In the mid-1960s, just as word about "outlaw motorcycle gangs" began spreading via The Nation, Saturday Evening Post and other news magazines, a talented young photographer named Danny Lyon gained membership in what was then called the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club. Camera in hand, Lyon captured iconic images of his brethren, their girlfriends and wives, the club's runs and rituals, clubhouse and homes, bars and field meets and, of course, the motorcycles.
Then Lyon took up his tape recorder and interviewed several of his subjects: Club founder and president Johnny Davis; Kathy, a big beautiful girl married to Outlaws member Benny Bauer; Cockroach, Chicago police officer and former Outlaws member; Zipco, arguing with the draft board that rejected him as unfit for service in Vietnam, or laid up in the hospital after a drunken bike wreck; Cal and Funny Sonny, both erstwhile California Hells Angels who joined the Outlaws when they moved to Illinois; motorcycle racers Frank Jenner and Bobby Goodpaster, and a handful of others.
The book was originally published in 1968 - a slender, groundbreaking volume of technically and artistically mature black-and-white photographs coupled with gritty, street-tough text. It was remaindered four years later, but quickly developed a cult following, and clean copies of the hardcover original sell for close to $1000 nowadays. The title was reissued in 1995, in a limited edition which quickly sold out, and again in 2003, with additional text and some of Lyon's original but long-lost color photographs. Each of those editions has also become collectible.
However, no matter the edition, anyone interested in motorcycling, the history of the 1960s, or just plain EXCELLENT documentary photographs should find a copy of The Bikeriders.