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Bikes. Parts. Chaos.

Front view of an Elvis impersonator, on a blue bike, with paper plate with the # 39 attached to the handlebars

Back in the early 90s I decided to try racing on a single-speed mountain bike. I converted a Breezer Lightning with vertical dropouts by trying many different freewheel/chainring combos until I found one that had the perfect fit (32x17). After the first couple races I was addicted. I found that racing a single speed on hilly technical terrain requires finesse and focus to maintain momentum and conserve energy. As my skills improved I started getting better race results motivating me and demotivating others. Soon other racers were converting bikes over to single speeds and the numbers started to grow. The converts seemed to have an old school attitude which was competitive, but not too serious to enjoy some barley pops before, after and occasionally during a race.

In 1997 another Minneapolis SS convert, Hurl Everstoned and I put together two Single-speed Rally’s in Minneapolis. The Single Steam Classsic happened in the spring with a huge field of 11. The Singulator Sandbagger Single-Speed Fall Festival (soon to become the Homie Fall Fest) took place in October. The Homie just held its 18th anniversary and draws hundreds of participates with little to no promotion. These events were part Race, but mostly a party in the woods that included costumes, feats of strength and silly prize categories such as: Most carnage, safest rider, sexiest cross-dresser, etc. Fastest riders were rarely rewarded. Around this same time I heard about a Single-speed series in California called the Crusty Cup. Since we in the Midwest always try to follow the lead of the sunshine state, we created a series the following year called Minneapolis Metro Frothy Mug Single-Speed Series (MMFMSSS). It included 4 events at different locations promoted by the local trail scout. All the events were unsanctioned on unofficial trails. Many of us were home brewing and we often had multiple kegs at each event, hence the Frothy Mug. 

A big group of cyclists, with their bikes, gathered underneath a large bridge overpass

Left side view of a cyclist on a pink bike, riding over rocks, with people cheering and trees in the background

Front view of a cyclist, wearing a red track suit and large gold necklace, rides along a rocky stream in the woods

Rear view of a band performing at an outdoor venue, with cyclists riding their bikes in front of them

Left roadside view of a group of cyclists riding down a gravel road, with one of them wear a troll costume

A group of cyclists stand with their bikes, in a circle formation, with another cyclist riding a bike inside the circle

Downward view of a completely lime green bike, with a paper plate attached to the handlebars, laying in the dirt

The demand for single speeds in Minneapolis was increasing and the number of old MTB frames with horizontal dropouts was becoming scarce (the geometry’s were also kind of long and slack for the technical riding we enjoyed). One day I mentioned to Dick Tanner, a high up executive at QBP, that we should design and source a low cost steel SS frame. I somehow convinced him there was a significant demand that was currently only available through custom builders. My pitch must have been delivered over beers because he took the bait and approved the project. That is when my friend and partner in crime WakieMassive got involved. His creative style and design skills came up with a great frame available in two colors cash black and midnight black.

During the same era our group of derelicts were also doing a weekly ride notoriously known as the “Wednesday Night Ride”. Most people showed up to this ride on Single-speeds of all sorts prepared for the unexpected. Routes were never preplanned and often were at the whim of whoever was out front. Brauer Power and Geno were the kings of creative urban assault rides through the city. Nothing was off limits including off-road, alleys and even an annual ride to the Minnesota State Fair. End destinations were usually a new dive bar or a fire in the woods. The Rat Ride name was established on this ride. A couple of us were riding cross/hybrid frames for their versatility and low value. These bikes took much abuse from Derbying and unintended use(jumping off loading docks). Mine went under surgery in my Wakie’s garage. An ovalized headtube was fixed with by welding in the headset cup. Another time a down tube crease was fixed with a welded on gusset (80 degrees of Head). Thus the Rat Ride. The Rat Ride eventually died behind One-On-One after everyone took turns throwing it off the 3 floor fire escape to the alley below.

I believe most of this story is somewhat truthful. Per Single-Speed tradition, alias names were used to protect the guilty. 

Pete Geigle AKA Pintz Guzld

About Pintz Guzld

Paul Zeigle a.k.a. Pintz Guzld

There is a cornerstone at the Intergalactic Headquarters building that has a crude pictograph scratched into it of a person laying flat on his back with the words “Pintz Guzzled” written beneath it in a shaky scrawl. Paul was there in the beginning and has come back to guide our band of miscreants through the maze of commerce called the bike industry as our Brand Manager. Paul enjoys jumping his bike over fires, sleeping in highly crafted snow banks and basically anything that doesn’t require standing still.