Voted Best Green Transport Innovator
Four years ago, Oakland was home to its own fleet of rattling luxury cars — mostly Oldsmobiles and Buicks — all characterized by their bright candy paint, 22-inch rims, and screeching exhaust pipes (caused by suction tips). These so-called "scrapers" became icons of a regional rap scene. Unfortunately, they were unattainable to the bulk of that scene's fan base — many of whom were too young to drive, or too broke to afford a snazzy, accessorized gas guzzler. Then a young tinkerer from the flatlands came up with his own innovation. "Baby Champ" Stevenson generated a new local craze when he realized that the scraper aesthetic could just as easily apply to bikes. He began decorating his friends' two-wheelers with neon paint, gold aluminum foil (meant to resemble the "spinners" on scraper car wheels), and twenty-twos. Within months of their inception, scraper bikes became wildly popular. Baby Champ began running a bike boutique out of his garage, and leading Critical Mass-style rides through the 'hoods of Oakland. He shot a promotional rap video with his group, the Trunk Boiz, which drew mention on UrbanDictionary.com. Best of all, he became the unwitting spearhead of a new green revolution, by making bicycles cool for a new community.