Rabbitt Fox, a person who inspired many people in many different ways, is no longer with us.
As word has spread throughout the community this week, people are mourning and sharing memories online, in group texts and in sad conversations.
You might have known of Rabbitt, even if you didn’t actually know Rabbitt. That was the case with me, before we built a friendship forged over years of bumping into each other at local bike events. As a wide-eyed new Portlander in 2005, I first met him when he was a member of the Alberta Street Clown House troupe and my family and I would visit Last Thursday. The Clown House and its creative and fun denizens was one of the first things that inspired me to document this community, and Rabbitt was always in the middle of the creative chaos on the corner of 25th and Alberta.
Then I’d see him at Zoobomb events like Chariot Wars. And then there was jousting. He was one of the best. A fearsome warrior on the bike who had no care for consequence when a crowd was there to cheer him on.
He was tough on the outside, but kind and sweet on the inside.
I didn’t know Rabbitt deeply, but we shared an important bond that runs deep: We both loved Portland bike culture and the community around it. I admired his role in creating it, and I think he respected my role in documenting it.
I knew Rabbitt had a hard life and that I only saw him during his happy times. He would tell me about his love of hopping trains (he also went by “Railroad Rabbitt”) and this week a friend of his told me when he got in a down mood, he’d skip town on the rails to try and clear his head and figure things out.
He was a skilled carpenter and builder and would do odd jobs to get by. One time we heard he was looking for work and had him build our backyard shed. It still looks great and is still standing tall!
I’ve seen a lot of people come and go from this scene in the past 17 years, and Rabbitt was one face I was happy to know was still around. When I saw him riding at the Ladds 500 back in April, I was eager to include him in my video. What he said that day, totally unscripted and unprompted, was something I’ll always cherish:
“I’m actually having a great time out here, this is a big family and this is an annual event. Ladds 500! Tall bikes, all kinds of freak bikes, six-wheel bikes. Clowns! You know, we’re having a great day here. I’ve been part of the bike culture since ’92. Originally, I rode bikes with Hard Times Bike Club and the Black Label and I was a Dropout for a long time. I was a clown and a feral clown and with Rebel Alliance. And now I’m Dead Baby Bikes, a Seattle original club and there’s a chapter here in Portland. I mean, we all Zoobombed like crazy back in the day. A lot of us were pretty hardcore about it. There’s been some flux in the bike community, but it’s definitely coming back to life and it’s a lot of the new school people riding bikes and they’re kind of picking up where a lot of us are growing older. While we’re still crushing it, we’re running out of steam you know. OK. I got two laps and I gotta go. See you all later. Thank you Jonathan.”
We love you Rabbitt. We miss you. Rest in peace friend.
There will be a memorial ride for Rabbitt on July 17th.
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Thank you Jonathan for these kind words honoring our beloved Rabbit.
Thanks for this tribute Jonathan.
After I moved to St. Johns in 2007, I remember there was a house fire on the bluff one day. Neighbors reported seeing a guy with facial tattoos and they assumed he had burgled and set the house on fire. Nope, it was Rabbitt running into a burning building to make sure everyone was out safe. That was one of the first things i knew about him and it says so much. Sending love to all he loved and who loved him.
I am you
You are me
We are all together
I’ll miss you.
This is a huge fucking bummer! He was a big presence on the bike fun scene and I was super happy to reconnect w/ him at this year’s Ladd 500. The bike scene here owes so much to him! I don’t want to intrude but is there any back story on his demise? And if y’all don’t want to share that’s also OK…but someone should post a pic of Rabbitt on the high wheeler!
He took his own life unfortunately
I’m sorry to hear it. I met him at a midnight mystery ride that he led in January 2020. It was pouring rain, and there were probably only a dozen of us. But it was clear he was loving it. We ended at (under) the 28th Ave. bridge, where he’d stashed some old pallets to burn and a case of Rainiers. Good memories of that night. Rest in peace.
Miss you already Rabbitt
I always enjoyed the levity Rabbitt brought. Immensely grateful for his presence at all these events. First met him at Zoombomb in 2005/2006. This is really sad news. There better be bikes in heaven. Ride free, Rabbitt.
This was great, thanks for doing this Jonathan.
Rabbit and Bud Clark are now biking together in another dimension, parallel but invisible.
From my first years in Portland until this last few weeks, Rabbit was someone I saw around often but never really got to know. To me he was a positive presence that was so regular that I may have taken it for granted to some extent. It’s heartbreaking to finally be learning more about him in this way. You are missed Rabbit.
I knew Rabbit well, he was the best man at my first wedding. A fascinating person with an artist soul! He was kind and liked to stick up for people and brought life to his community! Most people don’t know he was also an Iraq vet. You will be missed!!! RIP Rabbit!
Rabbitt was one of the warmest and welcoming OG portland bike punks. One of the first times, maybe 16 years ago, I came to zoobomb, I was worried about not fitting in. Zoobomb has kinda an in-group and I didn’t know if I was bike punky enough.
But Rabbitt, this dude with a bike club vest, face tatts, and a big tall bike walked straight up to me, smiled, and said “hey, you’re lily, right? Carl told me about you. Come on over to the bonfire!”
He was truly one of the most welcoming people. We talked about train hopping and the worst and best yards to get stuck in.
Last time I saw him was at the last Odd Tuesday Outing I led in 2021, August. He had been 6 months sober and we talked about how proud he was of it, and how hard it was, but that it was making work easier.
Dude was the bike punk welcoming committee, and he offset his “scary dude” look with a BIG ASS SMILE. Rabbitt, you will be missed dearly.
Rabbit was the 1st person on a bike I met my 1st day in Portland in 2004. I had arrived in town late the night before, slept in a friend’s van and was wandering around SE when I wandered onto this street where people were tall bike joisting (i think it was CHUNK 666 bike summer?). This guy with face tats and a killer smile rolled up, handed me a coors and a bottle rocket, and started chatting. I was in bike punk heaven and decided this is the place I wanted to live. We met again later through bike polo and he was the sweetest of the OGs whenever he came to Alberta. He was a legend and will be missed.
Thank you Jonathan for sparking fond memories of Rabbitt ❤️
Thank you Jonathan for documenting and reporting on this incredible community. It’s so special, especially when someone passes on, we realize how valuable this footage and your photos are. I’m starting to believe in more and more in reincarnation and the recycling of energy. Sorry to hear that you’re gone Rabbit, always such a friendly guy.
Rabbit straddled the natural and “civilized” world more than anyone I know.
I loved his desire to share knowledge which came from genuinely wanting to help others.
I took a creative writing class at pcc cascade and he was in my class. This was probably 2008. He was a great writer. He will be missed.
I don’t know either of ya and I’m a tough feller but the write up made my eyes water like a hallmark movie does …the good values in people with some struggle always pull at my heart strings .
Good job 2 u …rabbit sounds like he won’t be easily forgotten or replaced
Thank you Jonathan for the heartfelt words.
A sad day.
In whatever dimension and place Rabbitt might be, I have a strong feeling that he is not too far from bicycles. May his memory be blessed, may his soul be bound with the living.
Thank yo for being so kind Rabbit. No Fist Bumps! I’ll miss you.
I am very sad to read this news from afar and late…found it while reading about other bike deaths today (RIP to them too). Rabbitt Rabbitt Rabbitt…a visual smiling sweating jousting thread through BikeSummer, Mini Bike Summer, PedalPaloozas, Mini Bike Winters and back to this year’s Bike Summer. RIP dear Rabbit…I will always smile and think of CHUNK 666 jousting amid roman candles on some forgotten skinny dead end street in old SE Portland…a Portland in that moment of time.