~P'land by the Hair of our Chinny Chin Chin~

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plop in the middle of bikemonth, 3 foolhardy adventurbikers decide to abandon the vancouver fray & head to portpromisedland for the multnomah county bike fair. by nix, ifny & midnight simon
~dedicated to the red furball~
now surely skinned & quartered in the filthy hands of various tweakerish villains

FRIDAY june 23rd 2000 & 6
naturally we got a little late start, since it would be downright uncanny not to. after the usual fits & starts we got on the highway, slipped through the border without incident & sped along until we hit...
seattlegridlock inallit's monstrousglory o"o o"o o"o oVo o:":o O"O o"o oVo o:":o O"O o"o

saw plenty of rvs towing suv's, a new & exciting trend from the deth factory. hit the convenience store, bought a 24 ounce beer cannon with cars onnit, sparks, tilt, liquor so cheap it's basicalistically free, 99 cents per. we were hot thirsty trapped in a car with nothing to do but toast our fellow car slaves in seattle car kebab.

we rolled up in time to snag free grub at the hostel international, where they were having a bike-in movie night. couldn't seem to get away from the crew back home, up there in celluloid glory (pedal play documentary! yay!). we were rowdy & excitateraterd. hooked up with momentum amy dreamcycle darren & the ever effluvescent colin mackenzie.

ppl were gearing up for the pirate ride. we ran into agent lapis, decked out as a pirate princess, layers of orange fuschia and purple seafoam. standard deviation greeted us on the turf.

hostel mc adventure shawn passed the mic to ifny, who did a shout out to team canada & sent out gobs of ambassadorial bikelove to portland. as a result earl from new brunswick found us. he's a fine chappie & worthy ally, living in london but toodling our continent at the moment.

amy the mothra queen joined our forces; we crammed into the car for another hour of cartillery; got to the nightmare collective near the witching hour. it's a working space in forest grove with some proto sprokettes, dogs, painted buses, clowns of all shapes & sizes, musicians in every corner, a trapeze & red scarves, & best of all a dog in a red tutu who howled along with the accordionist. the back was a land of clown buses, replete with fire in a barrel. a fretless banjo player & a singer were hanging by the busses, waiting for a sign to go on stage. well wouldn't you know it but at that moment a big flashlight came out of the bushes bearing a cop, then another and another, like the old shtick where clowns just keep piling out of a tiny car...they were summarily chastised by nightmare damsels. while this was going on, ifny jammed with the gypsy klezmer old tyme jump jazz band until the coast was clear. piano fiddle accordion singing banjo guitar. the alberta clowns performed a clown wedding replete with joust. (turbo won the lady) (& as it turns out, ifny didn't break pinga's nose wayback during mini-bike winter after all! o happy day!). we danced like electric eels, slept in an ewok village 4 to a bed (rolling out one by one). simon says "don't hang your favourite sweatshirt on the freerack" o dear.

next morning 5 of us headed back to p'land with pit stops for raspberries & fireworks.

went to kiran's, got ifny a foldy loaner bike, found a giant b'fast diner with cheap great alien art & a curvy comfy booth for sitting, met a coptic christian wanderer & an unfamiliar vancouverite. the waitress read our minds & deposited our very own carafe of coffee on the table for nursing.

then it was off to the multnoma county bike fair!! we signed in as judges, got beer for our water bottles, met up with ayleen minifixie mark gabe dave elicia lapis everybody!! we ran right into the dead babies: jackie soren stephanie tallbiketerry, master bear ken & woody onnis swingbike. read

we missed the slow bike race, but ifny represented in the eating contest on a mini banana bike she scammed from the clowns. you had to ride in circles, eating your way through different courses that were handed to you. a doughnut, a banana, a bag of cheezies, a cup of spaghetti, a cheez whiz cracker snak pac. stupidly she grabbed a cake doughnut & spent an eternity choking it down. she only made it to the spaghetti course by cheating & was beat fair & square by everybody else.

simon grabbed a free helmet from the handout stand, soaked up the p'land bike love. did bike themed shopping patches buttons & scored a fab knitted cozy (top-tube tubetops) made by amelia b from handmade guerilla crafts (likeitfixed AT yahoo.com). turns out she was in one of simon's classes at ubc back in the day. small world as we all know too well.

bands all the way through, then it was time for the unicycle joust!!

trackstand with fixies & a tandem with an extra kid on the back.

nix walked up to some hot biker chicks wearing black & white stripes, said "nice style, we dress the same." they hit it off, turns out they were the freakin dirty bitch brigade, affiliates of the recyclistas from victoria, on the island of sin...frances & crew were dressed to slay & we were punched as please to exchange props & pleasantries.

footdown derby, ifny made 2nd place two times (always a bridesmaid, never the bride).

more bands played while she wrestled the rev; turns out he's a hella dirty fighter (no surprise). it was a draw as he had her in an ear lock while she freely picked his nose.

then it was time for the sprockettes, in hot pink glory! new numbers, blowing us away with crazy hotness. 15 strong, pink & black flashes of blazing saddles. nix's voice was destroyed screaming for mercy...the whole thing was captured on viddy thanks to dav-ed & jim's gracious loan of camera. viewing party tba.

nix shmoozed the 'ketts, hollered her head away & just looked generally absolutely fabulous.

tallbike jousting ensued. ifny looked mean but sucked hard. dead baby ken looked mean & didn't suck at all! in fact he was the champignon!

after the fair was over, the dead babies went off & did a special foreigners bomb.

simon was expiring from low blood sugar so we walked into the first place we found, cafe outlaw sompin sompin, replete with a bullriding machine & hard rockin tunes.

moved our shite to the lovely & funky & generous & radiggist elicia's apt. made our way labouriously through the city, sans guide, to christophe's unofficial mcbf afterparty in a four floor apt building. in our recollection the party seemed to occupy the entire building. we blame sparks for mistakes & o-missions. the band was guys with megaphones & tape deck & some keyboard (that they transport in bike trailers) playing in the laundry room. drenched dancing madness. we retired to the roof where the dirty bitch brigade led a stomping snapping rhythm jam. then it was time for more impromptu wrestling in an empty apartment inna dark. ifny took down zoobomber felix in a tough match of moves vs. will (she later discovered a clump of beard hair in her watch strap that can only be attributed to his face). then she was picked up & thrown to the rug by this suped-up ultimate wrestling honey, who then demolished felix & a couple other chappies. turns out she's rocco's jenn, who had offered us a crash pad sight unseen before we'd even left vancouver. (she works at rocco's pizza, where the zoobombers meet). she's promised to come up & whip the rest of vancouver if anyone dares...better start training now...

captain fun, phil & minifixie mark escorted us home, & mark was superoutrageously generous to lend ifny his minifixie (in freewheel mode) to ride home on. supafast!!! he even offered it up for the zoobomb!

we crashed at elicia's, & turns out she's a newlywed, just married the bike of her dreams. pro photos will be posted when avail.

brunch at the hostel, we arrived ON TIME which was commented on by all. shawn's famous bodum coffee juice eggs oregon strawberries gabe's hair of the dog whiskey & hashed browns.

then it was time for THE BEACH. we got on the road, dead babies, elicia, phil, gabe, sara, earl, vanilla will from the hostel. champion ken was the kindest bestest soul to gift ifny with his incredible magical tallbike for the day aaughgh! her first time on a tall bike where someone wasn't trying to knock her off with a lance. she took the opportunity to graze from lowhanging branches & lean on her first suv.

stopped at a thrift shop to buy a bikini for amy & a team jersey for nix to blend in with the locals

we got kicked off the max, so we biked all the way. good riddance because we got to ride through some new neighbourhoods & had way more fun. as it turns out, not everyone in portland is white. who woulda thunk! we also saw a memorial to japanese americans interned during WWII, shinto shrine sacred arches hung with strings of detainees' dogtags that tinkled eerily in the breeze.

it was hot, did we mention that?! 42 degrees. eff!

dead baby stephanie kept her cool throughout, no shoes no bra no compromise

just before the beach we stopped at a convenience store. ifny, ever fickle, decided that bikes were too slow & tried to hitch. traffic dissed her until a huge 18 wheeler screeched on the brakes...she hopped on & told the kind hearted gent that she just wanted to say hi & drive safe. they chatted for a bit about his suped-up chromed-up rig & then with a toothless grin the trucker headed back on the road again.

~hothothothothothothothothothothothotohothothothothothothothothothothothothothothot~ EFFF

then blessed be, we hit the beach. it being amurika we had to wear clothes. (n.b. duct tape pasties look great but don't last long in cool water)

we played frisbee, throw the apple, & poopie pants with mud. gabe & ken & ifny tried to blow up gabe's pirate ship kite with firecrackers. they were successful! especially after they decided to spare the jolly roger for another day...

then it was off to play the notorious b.i.k.e. p.o.l.o. phil gave agent lapis' bike a flat tire, so we had a good old fashioned safety meeting on an off-ramp, replete with tilt, sparks & belly button warm guiness (which made it onto phil's face cuz he was provoking the crowd). the tire was worn right through, omg whatever should we do?! you guessed it: red duct tape onna inside. for ifny it was kind of like when your dog dies & you give the rest of his food to some other dog. it is as it should be, & so be it.

we got to polo real late so the action was in full swing. we found the alberta clown house on route to buy the giantest bestest fajitas burritos enchiladas ever, & pinga the clown joined us. all of us were burned & sanded & poopie pantsted. we met tad of chunk & we had a good chat about carcass & bozkashi & severed headballs. ifny played anarchist polo with some other bikers including a rad 12 year old kid. the score was 1-1-1-0-0. then she rode a really big fixie, her first time & boy was it like riding a spooked horse!

poor amy had a flat, then another flat, then after we set off, another flat! she didn't make it to zoobomb, which means she'll have to come down to p'land & rock the hill some other time!

then it was time to zoobomb. but damnit, there was no time to pick up mark's rad mini, so all us big bikes rode straight over to rocco's. on the way to the hill it was time to say goodbye to the dead babies. we'll see them again at the dead baby downhill, august 4, come hellahighwata!

the pile was puny so we headed up to the max station. but crikey! there was a brown-out so the max's all sucked. simon lay down on the platform to rest until a very concerned max driver got off to check his vitals. what kind of friends would we be, standing around making conversation while our pal lay there dead? geez, he was only partially dead...finally we managed to get up to ol GB, where everyone was chillin.

this was nix’s second zoobomb. Her first was during winter mini-olypics on Liz’s minitall. This time, on her regular bike, she took it faster! By this night, word that the canadians were there spread and many of the zoobombers who have not met MC3/Vancity ambassadors before wanted to chat about bike culture and life up north. Nix promised canada would refuge them when shite hits the fan.

since shannon radiant sprokette wasn't bombing OG, she passed her winky hot pink bike over to ifny. it was dark as all hell, & since she started last, she got to do it without any little red blinkies to follow, like riding a gorilla through the mist...

best of all, it was simon's first zoobomb! here's what he has to say for himself:

I've got to say, I was a little disappointed not to get to do the zoobomb on a mini bike. But only a little for two reasons- it was a rush to get to push my roadbike (my baby!) about as fast as she's ever gone before (in pitch freaking blackness, might I add), and missing the mini aspect of the bomb motivated me to acquire my own mini about two seconds after returning to vancouver so as to never have that problem again.

So the zoobomb. For those unfamiliar with this amazing portland ritual, I'll lay it out from the beginning. You get on the Max train, destined for Washington/Zoo station - a train station located in the centre of, essentially, a small mountain (think Burnaby mountain as a reasonable reference). The first thing you notice is that the train is packed (packed) to the rafters with bikers. well, not just bikers, but bikers with teeny, tiny little mini bikes. After some delay (I found out later that this might have been a new and intentional to try and discourage the zoobombers), the train takes you into the mountain where you go to Zoo station, where you disembark and load into one of four massive elevators (even more packed with bikers than the trains).

Exiting the elevators at the top of the mountain (the location of the zoo, from which the zoobombers draw their name) we are greeted with calles of "Zuh-Zuh-Zuh- ZOO-BOMB" from farther up a windy road. It is explained to me that this is where the bombers are massing, and they are calling out to stragglers to indicate which run down the hill they are going to take. We ride up to the mass where everyone is sitting, chilling, drinking, getting lights on, and otherwise preparing for the bomb. Finally, when the mass has reached peak size we line up - the bikes with the smallest wheels in the front, followed by the larger, larger, largest.

We start - the hill is steep, the road windy, the tree cover: TOTAL. it is pitch fucking black, and I am tilted downhill at an angle that feels like it must be at least 6-8 degrees. I separate from one of the many packs that are distributed along the road and find myself falling forward faster and darker. A rider appears in front of me about 30 meters ahead, and I match speed with him, gauging where the dips and turns in the road are by the ebb and flow of his single tail light. my heart pumps and adrenaline rushes. "GATE!" bombers ahead yell to warn us of a gate blocking the road. we slow, navigate around the obstacle, and resume speed, after being turned to an alternate route to avoid the 'pepper' who are out looking to make, perhaps, some arrests. Soon we're back at the Max station, gathering up and getting ready for another run.

Back to the top for some more socializing before the last bomb of the night. Reverend Phil gives me some beer, playing the good host. I see a kid who can't be more than 17 with a chipped tooth showing off with his hot white road bike. wheelies that last a good 10 meters. steep stalls on the front tire. I'm impressed. A friendly security guard stops us right before we leave to give someone the toolkit they lost somewhere - the police might not be so fond of the zoobomb, but the zoo staff seem to have no problems with it. We bomb. The road is less dark this time, but more fraught with obstacles - after navigating several gates we arive at the highway, and prepare to drop its steepest section. "Watch out," someone warns "there was some construction ahead, so we might be limited to one lane." Down we go, gaining speed and rounding a bend in the highway. Construction ahead - car stopped. one lane? no - no lanes - the one open lane of opposing traffic is blocked by a dump truck barreling towards us - Brakes! skid, out of the oncoming lane and past a furious trafic control guy- "STOP! FUCKING STOP!" we do - as we are now blocked by what turns out to be a completely dug up road, complete with hard working midnight road crew.

Most of the zoobomb mass is behind us with the irate trafic control guy - the woman who has stopped me and 3 or 4 others is much more pleasant. the road is closed all night we're told - and there's no other way out but up the hill. we negotiate. "could we not all just join up into one group - you guys stop the trucks for 1 minute, and we'll pass by and be out of your hair?" -- "let me talk to my foreman." We're cleared. down, down, down the highway and back into the downtown core.

I'm hooked.

right on simon! we asslute you!

after that, team canada, DBB tallbiketerry, raven, red-track-biker, blond road biker, plus tourguide phil went for side door donuts at the temple of Voodoo. we accidentally hooked up with a mad rollerblader multimediator & headed to colonel sumner's park for a little more r & r. then nix & simon headed home while terry phil & ifny went dumpster divin, to little avail awww

inna am it was coffee at freegeek's favourite spot, then onto the road. earl tagged along till olympia, when we hugged him goodbye to the strains of 'don't you forget about me' breakfast club soundtrack. earl is like that, perfection all around, just like his moustache.

stopped for last delicious mexican food on the way back. the roads were easy peasy & we made it to our beds in no time.

p'land, you are truly the blessed isle. we so enjoyed, as so expected, the hot city, the hot bikers, the hot-spitality & the piled on bikesicle luvvin. Y!A!Y!

you can read bikeportland's account of mcbf & see pics too.
colin m.'s photos are up on flickr
our pics will be up soon...

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