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Chunkathlon? What the hell is it?

Rather than draw my own conclusions about what I saw, I'm hoping someone can expain it to me. Is this some sort of new cultural phenomenon?
Walking through my southeast PDX neighborhood on Saturday, pushing my two-year-old in his stroller, I heard loud yelling, some of which sounded like it was mechanically amplified. Decided to check it out. I ran into a mass of people - I'd guess a couple of hundred - gathered at 14th and Clinton. Most were dressed like extras from Mad Max. They seemed to be gathered around a corral made of orange plastic fencing. Inside the corral were two guys riding modified bicycles being pelted by the crowd with empty beer cans. My son couldn't deal with all the noise and throwing and started to cry, so we left. I asked someone on the outskirts of the crowd what was going on. She smiled and said "Chunkathlon."

Rather than draw my own conclusions about what I saw, I'm hoping someone can expain it to me. Is this some sort of new cultural phenomenon?

Thanks in advance for your explanations.
from the "C.H.U.N.K. 666" website 13.Sep.2004 08:01

researcher

C.H.U.N.K. 666 is a bicycle club and civic betterment society based in Portland, Oregon, USA. Its modern incarnation was founded in 1992 or so, and is based on the classic cycling and drinking clubs of yore.

The club started when a few geeks found that the urge to create choppers and tallbikes was too strong to resist. They didn't know it, but they were being goaded by messages from the future, which were intended to prepare their recipients for the imminent apocalypse. Our mission is unclear, but we do know that once we began riding these devices, it was difficult to stop.

After the apocalypse, everything will change, including the laws of physics as we know them. We, due to our experience in riding chopper bicycles, tallbikes, and the like, will finally find ourselves at the top of the food chain, and it is we who will lead humanity out of the rubble and into the pleasure gardens. It is the promise of the gift of Prometheus. In the meantime, the world is fucked. Are we delaying Armageddon, or hastening it? We don't know for sure, but we do know that we are enjoying ourselves while making Portland a better place for the children.


photos from the 2002 Chunkathalon 13.Sep.2004 08:10

researcher

can be found here:
 http://www.dclxvi.org/chunk/operations/chunkathalon2002/

i remember being at this one. it was a crazy, post-apocalyptic affair involving nutty bikes, fire, and excess. the ground seemed kneedeep in beer cans. i'd never seen anything quite like it before.

the traditional place to hold Chunkathalon is in front of the Chunk House, which is on a little dead-end street by the railroad tracks in a somewhat dismal industrial section SE PDX. i understand it was held at 13th & Clinton this year because a new neighbor wouldn't agree to shutting down the street. gentrification, ick!

dude that is fantastic! 13.Sep.2004 12:31

jason

WHERE can i get a chopper???????

c 14.Sep.2004 10:32

auger

Choppers aren't to be bought and sold. You must make one.

gentrification? 14.Sep.2004 13:26

??ooo

What a hasty comment... To presume that the Chunkathalon would breed negative sentiments in the owners of the homes it takes place in front of is Gentrification rather than mere concern for their homes?

Residents of homes around the Chunkathalon 2004 claimed people waited in lines inside their homes to use the bathroom even though they were not invited inside. I wouldn't like a bunch of yuppies using my bathroom without asking. Would you?

ah... make one 14.Sep.2004 14:31

jason

make my own chopper. makes perfect sense.

i must take part in this and i hope to learn how to make my own monstrosity of motion in due time.

"monstrosity of motion" 14.Sep.2004 14:36

jason

me again...

here is the definitions of "monstrosity":

 http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=monstrosity

on the lines of the bathroom aqusations 15.Sep.2004 01:36

Migratory Bird

It sounds like those people had what one would call a bathroom clique. First of all it sounds like the people of the house attended and lent the bathroom to someone, therefore the door was open. Then the village came, and used the facilities during the facility. Then that person was upset. I didn't invite everyone, only these people. (snarly toothed smile)

This shit always happens at parties and I think it is hillarious becuase they bitch even more if everyone surrounds the house and pisses on it. Trust me.

Chunkathalon2004 25.Sep.2004 08:49

frances

i was in front of one house all day--and selective friends and family were allowed in to use the restroom---and no line of strangers ensued or were rude. someone was always on the porch to make sure that people didn't just help themselves to the house because, well, the house sort of looks like it could be part of Chunk666...occassionally we had to stop some folks from using the backyard as their toilet---explaining there was a port o'potty at the end of the street---everyone turned down at the house was really cool about it. sunflowers got trampled as folks used the hill in front for a better view---but the folks living there expected that anyway.

perhaps if there'd been signs posted and announcements made about the port o'potty-and have more than one (or open the Zebra/Chunk house for bathroom use)--that would've eased whatever problems other neighbors had?...

early on one guy , probably in his late 40's/early 50's showed up next to me, "What is THIS?" he asked. i explained. he was dumfounded at first. suprised that there was no "cause" attached to it, that everyone pulled together to pull it off and had done so in the past. i explained why it was in this location for the first time, expressing my own concern for the neighbors etc and his response couldn't have been more welcoming, "I hope they have it here every year. this is amazing!" and yes, this new convert stayed and watched and threw beer cans all day and had a blast.

i also understand that everyone involved cleaned the place up that night--nothing was left the next day and they ended on time as defined by the permit....

anyway---
sorry--i don't have one catch all website--but here are some photos....

 http://www.fotolog.net/lickspittlerust/?photo_id=8692801
 http://www.fotolog.net/lickspittlerust/?photo_id=8692782
 http://www.fotolog.net/lickspittlerust/?photo_id=8692726
 http://www.fotolog.net/lickspittlerust/?photo_id=8692714
 http://www.fotolog.net/frances_moss/?photo_id=8284505
 http://www.fotolog.net/frances_moss/?photo_id=8276980
 http://www.fotolog.net/frances_moss/?photo_id=8276972
 http://www.fotolog.net/frances_moss/?photo_id=8276976
 http://www.fotolog.net/lickspittlerust/?photo_id=8705630

store-bought choppers suck 25.Sep.2004 17:53

SKiDmark

There are quite a few out there, but, alas you will have no street cred. No, street cred ain't quite right. Choppers are supposed to be custom, and custom means one-of-a-kind. One of a kind is not the same as one off the shelf. A store-bought chop would be a good starting point for a chopper though.

chunk 666 03.Oct.2004 07:37

drizzle

look what happens when drunks learn to weld in century 21

its a step up from the turd floating outside OMSI bravo!

keep up the beautiful deconstruction

Fun Times 05.Jun.2006 02:26

Jove Martin jove_martin@hotmail.com

I remember attending and even joining the chunkathalon a couple years back... it was one of the most memoriable times of my life, on time i shall never forget. For the next week it was where all my inspiration for every self narrative paper and self-inspired story came from. The Chunkathalon was full of many diversly dressed people *most of whome i had known* and was full of truly exciting activities that quickened your heart and warmed the blood... especially the jousting where you rode on bikes whose seats were taller than you and in grande style rammed into your opponent with full force trying to knock them down without being the first to fall. If i could wrap this up and put the Chunkathalon into a few words i would have to say:

Good Times, My Friend, Good Times