Best reason to lock up your children and armor-plate your bike helmet (2008)

Black Label Bike Club

The Black Label Bike Club constructs weird and wonderful post-apocalyptic two-wheeled conveyances—double-decker tall bikes, double-length choppers, squirrelly trick bikes, tricked-out rat trikes, flame-throwing rocket bikes—out of discarded bits and pieces, but Black Label is about more than just riding and wrenching. It's about family . . . and you're not part of it, even if you ride a fixed-gear bike and attend Critical Mass as if it were a holy sacrament. Black Label members eat, drink (a lot), live, and bleed together. They are a notoriously tight-knit group and are predictably wary of freeloaders, interlopers, and of course, media whores. That said, every fall they hold the communal, and fairly public, Bike Kill in Bed-Stuy. This is a day-long orgy for bicycle-loving lunatics. Dirty mattresses, gathered from the surrounding neighborhoods, act as obstacle courses and regrettable landing pads. Great lengths of PVC pipe are padded with old stuffed animals and wielded like lances during the tall-bike jousting tournament. There are chariot races (bikes outfitted with Mad Max–style cages), mattress jumps, and rodeo-style roundups. And, as if it weren't hard enough to stay on a tall bike while charging at an opponent wielding a grubby Tweety Bird on a big stick, onlookers frequently hurl garbage, and sometimes garbage cans, at competitors as they pedal past. It's a rugged, wild world, but participation is encouraged and everybody is welcome. (I wouldn't suggest wearing bicycle shorts or riding in anything fancy—a ski mask, some face paint, or a pirate patch might make you feel a little more at home.) Watch for flyers or check online.


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