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Zoobombers, freak bikes try their hand at off-road racing

Posted by on July 15th, 2008 at 12:16 pm

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And they’re off!
(Photos/video © J. Maus)

Last night, the Zoobombers were invited out to PIR to test their mettle on the course used by the Mountain Bike Short Track Race Series.

Race Organizer Kris Schamp said he wanted them to come out because he’s always envisioned the event as a “different type of race”.

“It’s not just for the full lycra and carbon racer crowd, the short track course is really a blast for anyone,” he says, “…it just seemed a natural to get the Zoobomb crowd out there to give it a shot and at the same time blend in another component of Portland’s unique bike culture.”

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Emily “don’t let her sweet smile fool you” O’Connor.
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Gabe Tiller catching air on his mini-bike across the finish line.

Always ready for any type of bike fun, a healthy group of Zoobombers, aboard all manner of bikes, showed up for the one-lap, Le Mans-style start race.

Emily O’Connor and Chuck Bridge rode their custom built sidehack — the same one they rode to victory at the Mini Bike Winter Chariot Wars back in February. Justa Philips tackled the dusty, technical course with an old-school Schwinn Sting-Ray-style rig with ape-hangers and a banana seat. Blake from Chain Reaction one-upped the spandex crowd with his tight boxer briefs.

I love it when bike cultures collide. See more of the action, and hear from a few of the competitors in the video below:

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  • jeff July 15, 2008 at 12:22 pm


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  • Zaphod July 15, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    I raced last week on a cross bike and that wasn\’t the optimal choice. Yesterday I hit it with the mountain bike and it was a blast ripping around the course.

    How these guys & girls rolled it on tall bikes tiny bikes and all sorts of odd rolling things I don\’t know. The coolest was a bike with a side car.

    I overheard one of the riders talking about how he loves the fact that the racing community embraces the freak-bike community. With all this discussion on whether people riding bikes = community, it\’s cool to see, anecdotally to be sure, that it does exist in some circles.

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  • Jill July 15, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I love it! Looks like a blast. Thanks Kris!

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  • tr July 15, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    That was wicked fun! It was pretty scary on the tallbike without knobbies, front suspension, or a rear brake but thankfully I didn\’t fall and crush any of my friends.

    On a side note; I was shocked and disappointed at how many CARS were leaving PIR with bikes on them. About 30 of us made it out there on freakbikes and raced. Come on people, the MAX is right there. Proof once again that zoobomb does it better in my opinion.

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  • Kronda July 15, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Definitely a very special night at Short Track. I have a video of the madness as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_vmAcgtm2c

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  • chris July 15, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Wow… zoobombers wearing helmets. How weird.

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  • Tony Pereira July 15, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    It was great to see the zoobomb crew there. I wish I\’d known about it, I would have brought my chopper!

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  • Tony Pereira July 15, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    chris…you obviously have never zoobombed…almost all the regs are insistent on the importance of helmets.

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  • jeff July 15, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    tr, it\’s sad but true, so many racers at PIR short track and road show up in cars. There are a lot of folks up there though, I\’d still guess that half ride. I\’ve never driven to PIR, but then again I\’m only 6 miles away 🙂

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  • chris July 15, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Sorry Tony, you\’re wrong. I went to zoobombs years ago. I quit after seeing too many crashes, especially without helmets.

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  • bArbaroo July 15, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Kudos to Kris for creating a welcoming environment for all riders.

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  • Chuck July 15, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    that was a hoot! so much fun. got me thinking about making a new side-hack for just dirt tracks. thanks for having us out there, and allowing us to bring some chaos onto your track. 🙂

    oh, and chris, you might want to come to zoobomb again, and not make assumptions based on years old observations. Tony not only has been zoobombing more recently than you (and probably has been bombing more than you), he also won the freak bike race at this past minibike winter. team full face and safety gear are in full effect! It is also a free world, so of course there are also people who do it without any safety gear at all.

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  • BURR July 15, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    what I really want to know is how Tony P got his pic on the short track racing poster…

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  • Mmann July 15, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Guilty as charged. I pride myself on not driving to races when possible, but last night was my first ever mtb race and I felt like I had to get a practice lap in (before 6 when racing starts) so to get there after work (furious bike commute) I drove from east of 82nd. But next week I won\’t, even if it means no practice lap.

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  • Tony Pereira July 15, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    BURR…See my new autobiography: \”It\’s all about the Sideburns\”

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  • justa July 15, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    yeah, that was RAD!! i hope we get to do it again!!

    and regarding the helmet discussion–these folks are right, things have changed over the past few years. but most of us (having seen a few too many fucking up grills and broken bones) opted to sport better safety equipment (and strongly encourage newcomers to do so as well) rather than stop showing up.

    helmets, especially full face, are considered de riguer for bombing–i even had mr. \”tr\” tell me off a couple weeks ago because he\’d heard a (wildly inaccurate) rumor that i had done a night sans brain bucket.

    but, back to the subject at hand! the short track course was hella fun! everybody there was rad! and thanks for the write up!

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  • Mr DeJerk July 15, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    To #6:

    You got it wrong, buddy!

    We always wear helmets, what we forget sometimes are condoms…

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  • Matt Picio July 15, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I\’ve zoobombed 3x in the last 6 months, and almost every regular zoobomber I saw had helmets, and many had full motorcycle gear – especially the ones who have crashed before.

    The one time I did it on my regular bike, my GPS clocked me at 42mph on mid-Burnside and Corey blew by me like I was standing still – the fast guys all wear protective gear. Zoobombers are nuts, but they\’re not stupid.

    And don\’t interpret that as an argument for helmet use in general, just an argument for helmet use while zoobombing. A whole \’nother level of protection is required when engaging in crazy activities, and for good reason.

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  • Andy July 15, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Not condom. Codpiece! 😀

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  • justa July 15, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    guess you\’ve never met Captain Codpiece 😀

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  • gabriel amadeus July 15, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Yeah that was great! Everyone involved had a blast. Thanks again to Kris Schamp for making this happen.

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  • revphil July 15, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    handsome dave won the yellow jacket, which if we are invited back will (hopefully) be available to the next winner. Thanks for hosting!

    Top 5 results:

    #1 Hbomb Dave
    #2 Blake (fully poseable action figure)
    #3 Shanatastic (first A.G./20\”Cheater)
    #4 revphil
    #5 C-Saw

    Racing was fun, but damn just rolling around was a blast. multiple tall bikes and multiple women! Way to rep freaks and ladies!

    ps Thadious Banford on a bike with gears?!? I\’m still in shock

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  • emily b. wings July 15, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    oh boyo, did we all had a blast on monday!

    the side-hack was a trip to ride on the course..
    i think i may just like it for wars and downhill a tad better 🙂

    thanks jonathan for coming out and taking rad photos, as usual..

    team full-face fo\’ lyfe!

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  • honuman006 July 15, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Go ugly Dave!

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  • chris July 15, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    proof that not all zoobombers wear helmets:


    just flickr search and you\’ll find many many more fine examples.

    ps. relax everyone.. it was a tongue in cheek statement. I don\’t care if you wear a helmet or not but to say \”We always wear helmets\” is a bit overstated.

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  • Nature Boy July 16, 2008 at 3:03 am

    Dude, we pay good money to Rev. Phil not to wear a helmet(and to put his clothes back on, but that\’s another story). On a 95 percent + average, zoobombers wear at the minimum a helmet, if not shoulder and elbow pads, body armor, and a panda costume when in the process of doing potentially dangerous activities. Hell, I would\’nt enen own a helmet if I Wasn\’t involved in the zoo crew…

    But whatever. That whole thing was a blast. Thanks to the folks who hooked it up, y\’all hwlped me break a new bike within 25 hours. We have heard that this may happen again in the near future, so keep your eyes out for a really safe panda on a bike.

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  • SkidMark July 16, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Those pictures are more than a year old, before the safety warnings and safety equipment suggestions were put up on the site. Considering Zoobomb merely \”suggests\” rather than \”requires\” the use of helmets, we have a damn good \”compliance rate\”. That\’s what happens when you inform and educate, instead of make rules.

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  • froot dawg team beer July 17, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    where was chunk????? mabye there could be a whole new catagory!! and mabye other racers would try it out before there real race!

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  • sysfail July 18, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Where\’s chunk? exactly!

    chunk is pretty much lame toast!! in my book after they told North Freak to not bring there freak bike ride back to their event last month at the old chaos parking lot near the train tracks. Because apparently bike jousting brings violent element?!? Ahh isn\’t that what chunk was all about?

    Maybe they just got sand in their undies or got old and boring.

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  • PJ July 19, 2008 at 7:41 am

    chunk who?

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  • moses July 27, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    i was a auxiliary Chunk-ster back when there weren\’t any other choppers in town and i was there on monday night. But i did get my face smashed in by a train platform, or was that for yelling \”WOLF\” the night before?

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