Pushing bike share boundaries with Citi Bike Boyz

Whatever pops into your head when you first think of bike share bikes, I bet that it’s the polar opposite of what Jerome Peel thinks of.

Peel is a 33-year-old New York City resident and fashion designer who’s become the face and the force behind Citi Bike Boyz. Peel’s exploits include launching a set of stairs, bunny-hopping over subway tracks, launching over work zones — all on a 45 pound Citi Bike (or 60 when he grabs an electric one) — have earned notoriety in the NY Times, Vice, The New Yorker, and more.

With over 120,000 followers on Instagram and a merch line that’s mostly sold-out, it was no surprise that when I met up with him Tuesday afternoon, he was on his way to the post office to deliver dozens of hats and t-shirts.

Thumbnails of videos on @Citibikeboyz Instagram.

“This is my bike,” Peel shared as we pedaled the streets of Lower Manhattan, “It’s hard to work with bicycle brands [who are eager to sponsor him] because I only ride one bike. I can’t ride anything but a Citi Bike. It’d be weird.”

(If you’re wondering, Peel doesn’t rent his Citi Bike. He pays for an annual Citi Bike membership, but said he found the one he rides and that it’s not no longer in the system.)

Peel grew up in South Florida and moved to New York City about six years ago. He told me much of his inspiration for Citi Bike Boyz came from the hit TV show and movie, “Jackass,” known for its star Johnny Knoxville’s high-risk pranks and stunts.

“As a kid I loved jumping curbs, making my own ramps, fixing up dirt piles and stuff,” Peel shared. “I like to pretend I’m on a skateboard sometimes. I see a lot of inspiration in skate videos.”

Peel rode motocross bikes as a kid, and when he moved to New York City he didn’t have anything to ride. “So I just took a Citi Bike. You’ve got to work with what you’ve got and be resourceful.”

And work he does. A few years later, these beastly, ubiquitous blue bikes most of us can hardly lift up a curb or pedal up a hill, have made Peel something of a legend.

For now at least, Peel seems content to impress his followers and search out that next iconic jump or trick. He doesn’t have any grand mission and mostly just wants to have fun (and use his design skills to sell a bit of merch) — although he did say he’d like to travel and get rad on bike share systems around the world (anyone from Biketown interested?).

What about Citi Bike? Are they mad? Peel said he hasn’t heard from them yet; but we both agreed it’d be funny if he ended up in one of their ads — or in a safe riding PSA.

As I pedaled back to my hotel room and filmed Peel popping-a-wheelie through chaotic, traffic-filled streets, his response to my last question bounced around my head.

“Anything else you want to say?” I asked.

“I would just say the possibilities are endless. Keep riding. And there’s no there’s nothing wrong with one of these bikes. These bikes are cool. They’re not whack! Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to everybody, but people don’t get it. It is stupid, but it’s also what I do for fun, and it entertains some people.”

@Citibikeboyz on Instagram

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Asher Atkinson
Asher Atkinson
4 months ago

Kudos Jerome Peel. In addition to awesome bike skills, you’re perhaps the first to have found a way make money off a bike share program.

Granpa
Granpa
4 months ago

A strong and skilled rider having fun in the Big Apple. I like that. That said, I would be remiss if I didn’t say “Get Off My Lawn”

matty
matty
4 months ago

love that. rip n ride

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
4 months ago

I’ve been following him for a while and I’ve seen him destroy more than a few wheels.

And people wonder why costs keep going up…

Fredd in Harlem
Fredd in Harlem
4 months ago

His bike is “…no longer in the system.” What a polite way to say the bike is stolen.

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
4 months ago

Oddly enough, same with a sizable number of BIKETOWN bikes. Good luck getting PBOT to ever reveal those numbers, though.

Todd/Boulanger
Todd/Boulanger
4 months ago

Jonathan, just to follow up on your ‘editorial’ comment:
“(If you’re wondering, Peel doesn’t rent his Citi Bike. He pays for an annual Citi Bike membership, but said he found the one he rides and that it’s not no longer in the system.)”
– I would challenge his statement to you that this Citi Bike is “no longer” in their asset system (unless by some quirk it was surplused / judged to be ‘end of life asset’ due to damage by [Hurricane Sandy] etc.)…all he has to do is dock it back at a station to see what happens, unless of course he has a friend in operations who looked up the P-number in their tracker;
– I am going to guess that when he is not riding the CitiBike in his full possession he is not docking it and instead using the ulock (breaking a bikeshare membership rule and terminating his Citi Bike membership etc) so this bike is then not available for others to ride it the other 20 hours a day;
– if he only has one Citi Bike and wheels get taco’d [as the article mentions] then someone is repairing the bike and has access to special security tools, parts etc; and
– etc. I could go on, but will stop here.

Tony Thayer-Osborne
Tony Thayer-Osborne
3 months ago

It doesn’t surprise me that the bikes ride well for what he’s doing. They’re manufactured by Cycles Devinci who are primarily known for making downhill mountain bikes like the one Cam Zink rode to victory at the Red Bull Rampage recently.