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2009 Big Wheel Races

June 10, 2009

On Saturday I finally participated in the East Bay Rats Big Wheel Races.

San Francisco has it's Bring Your Own Big Wheel race where people race plastic big wheels down one block of Lombard Street, the crookedest street in America, and hilarity ensues.

In the East Bay, it's a little different.

The Rats Race starts at the summit of Grizzly Peak and ride down Claremont Avenue, which drops 1000' over one mile along a max 25 MPH two lane road that is not closed to traffic.

However, it is lined with spectators at every turn, all of which are hoping for some kind of tragic crash they can put on YouTube. My first vehicle did not finish. It turns out a pink plastic Barbie Big Wheel looks pretty bad assed, but only goes 300 feet before the wheels melted off.

bad-assed plastic big wheel
Notice the evidence of a propane tank coming out of the back.

I vowed to try it again.

Wally in leather

On the second run, nobody wanted to try the big wheel that was all metal and so fast it was stupid fast. People turned white after driving it. The smart thing would be to pass on this Big Wheel, so naturally, I volunteered to drive.

bad-assed plastic big wheel
Other Big Wheels

Wally Looks Nervous

The reason I might look a little nervous is that this particular big wheel is very unstable and will do more than 50 MPH. That alone should be enough to make me worry, but then I realized that I never even driven the road before, so I have no idea about the curves, I have no idea if the brakes on the three wheeler work, I have no idea about anything.

The only thing I really know is that when I start the race, I am lining up facing oncoming traffic, which means I need to move to the right really quickly or I am going to become a hood ornament for whatever car is now driving up the hill and I have three other way more experienced motorcycle club members on my right and all of them want to beat me down the hill. Which is fair, since I want to beat them down the hill.

I am trying to not finish dead last and trying to remember not to wreck because If I do I am going to hit an oncoming car, hit a parked car, end up on YouTube. Especially since I have a camera strapped to my front chest plate.

This was the kind of insane stupid fun I really love.

YouTube Video

Now you can enjoy Mr Wally's Wild ride.

I will be back next year.

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