The Uppity Bike Commuters Collective asks the question “Why do people feel compelled to harass, sometimes harm others who are riding bicycles?” The seeds of the UBCC were planted through an interaction that occurred while working as a bike messenger in Philadelphia. An automobile driver rode up next to me at a stop sign and shouted, “ Aren’t you all Uppity!! Riding your bike in the street!! ” This stuck in my memory for many years. Later on while living in San Francisco, a school colleague was run off the road by a Fed Ex truck while riding her bike. Ideas arrived about making art concerning the bicycling transportation experience. These thoughts were shared with a circle of fellow bicyclists. Critiquing an absurd attitude directed at us, we decided to flip the script. The Uppity Bike Commuters Collective was created. Featuring 5 core members: Professor Crank, Dr. K, The Unicorn, Notorious D.A.V., and Mr. Bubble(S.).
The Uppity Bike Commuters Collective celebrates access to independent movement in public space while recognizing our collective lives on bicycles. Since the System of Enclosure, the ability to move freely in common space has been compromised by privatization. To our experience, everyone who regularly rides a bicycle has a story to tell about being harassed in some way. Body Politics, Class and Identity all play a role. Living within a culture whose dominant ethos is production, a bicycle is often looked down upon. In contrast, the UBCC ( UBC for short ) presents bicycle transportation as essential for the democratic function of society. Plus the UBC also promotes the bicycle as a catalyst for creating community, solidarity and personal independence. By publicly interacting with and (re) – creating these scenarios through stickers, posters and t-shirts: The Uppity Bike Commuters Collective creates dialogue, unveils cultural mechanisms and encourages positive connections of shared experience.
Copyright Uppity Bike Commuters Collective 2021