Monday, December 17, 2007

Santa had a pretty good time

Pete D. Photo

This past Saturday was the 2007 installment of the Milwaukee Santa Cycle Rampage. I went last year and met up with some pals south of the City, and we rode up to the Café Hollander to participate. It was a great time, but I kept thinking that it would be fun to roll down to Milwaukee with a heavy crew.
So this year, I put the word out about two months early and continued to beat the drum of support. Last year was a pretty subdued winter, weather wise. It was pretty dry and in the 40s, with no snow. This year was a bit different.
We finally rolled out of Sun Prairie at about 8:45 am. We had 2 cars packed with 9 people and bikes, determined to show Milwaukee that Madison knows how to party, Santa style.
We spent the whole trip down driving into the teeth of a winter storm, and that would pretty much set the tone for the day’s weather: freezing cold temps, dark skies and snow…
Arriving at the Hollander, we saw a tent set up outside and dozens of Santas already milling about. We found some parking spots, got our Santa suits on, and headed back to the bar, found some friends, and helped ourselves to some free beers from the keg the bar had provided. Peter D'Antonio who runs Cog Magazine, has some great shots here.
There was about every type of bicycle represented from recumbent trike, to fixed gear to full suspension mountain bike, and Santas of all ethnicities quaffing brews, and mixing and mingling in a holiday way.
The signal went up, we posed for a group photo and we were off…I won’t bore you with the details of each individual leg, so I’ll just lay down an overview:

After leading a Madison chase group up to the lead, I settled in and chatted it up. Suddenly our Milwaukee leaders collided with each other during some cell phone abuse, and then just as suddenly there was about 6 Santas from out of town in the lead…we wandered for a while until someone that had some idea where were going came to the front. We rode for what seemed like forever, before stopping at a townie bar with a Schlitz sign out front. There you could buy smokes, and smoked butt (whatever that may be), and PBR in a can. Santa was happy. (BTW, Lyle was posting in real time here so you can follow along w/pics.)

From there we headed to the Lakefront Brewery with a stop for some Christmas Polka music and dancing. At the Lakefront, Santa was welcomed with two free beers each, and we established a new religion of sorts not unlike the Amish. Our un-named religion will accept up to SRAM red, but nothing beyond that….I’d give you more details, but the rest is fuzzy…

From there Santa headed to the Milwaukee Ale House right down town. Some soft core Santas continued to bail from the group and the snow began to fall harder. We found a loading dock to conduct some legitimate holiday business, and then entered the Ale House to warm up, fuel up and regroup. It was here that Madison Santas talked the Trocadero Santas into heading to Koz’s for some customary Mini bowling.

At this point, Santa was really feeling the Holiday “spirit” and doesn’t really recall much of the ride between these two establishments, but once we got to Koz’s and saw the same bartender as last year, his memory gets a little better. Koz’s was once again the highlight of the ride…especially since this year they had a skull bong just waiting for Santa to pound beers out of. It did get weird when one of the locals convinced Lyle and I to go meet some kids down the street…here we were absolutely intoxicated, smelling like, and dripping with beers, posing as Santa for some kids on some side street in Milwaukee…it was kind of bizarre, so we quickly headed back to the small alleys and pins of Koz’s. Well, eventually we needed to get going, so we set out on the 6 mile slog back to the Hollander. By now it was getting dark, and the weather had totally deteriorated. It was a death march directly into the wind and growing darkness….but we all made it safely. I’d like to thank my wife for driving us home in the blizzard, and to our Milwaukee hosts for showing us a good time again. Until next year, Merry Christmas.

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