On Saturday, June 5, I will participate in one of my favorite annual events, the epic Tour de Farce bike pub crawl through the streets of Bay View and beyond. I highly, highly recommend that you tune up your bicycle and join me on this most unique adventure. It's about as much fun as you can possibly imagine on an early summer night.
The annual June trek is a mirror of its fall counterpart, Biketoberfest -- but much less chilly. This year, event organizer and unofficial mayor of Bay View, Bill Rouleau, has organized two routes. The longer route is 13.5 miles, and with one exception, contains entirely new bars from any other "TDF." The shorter ride clocks in at about 6.5 miles, says Rouleau.
Both routes kick off at the Bay View Brew Haus, 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., at 6 p.m. Where they go from there is anyone's guess, and Rouleau isn't talking.
"As usual, there may be some surprises along the way, bands and what not," says Rouleau.
In the past, that "what not" has involved free subs, kitschy prizes, taco trucks and the occasional drag show. And since, when I asked Rouleau what to expect this year, he said "homophobes should stay home," I'm guessing this group of hundreds of bikers may again wind up at a gay bar along the way. It's a virtual lock that Rouleau will take us to bars most of us have never even heard of, too.
Rouleau says both routes end back at the Brew Haus with "a raging concert given by Bay View's group that took its name from the whiskey that fuels it, Powers."
Sounds awesome, doesn't it?
This pub crawl isn't for the faint of heart -- it's a lot of biking and a sea of participants, so you'd best pace your alcoholic intake and bring a bike light. Rouleau suggests Ben Cycles or Crank Daddy's.
Rouleau says he's already been visited and reminded by Milwaukee Police that they have a mandate from the D.O.T. to ticket bikes without lights, as well as to bust riders cycling "more than two abreast." So, considering the ride might be under scrutiny from the police, he recommends people be careful about obeying street signs, blocking traffic and committing general "jackassery." Consider yourself forewarned.
Of course, this not a sanctioned event, either -- Rouleau doesn't make any money on it -- so be responsible and careful and have a great time. You're on your own to make good decisions and keep this ride safe and fun.
See you on June 5!
Andy is the founder and co-owner of OnMilwaukee.com. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.