Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tongue That Rat (Part 3)

Part 3 – The Main Event!

Scrujette made a champion emergency department and trashy magazine reading companion. The only consolation in waiting four hours to get your ankle x-rayed is that you should be unbeatable in the pub trivia celebrity rounds. Jackpot at our local was up to $1100, which is roughly the amount I spent on establishing my wrist was in fact broken, weeks after waiting for the ankle x-rays. If only I’d stuck my wrist under at the same time. Oh well, at least the ankle wasn’t broken!

To the Arena Miss Jette, and don’t spare the horses! No time to bum a ride with MGE or The Mariah I’m afraid.

Our timing was perfect and we arrived just as the cavalcade rolled round the corner. The choons were blaring again. Passing cars were honking. The competitors looked splendid in their eccentric attire donned especially for the event.

The aptly named Arena of Scrapey was several abandoned asphalt netball courts bordered by a cemetery on one side, and trees on the other. Just off a main arterial road, and remarkably close to the city centre, it was surprisingly private, whilst still in the full view of passing motorists.

Amongst almost all of the usual suspects from the night before, was a bunch of fresh looking competitors interspersed with the odd observer. There were even more bikes. Will was the only attendee from a renegade bike gang, who had foolishly (or was that wisely) chosen not to attend.

The crutches they’d given me at the hospital proved useless with a sore wrist. Victor Two Stroke (who, incidentally, had only just received his rat name hours earlier) suggested I try his pixy tall. “Roger Dildo. In and Out! We have a winner!” I proclaimed.

My day had just got infinitely better! I was going to ride at The Supreme Overlord Gravox and Mudbutt Monkey’s Tallbike Convention!!

The first event was a boat race relay on freak bikes. With six to a team, each member had to down a tinnie over the course of their three laps before they could pass the batten on to the next rider.

Gravox looked on in astonishment as one of his T.o.F. compadres thought it would be quicker to down his beer on the starting line before embarking on his laps. It proved a poor tactical mistake.

Despite a late come back from Gravox’s team, and a spirited effort from a second T.o.F team, the race was never in doubt and Dogga celebrated with a victory lap for Rat Patrol Oz.

Blinkered Figure of Eight racing was next on the cards. Yes that’s right – take your pick of vision imparing head dresses from the Ned Kelly helmet, to a Horse’s head, to a skull with slits for eyes, and, well, ride as fast as you can around the figure of eight course trying desperately not to career into your fellow competitors at the cross over! Insane? Yes!

SkidMark belted out “Around the World” as the racers flew around the music and MGE.

There were heats and finals, but the spectators were the real winners, all of which were in absolute hysterics during every race. There was shouldering in the cornering. There was tallbikes slicing between seemingly non-existent gaps between choppers at the cross over. There were juicy prangs!

Pat shredded his beloved flame pants and took some bark off for good measure. Several others ate tarmac. But Flighty took what everyone thought would be the stack of the day, leaving 20 metre long gouge marks, and a fair bit of skin on the arena . Little did they know he would spectacularly outdo himself later that night!

The disco derby turned into more of a Gang-up-on-Gravox type affair. While Skeletor, and Trixiboy plugged into MGE and belted out some riffs, everyone on the arena scooped up cones and threw them in the path of Gravox and his tall. Skirmishes broke out left, right and centre. Mayhem rained.

Then came the much anticipated Tallbike Jousting! Now Rat Patrol Oz had never quite plucked up the courage to joust before, which was not to say we weren’t chomping at the bit for it.

Two Humps was in fact literally frothing at mouth. Gravox couldn’t decide whether it was a result of the fervour with which Humps had approached the day, or if he was indeed mad. Either way he figured he’d prove a worthy opponent.

It was an epic match up. Three passes and it was even stevens. Each had landed blows, but been unable to unseat their opponent. On the fourth Gravox’s lance seemed to ricochet off Two Hump’s shoulder and thud firmly into his throat. Gasping for air, Humps proclaimed he had by no means had enough. I’m sure he was now frothing even more at the mouth.

Gravox, bloodlust in his eyes, cranked the tall up to ramming speed. Two Humps, like a wounded bull, charged as hard as his constricted lungs would allow. Gravox’s lance found the centre of Humps’ chest and sent him crashing to the ground. Round 1 to the Tongue of Fire.

The match ups continued, with the experienced Tonguers take out more than their fair share of victories. But perhaps the most notable joust of the day actually ended in a draw.

Bloody Mary’s tallbike Yo Mama with it’s elongated, suspension rear was considered an unfair advantage and certainly not of international jousting standard. Not to be perturbed, he mounted Two Humps’ steed and lined up against ToF’s Evil K on Ramondo (code name The Falcon).

The first three passes were uneventful with each rider waving their lance round like a fairy’s wand. Then something clicked.

Each rider approached with determination and speed, their lances equidistant from their bodies. Like a well rehearsed precision stunt driving team, they struck each other identically, fair in the chest. Both flew violently through the air in opposite directions.

Mary landed hard on his feet and rolled. Evil K’s fall was ‘broken’ by MGE. Mary tried to get to his feet, but was having trouble putting weight on them. Evil K began untangling himself from the wreckage and guitar leads. The crowd was in suspended hysterics, not knowing if it was OK to laugh. Sure enough, it was.

The setting sun on the Arena of Scrapey marked the end of the official proceedings, but the day was not yet done. In a gesture which would symbolise the unity of two tribes, Mudbutt suggested I should attempt to ride under Three penny whilst he was in the saddle.

I had nothing to loose. It would not be me falling over three metres if I made a balls up. Many had thought about the feat in the past, but none thought it quite possible, nor did Mudbutt place enough trust in anyone to condone an attempt.

I lined up my crutch, Two-Strokes’ pixy tall, and started sussing out the situation. It was doable, especially on this bike. A chopper would be too long, and you’d never get the whole bike through no matter how slow Three Penny was travelling. But it was going to be real tight! If you didn’t get your back down enough, it would hit the main frame and send the rider tumbling. If you weren’t going fast enough, Three Penny’s rear wheel would collect the rear wheel of the passing bike.

I lined it up a few times and pulled out at the last minute. Mudbutt slowed Three Penny to a near stand still. Limp looked on in anticipation from Skylab. Then at good speed I lined it up, dropped over the bars to get as low as I could and hoped I didn’t collect the frame. Sure enough I popped out the other side without touching, and in that moment, with no words uttered, a bond was formed.

The last remaining thing to do was to convince the pizza delivery guy ride a bike, which wasn’t too hard to do, and he left with a big smile and a story none of his workmates would be able to digest too easily.

We all headed back to HQ to digest the memories of the day, and for what would prove to be an unforgettable evening!

Part 4 – Pomp, Ceremony, Nutcases, and Humps - coming soon

Friday, September 22, 2006

the longpig

rat patrol wish to share their longpig

cycle hackers, remixers and makers

anyone tried a web search on 'tongue of fire' lately? what is this... and also this
artsy-fartsy black and white photos too.

by the way, top write-up, hoppy. love your work.
vegan tallbikers know a good bit of pork when they smell it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tounge That Rat (Part 2)

Part 2 – Beer Down! Pants Down! Man Down!

After an impressive screening of some ToF short films, with bellies full of beer and snags, and MGE now all tarted up with a ridiculously overpowered 500w sound system, we rolled out of HQ. The procession contained some 25 bikes, not one of them “normal”. People came out of their houses to watch the parade unexpectedly pass before them. Cars had no option but to slow to our speed and take it all in as we consumed the road.

Bell cruised past riding the penny farthing side saddle. Dogga looked totally at home on Dennis the Chopper – his gift for the weekend from the Tonguers, complete with furry seat and free floating chain ring. Scrujette darted around on SmallTall. Toad Haul arched gracefully around the pack on French Tickler, his recently completed mid-tall chopper. Limp and Mudbutt bonded at eye level on Disaster Area and Skylab consecutively.

The Publican at the first bar of the evening appeared perplexed. Despite it only being 9pm on a Saturday evening, he seemed a little worried that we might disturb the neighbours a tad too much for business. Might have had something to do with us drowning out their sound system from 100m down the road? Might have had something to do with the 30 odd unusual bikers who just turned up out of nowhere? Maybe we were simply clogging the footpath? Thankfully the strip joint was a totally different ball game, if you’ll excuse the pun.

The proprietor of the titty bar knew a dry tongue and a thirsty rat when he saw one. Throwing the beer garden gates open he exclaimed “bring your bikes in so everyone can see them!” We didn’t need any more encouragement.

The beers flowed over the pool tables. Rats talked shop with Tonguers. Bikes were ridden in the carpark out the back. The only one who wasn’t getting much attention was the stripper who lost her clientele to the diverse mob and their contraptions out the back.

“Onwards to the city” came the call. And within minutes we were blocking two lanes of Port Road. Car horns blared (but not in anger) with their occupants leaning out the window, either to get a better look, or simply to holler in appreciation.

And then we were in a dark park. Crossing bridges. Slashing in bushes. A tunnel was turned into a dance club with flashing red lights cutting lines through the smoke from MGE’s on board smoke machine. Choons blared. And then we were by the river. Chilling.

Occasional sorties would burst over the rise, tearing down the grass towards the river bank, dodging revellers all the way. The city provided the backdrop. But we chose not to enter its midst. The river bank was an excellent place for lurv.

Soon enough we rolled back to HQ. The fire bin roared. The excitement began to sink into a deep form of appreciation and contemplation. Some people disappeared into the night. But the night was not done with us yet.

As the fire twirlers twirled, and the fire breathers lit up HQ in bursts of orange light, Moodswinger awoke from her slumber. Wheels of fire tore down the driveway and onto the road. The flames trailed backwards from the top of the front rim, licking at the gnarled forks and hungry for the rider’s legs.

Two$Deal had been staring at me all night. Bell’s penny was the first genuine penny farthing I’d ever seen not couped up in a museum collecting dust. I was curious about how they would ride. But I was smashed. Not really in any state to be riding anything at all, let alone a vintage bike. “No.” I told myself “No vintage bikes”. I should have ignored Two$'s dirty looks. But I just couldn’t resist.

Mounting was a breeze. Stability was good. Maybe I wasn’t as drunk as I though I was. My friend adrenaline was back for the billionth time that night.

The rear of Two$Deal’s two seats gave it a kind of chopperised penny ride. It was great! And did I mention how stable it was?

Moving up to the forward seat gave me what I can only assume is a very similar ride to that of a penny. Handlebars close to the body. Weight almost directly over the front axle. Two$ came with the added advantage of a freewheel. Geeze this is way more stable than I imagine. I thought these things were supposed to be hard to ride…. What was that Mr. Adrenaline?

Surfing Two$ down the road in front of HQ at 4am was a marvellous feeling. There was no one on the road. It was quiet, aside from the murmurs from the dozen or so still up round the fire. It was a balmy night. I placed my hands back on the bars and dropped my feet from the seats to the peddles and cranked up the momentum for another wave. And then another. And then one more for good measure.

Cranking the bike up the driveway, I realised I probably had enough speed to actually surf all the way past the fire and in through the big doors to put Two$ to bed for the night.

The sight of all the bikes inside coming into view as I passed through the doors was a beautiful sight to behold from atop such a bike. And then it happened.

Mr. Smashed, in cohorts with Mr. Distraction, and no doubt ably assisted by Mr. Smart Arse, decided they’d gang up on Mr. Adrenaline. He only had the time to whimper “Bugger” before realising that the bike had lost all momentum. There would be no slipping down to the peddles for a smooth dismount. There would be crashing down to the floor though, which was done with precision and angst.

Bring the pain.

I’ve knocked myself out numerous times before. But never have I blacked out due to pain. Damn I was close this time. I also wanted to puke. Limp, Bell and a few others came to my aid with the esky. And before I knew it I was sitting by the fire in the wheelchair bike.

Soon enough I retired for the evening with the intentions of hitting the hospital early in the morning in an attempt to a) dodge all the other drunkard cases, and b) not miss any of the main event later that day.

As I drifted off to sleep I was comforted by the distant fireside conversation which had now turned to how I would be transported to the Arena of Scrapey the following day. The Mariah’s coffin sidecar. Or MGE pillion. I couldn’t believe these people’s hospitality!

Despite the pain I knew the next day was going to be exceptional!

Part 3 - The Main Event! - coming soon

Monday, September 18, 2006

Tongue that Rat (Part 1)

I started writing and all this stuff came out. It's long. Longer than Ringhorn. Also haven't finished yet, so I'm breaking it into chunks. If I start it and you like it then I'll have to finish it. Here is part one. Happy reading.

ps - may I recommend reading it on the bog. Then you can wipe with it after.

by Correspondant Pork Hop on assignment

Part 1 – What? A Tallbike Convention?! In Oz?!

The Oz Rats stared at the screen in gleeful disbelief. Johnny Payphone had just informed us that not only was there another bunch of freaks building bikes Down Under, but they were holding a convention.

It was a red rag to a bull. A goon bag to an alco. A loaded dumpster to a rat. We had to go. But it was half way across the country. No less than 1200km each way. Still. We had to go.

We devoured all the net had to offer on this mysterous group, The Supreme Overlord Gravox, Mudbutt Monkey, and their proposed Tallbike convention. A few emails later we were en-route to Adelaide, not knowing where we would stay, or who these people were. But they built bikes. We figured all would be just fine.

Two cars, 10 rats, 10 tallbikes. We couldn’t fit everything. The rats we left behind (of their own choice) were miserable. They couldn’t believe they were missing the opportunity of being part of possibly the first freakbike gathering in this country. We wished we could bring more bikes – choppers, cruisers, uncategorisables. But there simply wasn’t space, and well, it was touted as a “tallbike” convention, so tallbikes it was.

400km into the journey and Ratmobile 2 resembled a bad karaoke bar. 4 drunk farks screaming their lungs out, the stench of stale beer and even staler farts, and one weird looking nearly sober guy in the corner. The sober guy had a massive smile on his face. Everything was peachy.

When the trailer had a blow out and was unhitched, the sight of all the jumbled bikes cut a striking picture apparently stranded in the vastness of the Hay plains.

After something like 14hrs at the wheel we all rolled into the highly secretive Tongue of Fire HQ, with every rat’s jaw on the floor! HQ was an old church that was once a factory, that was now another factory of sorts… A freakbike factory!

Gravox greeted us with smiles, and a quiet acknowledgement that this was a rather special moment. We were honoured to have been ushered into the inner sanctum without having ever met these fine people. Then I saw the bikes!

Seeing a complete adulterated freak bike for the first time in the flesh is a special thing. Assuming we were on an island devoid of other such bikes meant we would never see a finished product without first seeing it’s donor and then seeing it slowly take shape. Like looking at your face everyday in the mirror. And now, we were seeing many, many bikes.

“These bikes” I said in absolute overwhelmed astonishment “these are amazing! May I ride one?”
“There’s no need to ask, just ride” was The Supreme Overlord’s reply.

In their short history of building bikes (all of a year) they had amassed in the vicinity of 30 bikes. I couldn’t help but think that this must have had something to do with this awesome space. Bikes adorned the walls, leant up against columns, and were now being ridden by the rats who couldn’t believe their eyes, nor constrain their legs which were bursting with excitement and the desire to “try” all these amazing bikes.

Spin cycle had us trying to ride in a straight line, but simply spinning out seemingly at random. Direct drive and steer at the front, and shopping trolley castors under a seat at the rear, it took me about 10 minutes to be able to ride it in a straight line… towards an on-coming car. And just when I thought I had it totally nailed, whiiiip! out went the rear, only metres from the car. I was in hysterics.

Next was the towering Skylab. Like a massive set of scissors, the saddle perched some 3.5metres in the air. I could freemount a trip-hi. This was easily as tall. Kick. Kick. Kick. Hand on the half-height handlebar, right foot on the first peg, left foot on the next. Don’t fall onto the frame. Oops. That’s my right foot on the left peddle. Loosing speed. Juggle the feet, and swing the leg over. Sweet! ....what a view!

Then came the unrideable. Ringhorn in all it’s bright orange glory. Looks sedate enough. Nice and low to the ground. But after one metre it was apparent that this was going to be a challenge. I knew speed was stability’s friend, but even with a hefty kick, and a decent bit of momentum, the steed wanted to buck, forcing an immediate foot down. With a foot down, and your knee up as high as your shoulder, the bike wanted to do nothing more than convert that speed into a shin snapper. After 10 minutes I had achieved a straight line, no foot down distance of only 10 metres. But I was close. I could taste it. A film screening called. This puppy would keep.

More and more bikes kept rolling out of HQ. More and more laughs could be heard in the back streets surrounding HQ. More and more people turned up. We exchanged names. Skeletor, Dr Splat, Trixy Boy, Bloody Mary, Flighty, SkidMark, Organ Donor, Captain LightningBeard Query… Try as I might, there was no way I was going to remember all these names, especially after the beers and smoke began to flow.

We unpacked the trailer and assembled bikes. Now it was the Tonguers turn to ride some new bikes. Master Gravity Esquire, the tall tandem cargo bike, trundled off on a beer run. And we fired up the barbie to fuel everybody up for what was shaping up to be a truly memorable evening.

Part 2 - "Beer Down! Pants Down! Man Down!" coming soon.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Towely needs a team of twisted pirates to attack the scurvy seas that is Greenhill Road Downhill. We will be meeting at 11am at HQ for refreshments and getting all packed up. Using the usual trailor/van arrangement we will go up to Mt. Lofty and down greenhill into town an from then anything could happen. See you on Sunday the 24th at 11am for the carnage.

And remember: Don't put your ciggarette in my mull bowl as it will burn my marijuana. Or my alter ego will get you...

Rat Patrol Bulletin Board

Hello all you purveyors of fine wierdarse bicycles.

It was drawn to my attention a couple of days ago that the Rat Patrol has started a bulletin board. So I bunged up a post about the frivolities in Adelaide under the “travel” section. Seems we’ve got that bunch in Chicago (and elsewhere too I guess) going a little nuts. There was so many questions and praise about Three penny and skylab and yo mama. It’s great. Anyway, I can’t answer all the questions (eg. Is threepenny freemountable). If you get a chance, perhaps you guys can check it out and reply about your bikes.

The board is here – and it’s full of juicy tidbits!


Pork Chop

MEAT TRAY have been cooking up some hard rocking blood thirsty tunes and are ready to fry your brains at their DEBUT on SAT 16th SEPT LIVE AT the SQUATTERS ARMS.

Free entry. 8pm
MAIN COURSE: Fiendish Cavandish
Dessert: Peterhead

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Well... you guys inspired the Rat Patrol with your flaming-bikery, an idea which we've exported to Canberra with great relish! So here we are completely freaking out the neighbours out the front of Pork-hop and Scrujette's place at a party last week! It was a sight to behold... particularly when the rope - which perhaps hadn't been soaked in kero quite long enough - started to disintegrate, sending little flaming fragments all over the street :) And I was also inspired by Victa Two-Stroke's awesome 'small-tall' which he let me adopt for the Adelaide weekend... so I'm building my own 'tall' bike with some old-school pixie frames. Here it is so far... complete with my first ever welding job. (so exciting!-Thanx Limp Jimmy)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Schemin' Skeletor

Skeletor doing a little positive visualisation of Skeletor winning the magnificent Deathrace 2000 trophy. Wasn't to be. This time. Have any Tonguers got some Tallbike Convention photos? Or will I have to post more of pin up boy?

Thursday, September 07, 2006