Bring Your Own Big Wheel

These people in San Francisco probably had more fun than you on Passover/Easter weekend. BB reader Bhautik Joshi shares his photographs from "Bring Your Own Big Wheel 2012" in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool, and explains the idea behind it—

For the uninitiated, the gag is really simple:

- large group of adults in costumes assemble with a variety of wheeled, childrens toys (Group A)
- large group of spectators gather (Group B)
- Group A races down windy Vermont St as fast as they can, leaving a trail of noise and awesomeness in their path
- Group B cheer like maniacs

What's the story behind this fellow's costume, I wonder? Perhaps one of you can fill us in, in the comments. View the full photo set here. Here's Joshi's website.


  1. Um. That’s clearly supposed to be the top half of a Rebel Snowspeeder. I’d imagine when he’s wearing it and riding the big wheel, it looks like he’s Luke Skywalker on his way to take down an AT-AT.

    1. See also this photo from the photoset. It’s not the same guy (more hair), but it’s someone from the same team (same outfit and same idea) – possibly the guy in the background of the photo above, facing the other way. Either they had two assemblies or they took turns riding with the assembly.

  2. I feel that this is an appropriate place to mention the High Roller, an adult-sized big wheel:

    I discovered them on Kickstarter, where they had a successful campaign to raise money last October:

  3. When everyone is costumed, only those who arrive without costumes can be said to be truly costumed – OM….

  4. I went to this yesterday as well. This is apparently a Must Attend event, practically everyone I know was there.

    Here’s a little video:

  5. While I would definitely have had a blast there, I also had a great weekend!  Spring is an awesome time to have fun.

  6. one of the all time great things about san francisco is that everyone will take any excuse to wear a costume, and then they will do it to an incredibly geeky and/or hilarious degree.

  7. O HAI INTERNET. Those are my pics, and thankyou boingboing for the post!

    That’s my friend Joe, who along with two colleagues at work hand-built the snowspeeder outfits.

  8. ….and it’s also worth mentioning Joe’s callsign on the side of the speeder was ‘Red Dingo’, and the other two were ‘Big Red One’ and ‘Red Velvet’. We’re classy like that :P

  9. Looks and sounds like the Kirby Derby in Raleigh! Kirby St is steep, with a 90-degree turn; people get dressed in ridiculous costumes and race soapbox derby cars down the hill. It is an event full of HM’s: 

  10. Now can everyone in these photos add a caption that explains how they can afford to live in San Francisco and yet still find the time to have fun projects?  Anyone without such captions will be assumed to be trustafarians. ;) [yes, I’m jealous, that should be obvious]

    1. I’ve made it work out here for eleven years and I don’t even have a college diploma. I think you should give it a shot.

  11. I was part of group B holding down the hay bails at the apex of turn three. My whole family is going down next year.

  12. It was an awesome pleasure to roll down the hill with Red Dingo and Big Red One flanking me (I was Princess Leia, and no we didn’t know each other previously). Those snow speeders took the cake with new costume ideas this year. I heart those geeks. Next year, sound effects and maybe Imperial speeder bikes?

  13. So what happens to all the stuff when people are done with it?  Do people take it all home?  Is it donated to a charity?  I see these type of events in NYC, the giant pillow fight is a good example, and the amount of waste left behind by the “good clean fun” is disgusting.   

      1.  It’s true Tim, there is a lot of plastic carnage but a lot of the “vehicles” were purchased from thrift shops so they are second hand. I’ve been lucky enough to have the same big wheel since 2006 (with some repairs) and I know some of the people with mod bikes bring theirs again and again. It’s the first timer noobs who usually do the “I just bought this from a toy store to destroy it” thing, much like the PFC. I’m such a dork I’ve had the same PF pillow since 2008, granted it’s only been out twice. We (the Big Wheel organizers) also had a great local recycling company donate their time and labor Sunday to provide extra refuse bins as well as sort all the garbage and recycle as much as possible this year. We are happy to report that thanks to them 93% of the garbage, which includes big wheel parts,  was recycled.

    1.  It’s a ‘no trace’ event – awesome volunteers after the event stay behind to clean it up – they’ve done so ever year that I’ve attended (5 years now!).

      1. Awesome. 

        In NYC an event like this would result in me seeing abandoned, broken Big Wheels stuffed in every nook and cranny of the city for a weeks to come and miles away. 

      1. Are you from Peoria? San Franciscans would (correctly) consider President Obama to be quite far to the right.

  14. This was my first time racing after watching from the sidelines last year. I had such an amazing time!… made six runs down the hill during the 2 hour event. The time consuming part is making your way back to the top through McKinley Park with a massive crowd of people carrying all manner of riding toys. There are some great videos showing up on Youtube.

    Thanks to the BYOBW team and volunteers for continuing to make this happen – for 12 years in a row.

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