It looked like springtime Halloween as adults in costume raced tricycles down Vermont Street in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood. Childish shrieks of joy erupted amidst Vermont’s twists and turns as spectators lined the curvy road. The tradition, known as Bring Your Own Big Wheel, celebrated its 20th race day on April 17 after a two-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Frog Gilmore, dressed as Princess Leia with toy-tire Leia buns, recalled how the event began some two decades ago with just a handful of child-toy-riding adults on Lombard Street. She first brought her own big wheel more than a decade ago and now leads logistics for the annual event.
Gilmore is just one of many volunteers who come together each year to secure event permits, security, funding and support. As of 2020, the event costs about $10,500 to run, according to the event’s website. The site also said that Bring Your Own Big Wheel does not actively advertise in order to keep the event a manageable size.
The day kicked off with a race for children before the adult kids took the hill. To Gilmore, the event shows that “you can still make magic happen” and “is the essence of fun and play.”