Danger Wheel to bring back Big Wheels, big kids

Posted at 12:00 PM, May 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-21 12:00:10-04

CINCINNATI -- Get ready, speed racers. Danger Wheel will return to 12th Street in Pendleton on July 30, and organizers are planning for a significantly bigger field of competitors than last year.

"We had 45 teams sign up last year," said Pendleton resident and event organizer Andrew Salzbrun. "This year we are shooting for 100." 

Danger Wheel is a race where teams of three people compete to see who can shoot down a hill the fastest on adult versions of Big Wheels. Online team registration for this year's race opened Saturday and will close about a week before the event. 

Salzbrun said Danger Wheel was the brainchild of his fellow Pendleton residents who just "wanted to have a blast in their own backyard" and celebrate the neighborhood.

"It expanded to epic proportions," said Salzbrun, a managing partner for Over-the-Rhine marketing agency Agar.

Last year, the neighbors purchased six professional drift trikes (the official name of the adult Big Wheels) for racers to use. The city let them shut down a portion of 12th near Broadway Street and line it with obstacles and hay bales.

The organizers charged teams $100 to participate to cover costs. Any money left over went toward buying historical markers and flower pots in Pendleton. Charities sold water balloons to spectators, who used them to pelt racers as they went down the hill. Food trucks and beer vendors were on hand, too. 

"It was great," Salzbrun said. "People just threw down in the truest sense of a block party in the urban core."

With the expected increase in participants this year, Danger Wheel organizers are buying more trikes and starting race heats earlier than last year. More vendors are also expected to attend.

"It was one of those events last year that if you were there you are coming back, and if you weren’t there you are bummed that you missed it and put it on your calendar for this year," said Dave Huff, who signed up a couple of teams last year through his Northern Kentucky nonprofit Riding Forward, which promotes cycling in the region. "We showed up and it just ended up being a street packed full of people."

Huff said there actually is a skill to navigating a trike traveling about 15 miles per hour downhill. His team plans to try to beat their finish time from last year.

Of course, any reward for winning is more glory than anything else. ("You don’t really win anything," Huff said.) 

Kile Yurchak, general manager of Rhinehaus in Over-the-Rhine, is ready to compete this year as well. He missed last year's race because he had to run the bar.

"When was the last time you rode a big wheel?" he said. "It's an excuse to be a kid again for the afternoon."

For more information about Danger Wheel, visit the event page on Facebook.