I am so excited because this Friday, August 7th, is my favorite event of the year: The Dead Baby Downhill. What is the Dead Baby Downhill? Well, I explained it to y'all last year, and it's the same again this year with a couple of minor changes. This year the race/ride starts at the Comet Tavern in Capitol Hill at 7pm. The end of the ride, in a place I am not allowed to disclose because the location of the end of the ride is a surprise, will be a huge street party with live music and crazy bicycle events.
Last year's party was fantastic, and a few good pictures can be found here and here and here. This year, the entertainment includes bands and marching bands, bicycle dance troupes, and my double dutch team On the Double (dutch) will be performing as well. Events include Foot Down, Bunny Hop, Helltrack BMX, and the cous de grâce...tall bike jousting.
Another bicycle club that will join and contribute to the festivities is Cyclecide from the Bay Area who have bicycle-powered carnival rides known as Cyclecide's Pedal Powered Amusement Park Rides and Side Show Rodeo. Members of bicycle clubs in other cities, including Portland's ZooBomb, will be at the event as well.
Arrive before 7pm and bring cash to register for the Dead Baby Downhill at the Comet on Friday if you haven't already registered. If you don't register, you won't get a water bottle or t-shirt or beer or chance to win the race. Registration is $20.
With their membership increasing every year and the popularity of cycling increasing, the Dead Baby Bicycle club is becoming more and more of a presence in Seattle. The Dead Baby Downhill has been on the first Friday of August every year for the past 13 years, and the Dead Babies get together and go for a group ride the first Friday of every month.
It's the time of year again to fix up your mutant bicycle (or regular bicycle) and ride it at the 12th annual Dead Baby Downhill Race this Friday, August 1. Claiming to be the "greatest party known to humankind," the event is more than a bicycle race, it's an amazingly fun party.
Last year's turnout was about 1600 people, some of whom traveled from far away lands like Canada. This year over 2000 people are expected to partake in the merriment that is northwest mutant bicycle culture. Fortunately for a crowd fearing gal like myself, there will be plenty of space for the crowds so I won't have to be crammed up against a wall all night trying to avoid the sweaty masses of people. But enough about my social anxiety disorder, let's get to the details of the race.
FAQs about the Downhill
Do you have to be a bicycle person to attend this event?
Nope. You don't even need a bike to attend the party at the end of the ride in Ballard.
Is this an actual race or is it a party?
It's a race AND a party. The winner of the race gets an assortment of cool prizes and, of course, glory. The race ends in Ballard where there will be events like tall bike jousting, bands on three stages, bicycle dance performances, and other bicycle related events. The race is also a fun ride for those who don't care about winning the race. Last year I stayed to the back of the crowd and cruised at a nice, mellow pace with my friends.
What time does registration and the race begin? Where?
Registration is between 5-6:45pm and costs $20. With the registration fee you get a t-shirt and a water bottle and a chance to race or just cruise down the hill to Ballard. Registration ends promptly at 6:45 and the race begins promptly at 7pm. Registration and race starting point will be at El Chupacabra in Phinney Ridge.
Do I have to have a mutant bike to ride in the race?
No, but you'll definitely want to build one after you see all of the cool mutant bikes at the ride.
I personally love the Dead Baby Downhill, but you don't have to just take my word for it that it's great fun. Here are some posts from other blogs about Dead Baby Downhills of the past:
This year I imagine people are going to be a little more creative with office chairs in the race. Last year everyone discovered that office chairs don't cruise down the hill as fast as expected. I would expect to see some bigger wheels on office chairs this year and perhaps some more custom-made creations.
The race is tomorrow, Friday, April 4, "after work whenever people start showing up." There might be a more specific time nailed down at this point but I am guessing people will start showing up around 5:30pm. The location is near the Pacific Science Center and Key Arena. I believe the starting point is on the corner of Warren and John. Here's a map, you'll find the race in the general vicinity of the starred location.
Things to prepare for if you plan on racing this year:
- Wear protective gear, you'll probably crash because everyone crashes.
- Bring your own office chair. If you have more to spare, bring those, too.
- Bring a camera, there will be many lovely photo opportunities.
This is a great opportunity to show your masterpiece at the first ever event of this festival, so years from now you can say, "I was there at the very beginning, man!" So far, all entries will be shown at the festival. You can mail or drop off your entry at:
The Church of Bicycle Jesus
4341 15Th Ave. S.
Seattle, WA, 98108
Please contact Terry if you have questions about the festival and entry submissions.
The festival will take place on May 1 at the Underground Events Center which is in Belltown next to Cyclops. The Underground Events Center is the same location as the Punk Rock Flea Market, 2407 First Avenue (map).
More information on the Dead Baby Bikes website.
I got the courage to ride a tall bike at Burning Man, and once I was on it, no one could get me off.
Friends, tall bikes are so fun! I encourage you to seek out your local mutant bike chapter (Dead Babies are in Seattle) and find someone who has a tall bike and give it a go. It's actually quite easy to ride a tall bike, except for getting on and getting off. That requires some dexterity and guts. However, after spending just a few minutes crashing into things and people, I managed to figure out how to get on and off without too much commotion.