

Time for a little bit of background: Black Label features tall-bike riding, tall-bike jousting, and a lot of partying as somewhat unifying tenets to the organization. They have an image of being anti-corporate, anti-consumerism, and filled with members who often see the current stage of decline leading to an apocalyptic future where bikes will rule after the downfall of cars.

I’ve seen some of the creative spirit that can embody a bike culture and I had hoped this to be an exclusive peek into an example of that community and the human condition, despite the Mad Max sound of things from the bike club’s description. While it was about the human condition it was mostly about the condition of tragedy. It was only vaguely about bikes or bike culture.
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Red Light Go

Posted by @teeheehee on 20th February 2008

Last night I watched the documentary “Red Light Go,” which highlights a few NYC bike messengers and Alleycat races.

Red Light Go

Netflix link

My riding habits haven’t guided me full-on into many of the different bike subcultures like SCUL or messengering, so I don’t know much about what goes on within them. Much of what I have learned I have picked up from discrete observation or small conversation. Every club has their own rules, their own lingo, styles and presence. To learn more you generally need to be ‘in’. So I enjoyed the peek into part of one of these cultures that I know little about.

What I found great was some filling-in of informational gaps I’ve had. Some may scoff, but I only heard about Allycat races about two weeks ago. Before watching this documentary I thought the cards tacked in to the wheel spokes I see from time to time were just stylistic flair, not racing badges. I’ll have a closer look next time I see one, as my curiosity has been piqued.

This wouldn’t be a film I’d sit down with a budding young mind, it has adult themes beyond the occasional scenes of street riding in auto and pedestrian traffic. It’s a documentary, so it’s a catalog of a small piece of life with a lot of the child-filters removed. Partying, drinking, plenty of drug references, even some glorification of fighting. Nothing the average R-rated film wouldn’t have. I’d recommend it to most people I know.

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