Mexico City 2017-2018
They have tattooed faces, shaved heads, wear black clothes and may look terrifying at first sight. But despite their harsh look, they are kind and nice men and women, who simply share a common passion: Bicycles and Lowrider culture. Every Sunday, members of the Lowbike Chilangos Club bike together in Mexico City. Chilango in Mexican refers to a resident of Mexico City. Many of the club's members grew up in neighbourhoods like Tepito or they come from the city of Ecatepec, north of the metropolis. In these neighborhoods, gang violence and crime are part of daily life, and there, laws are different. There is a high rate of homicide, feminicide and all kinds of trafficking. The Chilangos Low Bike Club México exists since 4 years ago, it was founded by Fernando, Devanny, Suaveman and others, to promote lowrider culture in an environment apart from drugs and gang violence. Nowadays there are more than a hundred members in the Club. It is a real club with real members. When a new member joins the club, they give him a shirt and a necklace with the name of the club on it. They spend a lot of money to build and paint their own bikes, but also to buy parts in the USA.The bikes are very small or elongated and low to the ground level they are shiny, they also love to add paintings, a lot of them use the Mexican flag or the Aztec calendar. They love “pimping” them and everyone adds their own style. They want the Lowriders culture to be accessible to all, and to break the stereotypes of people living in dangerous neighborhoods. They want to flee gang violence but keep a culture they consider their own, but that is sometimes associated with crime and gangs, they want people to see that there are two different things.
Lowrider culture was created by Mexican immigration in the USA. The Chicanos created a style, a language and a culture in accordance with their identity as a minority, looking to preserve a culture of their own in the US. Nowadays many migrants have returned to Mexico and have brought this culture with them. This culture has been particularly adopted in marginalized neighborhoods, as it resonates a lot with the way of living and aesthetics of the youth there.There are all kinds of people in the Club but most of them come from the poor and dangerous neighborhoods of Mexico City. They do have a though style, that is their identity but they like to play with it. To be bald, tattooed and have this hard look is part of their cultural identity , but it is just a style. In the end they are kind, generous and lovely people.They are really very open and also very proud of their club, so they are happy to show other people what they are doing. The majority of the members are men but there are also women and children. It is a club open to all. Many members come with their family to events. They have events several times a month. Almost every sunday they have a bike ride in downtown Mexico. Every Sunday in downtown Mexico City, the main streets are closed and give way to pedestrians and cyclist. The Chilangos will ride in groups and meet the people to make them aware of their passion. People take a lot of pictures of them. They are intrigued, sometimes they are afraid of them Club members are always taking a step forward towards the people. Once people understand and trust them they love to get to know them and take selfies with them. They also attend to low rider event organized by other clubs all over Mexico, and often participate in all kinds of events promoting bicycle riding. Plus, they celebrate their anniversary every year. None of Club members are gang members, even though they maintain contact with the community in their neighborhoods. Most of them lived all their lives in the neighborhood, so they grew up around gang culture, it is of course a part of their past and in some senses also their present. However, the Chilangos Low Bike Club México helps them to keep in touch with the neighborhood, respect and keep its culture while staying away from the harsh parts of it.