They call themselves the Bang Gang.
by Noah Hahn
Or the Boys' and Girls' Glee Club of Ann Arbor. Or Candy Death Squad. By any name, they're a self-described "hard-core" late-night bike-riding group.
Weather permitting, they tear through town every Monday, howling at the moon and swerving through the streets. Some nights the event is massive and intense, with as many as eighty bikers-picture the fans at a Guns and Roses concert competing in the Tour de France. Other nights it's just six rogue cyclists pedaling in grandiose fervor, using such phrases as "hot mess" and playing chicken with oncoming traffic.
To keep the energy in the rides throughout the summer, Bang Gang has theme nights, such as Robots versus Animals Night, when the respective sides dress accordingly and "joust" in the streets-or the Glee Club Sneaker Toss, which riders commemorated by writing "BG '08" inside the tongues of old pairs of shoes and throwing them into a tree.
The ride isn't completely anarchic-participants are asked to "keep it reasonably illegal." The Bang Gang does not condone destruction of public property, and although some members have taken late-night joyrides inside Angell Hall, or across Mitchell Fields while intramural soccer games are being played, initiating contact with humans or vehicles is also forbidden. The closest the gang comes to attacking pedestrians is tossing the occasional teddy bear or balled-up pair of socks at an unsuspecting late-night walker during the Projectile theme night.
Now that the weather's too cold for riding, Bang Gang members are hibernating. To keep themselves entertained, they're brainstorming ideas and working out schematics for "monster bikes" they plan to build over the winter. But come spring they'll be out again, screaming through the streets in a grandiose hot mess.
[Originally published in February, 2009.]