Bicycle Art: Committing Cyclecide, part 1


In honor of Bike to Work week, we're featuring one aspect of bicycle art per day. Yesterday we featured the Derailleurs, a local all-female bicycle dance troupe. Today, we post Part 1 of an interview with Jarico Reesce, founder of the Cyclecide Bike Rodeo. By Molly Freedenberg


Part club, part social group, part roving band of merry misfits, has been delighting audiences - and certainly themselves - with their "Heavy Pedal Cyclecide Bike Rodeo" since 1996. Bound by a love of bikes, beer, and building stuff, the crew has grown from its humble origin as merely the idea of Jarico Reesce into what is now a cohesive, extensive network of rowdy goodness. Now, Cyclecide builds pedal-powered rides and mutant bikes, assembles mini carnivals at events nationwide, hosts contests like barrel racing and bike jousting, and even provides a musical backdrop with a mariachi-country-punk band "Los Banos."

SFBG: So what is it about the bicycle that's so inspiring to you?

Reesce: In my opinion, it's a very versatile machine. It's something that's kind of common. And it's democratic in the sense that it doesn't have a certain set of people who ride them or do things with them. I also like the geometry of bike frames and the mechanics of the bicycle. I find both very inspiring.

SFBG: And how do you understand what Cyclecide does with the bike?

Reesce: We try to take this common machine and alter it into something that's different or fun. It's funny; Some peoples' mediums of art are painting or sculpting. We're kind of sculptors of the bicycle -- the bicycle is our canvas.

SFBG: Where do you get the bikes you mutate?

Reesce: It's obtainium. At first, we'd find these crazy bikes, or I'd make deals with crackheads to buy older frames. Then word got out we were building stuff out of bikes and people started showing up with junk bikes. We haven't had to buy junk bikes in 15 years. Now, we find these things that are going to be thrown away and recycle -- or precycle -- them. We give it a reprieve before it goes to the landfill.

SFBG: What was the first art bike you made?

Reesce: That was Burning Dick. It was a cool looking chopper with a sprocket in front, built in a garage in Minneapolis. It got called Burning Dick because we put a Burning Man symbol on it, and someone welded a penis on the front. It was really goofy. I had that chopper for a very long time. It was my first attempt at bicycle frames, at taking other bikes and chopping them up. The thin is, it takes many bikes to make one art bike. I'd use tubes from other bikes' forks. Take a frame from one bike and connect it to a frame from another to make a tall bike. We sometimes get in trouble for doing this.

SFBG: Really? I'd think any bike enthusiasts would appreciate what you do.

Reesce: Oh, classic bike people - they can't stand us. be continued...Check back tomorrow for Committing Cyclecide Part 2!

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