Scraper Bikes – Made in Oakland

Oakland teenagers pioneer Scraper Bike style, promoting green transportation and raising awareness and unity against gun violence in their neighborhoods.

By Amy Walker

Scraper bikes are a style spawned by teenagers in Oakland, and popularized by the hip-hop group Trunk Boiz on YouTube. Tyrone Stevenson Jr., one of the Trunk Boiz, pioneered the scraper bike style a couple years ago, creating pinwheel decorated spokes with tinfoil, re-used cardboard, candy wrappers and paint. Scraper bikes are a response to Oakland’s scraper car aesthetic. The video of the Trunk Boiz song “Scraper Bike” caught attention on YouTube in 2007 and has garnered millions of views since.

Stevenson participated in this year’s Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA where the Momentum crew had the chance to meet him. He has also started making a living decorating bikes for other people.

The scraper bike crew are aware and proud of that their bikes help promote green transportation, and they have also connected scraper biking with another important cause: raising awareness and unity against gun violence in their neighbourhoods. In 2008 the Trunk Boiz, in collaboration with Bike 4 Life, and Silence the Violence, presented the Scraper Bike 4 Life ride and barbecue in West Oakland. The message was to stop the bullets and violence by calling for a gun truce. It was also a celebration of creativity and expression mixed with a physically active lifestyle and the love of the bicycle. The mile-long bike ride drew over 100 people and consisted mostly of youth riders on colourful scraper bikes. The Second annual Bike 4 Life ride is on Saturday, July 25 starting at 2pm at Lakeside Playground, 468 Perkins St. in Oakland finishing up with a celebration in Demfry Park at 3pm. With all the attention on scraper bikes this year, the ride is sure to have a big, bright, beautiful turnout – and a positive impact on the people of Oakland.

Now bikers from Portland to Albuquerque are making their own versions of scraper bikes. Search for scraper bikes on Flickr, or watch the Trunk Boiz video on YouTube for inspiration – then go build your own scraper bike!

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