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HISTORY OF THE HOMIE

Posted October 21, 2017 @ 11:45am | by Hurl

This was originally published in Dirt Rag, and well, it’s almost time. Again.

HISTORY OF THE HOMIE

These days you can’t swing a cat without hitting a double-IPA-swilling, beard-sporting, tattoo-having, single-speeder, but that wasn’t always the case. 

Wednesday nights got weird in the mid-90’s in Mpls when some of the local dirtbags darkening the door on the weekly Wed. Night Ride started showing up on single-speed mountain bikes. These hump-day rides had been initiated by several employees from Quality Bicycle Products, and typically included a single-track social on the way home from work. Ride some dirt, crack a brew, and stay safe.

Word spread about these mid-week rambles, more and more locals began showing up, and soon a weekly tradition was born. The nocturnal shenanigans often delved into derby territory and with some of the more, uh, “rowdy” attendees, it became apparent that full-contact aggressive riding was not just a possibility, but a real probability, and therefore, riding your ‘A’ bike, or your ‘Race’ bike might not be the proper choice. Single-speeds were definitely ascendant, and with many of the riders employed at Quality Bicycle Products, (QBP), the product development angle accelerated at a break-neck pace. The first product on offer was the ‘Pete Geigle Singleator’ chain tensioner, and pretty soon everyone was cobbling together a bonafide Rat-Ride™ to take on the Wednesday Night mayhem. 

Rippin’ singletrack on single-speeds, begets single-speed rallies, and so early in 1998, the Single Steam ClaSSSic (yes, three ’s’) was held, on some of the bootleg singletrack in the Minneapolis metro area. A common denominator among several riders was home-brewing beer, so after a day of shredding in the woods with friends, these rallies typically ended with the sharing of several kegs of delicious ales, steams, porters, and stouts. Other rallies popped up over the summer, (usually heralded via word-of-mouth, and crude, d.i.y. style flyers), and by the fall of 1998, a single-speed juggernaut was born: the SIngleator Sandbagger Single-Speed Fall Festival. 

With the explosion of interest in these one speed bacchanals, 1999 saw the creation of the the MMFMSSS (Minneapolis Metro Frothy Mug Single Speed Series). Six unique rallies, culminated in another end of the year blowout festival, in what was now known officially as the Homie Fall Festival. Memories are hazy, but if nothing else, skids were laid down and livers were punished. Riders of all shapes and sizes gathered along the clandestine deer trails and foot paths lining the Mississippi River, worn in by years of usage, for single-track hot laps, feats of strength, impromptu dirt jump exhibitions, and, naturally, a derby.

Over the ensuing 17 seasons, as the tall tales of dirt-honed debauchery spread, the Homie Fall Fest has been a steady stop on the underground Minneapolis bike calendar. More and more local and regional riders (shout outs to Lincoln!) have made the pilgrimage to experience the Homie. Some years have seen riders take unplanned (and unwanted) trips to the ER.

Now, it may go without saying, but I will say it anyway. The loose-knit core of rogue riders on these often-times bootleg trails, with little regard for decorum or safety, has garnered the moniker, ‘the Minneapolis Mafia.’ But given the outlaw status of these events, no one has ever been “in charge” of the Homie Fall Fest. And yet each year since, when the leaves begin to turn colors, the local cognoscenti start rumbling about when and where the HFF will take place. Sometimes popularity breeds problems; there has been years that the HFF has seemed like little more than a rolling bicycle circus, with costumes-a-plenty, snaking through town to some secret trail that never arrives. In recent years, there has been something resembling a (poorly kept) shroud of secrecy regarding the location of the Homie. But the reality is, you show up to the Sunrise Inn Liquor Lyles in south Minneapolis, –typically around Halloween weekend, and join the rolling mob riding out to a clandestine trail location that has only days before been leaked via internet rumour-mongering and Facebook posturing. Expect the unexpected, a full day of rambling through the substrate of Minneapolis dirt, vacant lots, alleys, and singletrack. More often than not you’ll be led (astray) by at least one orange jumpsuited Amigo. I’d recommend a backpack, filled with extra clothes, extra beer, and a burrito. As the sun sets, you can usually count on one, or more, bonfires lighting the way for more stumbling stunts, with tall tales matching the proportion of tall cans littered around you. Stick with a local if you need to find your way home.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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