Rain, rain, go away, or ride the Polish Moon anyway


Warming up in the parking lot before the Polish Moon Ride.

There is nothing you can do about the weather except wear appropriate clothing, or a garbage bag if that is all you have! Thanks to the 250 or so men, women and children who showed up for this year’s Polish Moon Ride despite the inclement weather. If you looked at the very scary looking weather radar maps, our ride seemed doomed. In fact, our Madison staff turned around halfway to Milwaukee because it was raining so hard they could hardly see to drive.

Alderman Jose Perez waving to a constituent on Historic Mitchell Street.

As we suggested might happen in a series of pre-ride emails and Facebook posts, we decided to start the ride half an hour early and cut the route in half because the forecast showed all those bright red and yellow patches on the radar heading our way. So at 6:30PM, with a crew of stalwart riders behind me and Alderman Jose Perez at my side, I signaled for the Milwaukee Police Department motorcycle officers to roll out.

Our stop to mass up in front of St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Oratory (Polish: Kościół Świętego Stanisława) at 5th and Mitchell. Don Turner entertains the crowd with his accordion under a rain poncho.

Before we go any further, we at the Bike Fed want to express how grateful we are that so many showed up to ride and polka in the rain, especially the many families with little kids. We also want to give special thanks to our waterproof accordion and tuba players! Thanks for bringing our “secondary” instruments and braving the weather. Lastly, thanks to the pedicab drivers who were all grins as they muscled our musicians along the ride.

Who cares about a little rain?

Training wheels , tubas, and cargo bikes, just another ride on the Streets of Old Milwaukee. Thanks to Coast In Bikes for providing the ride support!

The forecasts for 100% chance of severe thunderstorms the entire week before the ride certainly held back registration from last year when we had more than 700 riders, but we still managed to raise about $7,000 to support our Mobile Bike Repair program. That is a little less than half what we made last year, but every dollar helps us provide a useful service in neighborhoods that are bike shop deserts. Our Mobile Bike Repair program also provides job training skills and summer jobs to area youth we hire as apprentice mechanics. So thank you to everyone who signed up for the Polish Moon Ride this year, even if the weather kept you from coming you to ride with us.

We didn’t think we could fit a Tuba player on the back of our Yuba Sweet Curry cargo bikes, and Uncle Kenny and Tuba Tom work as a duo, so Pedicab to the rescue!

We also want to thank Chef Tyler and Megan from Wayward Kitchen for the delicious czarnia, pierogi, and tacos. Thanks also to Tiffany from Purple Door Ice Cream for dishing up some delicious cones! The additional sundae cups from Cedar Crest Ice Cream and Metcalfe’s Sentry on State Street were much appreciated by the riders after we got back, as was the beer from Milwaukee Brewing Company. Thank you so much for bringing back Polish Moon Milk Stout!

Rounding the last turn before the finish!

The Polish Moon Polka Band kept the crowd on their feet after the ride.

Below is a little video of the ride, whipped together by Barry Mainwood of Mainly Editing. Barry is also one of the founding board members for Bublr:

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.

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