Not many people can say they’ve changed the face of their city. In London, home to nearly 9 million people, big business and politicians tend to call the shots. Ordinary people rarely get a say, least of all the young ones.
But by simply getting on their bikes, coming together and pulling wheelies, the thousands of young riders who frequent the mass ride-out Bikestormz have made a lasting impression on the capital – and helped save lives along the way.
Now, Before the Storm, Huck’s documentary on the pioneers of Bikestormz and the young riders who keep it moving, is screening daily at Outernet, an enormous public screen in the heart of the capital. Occupying prime real estate outside the redeveloped Tottenham Court Road station, Outernet gives thousands of Londoners each day the opportunity to experience this film about cycling and survival on the streets of the capital.
“It’s beautiful to see this film here on Tottenham Court Road,” explains Mac Ferrari, a co-founder of BikeStormz. “It shows me how far we’ve come from where we set out in the beginning. We used to wheely past here and we were the nuisances in the area. Now everybody can see we had a goal and we had a vision. Showing the film will help people get a better idea of what we’re about: spreading a message, positive vibes and getting more people involved.”
Founded in 2014 by Mac and Jake O’Neill (better known as @jake100_ to his 212k+ followers on Instagram), the Bikestormz movement has brought kids from all backgrounds to ride as one, under the banner: ‘Guns Down, Knives Down, Bikes Up’.
Huck has been following key figures in the London scene since early 2017. We’ve ridden alongside them as they’ve overcome hostility from the authorities and helped make Bikestormz a rolling community known all over the world. Together, they’ve helped fuel the explosion of the Bikelife movement across the UK, transforming it from a little-known subculture into something far, far greater.
As the film plays out on the giant screens above us, onlookers stop to gaze at Jake and crew tearing up the streets. Yet, for the riders who have assembled to celebrate the film’s launch at Outernet, there’s a bittersweet sensation as they see friends on screen who are sadly no longer with us. This underlines why what Mac and Jake and the others riders have built is so necessary.
BikeStormz has grown to become a vibrant community of riders – a sanctuary for many – and an alternative to the violence that afflicts so many young lives, due to London’s failure to offer safety and support to its youth.
“It’s crazy to see because this film feels so long ago but it’s still so relevant because the message is the same,” explains Jake, one of many riders who have built successful careers from their immense talent on the bike. “Since the film came out, riding is now full-time for me. It’s what I live and breathe every day and I’ve made a career out of it. There are so many things going on in bikelife now but BikeStormz is still that one core event that has that same meaning and that same love for everyone, you know.”
Before The Storm, an original Huck Film directed by Jake Churchill and Prokopi Constantinou.
Watch it at Outernet London, on rotation once an hour: Weekdays from 8am-5pm (except 12-2pm) and Sundays 8am-12pm and 6pm-10:30pm