On Friday night we met up at Public Bar in North Melbourne to document the Melburn Massive Alley Cat. An alley cat is a bike race through a city, with checkpoints, at which participants receive the location to the next checkpoint. The people who race in these mostly bike couriers, and they're completely insane. And within this insanity is total awesomeness.
I rolled up still wearing heels, so I think I bought a little cred from the crowd, most of whom had started in on the first of many beers. Husband and I joined them, and for an hour and a half everyone continued to put 'em back. I was instantly struck by how friendly and inviting this group of kids was—a few of them knew Husband, but the fact that people came up and introduced themselves to me was really cool. I get really sick of the hipsters in this city, a lot of whom have to meet you five fucking times, and then assess whether they think you're cool, before they'll actually acknowledge you. Most of these people also happen to be total pussies. They are the cause of roughly 79% of my rage, which gets aggravated by alcohol (consumed at venues I have to share with them) and why people consequently think I'm a cunt.
So this was a total welcome change. Bike kids are not pussies. They are the opposite of hipsters. Pictured at left is Hillary, who is also a really awesome skater, and I suspect is not afraid of anything. As for me, I had a nice little buzz happening by the time the organizers decided to start things up. It was almost 8 o'clock, so it was completely dark at this point and starting to get really cold. Everyone scooped up their bikes and headed across to the Queen Victoria Market to begin. The participants had to lean their bikes up against a fence, then go about 25 yards away from them to learn the first checkpoint. Once they found out where they had to go, they ran over to their bikes, each grabbing a can of Red Bull from the ground, and they were off.
Husband and I had volunteered to man the second of the 5 checkpoints with a nice graphic designer/ex-courier dude. As we started to head over to our checkpoint, Husband said to him, "just so you know we're not like, awesome riders." I was so glad we gave forewarning, because as soon as we were off, the guy was weaving through traffic and jumping curbs at (my) top speed. If I hadn't had that alcohol, I would've been way too scared to keep up. As it was, I don't think I did too badly, and when we got to Telstra Dome, I tried to be cool about it.
It wasn't long before the first few started coming through, snatching the envelopes we extended out to them with instructions and directions. There were 25 racers altogether, so after giving out 21, we headed back to North Melbourne, where the winners were already drinking. The first guy through was totally crazy and won on speed, but the second guy through actually completed the tasks, so he was the real winner. One of the tasks along the way had been to bring a takeaway menu from a restaurant. One of the guys brought a whole sandwich board instead.
Everyone headed back to the bar and recommenced drinking, and prizes were given out: cash to the winner, bike shit to the guys who came in second and third, plus First Girl prize, which went to a girl named Sarah, a courier from Seattle. They even gave us a six-pack of Melbourne Bitter cans to thank us for doing the checkpoint. Such rad people! And all the amazing danger inspired me to ride all day yesterday. Score one for Safety Town.