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Big Fun on Tiny Bikes

March 08, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 131

There are many kinds of mountain bikers who ride a huge variety of machines. Most mountain bikes are large, burly rigs designed to take abuse loads that could devastate a normal human. The people that ride them are often the strong, hardy kind who like their beer black and their trucks muddy. In other words, not the kind of people you want to mess with. However, the collegiate mountain biking scene reveals the hidden side of this adrenaline-fueled sport for burly mountain men and cut 20-somethings with too much energy.

Enter pixie bike racing. After the sun has set and the day's cross-country and short track races are over, several interesting conditions are present. First, and this may be the cause of everything else that will follow, the beer comes out. On good nights there may even be an office-style water cooler jug filled with garage-vintage mead. PBR is a staple, and people will be hunting around for that one rumored guy who supposedly brought two or three six-packs of something good and dark. At any rate, suffice it to say there is beer. Second, it's not hard to imagine that some shenanigans may ensue when enough college students are camping together in the woods. Since there are hundreds of them at these events, it's all but guaranteed. Finally, every single person present like bikes. It's a perfect-storm-style combination, and results in what is known as pixie bike racing.

Pixie bikes are the tiny bikes made for young children. They are usually under about two feet tall and absolutely cannot be comfortably ridden by anybody over the age of about six. Putting a college student on one is a ludicrous and obviously terrible idea, but that never stopped anybody. In fact, it might be one of the main reasons to do it. A circular course only about one hundred yards long is taped of between the trees and a start line is established. Five or six pixie bikes and a keg are collected before teams can be arranged based on who can hear who yelling, and everybody masses around the makeshift track. Once all these critical requirements are in places, somebody yells go and the contestants take off.

It's always difficult to say whether it's faster to simply drag the bike and run or to actually ride it. To make it more interesting, there is usually a jump of some kind built into the course, and the crowd plays a non-passive role. Bike theft, helping pushes, and of course raucous jeering are important components of a pixie bike race. The only rule is that the first person to complete the established number of laps first is the winner. No prizes are awarded and team affiliations are weak at best. It's every man for himself and all for one at the same time.

In the end, the beer runs out and people start thinking about the real mountain bike races they have the next morning. The pixie bike athletes get tired and start dropping off the competitive circuit. Darkness and quiet slowly reclaim the surrounding woods as the night's races die off. No record of the event is made, and it is usually never discussed again. Teammates from the night before become competitors the next morning and vice versa, with all old rifts and ties replaced with more official teams. It will be back again next week though, with a new race in a new location. Welcome to pixie bike racing.

Brannon Smith is a former collegiate mountain bike racer and current author of the mountain biking community site Pacific Northwest Mountain Biking ( http://www.pnwmtb.com ). He loves riding bikes and drinking beer in the Pacific Northwest.

Source: EzineArticles
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