Wednesday, Jul. 23rd, 2014

Milwaukee's amazing Riverwest 24 bike race

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.

Riverwest 24's 2012 participarnts. Image: Riverwest 24.
Riverwest 24's 2012 participants. Image: Riverwest 24.

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.

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Tuesday, Jul. 22nd, 2014
Monday, Jul. 21st, 2014

$100,000 challenge grant announced for Confluence Project

On Monday, July 21, local advocacy group Community for the Confluence announced a $100,000 challenge grant, hoping to gather 6,000 donations in 60 days through regular donations and a special "text-2-give" mobile campaign. The money will go towards the project's arts center. Check out the press release for more details …

Community for the Confluence is thrilled to announce Coming Together, a $100,000 challenge grant in support of the Confluence Arts Center. The new campaign, initiated by a coalition of donors, utilizes social media and text-2-give mobile to raise 6,000 donations in 60 days.

Make your donation now by simply texting ECARTS to 501501, and a one-time $10 charge is added to your cell phone bill or deducted from a prepaid balance.

You can donate up to three times each month – every individual donation counts toward the 6,000 goal.

If you want to make a tax deductible donation larger than $10, please go online to, or call the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council at 715-832-2787.

The 6,000 donation challenge is approximately 10% of the population of the greater Eau Claire area and greater than the number of signatures which placed the referendum question on the ballot in April. This is a unique opportunity to show broad support for the Confluence Arts Center as state government leaders in Madison make important decisions on funding the project.

Please join us today in support of the Confluence Arts Center: text ECARTS to 501501 or go online to, 7-12-14

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7 of Wisconsin's somewhat cool historical landmarks

The Lincoln-Tallman House of Janesville, Wis., where President Abraham Lincoln probably voided himself in a two-story outhouse. History!
The Lincoln-Tallman House of Janesville, Wis., where President Abraham Lincoln probably voided himself in a two-story outhouse. History!

A time-honored summertime activity is to venture forth in the family van to learn the history of our great nation by visiting its noble historical landmarks. So why not learn the history of our own fine state by stopping by the following places of high(ish) esteem?

1. Fort Crawford Military Hospital (Prairie du Chien)

Back in its day, this hospital was a notable military establishment that began caring for soldiers in the early 1830’s. Why is it notable? It was here that Dr. Beaumont conducted his famous digestion experiments with a solider whose improperly healed shot-gun wound literally provided unsurpassed insight into the stomach.   

2. Two Story Outhouse (Probably) Used by Lincoln (Janesville)

Part of the Lincoln-Tallman House (a six-floor mansion), this outhouse is quite innovative in and of itself. Each floor of the outhouse boasts four individual holes, and Lincoln, being a guest of the home himself, probably had to use at least one.

3. U.S.S. Cobia (Manitowoc)

Similar to the very models Wisconsin had built during World War II, the U.S.S. Cobia saw her share of successes sinking multiple Japanese vessels during pivotal points of the war. But, the really neat part about this landmark, you can have yourself a little slumber party right on site.

4. Teddy Roosevelt Shooting Site (Milwaukee)

October 14, 1912, our dear President was shot in Wisconsin after enjoying a hearty meal at Hotel Gilpatrick. A mentally unstable bartender thought himself to be acting on the orders of a now dead former President McKinley, but luckily Roosevelt suffered only a minor injury and carried on, giving a speech later that day.

5. Pabst Mansion (Milwaukee)

Famed beer baron, Capt. Pabst built this estate that would be worth around 32 million dollars now. Built during the gilded age, the interior is extremely decadent, but there’s more to these halls than chandeliers and ornate carvings. There’s a ghost! So when you stop by and take a tour, be sure to say hi to the ol’ Capt’n.

6. Elvis Presley Fight Scene Site (Madison)

No, this isn’t just a strange location for another one of those made-for-Elvis movies; this is real, authentic history. On a fateful day in 1977, Elvis pulled over at a local gas station to put an end to three-person fight. Coming from a life-long fan, I couldn’t be prouder of the stud.

7. Ed Gein’s Murder House Site (Plainfield)

I think it’s safe to say, Ed Gein is our darkest historical Wisconsinite and although the house no longer stands, the site still draws visitors. Strangely enough, rumors are that the mysterious fire that burned the house down three days before auction was to prevent it from becoming a tourist attraction.

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Sunday, Jul. 20th, 2014

Sunday Event Picks (July 20)

Hey, if you're a Rob Zombie fan, today's your big day, buddy! Details on Rock Fest below.
Hey, if you're a Rob Zombie fan, today's your big day, buddy! Details on Rock Fest below.

From early in the morning and into the night – a lot of fine quality events occurring on Sunday. Wanna know what they are? Of course you do. Our picks are below. Check out the rest of Sunday here.

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