Ready To Come Clean About Homie

It’s been two weeks since this year’s Homie Fall Festival, the Minneapolis outlaw cycling community’s annual celebration of bikes, homebrew, and tomfoolery.

There are a couple reasons that it’s taken me this long to present a full report on this season’s outstanding event, both stemming from my being the main character one of two highly celebrated crashes.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves….

The day began with breakfast at Lyle’s, an Uptown bar and greasy spoon. As I rode there I came across a half-dozen other riders on single speeds, drinking cans of Surly as they rode through the Wedge. You didn’t have to guess where they were headed.

When we arrived, there were dozens of bikes already parked outside.

Inside, I found tons of friends loading up on highly nutritious food and beverages in preparation for a long day in the saddle.

A fully recovered Zito, rocking the Joe Parkin flag.

Soon a large enough crowd had massed, and we congregated to roll out.

MC Eric

It was a large group. Impressive in our traffic stopping power.

But we didn’t get two blocks before we got into an altercation with a guy in an SUV on a quiet residential street. He just could not wait for the group, and actually attempted to drive through the pack of cyclists, running over the real wheel of my friend Stukel, also a former Alt employee.

Stukel was obviously pissed. He pulled his wheel out from under the vehicle and kicked in the driver’s side door…..really hard.

The dude, fuming, squealed off, and I was certain that he was going to drive around the block and take out as many of us as he could at the next intersection. Thankfully that wasn’t the case.

I stopped with Stukel at a bike rack, stuck his wheel between two metal poles and bent it back enough to ride on.

We were quite the spectacle as we made our way down the Greenway. Our first stop was a small lot adjacent the soccer field where my son plays.

The derby call went out, and was quickly answered. Eric had warned people that there would be carnage and destruction. He made good on his promise, then broke out the mad field repair skills to make a bad situation right.

That was my favorite moment of the day.

We continued East to Brackett Park, where another derby broke out.

The physical carnage began here when Stevil went down. He stuck with it like a champ, and later found he’d broken a rib.

The group then headed South along the river road. A number of people braved the disjointed dirt trail, while others high-tailed it to the venue down by Fort Snelling.

This was the original Homie site when the event began ten or so years ago, and has fallen into disrepair from lack of use. It was fun to come back and reclaim the spot.

The Usual Suspects began to arrive.

A lot of food was cooked.

Hobo Grourmet

Finally, it was time for a lap around the venue. Like I mentioned it had been years since I’d been on this trail, and all of it seemed new, but I remembered the wicked downhill, and kept myself mentally prepared.

I got on the wheel of a guy in a Surly jersey. He was going at the right pace, and I began to get the flow just as the downhill came up.

There were two obvious lines down the steep hill to the creekbed: one down the dirt, one down the stairs.

I remembered that I liked the dirt line better, but when the guy in the Surly jersey took the stairs I hesitated. When I pointed my wheel toward the dirt line the spectators at the top of the hill gave me a verbal warning and I stopped.

I sat at the top and watched as a number of riders came by. Most took the stairs to the bridge crossing, but others dropped the dirt line without any mishaps. I was a little steamed as I really wanted to take the dirt line, but was in no position to start it now.

Rich and a few other friends had just arrived and called me on the phone. I told him I was contemplating my descent options and would be there shortly.

I stopped thinking about it, got on the bike and dropped the steps.

This was a mistake.

And now for your viewing pleasure…the crash of the day (hang in there, it’s right at the end)

Watch, Enjoy, Repeat.

As I came off and I began my ten foot fall to the rocky creekbed, I knew it was going to be very, very bad. Amazingly, I fell directly into the only spot that had two feet of standing water in it.

This saved me from serious injury. However I wound up completely submerged. My phone, my wallet, and my digital camera, all wound up completely drenched.

I walked away, seriously shaken. I found a safe spot and took out all my electronics, took out batteries, and memory cards, and sussed out my injuries.

My wrists were bruised, and both my arms were jolted all the way to my shoulders. I could move freely, but the promise of more pain down the road was lurking.

I walked back to the group dripping wet, told them my sad story, put away my disassembled electronics, passed around my remaining beers, and dumped the water out of my shoes.

As my afternoon began to wane, it became clear that it was in my best interest to head home, pop a few ibuprofen, and get reacquainted with the couch.

We left just as everyone was getting ready for “Feats of Strength”.

Then came what was obviously the most painful crash of the day.

Emily was taken away by paramedics.

I have it on good authority that she is already back in the saddle.

The ride home was difficult. I couldn’t grasp my handlebars. Braking was a problem. I was able to rest my fingertips on my bars and limp my way home.

Two weeks later, my right arm still won’t straighten properly. It gets a little better everyday, but I’m bouncing back a lot slower these days.

It could have been much worse.

Thankfully, I can ride just fine, as long as I don’t have to lift my front end too quickly.

Two days later, I put my battery back in my phone, and to my amazement, it came back to life.

I took my time with the camera. Hoping for the best and planing for the worst.

Miraculously, it too came back to life, display and all. I popped the memory card back it, and all my pictures and movies were still there!

So goes my, somewhat, charmed life.

Another Homie, on the books.



2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    aimee said,

    very cool…

  2. 2

    gene o said,

    Another great story Chris! and your crash was, by far, the best of the day.
    A great feat of strength!

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