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Amazing Sixties Biker Gang Snaps

This thunderous new exhibition of Sixties biker gangs makes today’s cycling trend seem a little wan...

You probably thought the closest you’d ever get to being Hunter S Thompson was taking a fistful of mescaline and driving to Vegas in a red Chevy Caprice. You were wrong. There’s a much easier way to emulate the gonzo legend; simply attend ‘The Bikeriders’ – a new photo exhibition landing at London’s Atlas Gallery next month.

Just as Thompson rubbed shoulders with real-life leather-clad, chopper-straddling nutters for his 1966 book Hell’s Angels, photojournalist Danny Lyon spent four years hanging with the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club between 1963 and 1967, and this show lays bare his finest shots of them.

Lyon followed the Club on meets, races and long-distance rides across the US, taking in Milwaukee, New York, New Orleans and Detroit. What’s more, displaying the kind of borderline suicidal dedication previously only seen in True Detective’s Rust Cohle, he became a bona fide, card-carrying (they probably didn't carry cards) member of their gang. This gave him a wholly unique access to the biker world and, as you can see, added a spectacular intimacy to his resulting snaps. We should warn you: staring at them for too long may make you want to quit your job, stuff a pack of Malboro Reds in the sleeve of your T-shirt and tear across the US on a Harley the size of a lion.

‘The Bikeriders’ is at Atlas Gallery, London, from 19 Jun-16 Aug; atlasgallery.com

(Images: © Danny Lyon Courtesy Magnum Photos / Etherton Gallery, Tuscon, U.S.A. and Atlas Gallery, London)