Pimp My Chopper

Big wheels, little wheels, and ugly wheels keep on turnin' at CycleFest

The rewards for Dumpster-diving are often meager -- loaded handguns, slightly sticky porno mags, perfectly good medical waste, boxes of one-hour-too-old Krispy Kremes. But in this case, trolling for trash can result in a brand-spankin'-new trophy -- provided you build a functional bicycle out of whatever you find.

At the PsychoFest Chopper Rally and Show -- just one of many events that make up this year's three-day CycleFest in downtown West Palm Beach -- judges will present a Dumpster Diver Award to the inventor with "the cheapest, junkiest, least expensive chopper you can build," according to Tom Rassiga, who works at the Bicyclery, one of CycleFest's sponsors. But don't bother using stale donuts as wheels -- unless you can get them to roll. Your bike has to be rideable. Judges will also pass out the Bling-Ray Award (most pimped-out ride), the Pee Wee Herman Award (coolest beach cruiser), the Pamela Anderson Award (most modified frame), the John Holmes Award (longest... fork), and prizes for Best Paint and Ugliest. Taking a cue from certain Third World countries, CycleFest organizers have also planned a totally un-democratic People's Choice Award. Audience members can pay $1 -- to be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society -- for the right to cast a vote. All contestants have to flaunt their goods by riding a lap in front of the judges and audience. "You have to work the runway," Rassiga explains. "And a costume counts." After the PsychoFest (which starts at noon and ends at 5 p.m. Saturday) comes a race for weird wheels: the Misfit Crit.

Wanna be like Lance? Join CycleFest.
Wanna be like Lance? Join CycleFest.

CycleFest, now in its sixth year, is one of the biggest bicycle festivals on the East Coast. It gets under way at 6 p.m. Friday with a Celebrity Lap Race -- a must-see if you've ever fantasized about Mayor Lois Frankel donning padded spandex. After that, both pro and amateur racers will haul ass through the closed-off streets of CityPlace, dodging obstacles like tarted-up, liquored-up yuppies who stumble out of the Cheesecake Factory. Saturday's festivities commence at 7:30 a.m., when vendors set up shop at the corner of Flagler Drive and Clematis Street and cyclists set off on a 100-mile century ride from there (you can join them for a $50 registration fee; 25-mile, 50-mile, and 75-mile distances are supported too). Throughout the day, tag along on historic neighborhood rides or family fun rides, check out the "extreme" mountain bike demos, or scope the Bicycle Safety Rodeo that the Sheriff's Office is arranging. At 6:30 p.m., the pros saddle up again; some of their races will be televised on the Outdoor Life Network. At 7 p.m., WRMF-FM (97.9) flips a switch and the juice flows merrily through the amps of pee-wee punks Odd Man Out and rockers Boxelder. Sunday offers more of the same: a 62-mile touring ride, a health fair and workshops, plus races, races and -- you guessed it! -- more races. -- Deirdra Funcheon

 
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