Santa Cycle Rampage
Milwaukee cyclists got into the holiday spirit this weekend with the festive, costumed pub crawl, the Santa Cycle Rampage.
Yes it’s true, we in Milwaukee love our bars and our beer. Earlier this year, Esquire magazine even awarded us the honor of Bar City of the Year in their Best Bars in America column. There is a lot of pride in this culture that is deeply engrained in our history and society.
Milwaukee also has an ever-growing cycling culture. In 2011, we were ranked 25 in Bicycling magazine’s 50 best bike cities in America, just ahead of Boston and Philadelphia. You see more people on bikes every year and bike shops are popping up in almost every neighborhood.
Combining our love for bars and biking into one activity seems obvious. Although there are other cycling pub crawls in this city, there is nothing like the Santa Cycle Rampage. Some would say that it’s crazy to bike across the city in mid-December dressed like Santa Claus and other popular Christmas characters, and they may be right. But the holiday spirit and joy that comes from hundreds of people out being jolly and in good cheer is surely worth braving the December weather. And a bunch of people dressed in red riding bikes really causes a spectacle.
This year’s Rampage Santa on Dec. 15 was the only one that didn’t have snow on the ground. The gift of mid-40 degrees temperature came with light rain throughout the day. And like the jolly big guy himself, rain did not deter rampaging Santas from coming out. Starting at 9 a.m., riders began gathering at four pre-party locations: Cafe Hollander in Wauwautosa, Cafe Centraal in Bay View, Cafe Hollander on Downer, and Fuel Cafe in Riverwest. Between 11 a.m. and noon, riders packed into Lakefront Brewery and was greeted with a free Lakefront beer. More than 700 people were counted at the brewery.
From Lakefront Brewery, the riders proceeded to Great Lakes Distillery and then Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall for a Polka party. Kochanski’s was packed wall-to-wall; the polka band furthered enhancing the festive spirit. The line for a turn at the shotski was as long as those for the bathrooms.
The final stop of the day was the post-party at Cafe Centraal. People gathered for a meal, libations, and recollections from the day. The spirit of the Santa Cycle Rampage, like that of the holiday season, is eat, drink and be merry. Bringing people out to support local establishments and celebrate the wonderful culture of cycling is a great tradition to add to anyone’s holiday festivities.
Check out photos from Santa Cycle Rampage 2012 in the slideshow below or at our TCD flickr page.