Saturday, August 06, 2011


The indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest had that lovely tradition known as the potlatch, in which clans would hold big parties and give away gifts to attendees. Fortunate to live in a part of the world abundant in natural resources, tribespeople understood a host’s willingness and ability to share food, drink, and material goods as a sign of his wealth and power.

It’s nice to see that this tradition is being carried on today, at least by the indigenous Dead Baby Bike club, who last night, hosted their annual gift to the local cycling community, the Dead Baby Downhill and Messenger Challenge which, as usual, lived up to its reputation as the Greatest Party Known to Humankind, although if truth be told, I split fairly early in the evening, preferring to head home about the time that it seemed that more of the burgeoning crowd had driven there than arrived on two wheels.

The race itself was a gas; I hauled a Haulin’ Colin trailer with a cooler full of dry-ice cold beer and, in keeping with the generous spirit of the event, pulled over about a mile from the finish and passed out frosty cans to thirsty riders. While most, it turned out, were older guys on department store bikes, I also got to give some refreshment to a guy who snapped his crank on the West Seattle Bridge approach and was finishing the race in velocipede mode and luckily, I saved the last beer for longtime .83 rider, Meg-Ha, who was a bit farther up the road, fixing a flat that she, like many others, got on the train tracks leading to Georgetown.

I didn’t see as many freak or tallbikes as in years past, although that could have due, in part, to the relaxed attitude I took to the race start; it was great to be towards the rear setting out with a view of several hundred bikes before me.

What a gift.


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