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Season of the Scraper Bikes

Tyrone Stevenson Jr. with one of his creations
Tyrone Stevenson Jr. with one of his creations

Oakland's scraper bike phenomenon has been bubbling up for the past few years – ever since Tyrone Stevenson Jr., 21, aka Baby Champ, the Scraper Bike King, began attaching large wheels to small frames in the fashion of the large-wheeled scraper cars. The distinguishing feature of these bikes is the intricate and colorful spoke decorations. Candy wrappers, for example, get thrown in the mix.

The bikes really blew up on the web with, of course, a song and a YouTube video in 2008. But this wasn't just a cute little Internet meme – scraper bikes continue to reach new audiences. For the second year in a row, scraper bikes appeared at the Maker Faire last weekend. Stevenson was on hand to show off his creations, which are DIY, green and grassroots to the max; the Scraper Bike King credits his innovation as life-saving, as it channeled restless teenage energy in a positive direction. Short films about the bikes abound. As detailed in the Oakland blog 38thNotes.com, a documentary team called California is a place has also recently shot a lovely piece. 

In short, these bikes have legs. In a 2008 East Bay Express story, Stevenson talked about building a business around the bikes. With an official Oakland "Scraper Bike Day" now three years old, he might be building a movement.

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