April 23, 2003

No Complaint

Or, in layman's terms, no charges filed.

Yeah, bitches.

Posted by DV at 11:33 AM

April 21, 2003

"Bomb the Zoo, Not Iraq!"

"It must be some animal rights reference."
-KATU-2 News Team

Sunday nights, when the rest of Portland has returned to their hives, a small but hardy group descends on Rocco's Pizza(across from Powell's Books) to celebrate the unholy marriage of mini-bikes, beer, and public transportation: Zoobomb

My Easter was spent in the kitchen much in the tradition of Ashley's Sunday dinner parties of a year ago, with, among other things, strawberry scones, two cakes, and a Baked Alaska to show for it. After polishing off an Oly's and watching the sunset on the stoop with Ani, I took off on my Bianchi under violet skies with the Sonic Reducer strapped to my back.


[not my bike, but one of comparable size]

After all the library bikes were loaned out and the duct-tape applied where-ever necessary, the first wave headed for the MAX with bells and squeakers sounding. My 12" wheels and compacted legs could only carry me so fast, and I quickly fell behind, getting a taste of what was to come.

We exited at Washington Park and climbed the hill above the zoo for views and PBR, and Slayer blasting from a pink boombox. The forecasted rain had yet to fall, and warmer spring temperatures were upon us.

Though personally unknown to the group, my bicycle history preceded me. Once the second and third waves had arrived, and all had imbibed to their hearts' content, we bumped down a dirt path to the starting line. By merit of having the smallest bike in attendance, I was honored with the pole position at the line-up.

After a countdown and cries of "Zoobomb", the crowd blew past in a blur of LED's. The kid with the pink boombox hung back with me, giving me a soundtrack and a bit of comfort knowing that somebody could scrape up me and the Reducer if my coaster brake should fail.

(the next 15 minutes were as you might imagine an 800' elevation loss in the dark, on a mini-bike one foot off the ground: fuckin' awesome)

Amazed that the Reducer brought me back to Rocco's with no scrapes to show besides some worn treads on my sneakers, I couldn't resist a second run. Back on top of the west hills, the drizzle had progressed to rain, holiday treats(from Christian and non-Christian celebrations that Sunday) were passed around, and for many of us, the number of beers had long surpassed the hours of sleep we carried with us.

Regardless, we bombed again. I only fish-tailed a few times(coaster brake+mini-bike+rain=certain death) on this steeper route, and I somehow made it back to my big bike alive.

And hooked.

Posted by DV at 03:51 PM

April 19, 2003

And Then...

Like any good citizen who loses his bicycle and nearly his life, I make a report to the Portland Police Bureau the following day(3/21). After a hearty breakfast(something I was quite thankful for later on) and some work in the garden, the distinguished officers Maas and Searle came to my door.

I was expecting a straightforward interaction, where they heard my story and gave me a phone number to call in a few days. Needless to say, the interaction was anything but that. When Maas paused in her lecture about the threat to society posed by cyclists, it was only to allow her sidekick to tell me that, if he had his way, he'd "take me in on criminal mischief and disorderly conduct right now".

I got pretty flustered, my incident report devolving quickly into interrogation. Tired of eavesdropping, my housemate Ani came and stood by my side. I was asked about 12 times if I thought a bicycle through a windshield was a threat. Apparently the police spoke with the driver first. He gave this sob story about being surrounded and threatened by cyclists who pounded on his truck and lifted up their bikes in anger(true, this occurred AFTER he ran over my bike). Endangered as he was, he felt that his only possibility for escape would come at the expense of my bike.

I had but only a few minutes to express how preposterous this story was before I was being searched and handcuffed. Ani took down my home phone number as I was removed from my own living room, in custody of the PPB.

My stay at the local precinct was quite bearable. I had a clean cell to my self, with white walls, high ceilings, a steel sink and toilet, and a little window so we could keep an eye on each other. Taking full advantage my cell's phenomenal acoustics, I amused myself(and them) with my most heartfelt renditions of every song I learned last summer at Hawthorne Valley, with an encore of Lucinda Williams' "Concrete and Barbed Wire". My hands kept busy with the best tissue sculpture I could muster in handcuffs.

After about two hours I was transferred downtown. The ride was uneventful, and the music blasted into the back of the squad car provided an insight into the roots of the violent nature of our police force. My recommendations to the officers regarding their poor choice of routes was met with, first, resistance('keep it down back there!'), and, later, agreement(cops hate to get told the fastest route by a cyclist).

There is nothing to say about my stay at the sheriff's building, except maybe that it was a soul-deadening experience. It is underground, fluorescent-lit(when asked how he could stand working without natural light, one officer replied "it's like being in a 7-11."), and it is comprised of two gender-separated seating areas, akin to a hospital waiting room. Each side had a TV, towards which all of the seats were pointed; the women watched the home improvement channel while we were subjected to about 5 hours of March Madness punctuated by propaganda reports from Dan Rather.

The lone high point was talking with the woman who took my mug shot and fingerprints. Conversation revealed that her kids graduated from College Park in the late 80's, and that she used to live in Martinez. When she told me she lived near Rolling Hill Way, I couldn't help but mention my friends on Rainbow Court. Just the mention of the name Small changed her mood, and she began to list the $30,000 in damages that the family caused in the house she rented to them. I felt more than a little guilty, having taken part in any number of adventures in that house. I will never know if my continuing association with her former tenants served to shorten or lengthen my stay, but I was thankful for any contact outside of the warden-prisoner dichotomy.
About 7:30PM I was released onto the cold and rainy streets of Portland, penniless and far from home. I began to beg for change for a bus ride home, when somebody asked "are you David?" The jail support crew was out there, with food and sweaters, and news that my landlord was coming to pick me up.

Twenty minutes later I was sipping pomegranate juice at a Persian restaurant, upset, confused, but thankful to be on the outside again.

Posted by DV at 01:33 AM

April 16, 2003

French Bicycle Symbolically Run Over by American Monster Truck

[I'll begin with a re-post of my first stab at Internet publishing, written Day X(March 20th), about an hour after this happened. Things only get worse from here.]

In a symbolic(and literal) victory of US aggression over European pleas for peace and progressive policy, a 1970's-era orange Peugeot road bike was run over by silver, king-cab, long-bed monster truck Ford F-350(license#ZEH364) at the intersection of Grand Avenue and SE Belmont as part of a pro-peace Critical Mass ride.

Several riders attempted to halt the driver in order to make the roads safer for cyclists and all other traffic, but the driver dismissed them as a "spineless debating club". More cyclists gathered in front of the vehicle as he inched his way forward with no regard for the 200+ riders with whom he shared the road.
"We must confront cyclists, pedestrians, and fuel-efficient cars with resolve," shouted the motorist from his perch ten feet above the roadway. "By backing down, we only play into the hands of cyclo-terrorists, maniacal bus riders, and un-patriotic drivers of Japanese hybrids. Evil shall not triumph."

Cyclists tried to reason with the motorist, but the diplomatic voices were drowned out by the revving of his ten-cylinder diesel engine. With a final push on the gas pedal before shifting into gear, the driver had delivered his ultimatum to the cyclists.

"We must rid the roads of these vehicles-of-less-consumption once and for all so that streets will again be safe for drivers of large American cars. By acting now, we are ushering in a new era where Ford and General Motors prevail, so that all citizens of the world can enjoy the privilege of increased horsepower and an elevated roadway status."

With these words, the motorist made good on his promises and pushed forward with his plans. As cyclists, pedestrians, motorists, and police watched with horror, the truck rolled forward, and the bicycle met its death beneath the wheels of the Ford, the owner of the bike narrowly escaping a similar fate.

(see the photo here.)

Posted by DV at 01:21 AM