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They've Got Spunk


And other priceless double entrendres from the Homewreckers Ball.

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Philadelphia Weekly,  July 23, 2008

By Steven Wells

Lemon Hill at three o’clock on Saturday afternoon is baking hot and packed with punker push–bike chicks sporting Betty Rubble shagged–through–a–hedge–backward tom–boy chic. Full–arm tattoos are common. And spiky hair. And really cool if slightly knackered looking bikes. And scruffy bike–punk boyfriends with tatty beards. And there’s also a smattering of men with shaved legs, water–balloon breasts and their hair in bunches or ponytails.

One charming young lady smiles coyly for the camera. She is possessed of that effortlessly graceful, dark, long–necked, gender–blurring beauty the Edwardians called ”handsome.” One could imagine her as an early 20th–century bluestocking, sipping hot chocolate and trading witticisms with Mark Twain and HG Wells. She turns to her friend and says, ”And then I vommed a whole load.”

”I’m looking forward to having someone kiss my fist,” says one damn attractive filly. ”Whoever asks me to make out with them is going to get a fist to the face.”

PW has been lured here by an online poster featuring a skull–faced woman riding a bike and clutching a mace. We had no idea what it advertised, but we wanted some. Skull–faced chicks on bikes rock our world.

This is the Homewreckers Ball—an all–female ”alleycat” bike race where the crème–de–la–crème of Philly’s bike divas (plus riders from as far away as N.Y.C. and Buffalo) will bomb around the city in the blazing sunshine, carry out gender–transgressive (or stupidly conformist, depending on your take)  ”tasks” and generally get hot and sweaty and sunblistered—and then get drunk and even sweatier when the sun goes down and the race mutates into an outdoor disco.

Veronika—a beautiful woman with electric blue stripes on her cheeks—is stuffing a silver–painted bone mace down her cleavage. Attempts to ask why are thwarted by a male cyclist’s loud jokes about bones and boners, and an attempted product placement for Bud Ice.

”We love Bud Ice,” he says, taking a swig, and making sure the brand logo is in camera shot.

Veronika will win the best–dressed prize. The dude will man the Clark Park checkpoint where racers will be expected to drink a shot off a chap’s stomach without using their hands. This will piss some cyclists off.

A racer called Sabrina complained on the Phillyfixed.com blog: ”I am a stripper and hearing a bunch of chauvinistic losers who can’t get ass ask my 19–year–old friend to take off her clothing made me feel like I was at work without getting paid. Fuck alleycats, FUCK THE PHILLY BIKE SCENE, AND FUCK PRETENTIOUS JOCKS … I will never participate in another alleycat race again. Suck my left one.”

Sabrina and her chums ditched the race and went and partied in Rittenhouse Square instead. Had they stayed the course they would’ve been asked to wash dishes, sweep the floor and get a ”cum–shot” from a turkey baster full of egg whites and other gunk, administered by a cute–as–hell puppy–dog–eyed bike dude with neck tattoos and a smile that’d melt icbebergs.

Oh, no. We’ve come to praise all–female alleycat bike racing as unsanctioned, groovy, neo–feminist, grassroots grrlpower on two wheels. Could it be it just another alt.porn patriarchal sexism–fest?

”There’s a huge biker groupie scene with girls who, for some strange reason, like drunks with tattoos,” sneers one Philly bike guy who asks to remain nameless. ”And these tasks are made up by these guys to humiliate them.”

That’s bollocks, says 28–year–old spiky blonde, perma–grinning, Tank Girl lookalike Philly bike messenger Rachel Fletcher. The Homewreckers Ball is her baby, and the tasks were her idea. They’re a satire on femininity, she says. Kinda like Doris Day meets Tank Girl and gets her taffeta clad ass kicked.

”I’m a feminist, but it’s supposed to be satirical,” she says. ”You’re supposed to be able to laugh at yourself.”

Fletcher says that about 100 cyclists took part, 45 of them competitively, five of those being men in drag. About 30 women finished the course, Fletcher says. And she’s had no contact with the women who quit because they claimed to be offended.

And they’re off. PW hops in a car and heads to the first checkpoint in Clark Park. We find an empty tent with ”69” painted on it.  And a load of tattooed bike folk lying on the grass, smoking, gabbing and generally chilling out.

”It’s not that serious a race,” says one young woman who has obviously fallen at the first hurdle. Turns out most of the racers have already sucked tequila off the stomach of a thin young man called Baby Chris and gone on to the next checkpoint. Damn but they move fast, these two–wheeled gender pirates.

We decide to skip the next checkpoint (there are six in total and they can be completed in any order, but—wink, wink, nudge, nudge—the locals all seem to be following the same route).

We run into an apartment at 18th and South St., where men are throwing screws on the floor for women to sweep up. Some women choose to eat a disgusting looking white–stuff–and–carrots–filled hoagie instead.

”It’s a penis,” says one of the guys, helpfully.

The women are teased about what awaits them at the Khyber.

Can you hum some chase music with me here?

We rush into the Khyber. Sure enough, it’s full of youngish folk with tattoos, 1950s no–sex–spex and retro clothes. They stare at my old ass with undisguised horror.

”Wow, this is just like in a Western where the stranger walks in the bar and the piano player stops, and the pool ball hovers over the pocket,” says one groovily bearded young gentlemen.

This is amazingly offensive. I know I’m dressed like a disgusting old fart pedophile tourist in my Target short–sleeved shirt and my Gap khaki shorts and my factor 45 sunblock, but I am English and 48 and saw the Sex Pistols live in 1977 and fuck you, you fucking teenage tramp, basically.

But I say none of this. After about 15 seconds of embarrassed silence I ask where the cum–shots are happening.

See also:
All-girl alleycat racing could be the sexiest sport on the planet - Guardian Sport Blog, July 28, 2008