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The Chariot

‘Life is Too Short to Stay Stock’

Seniors Gen Bedrus and Gustavo D’Mello establish the Coolidge Cruisers, an underground cyclist organization with merchandise that includes hoodies and stickers.

Senior+Gen+Bedrus+pops+a+wheelie.
Senior Gen Bedrus pops a wheelie.

Senior Gen Bedrus pops a wheelie.

PHOTO COURTESY OF GEN BEDRUS

PHOTO COURTESY OF GEN BEDRUS

Senior Gen Bedrus pops a wheelie.

Sarah Funk, Co-Feature Editor

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Six boys riding down Coolidge Highway on a variation of monkey bikes, dirt bikes and mopeds is not necessarily what seniors Gustavo D’Mello and Gen Bedrus had in mind when they began their underground cyclist organization in 2015. Since then, they’ve managed to gather four fellow head riders who share the same passion of purchasing, building and riding motorized vehicles and started calling themselves the Coolidge Cruisers.

“The Coolidge Cruisers are an exclusive motor enthusiasts club” Bedrus said. “Life is too short to stay stock. We live up to our name; we perform the act of cruising on Coolidge Highway. Whether it’s a Honda Elite moped or a stanced Miata, I’m always on the move.”

The Cruisers all grew up with each other around Coolidge Highway. Not only are the Cruisers geographically close, but they also rely on each other to deal with the normal trials and tribulations of high school life. Together, the boys have aged and gone from skating to being “typical troubled teens” to riding, as D’Mello put it.

“Despite its negative connotation, people in high schools all over the country belong to a clique of some sort – the majority just don’t formally have a name,” D’Mello said.

In addition to D’Mello and Bedrus, the Cruisers include senior Ross Talbert, sophomores Aidan Salomon and Dominic Marra and freshman Jared Throne. Each of the riders has a different modified vehicle and unique nickname.

With these members and others joining in from time to time, the group has gained some popularity. The Cruisers have their own YouTube channel and even merchandise like sweatshirts and bumper stickers.

“At first we just made up the name as a joke,” Bedrus said. “I didn’t expect it to get so big. As we started recruiting more individuals into the group, that’s when it got serious. We started tearing up the streets of Troy on our motorbikes. People were slowly noticing us, and eventually we had a little fan base going. The support keeps us motivated to keep doing cool stuff.”

The Cruisers’ origin story is surprisingly gang-related. D’Mello was studying in the Troy Public Library one afternoon when he was approached by a friend to whom he owed money. The friend was with his “scary gangster neighbor,” according to D’Mello, who later found out the neighbor actually belonged to a real gang called the “Woodward Greasers.” Inspired by the idea and pride of the road they call home, D’Mello and Bedrus decided to establish a “rival gang” as a joke and thus became the Coolidge Cruisers. They then developed into the riding group they are now.

“We ride as a sort of therapy, to deal with the null and unfortunately all too common suburban culture we inherited,” D’Mello said. “We grabbed society by the collar and rode over it in our little humming two-stroke mopeds.”

Individual experiences vary among the Cruisers, from “just cruising I guess; we don’t do much else” for Salomon and “what we all seek in life: the noble endeavor of the pursuit of happiness” for Bedrus.
“I’ve made new friends, and I am a happier person,” Bedrus said. “For us, riding is our therapy. The feeling I get when I hit a nice 12 o’clock wheelie is indescribable. The balance point is a beautiful thing. Plus I never have to change my front tire. It still looks like new.”

The Coolidge Cruisers plan on having a summer full of night rides and participating in their favorite event, the Woodward Dream Cruise, where they can legally ride whatever they please and show off on their “enemy’s turf,” according to D’Mello. The seniors of the group do not plan on giving up their passions for vehicles anytime soon and intend to find others who share their love wherever they end up. They hope that the legacy of the Cruisers is passed down from class to class at Troy High until “all the gas in the world runs out,” Bedrus said.

D’Mello referenced a line from a poem by Dylan Thomas to describe the collective attitude of the Cruisers: “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

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‘Life is Too Short to Stay Stock’