Rican Schwinn Club
since I was a kid I’ve seen older Puerto Rican men riding
crazy, tricked-out bicycles, loaded with mirrors and flags and
chrome and fuzzy dice and raccoon tails.
I’ve always wanted to paint their pictures and find out
why they decorate their bicycles, and how they got started,
and what this bicycle display is all about.
I tracked them down to where they hang out, drinking beer and
showing off their bikes. I painted their pictures and asked
them questions about who they are and how they got started with
customizing their bicycles.
These guys are members of an insular community with their own
aesthetic, one that the mainstream culture knows nothing about.
They are sincere and passionate and delighted with their one-man
parades. Their bicycles are their personal vision of beauty
and art that they are always tinkering with, perfecting and
adjusting and planning and applying, and then riding down the
street for everyone to see.