Bike culture in central Arkansas isn't all that interesting, so when something out of the box comes along, we try to help out. Our friend Vinny (that's him above, in the terrible suit and the zombie makeup) put on his second alleycat race tonight, and we volunteered to help organize the event.
An alleycat race is a little like a very fast scavenger hunt on bicycles. Participants get a list of addresses and brief instructions just before the race. They have to plan how to reach each destination, and at each place there's something they have to do. This race included picking up packages, making crayon rubbings at a cemetery, and chasing zombies on rollerskates. The first person to do all the things on the list and get to Vino's would win.
Vinny had decided from the beginning to have it just before Halloween. The theme was "Bikes Vs. Zombies" and he encouraged everybody to dress up. I dressed up as myself, but my registration table saw lots of zombies and other interesting characters. One guy had a French flag taped to his helmet and carried an entire baguette sticking jauntily out of his backpack. Charlie Roberts dressed up like a little girl, complete with a strapless dress and bouncing blond ringlets under his bike helmet.
When all the participants had registered, we scooted out for our checkpoint, at the top of a big hill off Cantrell Road. Our requirement for our riders was that they eat four powdered-sugar doughnuts as fast as they could. We didn't provide drinks. "OK, fine" said one rider, plonking down a giant can of Stag beer next to his doughnuts. THAT was random.
Mandy and I had worked hard on her costume. It was based on the old fashioned "ghost sheet" idea, but we made it very long and tattered and flappy, and she wore it while riding a unicycle so that it floated behind her in the air. In the dark, under the streetlights, it was pretty striking.
The race wasn't planned perfectly but it was tons of fun anyway. Most everyone had a good time, and there weren't any wrecks or injuries. We're looking forward to helping with the next alleycat!