What You Should Bring to Bring Your Own Big Wheel

Easter provides an embarrassment of activities in San Francisco. There's the Union Street Easter Parade and Spring Celebration, the Hunky Jesus contest in Golden Gate Park, Giants versus the Rockies at AT&T Park, and the Bring Your Own Big Wheel Race (BYOBW) in Potrero Hill.

If you fail to plan for BYOBW, you could find yourself at the top of a winding hill without a steed to carry you through the crooks and turns of holiday racing greatness. While there's still time to purchase the essentials. here's a shopping list including all the things you need for the big event.

Racers

  • Big Wheel: Organizers ask that you only bring plastic Big Wheels with plastic wheels. Racing rigs cannot have exposed metal spokes, pegs, or wood that could impale racers or fellow riders. If your ride has spokes or sharp bits, you need to tape it up before you ride. Locally, your options for buying a ride are limited. There are a few available on Craigslist, or you can try Toys R Us in San Rafael (600 Francisco Boulevard) or San Mateo (2270 Bridgepointe Parkway). The San Mateo store is larger, so it's probably a better bet. Target locations in Colma, Daly City, Alameda, Emeryville, and Tanforan have this basic Radio Flyer option in stock on sale for $33. It meets the criteria and it's prime for decoration. If you prefer to have something delivered to your home, Amazon has options under $50 that are available with free one-day shipping.
  • Work Gloves: Your ride will be smoother if you use your hands on turns, and gloves will help prevent them from getting scraped on the pavement. Local hardware stores should have work gloves, or you can order this pair for less than $10. (There's free same-day delivery with a purchase of at least $35.)
  • Helmet: Protect your brain. Any bike shop, sporting goods store, or Target will have helmets. 
  • Pads: Racers are going to take some tumbles during this event—it's practically guaranteed when you put adults on undersized trikes. Elbow and knee pads can help minimize your scrapes and bruises. If you don't want to dress like a crash test dummy, at least consider long sleeves and pants.
  • Costumes: Watching adults race Big Wheels is fun. Watching adults in costume racing Big Wheels is pure joy. For year-round costumes in the city, check Costumes on Haight (735 Haight Street), Fantastico (559 6th Street), SF Party (939 Post Street) or Fantasy Clothing Company (1275 Folsom Street).

Spectators

  • Backpack or Tote: This is a leave no trace event: you must pack out anything you bring in. 
  • Water Bottle: Due to space limitations, BYOBW is intentionally small, and there are no vendors. There's currently rain in Sunday's forecast, but you should bring water, just in case. If you prefer other beverages in your bottle, consider a S'well. It will keep hot liquids hot for up to 12 hours and cold liquids cold for up to 24 hours. S'well isn't sold on Amazon, but you can almost always find them at the Cole Hardware locations around town.
  • Snacks: If you're staying for a while—and you get hangry without food—bring nibbles with you. Perching on a bale of hay while eating popcorn and watching some Big Wheel racing is a pretty great way to spend a Sunday.
  • Raincoat with a hood: This is no place for an umbrella. The BYOBW sidelines are packed, so bring a raincoat with a hood if you're worried about staying dry in the rain.

In order to race, you will need to register and sign a liability waiver either in advance or on site. Technically, the event is free, but the organizers front the costs for the race out of pocket, and suggest you make a $5 donation. For more information on BYOBW, or to make a donation to support the event, check out BringYourOwnBigWheel.com.