Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Seen on the street: A colorful scraper bike

Posted by on December 12th, 2007 at 3:07 pm

Gram Shipley's colorful scraper bike-1.jpg

Gram and his scraper.
Slideshow below
Photos © Jonathan Maus

The other day I crossed paths with a colorful personality and an even more colorful bike.

I first met Gram Shipley at BikeCraft. He wanted to display his wares (hand-sewn leather mud-flaps and casino dice valve caps), but didn’t get enough of them made in time for the show.

But when he rolled by me just off of N. Vancouver near Legacy Hospital the other day, it was his bike I noticed first.

Gram says it’s a “scraper” bike (scrapers are the hot thing right now, as evidenced by this YouTube video from Oakland, CA). What exactly makes it a scraperbike? Gram says it has to do with tricking out the spokes.

Gram has a thing for collecting bikes and funky old parts. He volunteers at the Community Cycling Center to help stoke his habit (and of course to help get more kids on bikes).

Check out my little slideshow for more photos of Gram and his awesome little bike:

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

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  • max adders December 12, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    scraper bikes are an Oakland / Bay Area phenomenon popularized over the course of the last year or so by the Trunk Boiz\’ song and youtube video:


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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) December 12, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    thanks Max. I meant to add that link to the story… thanks for the heads up.

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  • el serracho December 12, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    sweet ride. sweeter sport coat.

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  • Vigilante December 12, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    GO HARD!

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  • john December 12, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    oh my god that video is soo funny!

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  • Darkness Merkin December 12, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    I know that mint is the new pink but are Scraper bikes the new fixies?

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  • Anonymous December 12, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    Just when I thought I\’d never find something nearly as irrelevant as vance longwell…..

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  • joel December 12, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    east bay thing. \”scraper\” is an 80s or so mid-range, usually gm car, with more money in wheels and sound system than the rest of the car put together – the scraper part typically comes from the wheels being so damn big they scrape the inside of the wheelwells…

    scraper bike, as you can see from the video, is a bike of any description with wheels rigged up to approximate spinners or other huge-ass shiny chrome wheels as best you can…

    as for scrapers being the new fixies… well… lowrider bikes (been around for a good long while now) + spinners for bikes (been around in 20\” versions for a number of years) + fixies with those ridiculous aerospokes that are in vogue these days = well… theres some sort of convergent evolution going on, and ive been predicting fixies somehow getting worked into the hip-hop vernacular for years now…

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  • Bryan December 12, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    oh man, what a song!

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  • peder horner December 12, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    Thanks for the link to that sweet vid Jonathan. Love that 80s drum machine.

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  • Dabby December 12, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    The Hip to the Hop,
    But my fix won\’t stop…

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  • SkidMark December 12, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    Japan is ahead of us…again.


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  • Stripes December 12, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    Re: SkidMark #12

    Good grief! That video is so frickin\’ cool!! Hot dancing bike mechanics? Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

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  • n8m December 12, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    omigawsh that youtube video made my day. there is hope for california yet. rad. go scrapers.

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  • Carl December 12, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Joel\’s right and the jam that\’s gonna bring the track bike trend to hip hop audiences will almost certainly have samples of \”Can\’t Stop, Won\’t Stop!\”

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  • Bueno December 12, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Badass. I think my \’bent needs some of those wheel covers. Awesome.

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  • SkidMark December 12, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    Brooklyn Machine Works is owned by Pharrel Williams and they have a bike called the Gangsta Track.

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  • joel December 13, 2007 at 8:16 am

    the pivotal moment i had been waiting for was spinners for 700c wheels. the technology is out there… but spinners dont seem to be as popular anymore, people seem to be sticking to just plain ol big shiny wheels… so if we can just get the aerospoke fixie hipsters together with the east bay scraper bike kids…. maybe itll be like the rap-metal crossover thing that public enemy and others hinted at, judgement night finalized, and then… oh wait. that brought us nu-metal. maybe this isnt such a good idea…

    and man, id totally forgotten about that rip slyme video… one of the elements that helped spur along the japanese \”pisto\” fad about a year ago or so… same goes for the bmw-pharrel link… yikes!

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  • Filmed by Bike December 13, 2007 at 9:32 am

    eh… the original version of that video was SO much better.

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  • SkidMark December 13, 2007 at 9:54 am

    You can get spinners in 20\” and 26\” and there are 20\”, 24\”, and 26\” billet aluminum custom wheels available too.

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  • Val December 13, 2007 at 10:00 am

    Yes indeed, two classic videos, there…but your collection won\’t be complete without: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFFHpuwgid8 Watch all three in a row at your own risk.

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  • Elly Blue December 13, 2007 at 10:12 am

    The Europeans have caught on too! All the kids in Istanbul had colorful tape on their spokes just like this. They\’d ride around in circles in pedestrian plazas and scare pigeons with their crazy light-up Chinese electric horns.

    By kids I mean, like, 10 — that was one of the very few contexts in which you\’d see bikes there, sadly.

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  • Vance December 13, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Of course, all that junk hanging off of those bicycles, has been DOT approved, right? I mean, I shouldn\’t have to worry about having some errant chunk of bicycle-jewelry coming through my wind-shield, right? Safety first, right? Must be that the idea is that in an accident, all that crap is going to act as a helmet too, right? Safety first, right? Hypocrites.

    Nice celebration of this nation\’s decent into the third-world, though. Grats. Way to support diversity. I\’m sure Barack, and Oprah would be proud. How supremely responsible. I especially appreciate the timing too. It\’s nice to have groups of this sort to high-light when cyclists are under such intense scrutiny. Advocate personal choice, freedom, and autonomy – Bad. Dress up like a Halloween prank, scream for attention at the top of your social-lungs – Good. I\’ll get it sooner or later, I suppose.

    Oh, and thanks for the press, Anonymous #7. It gave me wood. Stupid Global Warming. The rain should have washed you idiots back to California years ago. Sigh.

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  • Joe December 13, 2007 at 10:30 am

    sweet ride.. love it.. I need to dress up my 1970\’s Sears StarLiner with some whe
    tape.. any feedback on places to shop this


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  • Dirt Monkey December 13, 2007 at 11:44 am

    That \”Scraper Bike\” video always makes me laugh! I always thought that term scraper was because the hoopty was something you just kinda \”scraped\” together. I dunno tho.

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  • Gram Shipley December 13, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    Wow. I never thought one of my silly old banana seat bikes would make it to the internet, let alone spawn comments beyond “ha ha” (use Nelson Muntz voice for full effect). Jonathan, you take incredible photos, the old screamer looks better in your pictures than it does in real life.

    To the people who have seen the Trunk Boiz video for ‘Scraper Bike’ and wanted to make one just for pure ridiculous fun, I say: it is the season that colored saran wrap is cheap and plentiful, otherwise the half empty cans of Krylon in your basement and that old cardboard box you have will make perfect wheel inserts (then all you need is some packing tape and creativity). If you need a crappy bike to turn into a scraper, thrift stores and garage sales are always good places to look, the bike doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to ride. I did not originate the scrapers, nor do I go half as dummy as the kids in the trunk boiz video, I am just someone who has loved and collected wacky 60’s and 70’s kids bikes since I was a kid.

    To the haters, keep complaining, and I’ll keep laughing at you, occasionally riding my ridiculous old bikes for kicks (believe me, they are a ton of fun, which is what biking is about to me anyway) and also wearing silly outfits when I do things like volunteer my time to help the CCC give refurbished bikes to kids whose families could not otherwise afford them at the Holiday Bike Drive, something I believe in strongly because the whole reason I like bikes now is due to my positive experience with them as a youth.

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  • Joe December 14, 2007 at 7:32 am

    Gram Shipley #26

    I like bikes now is due to my positive experience with them as a youth.

    magic words bro.. magic.. thats the real

    have fun always everyone.

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  • zilfondel December 23, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    Crazy! I\’ve never been to Oakland before, had no idea they are generating this sort of interesting phenomenon/memes.

    A nice change from the stereotypical rap singers tricked out Escalade, thats for sure… although the rims… the rims!

    Reminds me of this east coast phenom:

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  • baby champ January 6, 2008 at 2:51 am


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  • David Green October 10, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Scraaaaaaper Biiiiikes!

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