[Monday, Sept. 13, 2004: Begin embedded status as Cyclecide tour narrator.]
Yee haw, people. The Bike Rodeo is back on tour for the first time in almost a year. We’ve been invited to do the New Belgium Brewery Tour de Fat festival dates again, and then after that’s over we’re going to do another leg of club shows on our own. Two and a half months in all.
When we joined up with Cyclecide a couple years ago, we never imagined we’d have two documentaries under our belt, countless articles and picks-of-the-week, ‘rise of mutant bike culture’ articles out there, and even some national TV spots:
Sometime this week, on the Discovery Channel, we’re going to be on a new show called “Monster Nation” (though we doubt we’ll see it as we have to make the long-ass drive to Omaha) — sort of a mix between “Monster Garage” and “That’s Incredible.” Their TV crew came out to film us for the Saint Stupid’s Day Parade this past April, and we almost accidentally burned off the cameraman’s face when he was getting a closeup of the Rocket Bike.
The next day, the cameraman’s entire face was red and scaly except for the camera-hole part around his eye, but he was more psyched to get a “great shot” than he was pissed that we hurt him. Lucky us. Again.
We’ve only had one official injury since the tour started. The night before our Reno show, while we were setting up the rides in the parking lot, August got into some whiskey and then tried to ride the Swing Bike on our mission to flyer the bars. She’s usually quite skilled at the Swing Bike, but good old Jim Beam caused the damn thing to jackknife, and she split her head open on the pavement.
August was carted by the clowns to the emergency room against her will, got belligerent while they were putting stitches in her head, insulted the nurse’s choice of outfit (“Tie-dye is so out”), threw up on Jarico’s shoe, and finally had to be restrained in a wheelchair until she gave up. And she doesn’t remember any of it. August is usually the most docile and sweet of the Bike Rodeo clowns, which is why this story is hilarious. She watched our show the next day from the bed in the back of Laird’s van with an ice pack on her head.
The Reno performance at the Record Street Cafe kicked ass. (Thanks to our friends in the Black Label Bike Club for setting it up and partici-hating…) Cyclecide has lots of friends and extended “family” in the Reno area this time of year, and they were all in attendance. Personally, we’d rather perform in front of 10,000 strangers than even a couple of friends, but we think they liked the show.
The pie fight during the bike spoking races was spirited, to say the least, and Moses almost lost an eye to a Roman Candle during the especially chaotic and pyro-packed tallbike joust. We’ve got new klown outfits, the band sounded great, the rides have been gorgeously re-painted, and our new ride, the CYCLOFUGE, is so big and complicated and fast and adrenaline-heavy and fun that it’s making us feel like a real live legit and gin-u-wine pedal-powered circus. The only one in the world, to our knowledge.
After the show, the Black Label boys and girls threw us an after-party where we got to hang out with all the folks we hadn’t seen in a year and/or wouldn’t see again for a while. There were kegs, there was a burn barrel in the backyard, and there was, after a time, a person in attendance that proved to be such a giant buzzkill that it was all anyone could talk about the next day.
This girl named Whitney, a pinched and angry blond with a fake smile and fire in her eyes, decided to throw a hissy-fit when the owner of the house cut her in line for the bathroom. It quickly became our own private COPS-style reality TV show experience: she screamed, she ran around the party trying to rile everyone up, she insulted the party’s hostess with racial stereotypes that made even the most calm folks in the group want to throttle her, and she spewed such a stream of nonsensical, tweak-induced sewage out of her mouth-hole that some peeps gave up partying and went to bed.
Buzzkill finally threatened to call the cops, and since our hosts have a young child, this was not cool at all. Rather than knock her unconscious, the party sent one of the designated peacemakers to try to calm her down alone — and after a few minutes, they came back to check on the progress and found Peacemaker sitting on top of Buzzkill and slamming her head repeatedly into the couch. That’s what an asshole this girl was.
Peacemaker finally let her up, and Buzzkill responded by kicking her in the ribs and stomach a number of times. Folks tried in vain to shove Buzzkill out the door — this was an ordeal that lasted about three hours total — and at one point, Buzzkill grabbed a sword off the wall and tried to stab her boyfriend, who in turn slammed her against the door and choked her until she turned purple. (To be fair, he was choking what we were all thinking of choking.)
Another nice-guy peacemaker in our group finally got Buzzkill and Boyfriend out on the front lawn, where he called them a cab and watched them wrestle around with each other on the grass for 45 minutes in a grade-A display of white trash domestic violence. The cab finally came, and Peacemaker 2 gave the Drama Couple $60 of his own money to pay for a hotel room where they could kill each other in private and maybe think about other parties to go ruin.
At least P2 thought it was $60 — but instead of three $20s, he realized the next day, it was two $20s and a hundred dollar bill. Since P2 had already been “beer-elfed” because he passed out with his shoes on, he did all this nice-guy stuff with a giant penis drawn in Sharpie on his face.
So now that Cyclecide has laid waste to Reno, we’re currently stopped in Battle Mountain on our way to the Omaha show. A few years ago, the Washington Post called Battle Mountain the “Armpit of America,” and since then, they’ve held a screw-you “Armpit Festival” each year which honors the much-maligned body part. Alas, we’re not here to see that, but we’re having a grand old time in an RV parking lot behind a truck stop with a sad little casino attached to it.
Last night after we pulled in and most folks went to bed on the bus, Koit and Linda and Jarico and this writer went on a nickel-slot adventure in the Colt Casino, where we met a cowboy named Quint who told us that although he thought we were funny, there were some folks sitting around us who just would rather we leave and never come back. We get this all the time.
F’-in rednecks, eh? What is it about a vintage bus with bicycles all over the top of it and 12 dirty punks inside that scares people?
Aside from our high-rolling casino spree last night with the loose change we found in the bottom of Koit’s backpack, we have not spent any money at all in a month. It’s become kind of a game to us, to see how much we can get by on charm, barter, and shared goods and services. At the casino we won big on video poker — enough to buy us a cocktail to split — and we were officially broke until this morning when we found 73 cents on the futon in back. (Hey, if you wake up in the morning without retrieving your pocket change, then finders keepers, chumpy.)
Koit just went to get us a Mountain Dew from the casino, as he remembered a coke machine inside which had cokes for 65 cents. Wick had told him the night of 9-11 that he ought to be more observant of his surroundings: he hadn’t noticed while the two of them were sitting on the couch by the burn barrel that the giant fat drunk guy beside them was alternately sleeping with an open knife and waking up to stab the couch over and over while he threatened to “snap that little bitch [Whitney]’s neck for messing with his sister”.
Koit considers himself somewhat of a watchful, protective, Strider-like perimeter guard within the group — Wick is the king of this — so Koit felt like an asshole for falling down on the job, and has been practicing being observant ever since. Murderous, inebriated giants with sharp weapons are a bit more of a red-flag item to watch for than highly caffeinated drinks.
He just came back with a paper cup full of Dew and a straw. “There was no coke machine anywhere in the whole entire casino,” he said sheepishly, “but I made it happen anyway.” Apparently, he told the cashier lady that there was a diabetic out on that freaky bike-covered bus who was about to have an episode and could she help him out. She gave him the soda for free, and now we still have 73 cents.
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