Via Dazed Digital
On a suburban road lined with palm trees and bungalows in Miami, Florida, a group of bikers rev their engines before tearing away at 50mph – on wheelies. Welcome to the Bike Life scene. The movement bringing together disparate communities across America and shouting ‘fuck you’ at the constricting nature of US laws.
The new short film Bikes Up, Guns Down offers a fleeting yet intimate glimpse into the scene’s Miami community. Born out of disenchantment with ‘The American Dream’, the movement attracts those who feel alienated from the hedonistic Miami lifestyle available to only a privileged few. Working ordinary, often exhausting manual jobs by day, biking acts as a stress relief– “it takes my mind off work and all the bills and shit we’ve got to pay down here, it ain’t easy,” one member says in the film. “Keeps me sane” another declares. The group regularly gather to blow off steam after work, and whilst predominantly male, the movement transgresses typical social boundaries, welcoming anyone with enough bollocks to give it a go.
“It’s a bunch of people with a passion that all come together with a very communal mindset. Traditional barriers fall away,” James & James, the directing duo behind the film, explain. Unique bonds and a strong sense of community are often forged. Importantly, it is also associated with the Bikes Up, Guns Down movement, offering an alternative to the lure of gangs and organised crime. “What’s the point of all of this?” a reporter asks in the film. “Put the gun down and come together” a man tells him matter of factly. “They have to form up in big crews as that’s what will protect them individually from the law, but they’d do it anyway. Then they cruise the city together. It’s pretty amazing to see and be amongst. Everyone looks out for each other – helps each other out and keeps everyone safe”.
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