This past Friday night saw another year come and gone for Biketoberfest, Milwaukee’s somewhat-secretive annual bicycle pub crawl.
The ride saw upwards of two hundred cyclists huddled on the corner of Kinnickinnic and Lincoln in Bayview, who all left at the sound of a megaphone siren, which would be the signal for the rest of the night to roll-out from pub to pub.
The ride is well-run and organized by a core group of organizers and friends, who help direct a large group of riders who know how to balance having a good night and taking personal responsibily for themselves. The organizers also host Tour de Farce every year, Biketoberfest’s “sister” bicycle pub crawl.
Biketoberfest has years of history under it’s belt, and the reputation that follows, so it doesn’t need any additional aid in promoting the event. With that, it doesn’t need any bad seeds acting irresponsible and ruining the fun for everyone else, so that’s why you won’t find many hits on a google search for the ride. As interesting as a write-up as it would be, I’m glad that it’s stayed more under the radar, and that different publications have had journalistic integrity with respect to that.
The ride’s route was only known to the organizers, who lead the ride southbound through some interesting streets and pubs I’ve never been too. Ever stop found the bars packed immediately both inside and out, often making it hard to get a drink, even if they did staff-up and were working their asses off. Some riders took foresight of this and planned ahead, packing bags, racks, and trailers with adult beverages of their liking.
Some highlights were the endless bike lights lining the dark streets as far as you could see, some great costumes, planes flying low overhead as we rode through Mitchell Airport Park, and even a Black Sabbath cover band. I could break down the ride street by street, bar by bar, but I’ll leave it at “you had to be there”.
If you missed out, keep your ears to the ground next year and hopefully you can make it. Just keep in mind the history of Biketoberfest, and make sure you’re riding safely. Bring bike lights, ride straight, be mindful of others around you, and follow the rules of the road.