Bike Racing is Cool

I am all about real clothes, real people, real bikes might going place, not people in lycra riding $6K bikes in circles, but I still think bike racing is cool. I used to race and I still really enjoy watching bike racing.  It brings out tons of spectators, activates neighborhoods, puts money in the local economy and brings out lots of people who ride bikes.

The Tour of America’s Dairyland runs a bike race on Downer Ave in Milwaukee.  This is the biggest pro race we see all year.  It is in a great neighborhood near Lake Michigan and most of the area residents through parties and watch the race.

If only all roads were built just for bikes! Liz rode the folder down so she could meet up with some friends who drove to the race. Folding bikes are great for that because you can still ride and keep your bike with you even if your friends don't have a rack on their car.

Just before the pro race starts, they hold a series of kids races. This one is for three-year-olds.

Thousands of people line the streets to watch the race.

The racers did not disappoint and put on a great show for the crowd.

This year Ben's Cycle and Fitness raised $5,000 their "super prime." Every year Ben's rasies money for what I think is the largest prime in the country. For $20 you get a shirt, and all the sausage and beverages you want. All the money goes to the racers. Ben's has a huge presence at the race and they pretty much own the corner of Park and Hackett.

In Milwaukee we grill our sausage in beer. Brats, polish, or italian, they all taste better bathed in beer.

Richard Schwinn (yes, that Schwinn) looks over Brian Robbins vintage Paramount funny bike. The bike was made in the factory where Richard now runs Waterford Precision Cycles. Waterford makes some of the finest steel bicycles in the world.

But the race brings out all sorts of great commuter bikes. This is a rare Trek Dutch import. A few years ago Trek brought a container of these in to sell in the US. All the tags on the bikes were in Dutch.

Nice lugwork on a Kaminecki, a local builder.

Ellis bikes by local builder Dave Wages (paint by Milwaukee artist Jason Sanchez) have won best of show in a number of catagories at Cirque and the National Handbuilt Bicycle Show. And no wonder looking at this sweet Ellis built with vintage Campy.

Cargo bikes like this Xtracycle are becoming more and more popular in the US. I hear Trek is producing one for 2011.

The Downer classic is definitely a multi-cultural event. These Mariachis were headed to a party in the neighborhood.

Cafe Hollander is an anchor on Downer. Being a Dutch cafe, they are all over bikes.

Russell with a couple PBRs in case someone gets thirsty on the way home.

Inside Hollander is decorated with bikes of all sorts. The Bianchi is a raffle prize for some contest they are having. Stop in grab a Silly Pils and win a bike why don'tcha?

Fog rolled in as people were rolling out. It made for an introspective ride home.

About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

5 thoughts on “Bike Racing is Cool

  1. Thanks, dave! Sorry I couldn’t ride down with ya ( not that I was invited :)).
    I reCOGnize Pete’s Xtracycle. I did that one, too. He and Anna wanted to colormatch a bowl from their kitchen. LOL

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