So ... y'wanna ride a Big Wheel down Lombard?
By Jeremy Mullman Wednesday, Aug 7 2002
Page 5 of 5
The timeless appeal of the world's crookedest street is simple: Its silly-yet-impeccably-manicured twists and turns embody the zaniness so many outsiders associate with the city. But on this evening, the twists and turns aren't the strangest thing about Lombard Street. Brumit and Horowitz are.
For the benefit of SF Weekly's photographer, who is seeking an image that can sum up his subjects, the pair are demonstrating something they've done many times before: They're riding plastic Big Wheels down Lombard Street.
They are, of course, wearing their Sliv and Dulet referee jerseys. And they've brought the buzzard along, too. As they did during the Haight Street performance, Horowitz is sporting a massive pair of 1980s sunglasses and Brumit's wearing his "meat hat."
They look ... absurd.
In an effort to get a good photo -- and perhaps also because it's incredibly amusing to watch -- the photographer asks Brumit and Horowitz to whip around the same treacherous curves over and over again. Brumit -- the founder of the BYOBW race -- has the better technique, fully extending his legs in front of the tiny plastic toy he's riding as if to steer by tilting, but that doesn't stop him from flipping over on his second attempt.
The tourists, who walk and drive past between takes, seem as if they'd rather stare at Sliv and Dulet than the Bay Bridge. Watching Horowitz and Brumit, children smile with amusement, parents point knowingly (as if to say, "Everything I ever told you about the crazy city is true"), and one middle-aged observer can't help but ask the same question six times.
"Is this Jackass? Is this gonna be on Jackass? This is Jackass, right? ..."
No, he's told, these guys aren't going to be on MTV's hallmark amateur stunt hour anytime soon. They're artists.
As the traffic gets worse, passengers in a few vehicles roll down their windows in attempts to figure out exactly what Brumit and Horowitz are doing. Horowitz, with the buzzard in tow, decides the time is right for some "creative counseling."
"Would you like some advice from the bird?" he asks an annoyed-looking cabby, much to the delight of the taxi's tourist fare.
"Yeah, how much longer am I gonna have to drive this cab?"
"Not long," Horowitz squawks while moving the buzzard, clamped to the handlebars of his red-and-yellow Big Wheel, like a puppet. "I foresee you will become rich soon."
The cabby laughs to himself. He drives about 10 feet before he stops and holds a crisp one-dollar bill out the window.
"That's worth a buck," he says, before driving off.
Horowitz pounces on the note swiftly, says thanks, and then looks at Brumit with awe. "Holy shit," he says, laughing.
Sliv & Dulet Enterprises just made its first dollar.