The Unstoppable #BikeLife Movement

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I’ve been following the Bike Life movement for nearly a year now through Instagram and Facebook. I’ve even seen it featured on my local news station when a ride out was done in a nearby city. So I was excited about being assigned this blog post, because of its dynamic presence inside and outside of the cycling world.

 

However, I had no idea how far its reaches stretched. After an obligatory Google search of “Bike Life Movement”, I was surprised how diverse and expansive the movement has become. There were articles about Bike Life cultures in the Bronx, in London, and in Cleveland. There was an article written by the New York Times about the movement. There were also different types of bikes featured in the movement, including dirt bikes, motorcycles, and e-Bikes. They even have their own TV channel on YouTube. It’s quite impressive how massive this movement has become over the last 5 years, and especially in the last year.

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But where did it come from? Who is backing all of this in their free time? Why Bike Life? And what exactly is it about?

To answer these questions and more, I contacted former BMX and X-Games star, Todd Lyons, for more insight. Todd has been leading a large portion of the Bike Life movement since 2010. With his enthusiasm and a few fateful recruits of the right people, he has raised the term “Bike Life” from infancy to a vast living and breathing entity.


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Performance Bike:

“Everything has a beginning. When and where did Bike Life begin?”

Todd Lyons:

“People have always been doing wheelies in the streets. But this new bikelife movement definitely started in New York City and soon after spread to Philadelphia. I’d say that the surge started to kick off about 4-5 years ago. But in the last couple of years it’s REALLY blown up.”

Performance Bike:

“I’ve seen a huge variety in what kind of bikes people ride for Bike Life, and where they ride them. Is Bike Life an all-encompassing movement or more laser focused? What is Bike Life all about?”

Todd Lyons:

“Bikelife is centered around riding big (24”, 26”, & 29”) BMX bikes on the streets with your friends. You don’t “have” to be on a big BMX bike, but these are the in-demand bikes that rule the streets. Most riders do wheelies and some are able to do crazy wheelie tricks that even BMX pros had never even attempted. A lot of riders customize their bikes with reflective decals, colored spoke skins, and other fun and outrageous colors and designs. A super customized bike always gets the most attention.”

Performance Bike:

“Can anyone with a bike participate and spread the word about Bike Life?”

Todd Lyons:

“Sure. Bike Life is just about getting out there on your bike, raising it up, & having fun with your homies. It definitely doesn’t matter what kind of bike or what brand you ride. All are welcome. But for sure the Big Ripper is king.”

Performance Bike:

“For those who may find a passion in being part of Bike Life, how can they get involved with the movement?”

Todd Lyons:

“Tune into social media and meet up and ride with the local crews. And if there are no local crews in your area, then it’s up to you to get the rideout party started.”

 

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Performance Bike:

“What is a Ride Out? What’s the best way to organize a successful Ride Out?”

Todd Lyons:

“A rideout is simply a group ride with no real rules or exact route. Rideouts typically take a life of their own as there is no defined ride “leader.” The rideout just goes where the rideout goes. A rideout is considered a rideout when there are 100+ people on the ride. Sometimes upwards of 1,000. The best way to organize a rideout is to set up a date and time and inform all the riders in your area. Usually through social media.”

Performance Bike:

“There are over 9 million posts on Instagram with the #BikeLife, there’s a BikeLife TV channel on YouTube, and Bike Life has been covered by the NY Times. In your opinion, who has had the biggest impart in spreading the word about Bike Life?”

Todd Lyons:

“Most definitely Dblocks AKA @rrdblocks on Instagram. He is the face and driving force behind the movement. His wheelie skills are on lock, he has nearly 300,000 followers on Instagram, he’s been featured in tons of music videos, he travels across the country to different rideouts, he’s always there for the kids, he’s a hero to kids nationwide, and he’s a true rider’s rider who was living the bikelife years before most people had ever even heard the word bikelife.”

Performance Bike:

“I’ve seen so many photos of people doing wheelies on Instagram with #BikeLife in the description. Is it a signature of Bike Life? And do you have to know how to do one to be a part of Bike Life?”

Todd Lyons:

“Raise it up! Yeah, if you can’t wheelie, then some will say that you’re not about that life. But it’s not absolutely mandatory. I’ve seen tons of guys and girls just cruising, with two wheels on the ground & they’re still a part of the movement. But for sure sure you get bonus points if you can keep that wheel up.”

Performance Bike:

“With how much it’s grown and strengthened, where do you see the Bike Life movement headed?”

Todd Lyons:

“At the end of the day, it’s just people on bikes. Kids on bikes. And that will never go out of style. For the last few years, I have seen it become bigger and bigger and bigger. It’s pretty wild that it’s a well-known part of the BMX and cycling industry now. Just this year alone it’s been featured in the Bicyle Retailer magazine, the Wall Street Journal newspaper, the Inside Edition TV show, and countless news stations across the country. Where it is heading? I don’t know. Just like a rideout, there is no set direction or plan. But I do know this; It’s not slowing down any time soon!”

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