"Actually, it's pronounced "mill-e-wah-que" which is Algonquin for "the good land." - Alice Cooper
We pulled into Milwaukee in search of food and a place to meet up with Peter DiAntoni, of the Cog Magazine fame and the rest of the Flavor Cycle crew to talk bikes, hi5, eat food, and then ride. Dan heard that the Hollander was the jam and we found a parking spot right by the side patio. When you drive a 27' RV around the country you learn love those "perfect parking spaces" moments or PPSes as I like to call them. We set up shop and after some coffee and food the Flavor Cycle crew started to roll in. Peter and I never met in person so I got to be what my brother calls "a fan boy" except the girl version. I love the shit out of that magazine and was SO excited to finally being able to tell him that.
The Hollander is known for their Belgium beer.... like the dudes that own it were knighted in the Belgium Beer Grand Poobah Club, whatever they call it, and that's pretty big being they are American. All this talk about beer made the guys want to get on bikes and show us Milwaukee Flavor Cycle style. The first stop was underneath one of three bridges of that evening, at the Lakefront Brewery. The guys knew the people that work there and so we went to go see how beer is made.
The control board looks like it belongs on a submarine from WWII. You know, that movie U-571? With Matthew McConaughey? Yeah, just like that.
We picked up a case and headed to bridge #2 where underneath was a park. That in itself is pretty cool because at night the benches lit up, but there was a local art group that would go to the park and with chains, they would put up swings guerilla style. The park people will take it down and the art people will put another in its place. It will go down in history as one of the many great American battles of the 21st century.
The third and last bridge of the evening was the craziest of them all and by that time things were getting pretty loose. We rode down a trail, crawled over an abandoned car that blocked the path, and pulled up to a MASSIVE bridge. What was really insane was the thousands and thousands of seagulls that were posted up in the rafters. Are they called rafters in bridges? Well, whatever... you know what I am talking about. I thought Flock of Seagulls was just a band from the 80's. Man, that would be a great episode of VH1's "Where Are They Now". The band from Liverpool now living underneath a Milwaukee bridge. It's a long way down from the top. It wasn't them though... it really was seagulls.
That was the last bridge of the evening so we made our way back to Chrome One to lay our weary heads to rest. I'm pretty sure I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow because I woke up with a bunch of things I normally don't sleep with in my bed. You know, like laying on top of books with a bundle of tshirts. The next morning we pieced ourselves together and headed to a couple of shops that were part of our morning tour. One of these shops was Dream Bikes, a shop that provides bikes at a low price for people in need. All the employees are young and for many this is their first job. I am noticing a trend on these bike shop visits, there seems to be an abundance of basement stash.
After that we hit up a couple of more stops and then headed to Shorewood for the first crit race of the America's Dairyland Classic. We posted up in the Pick and Save parking lot right by the first turn and pretty much pumped funk music the whole time and poured people "soda pop" because we weren't allowed to have beer and we were most definitely NOT drinking beer.... totally not beer.
Andy Crater was asking for it. This was totally consensual. Notice my Chrome urban overalls? It's for living the city in the country. I kid... I kid..... I love watching crits and this one was pretty great with not a lot of crashes, which is a good thing. I know some people like that kind of thing and like to watch people get hurt, but those people are jerks. I can't imagine eating it hard on pavement in lycra with a bunch of other dudes riding over you body is a painless experience. I mean, I can imagine because my imagination is magical, but that just doesn't seem realistic. After the race we handed out some hi5s, packed it in, and said goodbye to Wisconsin and the awesome people in it . I had an amazing experience and fell in love with the state...... even though it's the home of the Packers. Go Vikes!