Skidmarks: Flight Of The Dirtbag - Honda RC51 Forum : RC51 Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 04-12-2016, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Skidmarks: Flight Of The Dirtbag


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Did you see the 1965 film Flight of the Phoenix? Itís the adventures of a group of oil workers who crash their cargo plane in the Libyan desert. To fly to safety, they build another plane from the wreckage. Itís a good flick, and pretty realistic ó famed stunt pilot Paul Mantz died during filming. Any gearhead will identify with the struggle to build something just good enough to barely get the job done.

The closest thing the motorcycle community has to Flight of the Phoenix is San Franciscoís Dirtbag Challenge, now in its 13th year. The rules are simple: build your bike in 30 days, donít spend more than $1,000, and no Harley-Davidsons. The icing on the cake of custom-show unorthodoxy: To qualify for the judging, contestants must first ride their creations 100 miles.

Itís no surprise that this is not a custom hot-rod show. Itís not an event where you eat hotdogs while strolling along row after row of shiny, chromed, stretched-out showpieces with expensive paint, custom parts, and hand-tooled leather. This is about celebrating all kinds of enthusiasts, enthusiasts with mechanical aptitude ranging from NASA to nada. The process is chaotic, as is the resulting event.

Nobody knows when the event will be held until an email is fired out announcing the date 30 days prior, starting the clock. Participants can revive old projects and solicit donated parts, but they canít spend more than a grand on the bike. Itís not like Price and Waterhouse are going to come in and audit but event organizer Pol Brown and the other judges will know if youíve been cheating.

As you may expect, the result has been some of the most dangerously unrideable deathtraps known to motorcycledom. You will see things that would give an AMA event official a massive aneurysm. Motorcycles with steel utility poles made into frames, tricycle contraptions with barely functioning brakes from a 1932 Model A Ford, or a double-decker CL350 that I wonít post a photo of because youíll accuse me of photoshopping it (yes, it finished). Chopper builders are criticized for building unrideable showboats. Dirtbag buildersrevel in their machines being comically unrideable.

Take my good friend Alan Lapp, a man who is so into comfort and practicality that he owns many, many pairs of overalls and what may be Californiaís largest collection of Airhawk inflatable seat cushions. He enlisted the help of his friend, an inventive fabricator, and designer named Julius Farnum and built his oddball contraption, a DR650-powered thing with an alternative front suspension. Itís as close to unrideable as you can get and still be rideable, reported Al. His bike is bizarre, tough on the eye and so loud and impractical it might as well be an ornithopter, not that Al needs any more ideas.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 04-12-2016, 07:56 PM
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I have been to the San Francisco dirt bagger party, race, get together a few times and it is a great site to see.

Many don't go for they fear for their safety because it is usually held in back alleys off the grid in that fair city, but this and many other things like the flair and vibrance of the people associated with this event,
the dirty grungy live bands that play the event,
the great hamburgers or drinks sold there,
the terrific rides people drive to the event every year
and Oh !!
of course the riders entering and burning out what little gas and tire rubber they have left from the 100 mile enduring ride they came from.

The sounds, the sights, the smells, the flair and the excitement are all part of a great days event here in the SF back alley of choice each year for the great dirt bagger challenge.

COME ONE COME ALL

What a ride

What a party

What a gang of great people

Don't be afraid of this event, embrace it

go see what life on the $1k budget brings to the edge of a barely ridable seat between the legs of men and women ready to show their imagination in a sport they live, love and ride.

Last edited by AMP1; 04-12-2016 at 07:59 PM.
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