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The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Phone: 604-266-6552
Fax: 604-267-3342

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Columbia Journal logoVolume Nine, Number Four   September 2004    www.columbiajournal.ca

    The Great “Seven deadly Sins” Race

    John Hughes

    The idea of an unsanctioned sporting event with only limited, local sponsorship is so romantic and so rarely executed that it has nearly gone the way of the helmet-less hockey player. Also rare is the notion that event organizers pay attention to the surroundings their sport takes place in. Witness the Olympic Games--the Athens games are virtually indistinguishable from recent Olympiads in Australia and Atlanta. Attention to locale and unofficial status were joined for one psychopathic bike race of "Seven Deadly Sins" through downtown Vancouver streets and alleyways on Friday, August 13.

    The race was a competition amongst Vancouver's sweatiest sweat-hogs, professionally known as bike couriers. Thirty-five of Vancouver's finest lined up at the Art Gallery for a sprint to Terry Fox Plaza at the foot of Robson St. where instructions were given for the main event. Organizer Emory Davidge was the brains behind appropriate use of location for the race. As a working courier, it came to her attention that downtown
    Vancouver is a pit of "Seven Deadly Sins" and she accordingly baptized the race with that moniker. The racers were to make stops at seven different checkpoints at locations that represented each of the sins.

    The biblical sanctions on gluttony, lust, pride, sloth, envy, rage and greed came together with a pizza joint, a porno hut, a gay pride outfit, a car dealership (couriers often regard drivers as lazy), a makeup place, a courier company whose bikers are known for their surliness and a large corporate outlet, respectively. It must be noted that the bragging rights for courier supremacy were at stake and a wanton disregard for personal safety was embarked upon as the couriers descended into the abyss of the Vancouver version of Seven Deadly Sins. The 35 participants ignored the irony of pride-fully blasting through the city in order to become the envy of the other racers.

    Inevitably, the race had its painful slapstick moments. One anonymous biker took a turn a wee bit too zealously, slamming his face into the pavement at  a cost of two of his front teeth. As racers blazed along, making their appointed stops along the way certain local merchants took advantage of the velo-insanity. At the porno checkpoint, riders were required to buy a token to watch a peep show before heading for the finish line. One of the racers, Tim Egan, reported that the proprietor of the sleaze establishment jacked the minimum of tokens purchased from 1 to 3 when he realized what the steady stream of cyclists was coming in for. The final insult to the racers came at the location of the courier company that is home to Vancouver's surliest couriers. Each courier was required to toss a derelict bicycle as far as they were able down an alley. The vociferousness of the combatants caused the police to be alerted to the scene. It was there that a quantity of beer was seized from competitors allegedly in possession of the stuff.

    When the fallen had been pulled from the battlefield or extracted from prickly legal and pornographic situations the men's and women's categories each declared winners. These reaped prizes donated by local bike shops and some of the smaller Vancouver courier companies. The San Francisco Bike Messenger Association also sent t-shirts and its warmest regards in a gesture of solidarity. A large keg-fest ensued and the beast that is The Seven Deadly Sins was pacified. Until next time.

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