Rampage 2012

When cyclists in Milwaukee hear the word “rampage” they normally think of the Santa Rampage, an annual semi-organized bike ride that takes place each December. This year it was on the 15th. However, the tragic events on the 14th made us aware of a different kind of rampage. What took place in Connecticut wasn’t discussed during the ride but was certainly felt, especially considering the fact that the Spokesmen are almost all fathers. Nonetheless we don’t know anyone who considered canceling. Instead we persevered in our primary mission: spreading holiday cheer. Photos from the ride are here.

Everett has been talking about the Santa Rampage for weeks, especially about getting dressed as Rudolph and having a doughnut first thing in the morning. We got up around normal time (7am) and got dressed.
It started raining the moment we stepped out the door at 8am. As an aside, this appears to be another non-winter in Wisconsin, similar to the non-winter of 2011-2012. This is a big disappointment for us. To make an analogy to The Year Without a Santa Claus, we are Snow Misers (but note that Chris sometimes has Heat Miser hair).

Our first stop was Cranky Al’s for doughnuts.
Next stop: Cafe Hollander.
Third stop: Lakefront Brewery. It was extraordinarily difficult to take any photos there because Chris’ camera got nice and cold on the bike, and then he stepped into a room filled with sweaty Santas. The lens fogged up immediately and there was no hope of defogging it inside. This is the only picture that came out. It appears that the fog created a warm holiday glow.
Subsequent stops included Conejito’s, where the Santas took over the party room and washed down paper plate after paper plate of tostadas with pitchers of margaritas. Doug (one of the Spokesmen) got a lot of grief for ordering chicken mole off the menu and for being served on actual ceramic dish. Fourth stop: Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall where they were serving shot ski’s (literally), while a woman and her young daughter were in the rain out back selling a beer from the former Soviet Union called Old Bobby (note the poodle on the label, and feel free to offer translations). As always there was a polka band playing Christmas tunes. Last stop: Cafe Hollander again and then home.

The weather for the rampage was cold and rainy this year, but this did not seem to dampen participation. In fact, attendance might have increased over last year, and the way that people on the street responded to the Santas was a stark contrast to the gloomy skies. Lots of laughter, waving, cell phone pictures and general Christmas cheer. We also made the local news: http://www.jsonline.com/multimedia/photos/183640041.html.

Each year the Spokesmen tow the Santa trailer, which blasts edgy Christmas songs by Ozzie Osbourne, Twisted Sister and Elvis via a built-in sound system. The original trailer weighed about 130 lbs, and in later years the people who towed it expressed a desire to reduce weight. Chris noticed that they were using sealed-lead acid batteries so he put together a new power system using lithium-ion batteries with much higher energy density. This year we had plenty of power but intermittent problems with the sound, which was likely caused by the constant rain (the trailer is not exactly waterproof). In the days after the rampage we tried to diagnose the power problems by towing the trailer around behind the Bakfiets, providing additional opportunities to spread cheer. Adding the trailer to the Bakfiets was noticeable but not a major change from normal. Everett loved the idea of taking the trailer to school. Watch closely for the cameo appearance by Melissa.

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