OFFBEAT ROLLS: We think of early automobiles as being somewhat austere and perfectly functional, which they were. But how long was it before somebody decided to add a giant pig snout to the front of his Model T? Or wings? Or lift the whole frame off the ground a few extra feet , but not before painting flames on the doors? It was probably months, if not weeks, before big thinkers began to trick out their autos and race them in wacky ways, we'll guess, if people today are any measure (and they probably are, a bit). Throw in the extra challenge of vehicles powered by the humans driving them -- through pedals and such -- and you have the world of kinetic invention. Today, racing offbeat vehicles that run on pedal power (or any other way a human, not an engine, wants to move them) isn't merely just a once-and-awhile thing; it is a way of life for a lot of engineers and innovators, and certainly here in California, which has long ties to kinetic sculptures and kinetic racing (we're looking at you, Ferndale and Mendocino County). Now one of the largest of the kinetic events 'round SoCal/Central Coast parts is back to raise dust, raise water, and raise some money, in Ventura.
DATES AND WHYS: The Kinetic Sculpture Race'll be zooming around Ventura Harbor on Saturday, Oct. 20. The reason is to raise funds for the Turning Point Foundation, which are "Positive Places of Recovery for People Disabled by Mental Illness." The day begins just after 10 a.m. and the route is expansive: There's a mud pit and an oval track and several interesting courses.