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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

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In Milwaukee Buzz

Ride by the light of the moon.

Polish Moon Ride illuminates South Side neighborhoods, businesses


To some, the four-sided clock on the near South Side is called the Allen-Bradley or Rockwell Automation clock tower, but to many Milwaukeeans, it is fondly nicknamed The Polish Moon.

In celebration of community, local business, biking and one of the city's most recognizable structures, the Wisconsin Bike Fed will host a Polish Moon Bike Ride on Friday, Aug. 22.

"Our ride begins and ends in what is probably Milwaukee's hottest new neighborhood, Walker's Point, where the Polish Moon is always full," says organizer and deputy director of the Bike Fed, Dave Schlabowske.

The 11-mile ride will tour Lincoln Village, Mitchell Street, Clark Square, Layton Boulevard West, Menomonee Valley and the new Freshwater Way.

"This is not a pub crawl and there are no stops, but the group will ride slowly – with police support front and back – so even people who are not comfortable riding in traffic can enjoy this route," says Schlabowske.

The ride officially starts at 8 p.m. from Anodyne, 224 W. Bruce St., but riders are invited to show up as early as 6 p.m. for a block party featuring grilled sausages (courtesy of Ben's Cycle), a taco truck and samples from Purple Door Ice Cream, Wayward Kitchen and La Merenda.

A polka-playing accordionist will perform during the ride from the back of an electric cargo bike provided by Coast In Bikes.

The ride ends at the same locale and the party will continue with live music and beverages from Anodyne Coffee Roasting Company, Central Standard Craft Distillery and Milwaukee Brewing Company.

The block party will end around 11:30 p.m. followed by a post-party ride to Kochanski's Concertina Bar, 1920 S. 37th St.

"For those who want to stay up late," says Schlabowske.

The cost is $35 per person or $25 for residents or anyone who works in the Walker's Point, Lincoln Village, Clarke Square, Mitchell Street, Silver City and the Menomonee Valley neighborhoods.

The tandem rate is $50, but kids ride free. There's also a special $25 rate for entire families who live in the afore-listed neighborhoods.

"The ride is family friendly, but should appeal to those who like a party," says Schlabowske.

The Polish Moon Ride is the first charity ride for the Wisconsin Bike Fed.

"We have been supporting rides to raise money for other organizations for years, but until the Polish Moon Ride, we didn't have a ride of our own," says Schlabowske. "We were a bicycle organization without a bicycle ride."

The goal of the group was to create an urban night tour of Milwaukee's Polish neighborhoods with "a taste of Latino flavor."

While the ride is intended to raise money for the Wisconsin Bike Fed, a secondary goal is to unite the near South Side neighborhoods and introduce people to businesses, new and old.

"While there are so many great new businesses going in, there are also so many cool existing businesses we hope to raise awareness about, too," says Schlabowske.

14 years ago, Schlabowske started the Santa Cycle Rampage with seven friends. The event now attracts 300-700 people. He hopes to attract 100-150 riders for the first year of the Polish Moon Ride.

"Three hundred people would be amazing," he says.

Partners and sponsors of the event include 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, Anodyne Coffee, Ben's Cycle /Milwaukee Bicycle Company, Coast In Bikes, Fix Development, Kochanski's Concertina Beer Hall, Layton Boulevard West Neighborhood Association, Milwaukee Brewing Company, Purple Door Ice Cream, Urban Milwaukee and Wayward Kitchen and Bar.

"We initially wanted to involve all the area businesses in Walker's Point, but this first year we're starting a little small," says Schlabowske.

Juli Kaufmann of Fix Development is a sponsor of the event.

"I jumped on as the first sponsor because this ride is everything I love: bikes, night rides, music, south side neighborhoods, family friendly fun, inclusive, affordable and supportive of local business," says Kaufmann. "What's not to love?"

Register here for the Polish Moon Ride and Block Party.

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