On Dec. 1, the Santa Cycle Rampage returns for its 16th year. The event started in 2002, but especially over the last decade, it has found wide participation, attracting thousands of people to get layered up in red, white and green and take to two wheels for a holiday Halloween of sorts. The ride is slow and steady, allowing for all ages and abilities to participate.
According to their ticket site:
We started the Santa Cycle Rampage 16 years ago with a handful of people who rode their bikes all year so we had a fun ride in the winter and encourage other people to try riding in the winter. Now lots of people ride all year, which may be one reason why the Santa Cycle Rampage now attracts hundreds of people and has even spun off other Santa Cycle Rampage rides as far away as Boston.
While Santas are the name of the game, all manner of holiday-themed costumes are welcome, including elves, gingerbread people, misfit toys, menorahs and even the holiday anti-heroes, such as the Grinch and Krampus.
Over the years, the ride's identity has morphed from a small bar crawl into a city-wide staple. It has now been wrapped up as a Wisconsin Bike Fed event and ticket sales benefit the organization. While you can still ride for free, purchasing a ticket gets you added benefits, like candy for kids and free breakfast from BelAir Cantina with "Golden tickets" randomly hidden in the tamales.
Pre-ride check-in opens at 7 a.m. at BelAir Cantina in Wauwatosa. The official, police-led, family-friendly parade ride kicks of at 9:30 a.m. from Cranky Al's Bakery and ends at Lakefront Brewery, which will act as host until noon.
Though the official ride ends here, festivities continue through the day in a choose-your-own adventure as riders find their way to historic stops, such as Great Lakes Distillery, Kochanski's Concertina Beer Hall and Café Centraal.
Tickets start at $20. You can sign a waiver and purchase tickets here.
Jason McDowell grew up in central Iowa and moved to Milwaukee in 2000 to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
In 2006 he began working with OnMilwaukee as an advertising designer, but has since taken on a variety of rolls as the Creative Director, tackling all kinds of design problems, from digital to print, advertising to branding, icons to programming.
In 2016 he picked up the 414 Digital Star of the Year award.
Most other times he can be found racing bicycles, playing board games, or petting dogs.