Billed as the world's largest holiday-themed costume group bicycle ride for charity, the Santa Cycle Rampage returns on Saturday, Dec. 3 for its 18th year in support of the Wisconsin Bike Fed.
Registration is now open. With cool-but-mild temps projected for the early weekend, the Bike Fed is expecting another solid turn-out.
This is a Slow Roll-style, police-escorted, looped route, with speeds and spirits that should accomodate most riders of any age and skill level. The event has historically drawn thousands of riders that stretch dozens of blocks as they travel through the city, making merry and featuring all stripes of costumes and characters, including reindeer, snowfolk, misfit toys and menorahs as well as seasonal villains, like the Grinch and Krampus.
This year there are two official starting options for riders: a full and a short route.
If you want to ride the full route, you'll start promptly at 9:30 a.m. at the offices of the Bike Fed at 187 E. Becher St. Or, if you prefer the abbreviated version, you'll be able to join the group at the halfway point at Hollander Grand Cafe on Downer Avenue (2608 N. Downer Ave.) around roughly 10:15 a.m.
OnMilwaukee will camp out here as well, helping with registration, checking bike safety, handing out candy canes, and celebrating the Great Milwaukee Winter.
But whichever route you choose, remember: No matter what your starting point is, parking will be incredibly tight, so riding to the event is highly encouraged. However, if you cannot ride out, be prepared to park further away.
Both routes will end back at the offices of the Bike Fed.
To find out more about the programs and mission of the Wisconsin Bike Fed, check out their website at wisconsinbikefed.org. You can also RSVP to the event on Facebook.
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.