Monday, April 9, 2007
Bring Your Own Big Wheel
Lined up and revving fantastical motors, roughly 150 full grown adults in ridiculous attire big-wheeled it down the illustrious Lombard, crookedest street in all of the United States. At exactly four-o-clock Easter Sunday, a race of epic proportions took place leaving behind the carnage of tiny plastic toys.
Similar to a twisted movie, I found myself staring at Mario, Luigi, a drunken Santa, a man self-sponsored by Jagermeister, and a Lego person barreling down, leaving only a split instant to jump out of the way. This past Easter was the seventh year that the “Bring Your Own Big Wheel” event took place. Formerly an illusive affair, this past Sunday it had blown up in publicity. Three “heats” or sets of 50 people flew down the street three times. Semi organizer of the occasion, Jonathan Kakatek dressed as Mario (character from Nintendo’s Mario Cart) said, “last year there was thirty people and this time it’s just out of hand… it was easier to control before”.
The actual founder of the event could not be found but through word of mouth it was discovered that his name is John. He began the big wheel race seven years ago and awarded the courageous winners with his own hand made prizes. Sadly, there were no gifts given this past Sunday, the individuals with the most panache and grit went home empty handed but relishing their eternal glory.
“It was crazy this year, neighbors are pissed off and we don’t even know who won the event”, said a friend of Kakatek’s. Aside from the few disgruntled neighbors peering over their balconies and the concerned coordinators, no one seemed to mind the extreme confusion and disorganization, “it doesn’t matter how you did, it doesn’t matter who won, it doesn’t matter who put this thing together. This is all about breaking the norms and having a great time… and well, we did that,” said Kim, a spectator there to cheer on her boyfriend. Moments later, her boyfriend was destroyed by the Luigi imposter who slammed into him, causing a five big wheel pile up.
San Francisco commemorated the religious day by having an all out, gory race on neon kid-cycles. Typical of the city and true to “San Franciscan Values”, Easter was by no means an ordinary affair. But don’t think that religion was entirely neglected; Easters true sentiments were recognized when Jesus made his own special celebrity appearance dressed in full traveling messiah attire on a hot pink Barbie big wheel. An enthusiastic fellow big wheeler hi-fived him and yelled “Jesus! You’re alive, and now I’m going to own your ass in the next race.”
When the race had ended, a few insane participators decided to depart with all the class and daring they could possible muster. They rode off down the next (unsafely steep) hill, through two intersections and left behind a scattering of infuriated cars that had screeched to halts in order to avoid what could have been a disaster. There was no prominent first place winner this past Easter, but several breakneck speed daemons reserved a spot for themselves in history, going down as some of the bravest souls to ever careen down the crookedest street in the U.S.