A friend with an inside connection contests some of my criticisms of below, and since yesterday's post I've mellowed on the subject. Update: many participants were bike co-opers who put together the bikes themselves, and the kids cleaned it all up. I'm still not into the final outcome of a burning pile of wrecked bikes. But I can understand and appreciate the desire to keep the anarchic spirit of the Bike Derby alive.
Here's my final thought on it. I think that traditions and rituals worth holding onto are also worth adapting and reinterpreting. Whether it's marriage, Christmas, pedagogy, the Bike Derby, or whatever, I believe it's important to figure out what long-standing elements are worth keeping and what elements need to evolve to fit the times and one's own personal/political/ethical beliefs. I would love to see future organizers take the raucous, performative, and physical elements they love and make the Derby their own, in a way that speaks to the present and the future, not just the past.
Not that this matters to anyone outside Oberlin, I suppose.
Here is Bernard in his well-worn ANC T-shirt from 1991.