As Saturday morning got underway in Milwaukee, residents were greeted to a sight that brought smiles and stares as over 1000 Santas rolled down the streets for more than sixty blocks. Santas gathered early at points throughout the city to meet up.
In honor of Global Fat Bike Day, Fyxation gathered a group of mostly fat bike riders and headed out to meet the rest of the Santas across town.
A tradition which started more than sixteen years ago with a few buddies and the idea of hopping around the city in Santa costumes has grown into a ride with well over a thousand riders. Traffic is forced to come to a stop as Santas reach a critical mass. Residents pour out of homes and business to witness the sight and kids are greeted with candy canes and hearty 'Merry Christmas' from passing Santas.
Keeping with tradition, riders met up on North Avenue on Wauwatosa and prepared for a prompt 9:30 a.m. departure. This year the ride was led out by the Milwaukee Police Department and officers on motorcycles braved the near freezing temperatures to insure the ride moved smoothly through the city.
With temperatures in the high thirties, the Santas were more than ready for a little warmth and cheer as they made the first stop at Lakefront Brewery. This is the traditional first stop for the Santa Rampage and the large brewery was packed full with many Santa's spilling over outside.
While this was the official end to the ride, which is now a fundraiser for the Wisconsin Bike Fed, tradition took over and many Santa's continued on to Great Lakes Distillery and many places in between.
While Santa is the most common dress for Rampage riders, many took the liberty of getting into the spirit with their own flare. Deer hunting season is underway in Wisconsin so there were more than one tribute to this other early Winter ritual.
As cycling traditions go this has to be one of my favorites. Sharing the road with a thousand of your closest friends and making the city smile a little brighter is something that's hard to explain. So, I'll let the pictures do the talking and just hope that you join us next year!