Come, sit ye round the glow of yon magic computer box and hear the tale of The Bring Your Own Big Wheel (BYOBW) race! It is a glorious tale, fraught with herosim, cynicism, and stoicism!!!
The race was conceived in the mind of a mad man named Jon Brumit. As legend has it, in 2000 Jon happened across a big wheel. He wondered what he should do with it and much like the apple that fell on Newton’s head, Jon had the vision of riding his newly found plastic toy down Lombard Street.
So, having passed out a few hundred fliers to invite anyone interested in joining him to partake, he chose Easter Sunday to ride down the 2nd curvious street in the world. (That’s right, SECOND.)
On that day in 2000 Jon was the only brave sole to embark down the hill. Under the watchful gave of thirteen spectators, he’d wait for the street car to pause at the top, clearing Lombard Street below so that he could ride freely without being run over.
And so Jon continued this tradition for the next six years, accumulating other riders and friends that decided to partake over the years. By 2006, thirty brave souls would join him to bravely brave that curvy street. A few hundred would watch in anticipation as these collective genius’s skidded their way down the history street. And then….. YouTube happened…
The above video was posted not long after the event. And for the next year, it accumulated hit after hit. And so in 2007, riders swelled to hundreds while audience swelled to thousands.
Well, this did not sit will the residents of this most famous of curvy streets. They took up arms, raising pitch forks and torches and chased Jon and his merry band off, possibly killing the race forever! (ok, maybe not with torches and pitch forks, but yeah, there weren’t happy that we stopped traffic and f-ed up their shrubs. Sorry! Our bad!)
So what was Jon to do? The race was in peril! Jon himself was moving out of town and if Lombard was not available, what street could possibly be used?!?!?
And then, someone had a totally non-peyote induced Google map-a-thon search to find a replacement for the fabled Lombard Street… VERMONT STREET!
Yes this most excellent of roads was actually designed by the same architect! And it was curvier! After a little testing, a decision was made that in 2008 we would descend upon this road for what might possibly be the last year of BYOBW. Out of fear of being tossed from yet another site, Jon and his BYOBW Crew took to the streets for what we believed might be our last event.
But low and behold?!?!? The residents of Vermont Street (most of them) were pleased to have our race in their neighborhood? Could this be true? Could BYOBW have found a home?
Verily, it was true! BYOBW has lived at Vermont street since 2008 and is still continuing strong! Thanks for the kindness, patience, and understanding of Vermont Street residents and the many departments of City of San Francisco (ISCOTT, Parks and Rec, the Hunter Point Police Department) we have been able to keep this race going for so long.
And all cause Jon Brumit decided he wanted to ride a big wheel down a hill.
Thank you Jon, for your inspired insanity. (For more on Jon and his works, go visit his website at www.jonbrumit.com.)