Bike Kill by Julie Glassberg
I am often attracted by what repulses or scares the others. I like misfits, outcasts, eccentrics, those who don’t fit in the norms. Although I look quite normal and common, I identify in a way with those who do not fit in society. For this reason, I followed the Black Label Bike Club for about 3 years when I was living in NY.
The Black Label Bike Club is known as the first “outlaw bicycle club.” It was created in 1992 by Jacob Houle and Per Hanson in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has chapters nationwide. They are one of the main contributors to the rise of tall bike culture and organize jousting competitions. It is interesting to see this destructive, rebel culture revolving around such a non-threatening object: the bicycle.
I consider them as a blend of punk, grunge and hippie culture. They are an independent community rebelling against the system. In a society that pushes us to consume, focus on money and overly use technology, it is interesting to see a group of young people resisting and fighting against it. Their community is mainly based on the bike culture, art and on the real value of relationships; these basic, simple values that seem to have disappeared. This particularly affected me when I was in NYC and everyone seemed to be living virtually on social networks and obsessed by success. These “kids” felt real: they speak frankly and are not afraid to take risks and hurt themselves (physically or life decisions). They are living in the moment, in a risk-less society yearning for security. They are passionate, well-read, talented young people with real discussions.
When I find subcultures like the Black Label Bike Club, a creative group, using very little technology, interested in defending causes and resisting the main stream, it gives me hope, and I think it could be very encouraging for today’s youth.