My friend Matthew Mixon joined us with his camera for the last last underwear ride of this past summer, and just finished editing a short video from it entitled “You Are Beautiful” – Milwaukee Underwear Bike Ride.
Hundreds of people met up and stripped down on top of Reservoir Hill in Riverwest that night, overlooking the city at sunset. For a mid-September evening, we really lucked out and had wonderful weather for the ride. With the help of some close friends, we cleverly routed and lead a few hundred of bicyclists through streets many have never even been on before.
We rode west a ways through some quieter neighborhood streets, bringing us to our mid-ride stop at Washington Park. The ride eventually continued on through the Miller Valley, on a quiet cemetery-bordered road that passed over the freeway, circled Miller Park, took the Hank Aaron to Three Bridges Park, passed The Domes and through Mitchell Park, took the 16th Street bridge pass the casino, and wound our way through downtown to end the ride at The Best Place on the old Pabst Brewery grounds for our afterparty / MKEBKE 3-year anniversary. Between the weather, route, and everyone’s positive energy throughout the ride and afterparty – I think this was one of my favorite group rides we’ve ever had.
I want to thank Matt for joining us and putting together some memories we can all look back on for years to come. This video captures what words cannot.
He also wrote a blog post about the evening to accompany the video above.
“Man, what a blast this was. I’d been trying to shoot it since I heard about it a few years back, and I finally got in on the last sesh of the year.
Before I met with founder/organizer/main dude Steve Roche to talk about how we were going to document this thing, I had a whole treatment fleshed out in my brain about a short film revolving around him, the history of the ride, and his motivations for starting it. Steve was open to the idea, but I could tell he wanted the focus to be on the ride, and not so much himself. In so many words, he told me the ride had evolved into something bigger than he had ever imagined, and it was the real story here.
We recorded an audio interview, and I’d hoped to lay some of what Steve said underneath footage of the ride, but it just didn’t work great in the edit. For me, the ride was this euphoric two-hour blur; one of those unforgettable summer nights that feels like a dream when you think back to it. I wanted the piece to reflect that feeling as much as possible. Before editing this, I’d used like three crossfades in my entire “career,” must have used 10 times that in this piece. There were just too many beautiful smiling faces, and boobs, and buns, and bikes, and shots of the city, and the party; had to smear it all together to make it work.
Anyway, I still wanted to share some of the great things Steve had to say:
“Moving to Milwaukee, one of the earliest things that made me feel really at home, was just going on group bike rides with friends – exploring the city, meeting new people – and I just wanted to help facilitate that feeling for others. Giving them something to make them just love life, and love living in this city.
I love being able to take ppl to areas of the city they’ve never been to. Empowering them, not only in their own bodies, and what they’re capable of, but empowering them and encouraging them to cycle more in this city, and showing them an enjoyable way to do so.
There are so many diff ppl that come on this ride. Any demographic that is distinguishable about someone is just thrown out the window, and you just kind of are who you are, just another amazing beautiful person participating in this event.
People need to make time for themselves, and to have moments like that that make them feel really happy, and alive, and this is an excuse for that. Hopefully that’s a feeling that they feel and take home from an event like this is like: “I can do anything. I can do this.” – Steve Roche
Hugest shout out to Kevin Ward who agreed to push me around on his bike like an hour before the ride began, and before even meeting me. He made this entire thing possible, and I can’t thank him enough.
Also, huge shout out to Adam Sarkis and Gen Longoria for driving around and grabbing shots of the giant half naked mob rolling by. Check out Adam’s production company: Hi, Pressure Moving Content.
Check out more about the ride, and future rides at MKEBKE.com. Looking forward to riding again when it gets warm out, but this time without my camera, and most of my clothes.
-I shot on the Canon 5DMKII from the front of Kevin’s Bullitt bike. There wasn’t even enough room for my long ass legs in front of me in a seated position, but somehow I managed to fit my camera bag in there too, so I could switch between my Rokinon t/1.5 24mm and 35mm Cine lenses, as well as my Zeiss f/1.4 85mm. Camera was mounted on a modified “Advanced Extreme 17 ” Gini-Rig with follow focus and Small HD DP4. Those Rokinon lenses are fuckin sick. I bought them before heading out with Misery Signals to shoot the last installment of the Transmissions video series. Fantastic in low light, and the fact that they come with follow focus rings on them rules so hard. Changing lenses while bombing down a busy street with cars flying by left and right, and a light rain falling, was pretty insane.
-Gen shot on a Canon T2i.
-We also had a GoPro Hero 3 Black mounted to the back of Steve’s helmet.
And I want to thank Steve Roche again, for making something so unbelievably beautiful. This video could never do justice to just what an amazing time I had that night. I encourage everyone who’s never been to come along next summer. Peace!”