Documentary: “Scrapertown” Examines Oakland’s Scraper Bike Culture

By Coolhand Luke  |  May 26th, 2010  |  Published in Art, , ,

California Is A Place  where ingenuity has always thrived; where a rebellious frontier culture has never quite left; where we make dollars out of cents and bikes out of snack food packaging.  Okay, so not everyone in California uses Oreo wrappers and Coke cans to customize their tricycles, but in Oakland, that’s common practice for Baybe Champ and the Scraper Bike Team.

The pedaling squad of youth snaking down the avenues may seem random or even “gang”-like to the uninitiated, but it’s actually part of a positive and comprehensive lifestyle. In Scrapertown, one of several beautifully shot short documentaries in their California Is A Place series, film makers Drea Cooper & Zackary Canepari examine the ins and outs of the scraper bike movement.
Baybe Champ, also known as the Scraper Bike King, is an enterprising young man that brings youth of all ages together to repair and customize bikes, and then floss through The Town in an orderly manner.

Not only does his movement promote a green lifestyle by encouraging both cycling and recycling, it also keeps kids off the corner and requires a minimum gpa to participate. To put this in perspective, how many youth-initiated (Champ is now 21) and youth-led programs encourage green living, anti-violence, academic success and creative ingenuity all at once? Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.

There have been many short videos about scraper bikes in Oakland over the years, but this one seems to be of the best quality. Check out this very unique slice of Oakland and the rest of the interesting California is a Place documentary series. Cooper and Canepari are not honing in on the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hollywood hills, they are instead examining unturned stones of the complicated but wonderful golden state in which we reside.

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