Brooklyn’s Steel Horses are one of a relatively small number of African-American motorcycle clubs. Clubs, unlike gangs, are peacekeeping, law-abiding sorts. They get together for the pure pleasures of fellowship, pride in their machines and love of the open road.
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Photographed by Paul Vickery for Jocks & Nerds Issue 21, the Steel Horses was founded in Brooklyn in 1999 and now has chapters in four US states.
“I’m interested in documenting subcultures where the participants aren’t just putting on a show,” says Vickery, “but living a lifestyle, doing something they are deeply passionate about.” His photographs document at a Steel Horses “bike blessing”, an annual ceremony that most clubs hold to keep their members safe on the road.
“These bikers live to ride, and ride fast, and their love of speed entails risk. They take their lives in their hands each time they go out,” says Vickery. “A pastor usually says a prayer over the tannoy system. At the end of the prayer, the bikers all rev up their engines as a sort of ‘amen’.”