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Cian Oba-Smith Biker Life, Dazed
Photography by Cian Oba-Smith

London’s anarchic two-wheeled subculture

Photographer Cian Oba-Smith’s latest series looks at the boys, bikes and balaclavas of London

The motorbike – an icon of rebellion; a badass mode of transport and two-wheeled trickery. Now, through the cloud of dust left in the wake of London's industrial estates, a powerful new subculture has emerged: bikelife. “There’s a certain anti-establishment vibe that comes from the bikelife scene but is also true of subcultures in general,” said Cian Oba-Smith, a young British photographer whose new project, Bike Life, has captured the disillusioned riders’ need for speed with urgent power.

The confrontational figures in Cian’s photographs challenge the camera’s gaze from atop their menacing looking machines, daring you to question their lifestyle. “The project speaks of a feeling of disdain towards the government as a young person in Britain, as well as specifically within the bike life community,” she says. “I think a lot of young people can relate to this feeling of disconnect and oppression through a system that there seems to be no way of escaping. The members of this subculture have chosen to react by taking their bikes onto the streets and freeing themselves through riding.”

The Bike Life project can be viewed in full here