A story in Christian Science Monitor features Oakland, CA teenagers who are remaking ordinary bicycles and turning them into something colorful and cool.
His name is Tyrone Stevenson, though most know him by his nickname, “Baby Champ.” He is, everyone agrees, the Scraper Bike King. He wants to change the rough, violent world that he and these other boys are growing up in. He thinks he can do it with bikes. “I just want to give them something positive,” he says.
Until recently, most people had never heard of Stevenson or the tricked-out homemade bicycles he invented back when he was a troubled 13-year-old. Stevenson modeled his creations after “scraper” cars, which are popular in east Oakland and feature booming stereos, candy-colored paint jobs, and big wheels with matching rims. The cars’ name derives from the rims, which are sometimes so large they scrape against the wheel wells. Stevenson simply borrowed that idea – big wheels, bright colors, loud music – and applied it to bikes.
Here’s a YouTube music video showcasing these scraper bikes:
Writer Jocelyn Wiener concludes her story: “Among the scraper-bike boys, a light-hearted enthusiasm abounds. At least for tonight, these streets belong to them.”