The bike blog recently wrote about bike shootings and felons on bicycles, and this week brings more news from the world of organized crime on two wheels: Sasha Wright, founder and leader of the local bicycle gang "Bycle Jackson," is relocating, and likely taking the gang's logistical core with her.
The gang, which has terrorized — or at least annoyed — several local bars, restaurants, and roadways, was conceived five years ago in Eugene, Oregon, where Sasha was visiting her sister, Heather Wright. "Basically the idea was to create bike gang called Bycle Jackson and ride around with one bike glove," recalls Wright. "But then we just laughed about it."
Then, two years ago, Wright moved from college in Beloit, Wisconsin, to Miami to work for the National Park Service. "I had been in Miami for six months," she says, "and I just wasn't doing things that I wanted to do. I wasn't going outside. I wanted a bike. I did this big search for a used cruiser on Craigslist. And then finally I found this pink cruiser."
Rolling in her new fat-tired, pedal-breaking pale pink cruiser, Wright recruited a friend and the two began taking to the streets. They would ride every Sunday, to Matheson Hammock, Key Largo, the Everglades. They began to call themselves "Weekend Warriors" -- and then Bycle Jackson.
"Really the number one tradition of Bicycle Jackson," says Wright, "is we always rode somewhere to eat."
Wright began meeting other bikers and initiating them into Bycle Jackson — she went to Critical Mass rides; she recruited at bars. But the gang still lacked cohesion: "I said this is lame, to just be on bicycles and calling ourselves Bycle Jackson — we're going to need something to show for it."
Using digital technology to meld a picture of Michael Jackson — "You know, that one of MJ holding up his one white glove" -- and a picture of a bicyclist, Wright created a stencil image, which she cut into the back of a box of cheerios. She began spray-painting the image onto 'wife beaters.' Later she would use a silk screen to imprint the gang's trademark design.
"Once we had the wife beaters," Wright recalls fondly, "we were a bike gang."
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Membership in the gang, Wright explains, required having one of the T-shirts and going along on at least one ride. The day before leaving Miami, Wright estimated the current membership to be eight.
On Sunday morning, Wright left the country for Argentina; from there, she says she will return to her native state of Washington and then on to Milwaukee, where she plans to start another Bycle Jackson cell. Gang members in Miami did not return calls in time for this article, but undoubtedly, Sasha Wright's absence will be felt for some time.
Full disclosure: As of receiving a white Bycle Jackson tee-shirt four weeks ago and subsequently bicycling with at least three members, this reporter is a member of Bycle Jackson. --Isaiah Thompson