Mini Bike Winter 2011: Chariot Wars return tonight

Chariot Wars - Mini Bike Winter-41

Chariot Wars, a proud Zoobomb tradition.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Zoobomb’s annual Mini Bike Winter fest has begun! The event, which lasts through Sunday, started last night when the Irondelles (Portland’s all-female tall bike gang) led a ride to spruce up area ghost bikes and do some craft-making for upcoming events.

Tonight, Zoobomb takes it to a whole other level with the much-anticipated return of the Ben Hurt Chariot Wars.

A scene from the 2008 Ben Hurt Chariot Wars
Chariot Wars - Mini Bike Winter-89 Chariot Wars - Mini Bike Winter-80 Chariot Wars - Mini Bike Winter-88 Mini Bike Winter IV - Chariot Wars

For the uninitiated, the Chariot Wars are an intense competition; a mix between the famous chariot scenes from Ben Hur (hence the name) combined with the creative, DIY talents of our local freak bike makers. The chariots (bike trailers) range from shopping carts to fully armored and riveted battle sleds. Heck, last year someone even showed up with a gutted out, pedal-powered VW Beetle!

There are referees and some basic rules, but it’s almost anything goes and the last team standing wins. There will be blood and who knows what else — but to the victor goes the spoils (which besides bragging rights, includes this fantastic trophy).

Teams are expected from all over the region including Seattle, Vancouver BC, and Salt Lake City, Utah. In the past, this has been one of the most exciting events on Portland’s yearly bike calendar (and that’s saying a lot).

Check out the event poster…

And this video from last year is very good:

Mini Bike Winter | 2010 from Richie Thomassen on Vimeo.

I’ve got photos from several years of chariot wars for your browsing pleasure. To see this year’s action, meet at Colonel Summers Park (SE 20th and Belmont) at 9:00 pm. A ride will lead to the location of the event. More info on the Chariot Wars blog.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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13 years ago

The quote I keep hearing about this is “and nobody has been killed yet!”. 😉

13 years ago

Congrats Dutch and Josh of Team Panda / North Freak!