Monday, August 13, 2007
The tradition of Portland and it's amazing bike scene, Zoobomb.
If you're here on a Sunday night you HAVE to go Zoobombing. I've wanted to do it since the first time I was here a few years ago, I asked Jackie what that pile of bikes outside Rocco's was for. She responded that Zoobombers ride the MAX up with them and then ride those minibikes down the hill. I looked at her like what a good idea. Well this time Scottie, Molly and I got to do it. We waited at Rocco's for 45 minutes or so and finally, the man with the combination to the bike pile showed up. We slid in casually in hopes of claiming a "pile bike". After some debate among the locals and the tourists, Handsome Dave as he's called gave the tourists the bikes cause the locals can do it anytime. After his long speech about dangerous and scary the bomb down the mountain is and how crashes can and do happen. He made us fill out some info including our birth date in case we get knocked unconscious, the fireman or EMT has something to check your brain function with, AWESOME. We had to write down our addresses as well just to give them something to harass us with if we didn't bring the pile bikes back at the end of the evening. After that we ride off on the mini bikes to the MAX station in our miniature parade of about 80 people altogether. We weren't all in the same place at the same time except at the top of the hill for the first couple of runs. When the gang gets of the MAX we have to pile into and elevator to the top. Then it is a short walk to the top on trails. The top is interesting, it's a bunch of crust punks and DIY kids and a random array of others. Everyone was really nice about welcoming us to the tradition and asking us how it was. I talked with a kid about the different welding techniques and we got to ride one of the tall bikes. Also at the top there was a big meeting about how the cops are cracking down and a specific list of rules they wanted everyone to follow. They sent down scouts thought to make our ride more enjoyable. No run ins with the law happened that night. Other than that it's just common courtesy on the way down, "on your left", when passing or "on your right" when passing.
The whole experience just taps into the core elements of joy and fun, like going down a slide, WEEEEEEEEEEEE! That's the majority of it is going down a hill really fast. Then you add the tiny bike, the "thick as thieves" camaraderie, and the smell of burning coaster brakes at the bottom. It's amazing, being in this giant bike gang bombing down the mountain at 30mph trying to avoid the speed wobble and blowing through stop signs in the middle of the night. I'm glad there were no bugs out cause I had a shit-eating grin from ear to ear all the way down the mountain both times.
we have more pix here: