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Citi Bike Boyz Don’t Want You to Worry About Them

"I’m more likely to get seriously injured by a car running a red light on my way to work than doing a stunt."

9:30 AM EST on February 9, 2024

(Citi Bike Boyz)

Jerome Peel, the amateur stuntman behind the Citi Bike Boyz Instagram account, was at it again this week, posting three new tricks. I talked to Peel through Instagram, who told me he has a knack for seeing the possibility for stunts in things as mundane as wood piled up next to a Porta Potty. In another video posted this week, he hops onto the hood of a white Chevy Impala, with "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus playing in the background. 

And in what might be his most death-defying stunt, he rode his Citi Bike on a thin sliver of roof of Meseroll Shop in Williamsburg. Could he really have been that close to the edge? I asked him, and he said he was, and that he wished everyone would stop worrying about him.

Hell Gate: How did you decide you wanted to do that trick, and what was the planning like?

Jerome Peel: I saw [the roof] on someone’s Instagram Story and I asked where it was. I had been looking for a roof like that for many months. My art and what I do on a Citi Bike has ruined several relationships. Everyone’s panicking about me riding on the edge of a roof. People take pictures on the edge of the Grand Canyon all day long and no one cares. What’s the difference? At least I’m focused and very capable. I have really good balance. I think the possibilities are endless.

Other people have reached out to you about it? Trying to say you shouldn't have done it?

Yes, people do with every stunt I do. People think it’s stupid. People think I’m putting my life in danger. I think people value their life way too much. Live fast, die young. Have fun. Push what’s capable to the max. My dad grew up racing motorcycles. I was on a bike shortly after learning how to walk. I feel safer riding a bike home drunk than walking. God knows my time to die and when he decides, I’m cool with it. I don’t understand how people can be so lame, how people are so satisfied with their lives. I need more. I asked 20 people to film the subway stunt. Everyone said, "No I’m not filming that stupid shit. You’re going to die." 

I actually drank beers before going to the subway gap. I was at St. Dymphna. And my friends refused to let me leave the bar. I had to lie to them and tell them I was going home. Finally someone agreed to film it, and I went and did it. I keep saying I’m gonna chill because I want to have kids and be able to run around and play with them but I’m still pretty unsatisfied with what I have completed in life.

Why do you think they discourage you?

Just a different mindset. Evil Knievel or Travis Pastrona, I’m sure they were told not to do stuff too. But we do it anyway. I’m not an adrenaline junkie, I just know what I’m capable of so I go and do it. There are just people who are so terrified of getting hurt. What type of life is that? Some people take no risks. I’d rather die.

I know you said you’re cool with it if you die, but are you worried about getting seriously injured, or paralyzed?

Whether it’s a risk in a relationship or a business risk or a trick, I’d rather see what’s possible than live a comfortable life. I don’t ride out of my limits. I’m more likely to get seriously injured by a car running a red light on my way to work than doing a stunt.

I think I understand—it’s not that you want to die, but you want to live the way you want to live to feel fulfilled, otherwise it’s not worth it. I think that's something a lot of people can relate to actually.

Yes, that’s more correct. I definitely don’t want to die. I just love to push the limits on every single thing I do in life. I had two major surgeries in the past two years. I did my first stunt after tearing my ACL on a bike 5 weeks after surgery. Some people take 8 weeks to put down their crutches.

Built different!

Mainly in my head. I don’t know why I am the way I am. My dad is pretty conservative. Even he doubts me. He would give me talks on the way to the dirt bike track every time we went. He would say "Please take it easy, please ride safe. Please don’t jump that jump." I always did. I was always terrified. I’m always scared as fuck. I don’t even feel great after completing a jump. I just do it because I know in my head I can do it.

To me, when I see  wood in a pile next to the Porta Potty, in my head seeing a jump. It’s just my art. It’s similar to graffiti. Graffiti writers just do their thing. Every jump to me is just another piece of art. If riding a bike was a paint brush, I just love painting a piece. I want to keep painting and have a ton of art on the wall. In this case, it’s just on Instagram.

Have you ever heard of the Freudian concept of the death drive?

No, I haven't. [Pause.] I just read it, it sounds complicated.

Okay, never mind.

You know they say when artists are down they create their best work?

Like Picasso’s Blue Period.

I did the subway jump a month after the worst break up of my life. I was seriously depressed. That was a year ago. I am in the same place right now. This week I did that roof ride, and the wood jump over the Porta Potty. The Porta Potty jump is probably my favorite work of all time.

Is there something that’s making you depressed? Or is it just the ups and downs of life?

Relationships. The last two girls I dated hated my Citi Bike page with a passion. They told me it was a waste, told me to stop.

Because of the danger?

I guess. They just don’t understand how deep it is. I am an artist and I live / love to make art.

Would your ideal partner embrace what you do? Or do you want someone to worry about you? It can be nice to be worried about.

Yeah, I guess a mix. I had this one girl a few years ago that pushed me to do more on a Citi Bike. That was cool.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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