Jarico Reesce stands about 5-foot-8 and is slightly thinner than a pin
(that would be the coffee and Camel cigarettes). He's got piercing blue eyes,
a pointy goatee and a pointier mustache that appears to twirl off his face.
His head is nearly shaved on the sides, but a sticking-up mop up top makes it
look like his brain has exploded.
Which, in a way, it has. With little more than a deep desire to drink beer
and ride funny bikes they construct from junk, Reesce and a bunch of buddies
founded Heavy Pedal Cyclecide three years ago, after having a spiritual
awakening at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.
Since then, the group has mounted oddball "Bike Rodeos" that feature such
carnivalesque attractions as a bicycle Ferris wheel (zooming 17 feet into the
air!), bike carousels (for kiddies and adults!), a spanking bike (you ride it,
it spanks you!) and a barbecue bike (it's like a rolling flamethrower. I like
that!). There are bicycle bowling, bike jumps and other bike games.
(Side note: I have always considered myself to be firmly placed in the
apres-garde. That is far behind the avant-garde, and even some distance from
the garde. So a tip of the hat to my esteemed colleague Scott Ostler, who
wrote about these guys last year.)
Reesce works at a local auto and scavenge shop, which is where he picks up
parts for the odd bikes he and his pals build: chopped stingrays, "tall bikes"
(literally: tall bikes), long bikes, even bikes with sidecars.
"We take bikes people dispose of every day and build ultra-cycles," he said
when I visited him at his Bayview home-cum-shop on Monday. "It's kind of like
they're fabricated to be different kinds of bikes. They're precycled rather
The large yard behind the compact building where Reesce and three others
live is crammed with -- go figure -- junk. High, rusted metal shelves are
strewn with bikes, bike parts and parts of bike parts. Black hoses lie in
coils on the ground, old doors lean against the walls and huge sheets of
corrugated tin shine in the sun. It's a scavenged world of urban burnout, the
detritus of disposable culture.
"Other peoples' garbage is our treasure," Reesce said.
It is from this heavy metal trash heap that Reesce and about 15 cronies
fashion their weird bikes, contraptions that look like Salvador Dali dream-
cycles riding through a psilocybin hallucination.
The tall bikes are composed of two frames welded together and a lot of
parts screwed, glued and smashed on. The long bikes are, well, long, with
front forks reaching beyond the horizon. A bike built by Jay Broemmel looks
just like the Golden Gate Bridge.
There's a Tall Midget: an orange, peewee Huffy frame mounted on an old
Schwinn mountain bike frame. Another bike has been sprayed with paint, then
drizzled with "safety spheres," the reflective stuff used to fashion
"You should see that bike when a car's headlights hit it," Reesce said with
All those bikes can be ridden down the street. Then there are those that,
The Whirl and Hurl, a small bike mounted on a round base that twirls when
you pedal, guarantees a ralphin' good time. The Rocking Bike is composed of a
bike frame mounted on a half-section of thick PVC pipe that serves the same
purpose as a rocking horse's skids.
The Mad Cow Bike is an old bike frame painted white with black spots. It's
mounted on a clothing store hanger ring, which in turn sits atop gnarly car
springs. The point: bounce!
Bike purists balk at the hacked-up designs, Reesce said, but he doesn't pay
them much mind.
"We don't think they're fun," he said. "They take their bikes too seriously.
We build bikes to be destroyed. We're kind of retarded."
Reesce and company mounted nine shows last year in California and Nevada
out of a total of about 16 since they began. They're planning a national tour
in the spring that will include countries such as Mexico, where bikes are
revered. The goal is to break out of local circles in order to bring bike
madness to the masses here and abroad.
"If you stay in the same town, you become the big fish in the small pond,"
he said. "But if you take it on the road, you become the small fish in the
You can take that to the bank -- and set fire to it.
The next Bike Rodeo is at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Three bands, Los Banos, The
Junkyard Sluts and Front Porch Ministry will entertain. $5-$8. Call (415) 695-
1891, or visit www.cyclecide.com
Wheel Life is a weekly column covering bikes, other vehicles, the people who operate them and, yes, life itself. Comments are welcome. E-mail Dave Ford at dford@sfchronicle.