As an avid biker for over nine years, photographer Martin Dixon gained unprecedented access to the predominantly African-American motorcycle clubs in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. Comprising a huge subculture of urban road warriors totally unknown to most New Yorkers and bike club enthusiasts, these black "biker gangs"—with names like the Jaguars, the Black Falcons, the Pythons, the Transit Wheelers, the Imperials, the Corpians, the Harlem Riders, the United Roadrunners, and the Uptown Riders—are really high-octane social clubs, whose members ride flashy ninja sport bikes.
Through Dixon's spectacular insider perspective, we enter a world straddling the customs and trappings of traditional biker culture (the heavily embroidered leather jackets, the thick male camaraderie, the bike as manifestation of the ego), and the rituals and pastimes of the urban biker (the springtime bike blessings, the trophy parties, and the clubhouse socials). More importantly, thanks to Dixon, we witness, even participate in, a set of rituals the likes of which no outsider has ever documented: the block parades (complete with monster trucks!), the barbeque parties (replete with a southern club specialty, the "Mississippi Mud Slide"), the bikini bike wash, the Myrtle and Virginia Beach bike runs, the drag races, the raunchy fundraising parties, and, of course, the "biker chicks", urban flavor.
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Dixon collects 135 of his own photographs taken over a period of ten years with New York City black biker clubs such as the Imperials, Transit Wheelers, and Uptown Riders. As a member of this inconspicuous subculture, Dixon is privy to what is usually heavily guarded, and he takes on the risky task of presenting members in some of their most gritty and vulnerable positions. He includes here pictures of both public and private events, from aerial shots of bike blessings to strip parties inside clubhouses. Dixon does not glamorize any aspect of biking and even includes photographs of injured riders and funerals owing to biking accidents. Ultimately, the reader gets more than an eyeful of what is rarely seen outside of the bikers' small circle. Biker enthusiasts of all races will appreciate the polished sport bikes and Dixon's perfect action shots; the mystery and danger surrounding these photos make one long to see the entire collection. Recommended for larger collections and urban area libraries. Emily Jones, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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