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The Bikeriders

2nd Edition

photographs by Danny Lyon

with text by Danny Lyon, Bobby Goodpaster, Johnny Goodpaster, Rodney Pink, Frank Jenner, Funny Sonny, Kathy, Cal, Cockroach, Zipco, Johnny, and Danny

ISBN 0-81184-161-8 (paperback)
128 pages
published November 2003 by Chronicle Books

ISBN 0-9440-9246-2 (hardcover)
104 pages
published December 1997 by Twin Palms Publishers of Santa Fe, New Mexico

Originally published in 1968 by MacMillan, this is a high-quality photo-documentary (with accompanying text) of the motorcycling culture of the mid-1960s. The first part of the book contains 48 black-and-white photographs of bikeriders, which were taken using a Nikon F camera and capture the brazen spirit of the people and the time. Many of the photographs were taken in the Midwestern United States. Danny Lyon, the photographer, was a member of the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club during 1965 and 1966 and owned a 1956 Triumph motorcycle (a British brand popularized in the United States by the New York dealer Reggie Pink in the 1930s). The second part of the book contains edited transcripts of 17 reel-to-reel tape-recorded stories that vividly depict the weekend activities of these motorcyclists.

Table of Contents:

  • Preface to the New Edition
  • Introduction, 1968


  • Races and Field Meets 1963-1966
  • The Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club 1965-1966


  • Army - Contributors: Cal (member of Chicago Outlaws)
  • Draft Board - Contributors: Zipco (member of Milwaukee Outlaws)
  • Drag Bike - Contributors: Cal, Zipco
  • Statement - by Johnny Goodpaster (motorcycle racer; BSA dealer)
  • Statement - by Rodney Pink (motorcycle racer)
  • Meeting the Angels - Contributors: Cal (member of Straight Satins; former Hell's Angel)
  • Picnic - Contributors: Funny Sonny (member of Chicago Outlaws)
  • Benny - Contributors: Kathy (member of Chicago Outlaws)
  • Chopped Scooter - Contributors: Cal
  • Statement - by Bobby Goodpaster (motorcycle racer)
  • Squirrely Girl - Contributors: Kathy
  • Chase - by Frank Jenner (motorcycle racer)
  • Statement - Contributors: Cockroach (former Chicago Outlaw)
  • The Red Velvet Dress - Contributors: Kathy
  • Rita's Old Man - Contributors: Cal
  • On Funerals - Contributors: Johnny (president of Chicago Outlaws)
  • Zipco in the Elmhurst Hospital - Contributors: Zipco, Cal, Danny

    From the 1968 introduction by Danny Lyon:

    "The material in this book was collected between 1963 and 1967 in an attempt to record and glorify the life of the American bikerider. It is a personal record, dealing mostly with bikeriders whom I know and care for. If anything has guided this work beyond the facts of the worlds presented it is what I have come to believe is the spirit of the bikeriders: the spirit of the hand that twists open the throttle on the crackling engines of big bikes and rides them on racetracks or through traffic or, on occasion, into oblivion."
    - page ix

    Photographs from The Bikeriders have been on display at various galleries around the United States for many years. For instance, the Art Institute of Chicago displayed these photos in 1966, the Milwaukee Art Museum displayed them in the late 1980s (and again in 2003), the Michael H. Lord Gallery in Milwaukee displayed them in 1998, and the Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York displayed them in 1997 and 1998.


    "Lyon's photographs stand out in how he takes this subject matter which has been traditionally displayed photographically as idealized figures fighting for dignity in the face of subjugation... and presents it without an attempt to provoke an immediate response of compassion. In Lyon's photographs the fringe is the fringe, it gets along fine without you and will continue to do so. No one has ever made better photographs of the motorcycling culture; and the text transcribed from the audio tapes made of the photo's subjects is fascinating for the peek it gives us into the language used around the midwest in the 1960s and how much it has changed since. Recommended!"
             - Troy Johnson, in Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly, August 1999

    "Bikers have left the conventional world behind for one of their own making.... That's the spin, anyway. But where did it arise? One clue is to be found in the ''Bikeriders'' photographs of Danny Lyon.... Lyon's work feeds off and into the developing image of the biker, caught, in this moment, between Eisenhower-era greaser and Johnsonian hippie; somewhere between enthusiasts and criminals, but not settled, completely, into either role. Lyons captures a moment in the formation of a mythology."
             - Nathan Guequierre, in Shepherd Express, June 18, 1998

    "The best of the pictures were taken on the road, with Lyon astride his full-bore Triumph, and were said to be the visual inspiration for Easy Rider."
             - Andy Grundberg, in British Vogue, November 1992


    The hardcover reprint of "The Bikeriders" by Twin Palms Publishers and the softcover reprint by Chronicle Books are both now out of print. This Chronicle Books edition is special because it includes black-and-white photographs and color prints that had not been included in the previous two editions.

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