Dunn County Fair Grounds
620 17th St., Menomonie
2833 North Clairemont Ave, Eau Claire
Phoenix Park, Riverfront Terr., Eau Claire
316 Eau Claire St., Eau Claire
by Mike Paulus
Check out this cool video about Riverwest 24 – a bike race that's so much more than a bike race. Held annually in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood, the race sends competitors through an urban course, challenging riders to complete as many laps as they can within a 24 hour period. There are awards in a number of different categories including solo, tandem, and team. The route a rider takes is up to them, as long as they hit a set of checkpoints on each lap, much like traditional "alley cat" urban bike races such as the Chippewa Valley's own Valley Cat.
Things get interesting on the Riverwest 24 course at "bonus checkpoints" placed throughout the course. Every year organizers design a set of surprise checkpoints where riders can add laps to their scores by completing odd challenges, such as sloshing down a Slip & Slide, receiving an embarrassing haircut, or getting a (real) tattoo.
Competitors end up riding past groups of cheering spectators, live bands, and even through block parties, as the race has evolved into a kind of neighborhood festival. So it transcends the idea of a bike race and reaches into the realm of community building. As the event's website states ...
The RW24 was born through community block watches throughout Riverwest. It is a way for our neighborhood to welcome new people, strengthen relationships within the community (and beyond), and show everyone why Riverwest is amazing. From riders to volunteers, organizers to community sponsors, everyone brings a different talent and interest to the table. There is no way a few people talking about a bike race in their back yards could have come up with something like this. A whole neighborhood made this.
This year's Riverwest 24 – its 7th installment – begins on Friday, July 25. Check out the website for more details.