A few weeks before its 2006 New York episode I became familiar with the Idiotarod. The event required the use--possibly abuse--of a shopping cart, which are not all that easy to obtain in New York City. Grocery stores go to substantial lengths to prevent bums (and miscreants) from making off with these rather expensive amenities. And the carts that have been plucked from their natural habitat and roaming the streets are invariably chained up or otherwise jealously guarded by their captors.
There were a few days of fantasizing complicated schemes that involved foraying out to the suburbs to raid megastore parking lots where carts of unbelievable size and vigor are known to roam free. Then one day on my usual walk from office to subway station, a cart appeared! Sitting on the sidewalk out in the open, in pristine condition, and unimmobilized, unattached, unsecured!
A week later it was the Christmas-present-disguised mobile armory of Team Full-figured Avenging Task-force of Santa Operatives.