Category Archives: bikes

Chupacabras: Into the belly of the beast

Bicycling recently had an interesting article by Lou Mazzante about a crazy bike race held in Ciudad Juárez every October called Chupacabras. The 100-km-long mountain bike race draws as many as 3,600 riders and 45,000 spectators for one of the longest single-day bike competitions in the world. The course itself runs through both the city and surrounding desert and features some pretty harsh terrain—both urban and mountainous. But hey, it’s only $30 to participate, and the event is a source of pride for the city.

One of the coolest things about the race is that the riders themselves include everyone from professionals like Tinker Juarez to total amateurs. Here’s Mazzante’s description of a participant named Domingo Brito.

I met the short, wide-eyed man yesterday at registration. Huge bar-ends protruded from his handlebar and pegs the size of beer cans extended from this rear axle. His chrome bike cost maybe $100 new, and new was a long time ago. Even more improbable than his bike was Brito’s right shoe, which had a protrusion of its own: 3-inch-thick orthotic sole, the result of a broke femur 22 years ago that left one leg shorter than the other.

I’m not a mountain biker myself, but it was nice to read something about Cd. Juárez that wasn’t about kids getting killed at a high school party by a drug cartel or the discovery of a mass grave in the desert filled with missing female factory workers.

More Blogs About Bikes and Music

I’m behind the times, a serious late bloomer. My current obsession with the album More Songs About Buildings and Food proves it. I’m thirty years out of date! David Byrne, the musical genius behind that album, however, isn’t. Byrne was a bicycling fool well before I had training wheels and US cities starting seriously integrating bike transportation routes into urban planning (though many still don’t!). Byrne’s latest scheme was working with the Department of Transportation in New York, running a design contest for bike racks as functional art. The seriously wonderful trouble was that Byrne got so worked up by the contest that he submitted his own designs–thus compromising his role as a judge. But hey, it’s all for a good cause. And who else would think of putting up a bike rack on Wall Street that’s in the shape of a dollar sign?

Byrne also regularly blogs about his daily bike trips (and his various other interests) and the wonderful things one can see from the slow road. And I second the possibilities. Just yesterday, I saw a flock of Horned Larks hanging out near a cornfield and several Eastern Tiger Swallowtails fly past me while I took a leisurely trip along some rural Indiana highways. Sure misses from the inside of an air-conditioned gas monster. But I digress…