Danny Lyon's 1960s biker photography

 Images Indelible Mar08 388
 Wp-Content Authors Ben-Watts The-Bikeriders01

In the mid-1960s, photographer Danny Lyon spent several years riding with the Chicago Outlaws and documenting their scene on film. The resultant book, The Bikeriders (1968), is recognized as the first photo book about the biker subculture. It's currently available from Chronicle Books. Smithsonian magazine looks back on that moment in Lyon's career, and tells the story of the portrait above of club members Sparky and CowBoy. From Smithsonian:

Cowboy and Sparky, two pals on bikes. They've just been to a motorcycle race in Schererville, Indiana, and their girlfriends will soon get off work from the Dairy Queen. It is November 1965, and CowBoy – Irvin P. Dunsdon, who uses the capital B to this day – is 23 years old. He feels he's on top of the world.

He and Sparky – Charles Ritter – met in the Army and bonded instantly. When CowBoy got out of the service in 1964, he moved not to Utah, where he came from, but to Gary, Indiana–Sparky's hometown–so he could be there when Sparky got back from Vietnam a year later.

Now, in '65, they stick up for each other. They take no grief from anyone. They share the joy of biking on the open road. They belong to the Gary Rogues, a local motorcycle club.

Link to Smithsonian, Link to buy The Bikeriders book