Drummers drumming? Lords a-leaping? Bah! Humbug! How about Santas cycling? The Madison Bike Winter elves have announced plans to stage the city's first Santa Cycle Rampage this Saturday, December 18.
Aaron Crandall, the principal organizer, admits the inaugural edition may prove a modest debut thanks to a late start in pulling things together and getting the word out. But if he would be happy with a turnout of 15 riders for this year's Madison debut, he notes that similar events in Chicago and Milwaukee have grown to include hundreds of cyclists dressed as Santa. Indeed, this year's Milwaukee SCR, held last Saturday, landed on the cover of Sunday's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and earned prominent display in a photo gallery.
Encouraged to dress as Santa, participants in Madison's inaugural Santa Cycle Rampage will gather at Espresso Royale on the 600 block of State Street late Saturday morning. Embarking at about 11 a.m., they will bike (at a relaxed pace) first to Genna's Lounge, then to the Brass Ring on East Washington, then to Mickey's Tavern on Williamson Street. The final destination is the Alchemy Café off Atwood Avenue, where a small award ceremony may ensue.
Crandall notes that participants in the event are encouraged to bring their Bicycle Benefits stickers, because all the waypoints are participants in the cyclist-oriented discount network. Boughs of holly, figgy puddings, mistletoe and fa-la-la-la-las are optional and -- like the ride itself -- undertaken at your own risk.
As a hedge against people not having enough time to find a Santa suit for the ride due to late notice for the event, Crandall has opted to loosen the gay apparel standards to include ugly sweaters. You know the ones, he says: Some have been languishing at the bottom of drawers or in the back corners of closets since they were presented as holiday gifts. Others are of the kind emblazoned with some representation of a Christmas tree. Reindeer, elves, dreidels and other costumes are also welcome, according to the event's Facebook listing.
Crandall views the new event as "another opportunity to reach out to folks and show them that biking in the winter is a doable thing." The rampage part is intended to be ironic, adds Crandall, who expects the tone to be more representative of a festive social occasion on two wheels. He welcomes inquiries at 294-9505 and aaron.crandall at yahoo.com.