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Kick the tires and light the fires

12/10/2014

Big Wheel

The 14th annual Big Wheel Rally will be held Saturday, Dec. 13 at 11 a.m.

Give those walking/running shoes a break and put on something comfortable, add a little flare to the outfit, mix in substantial portions of generosity and libations, and you’ve got yourself a block-party.

“The Big Wheel Rally is an opportunity for people to get together, show off their creative talents and help a great cause — Children’s Cancer Connection,” said Randy Kramer, one of the organizers for the Big Wheel Rally, which will take place on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 11 a.m.

What started as a simple way for the biking community to reconnect during the off-season has turned into something much more — a day filled with music, laughs, beer, Big Wheels and more beer

“The idea is to not take things so seriously, appreciate this time of year and help others who might not be as fortunate,” Kramer said. “

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With no entry or registration fees, it’s all about celebrating the season of giving. Free will donations are encouraged, and all proceeds go to benefit Children’s Cancer Connection. Last year, Big Wheel Rally raised $50,276, besting the previous year. The goal is to do the same this year.

“We like to keep the amount raised a surprise,” Kramer said. “So you’ll have to come to the rally to find out this year’s total.”

As for the actual festivities, the Big Wheel Rally is a combination of live local area music and DJ sets, friends, toys and, of course, a little competition. Prizes are handed out for Best Big Wheel and Best Costume.

While there is never an overall theme, Kramer said, participants often come in groups dressed in a similar fashion. Previous years have seen cavalcades of Santas, Little Bo Peep and her sheep, superheroes, robots and everything in between.

“Diversity in thought and costume is highly encouraged,” Kramer said.

The same can be said for the Big Wheel designs.

“A great Big Wheel is one where creativity is taken to a new high — something that took a lot of thought and talent,” said Austin Gill, another organizer for the event. “One of the coolest I’ve seen was a La-Z-Boy rocker attached to the front fork of a motorcycle.”

“Just find a junk big wheel, cut it in half, extend it with any materials and by any means you have, and then pray it works,” advises Kramer. “Drywall screws do wonders. Ask a handy friend to help.”

It’s one thing to design an eye-catching Big Wheel, but it’s another thing to make it work. Big Wheels are designed with an 8-year-old in mind, so the average adult might have difficultly building momentum. Plus the odd crack or pothole in the road would jostle anyone.

“It’s generally downhill from Zimm’s,” Kramer said. “We need gravity on our side to make these Big Wheels move. It’s important to remember to put a little extra weight on the front wheel for traction.”

The ride heads toward GT’s next, followed by Ingersoll Tap (new this year), Yacht Club and finishing the night out at Carl’s with live music at every bar.

As for the one piece of advice Kramer wants riders — new and experienced — to remember:

“You are not invincible.” CV

David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

14th Annual Big Wheel Rally 
Saturday, Dec. 13, 11 a.m. 
Shirts are $30, and all proceeds benefit the Children’s Cancer Connection.
Can’t make the rally but would like to donate? Go to www.childrenscancerconnection.org/bigwheelrally and select “Big Wheel Rally” from the program dropdown.
 

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