Zoobomb’s Mini Bike Winter is about to invade Portland

Mini Bike Winter 2012 - Chariot Wars-39

A scene from the 2012 edition.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

One of our city’s most time-honored traditions is prepping for its big annual bash. Yes folks, it’s time for Mini Bike Winter! Put on by our friendly local Zoobombers, this annual extravanganza of unique skills challenges performed on highly-modified, child-sized bicycles is now in its 13th year.

Things kick off relatively quietly tonight (2/12) when mini-bike aficionados plan to partake in the monthly Midnight Mystery Ride. Then the real fun starts on Saturday with the much-anticipated Ben Hurt Post-Apocolyptic Chariot Wars.

If you’re new to town or haven’t seen the Chariot Wars yet, I highly recommend it. Zoobomb has been putting this on since 2007 and it’s always full of surprises and blood and smoke and fun-fueled adrenaline. Gladiator teams consist of two people — a charioteer and a steed — who attempt to steer their battlecar (a bike or bike-like object attached via hitch to a chariot) through the carnage. The last team standing wins.


Art by J Ryde

Here are a few of the rules:

4) If any team member loses contact with their chariot, they’re out. If your chariot is disabled, you’re out. Cheaters are out. Goon Squad has final say.

5) Spectators are not to fuck with chariots in any meaningful way. You can hand someone a fallen weapon. Glitter/shaving cream balloon bombs, okay. Chili-flinging, gross, but okay. Build a chariot if you want to fight.

6) If a battlecar is in the arena but not participating in the battle (like the hot tub), they are not to be fucked with.


7) Goon Squad can and will blacklist spectators from the party and Sunday Olympics if these very simple guidelines are not followed.

8) No chemical/biological weapons. Smoke bombs are okay, as is blood from a wound sustained in battle, but please don’t bring pipe bombs or months old piss and rotten eggs. This applies to spectators as well as charioteers.

9) Weapons must be padded. If you want to use an unpadded weapon ONLY against chariots, it must be painted bright orange. If you don’t want it used against you, don’t bring it.

10) deal with it.

I’ve been to a bunch of these and they never disappoint. Check out the 400+ pics I’ve shot over the years.

But wait! There’s more! After the wars everyone cleans their wounds and there’s a big party and fashion show. Then on Sunday it’s time for the Mini Bike Winter Olympics. Riders will compete in the Cupcake Challenge (launching off a dock into the Willamette River) and then it’s time to head to “the hill” for a series of Zoobomb-related events.


Competitors line up for an Olympics event in 2008.

A woman launches a tall bike into the Willamette during the “Cupcake Challenge.”

Check out all the details via the official flyer below (previous attempts to link to FB didn’t work because the page is private):


— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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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 maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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8 years ago


8 years ago


Ted Timmons (Contributor)

Facebook link (at the bottom) is dead. Ride to the event starts at 1pm, but when/where is the event itself?

Ted Timmons (Contributor)

Yeah, I’m talking about Chariot Wars, didn’t know it was intentionally secret. Though I have a guess of why.

The FB link says: “The link you followed may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you’re not in.”

Ted Timmons (Contributor)

Thanks Jonathan. Strangely, that image states the chariot wars are at Dawson Park.

8 years ago

The ride TO THE WARS is meeting at the park – actual war location is sexier 😉