Ridin' Dirty: Citi Bike Boyz
@CitiBikeBoyz is an Instagram account dedicated to documenting creator Jerome Peel and friends as they shred across New York City using bikes from the popular bike sharing program. Cell Vision co-founder Prince Terrence spoke with Peel about the inspiration behind the account and which are the best Citi Bikes for tearing up the urban playground.
photos by Kenny Rodriguez
Remember that kid in your childhood circle who was good at everything? The kind of kid that was the star athlete but could also ride a skateboard and play guitar while juggling baseballs? Jerome Peel is that kid. He drums in the punk band Gnarcissists. He is a DJ. He has a workwear-inspired clothing line called Peel's. And now, he's taken the helm of an Instagram account by the name of Citi Bike Boyz. Citi Bike Boyz is about one thing: Relentlessly tearing up the streets of New York on a Citi Bike.
Jerome has been shredding on Citi Bikes since the inception of the program in the summer of 2013, when the company had 6,000 bikes and only serviced Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. They soon expanded in Manhattan to serve the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens as well as Jersey City, New Jersey. According to their website, Citi Bike is set to grow to maintain 40,000 bikes from the Bronx to Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood by 2023.
The initial introduction of Citi Bike in New York was met with a bit of scrutiny, with many attributing it to the ever-present symbol of corporate takeover and intrusion into a city that is hailed as an international beacon of vibrant art, music, fashion, and nightlife. However, Peel saw an opportunity to repurpose and readapt, and, in the punk spirit of deconstructing and reimagining, Citi Bike Boyz was created and grew a substantial following.
I spoke to Jerome Peel to learn more about the Citi Bike Boyz.
CELL VISION: I scrolled all the way back through the Citi Bike Boyz’ Instagram account and realized that you’ve been doing this since 2017. Your average person might think that this was a pandemy boredom idea, but you’re really about this Citi Bike Boyz life. How did you go from messing around and casual tricks to really making it a thing?
JEROME PEEL: I don’t know, I always had a bike growing up and loved hitting jumps. When I moved to NYC in 2011, I left my bike in Florida. So when Citi Bikes became available, I rented a Citi Bike, and it just felt natural, because it was the only bike I had. It’s still just messing around, it’s just cool that now I have a platform for it and people appreciate it.
"I always had a bike growing up and loved hitting jumps. When I moved to NYC in 2011, I left my bike in Florida. So when Citi Bikes became available, I rented a Citi Bike, and it just felt natural, because it was the only bike I had." -Jerome Peel
CELL VISION: I remember when Citi Bikes were introduced. I was living in the Lower East Side, and I thought it was perfect to get around downtown, but there were a lot of haters because, you know, we have to hate all things corporate. What was your initial reaction when Citi Bikes dropped?
JEROME PEEL: I know for a while people hated them, but I always thought they were fun to ride. I rented one right when they came out. It’s like those scooters now; they’re lame and embarrassing but also fun as fuck. Especially after a few beverages.
CELL VISION: What is the wildest stunt that you’ve ever done on a Citi Bike?
JEROME PEEL: Either the LES double set or over that rail uptown. Both were risky, but I’m gonna have to say the LES set I got super lucky on. I don’t know what I was thinking, because you couldn’t pay me anything to go hit that shit again.
"I know for a while people hated them, but I always thought [Citi Bikes] were fun to ride. I rented one right when they came out. It’s like those scooters now; they’re lame and embarrassing but also fun as fuck." -Jerome Peel
CELL VISION: What would you say to anyone out there who might argue they did this first?
JEROME PEEL: Lol, right when they started putting them on the street, I rented one and took that shit off a curb cut, and my shorty I was with got the picture. It was in 2013. I love seeing people’s videos though. A lot of trash and people fucking up the bikes, which is whack because I use them to actually get around all the time. I do want to see more people out there hucking though!
CELL VISION: Have you ever had any correspondence with any employees from Citi Bike HQ?
JEROME PEEL: Yea, they seem chill. We have one homie [who] reached out and kinda tells us what’s going on over there internally. They used to respond to my dms, but they stopped. I was always asking them for discounts.
CELL VISION: When we met to do the photo shoot, there was a specific edition of the Citi Bike that you were looking for. Can you tell me about what that bike is and why you prefer it? What happens if they phase those bikes out?
JEROME PEEL: So the first Citi Bike they ever put out is my favorite. To me, it’s the strongest; also the bars on it are the best. They just feel good and stable. All the new bikes aside from the first gen bikes have bars that bend back like a beach cruiser. Harder to bunny hop with those. It’s still doable, I just prefer the oldest one. When those are gone, it’s gonna be a little more tricky. I just need a personal Citi Bike
CELL VISION: How can someone get down with Citi Bike Boyz? Are you accepting new recruits?
JEROME PEEL: Uh, it’s more about friends; if one of my good homies did something crazy on a Citi Bike, I’d def put them on the team.
"There is no goal, it’s pretty much just for laughs. I love to see the response from people." -Jerome Peel
CELL VISION: In an ideal world, what would be your ultimate goal with Citi Bike Boyz?
JEROME PEEL: There is no goal, it’s pretty much just for laughs. I love to see the response from people. I also love trolling on there. There’s a few people with the password, so it could be anyone. It would be sick to work with some brands and get paid. Like, fuck it, I’d sell out real quick, lmao. I got bills to pay. Shit, if Zumies hit me up for an ad, I’d be like, Hell ya I don’t really care, it’s all a joke to begin with, so fuck it. I just want some free boards or free shoes, and I’m happy.
You can check out Citi Bike Boyz, Gnarcissists, Peels, and Jerome's personal Instagram account via the links below.