Go Hard Boyz
“This is part of a series I also did for that same Jocks & Nerds Magazine. I did this last Summer. A friend of mine had told me about this bike gang. They’re in Harlem and they ride dirt bikes, which is illegal to ride dirt bikes in the city. They’re called the Go Hard Boyz, and their motto is, “Go hard or go home.” They ride a lot around the city and in the Bronx and they do all these bike tricks. They do wheelies and basically, it’s kind of like family. I got connected with the president, which is this guy called Shea, and he took me around. I went to hang with them one day — it was a boiling hot Summer’s day — and he assembled a whole bunch of bike boys and basically, I found myself on the back of an F150 truck. Like in the flatbed of an F150 truck rolling down the Bruckner Expressway with these guys, and they’re just doing wheelies around me and I’m just hanging out of the back of the truck taking photos. This was like the best afternoon of my life, basically! So yeah, I just hung out with them for a day, and I’m pretty good friends with them now. Any time they need photos, they come to me and if I have an exhibition, they’ll come and support me and it’s just a great bunch of guys. Mostly guys, there’s a few girls that bike. They took me to the Bronx and we took shots and they were doing all these wheelies and some of them ride the 4-wheelers as well. They’re not about drugs; it’s more keeping kids from doing bad things, from doing drugs and stuff on the streets, and getting people into bikes. I mean, bike life is their whole life, it’s their whole lifestyle, so it’s really amazing. And I think dirt bikes are less expensive than regular bikes. In theory, you can keep it in your bedroom if you wanted because they’re not quite as big, so they’re probably easier to have in the city. But it’s sadly illegal to ride them in the city so they’re always getting chased by the cops and stuff. But they’re a really, really nice bunch of guys.”
Janette Beckman’s photos are currently on display at the Gansevoort Market in New York City in a special “Mash-Up” series until February 9th. For more information on Beckman’s work, visit JanetteBeckman.com.