Ratification is an annual event where the Rat Patrol recognizes the accomplishments of its members and has a few contests. Though it's generally an internal celebration, this year we were joined by representatives from Zoobomb, that Portland-based pixie crew.
Up for grabs at Ratification are four Brass Belt Buckles. Worn only for a year by the winners, they must be surrendered to each winner. One is for the Rattiest Rat Bike, one is for the Best Colors, one is for the Freestyle Dumpster Dive, and one is for the winner of the Bloomingdale Steeplechace.
Zoobomb showed up and we were grillin on the grillbike. Beers were handed out and we got down to business.
Just a little "urban wildlife"... don't knock it till you tried it.
Then we went on the Second Annual Bloomingdale Steeplechase, an offroad race down an abandoned railway viaduct. The Zoobombers impressed us with their cargo capacity and teeny-crank endurance.
The race was an easy one, only sent two Rats to the hospital. K-Bunny broke her foot and I got two stitches in my leg. It's always nice when you have an emergency-room buddy. Ben came in first on his chopper, beating even the shortbikers, and securing the coveted Buckle.
Then we held the Rattiest Rat Bike contest. Rattiness is not just about having a shitty bike- if it don't ride, it's just sculpture. The Rattiest is a bike that is actually ridden despite being extremely crappy.
"Ha ha! Your bike sucks!"
We booed for each contestant, but one bike got an overwhelming diss by the crowd. Tallboy is a bike built from the two shittiest department-store crusiers, poorly assembled and welded, and then given a turd-polishing paint job. This bike had personally screwed over half the crowd by breaking a factory weld halfway home from Chino's. J. Stanley deserves to proudly wear the belt buckle for his persistent commuting on this steaming pile of worthlessness.
We goofed around a bit and tried to find a 40-yard for the Freestyle Dumpster Dive. But every one we found was full of construction waste. The crowd was getting really antsy, itching to get their drunk on. So we went back to the Smoking Lounge at Pot'n'Rocks and had a party and a fashion show.
Despite all the stylin' entries, there was a clear winner. Bikefreeek's colors are absolutely coated in patches, each one from a bike-related organization that he has a hand in. No other colors come close in telling such a story of effort and influence in the Chicago bike scene. I have a feeling he'll wear this belt buckle for a long time.