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Chunkathalon: Creativity, Carnage, Chaos

Posted by on September 5th, 2005 at 10:18 pm

Chunkathlon, Portland 9/4/05
chunkathlon, Portland OR
Chunkathlon, Portland 9/4/05

Words can’t do justice to the Chunkathalon. I’ve seen some of the Chunk crew here and there throughout the summer, so I had an idea of what to expect. But when I showed up to Freegeek on Sunday, I was totally blown-away. It was an awesome display of kinetic art and energy and one of the most inspired pursuits of bike fun I have ever witnessed.

The crowd was massive and the competitors were out in full regalia with costumes ranging from Mad-Max-meets-Tarzan to nothing but pink panties. Beer cans and limbless dolls littered the street as mutant bike gladiators with names like “Iron Lord” battled for supremacy in events like the Beer Run Time Trial, the 40oz Relay, the Baby Rescue, and of course, the all-important essay contest (with bonus points for limericks).

Thanks to Oso at Freegeek who hosts this “Burning Man on wheels.” He kept his cool, threw a great party, and let me climb up on the roof to take photos. And of course, a big shout out to Chunk for pulling off the event. You guys make me proud to live and ride in Portland! I’m just bummed I left before nightfall, because I’m sure things got even more out of hand once the fires started blazing. Oh well, guess there’s always next year…

For more of the people and bikes from Chunkathalon 2005, check out the rest of my photos.


  • For a cool write-up and a few more photos, check out News4Neighbors.
  • Here are some photos of what happened after the sun went down uploaded by “benkay” on Flickr.
  • Just came across these really awesome, professional quality photos.

  • NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

    • Cate September 6, 2005 at 7:07 am

      Chunkathlon was fun. Especially liked the Last Regiment Syncopated Drum Corp. They also played at the Worst Day of the Year Ride in Feb.

      Plug for them: They’ll be helping to kick-off the Time-Based Art Festival this Thursday, Sept 8. LRSD will be leading a pack of artists from Saucebox on SW Broadway to Pioneer Courthouse Square about 7:00 pm.

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    • silken. September 29, 2005 at 12:22 pm

      Hmm. I have to take exception to that “burning man on wheels” remark. Nothing personal, but how is the Chunkathalon, which is a FREE event held in heart of a large city, anything like a hippy fest held out in the middle of the desert, that you have to PAY for a $100 ticket just to attend? A rather attempt to categorize that which cannot be categorized. “Words can’t do justice to the Chunkathalon,” now that’s the rub!

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    • BikePortland.org October 12, 2005 at 10:41 am

      […] The stellar Chunkathalon event (report, photos) continues to capture hearts and minds worldwide. I just got a copy of a great little magazine from Vancouver BC called “Momentum – the magazine for self-propelled people.” They did a nice article on the event and used several of my photos. […]

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    • megulon-5 October 13, 2005 at 11:56 pm

      I must echo Silken. Before the Chunkathalon or anything involved with C.H.U.N.K. 666 ever becomes like Burningman, we will ride our bikes into the smelter. We held the event during Burningman this year specifically to make sure that those hippies did not show up.

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    • Jonathan Maus October 14, 2005 at 12:07 am

      Megulon-5 and silken,

      I hear you about Burning Man and I agree. It just popped into my head so I went with it. You’re right, it’s a totally different scene altogether. Looking forward to the next Chunk event…do keep me posted. And, by the way, does CHUNK stand for something?..because I’ve seen you guys write it both ways (Chunk and CHUNK). Enquiring minds want to know.

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    • […] I’ve been wanting to go the the Summit for years but never really considered it until now. The schedule looks awesome and just think of all the bike people, the ideas, the conversations! Imagine me explaining Chunkathalon, Pedalpalooza, Bridge Pedal, Zoobomb, and Midnight Mystery Rides to some nice folks from Nebraska! And it would be cool to share my perspectives on the creative and diverse Portland bike energy with all those bikey bigwigs. […]

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    • […] And coincidentally, his shop is just a few yards from where members of C.H.U.N.K. took over the streets in 2005, displaying their own brand of bicycle craftsmanship. “I had no idea how crazy the bike culture was here. Now, it is actually one of the main reasons we might decide to stay here for good.” […]

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