This is FRESH AIR. And if you're just joining us, our guest is writer Alex Abramovich. His new book, "Bullies: A Friendship," is about a friendship that he renewed with a kid he'd known from his youth who turns out to have founded a motorcycle club in Oakland. Alex Abramovich spent a lot of time there.   

Now, the club, as we read your book, seems less about riding bikes than about fighting. And Trevor organized fight nights at which the public would be invited and he would have people in the boxing ring out back. Initially you say it was just a bunch of couches arranged in a square, but eventually there was a boxing ring. Do you want to describe one of these events for us?    You know, they sound different than they are to attend. They're fun in real life, although they're bloody and violent. And sometimes they were impromptu. Sometimes people - fights would just break out. But sometimes they were very organized and they would have themes. There was, in fact, the Jews versus Gentiles fight night, which would be a two-man versus two-man fight, so a four-man fight. And it would be over bragging rights for who could name the next holiday party. Would it be a Christmas party or would it be a Hanukkah party. And it was billed as the battle of the sects.    

  Yeah. So fliers went out all over town. And there was a series of undercards, so a lot of other people fought before the Jews and the Gentiles got into the ring. And oddly enough, I didn't know that there were too many Jewish bikers out there. I'd never really run into them in New York, but there are a couple. In the ring, the violence was very contained. And the further away you went from the ring, the more violent things got. And sort of once you slipped into the shadows, you'd start seeing really nasty things happening. So at the time that the Jews and the Gentiles are fighting in the ring in the back, out front on San Pablo Avenue some recyclers are maybe getting beaten up for instance.     Recyclers - these are, like, guys who pick up cans to get, you know, food for their habits or whatever, right?   

Yeah. I mean, there's a recycling center that's a few blocks from the clubhouse. And it's a source of constant tension in the neighborhood because not only are the recyclers with their shopping carts always clogging up San Pablo Avenue, but there are problems having to do with people's houses getting broken into, tools getting stolen, pipes getting stolen. In fact, the East Bay Rats' clubhouse was broken into while I was there and Trevor's plumbing was stolen.    And then there are also issues having to do with public urination, public defecation, prostitution, drug dealing. And remarkably enough, some of the recyclers seem to think that if they'd break their bags full of bottles - they're sold by weight. So they think that if they break their bags full of dimmable led filament bulb they'll weigh more because broken glass weighs more than intact bottles. So there's this constant soundtrack of breaking glass.