Last year, volunteers from the Riverwest neighborhood hosted the city’s first 24-hour bike race, called "RW24," and organizers announced earlier this week that the race will take place again in 2009.
The second RW24 starts Friday, July 24 at 7 p.m. and runs until 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 25.
"We're taking back the night. These are our streets and we're not afraid to be out at night (in Riverwest)," says co-organizer Jeremy Prach. "And it's about knowing your neighbors, and being polite to them, and that reduces crime."
The event -- a celebration of community interaction and urban biking -- invites bicyclers of all skill levels to participate as individual riders or as part of a team. The classes include: solo (one rider, one bike), tandem (two riders, one bike), team A (2-6 riders and one bike) and team b (2-6 riders and 2-6 bikes.)
The winning individual or team is determined by the person or group who completes the most laps. Last year, Xav Leplae won the race with 50 laps, the equivalent of 240 miles. The race course circles a five-mile radius in Riverwest.
Tea Krulos is the RW24 volunteer in charge of media relations.
"The event will be all around bigger this year. Last year was a smash success, so we're projecting more people entering for the event, hopefully preregistering and more involvement from local businesses," says Krulos.
Last year, 187 people raced in the event, and this year, Prach says he expects about 300. The event will also include live music, but will have fewer block parties along the bike course.
"We’re having fewer block parties this year to limit potential hazards," says Prach.
During the race, riders sleep as little as possible, but most do not bike the entire time. Participants are encouraged to have a "pit area" in the neighborhood for napping, making repairs and loading up on supplies. The RW24 volunteers are looking for neighbors to offer their yard as urban camping space for riders who live out of town and do not have Riverwest connections.
Riders can earn extra points through bonus activities, which are kept secret until the race. Last year, for example, riders accrued extra points if they agreed to shave their heads.
"All bonuses are encouraged to humiliate the participants. We hope to offend everyone is some way," says Prach. "Forced tolerance is part of the Riverwest experience."
The cost is $20 per rider and includes a T-shirt, water bottle, dinner on Friday, breakfast on Saturday and snacks. The enrollment fee also covers portable bathroom rental costs.
To participate in the RW24, riders must be at least 18, stay sober, wear a helmet, use a bike light after dusk, obey traffic laws and respect the neighborhood.
"This is a great chance to challenge yourself physically and have a lot of fun doing it," says Krulos. "Everyone had such a great time last year, whether they were cycling the race or just hanging out meeting new people and enjoying the day."
To find out more about the RW24 or to register for the event, go to the Web site.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.