Cyclechic Bike to Brunch in one word: Epic!

Who would have guessed that a little Sunday morning ride to brunch would require a suitcase full of courage to complete?  The early morning rain stopped as if by request and the breezy morning began with a colder than normal temperatures in the low forties.  With better than expected weather, 18 hearts beat with hope as riders from around the city began their treks to a 10am rendezvous at Cafe Hollander in Wauwatosa.  The full story in pictures below.

The lead group from the Shroeder-Sieger clan personifies character as they urge their machines uphill into a cruel April wind just to get to Chez Schlabowske. The rest of the clan, visiting from out of town followed closely on foot. They borrowed bicycles from our family stable to complete the ride to brunch.


Casey pulls daughter Clare, our hope for the future, in the trailer behind him. Todd pinned his hopes for change to his musette.

The most interesting sisters in the world rolling through the Highlands together.

Doesn't Todd make the odd jacket look smart? His blue jeans bring out the warmth in his brown moleskin jacket. Laughing with Liz (trimmed in Dannebrog red) and Oma, as he pedals his minty '73 Raleigh Sports, the ear flaps of his Wisconsin-made Cognition cap offer the only visual clue to the unseasonably bracing April weather.

Although fedoras are back in, you may count the thoughtfully confident Mr. John Sieger as one who never gave up on the stylish hats. As further evidence of his timeless but up to date style, John rides a well-appointed Specialized Globe.

Like the pied-piper leading unsuspecting children from Hamlin, my compatriots had no idea that I was taking them on what would become the most challenging ride of their lives.

Clare busts out of her chariot upon arrival at the cafe.

Rolling up just as we do, George and his lovely daughter Lizzy are très chic avec leurs velo jaune deux chevaux vapeur. The red Schwinn was evidence some other bicycle brunchers had arrived before us.

What more can a person ask for?

Cafe Hollander is filled with bicycle decor. Here you see a vintage bicycle rescued from a canal in Amsterdam. If only this venerable fiets could talk, what stories it my tell.

Four riders from other parts were already seated when my group arrived. Sorry I forgot to photograph the riders at the first table, but we were 18 in all, not bad for a foul weather inaugural cyclechic bike to brunch.

Dark clouds and lightning greeted us we left Cafe Hollander and gathered up our transport home.

Not long after we began pedalling home, the gods dropped a challenge on us in the form of hail.

Without warning, it only took seconds for the light hail to beat down in a torrent of painful white bullets.

Unable to ride, our group sought the nearest but almost useless available shelter of a barren tree along the side of State Street.

In a matter of minutes, the bare ground was covered in an inch of frozen ball bearings. Although Linsey's stylish galoshes looked the perfect pairing for the hailstones, their wide tops quickly filled with the icy pellets simultaneously freezing and soaking her pedicured tootsies.


I wonder if my well traveled 1936 Raleigh has ever seen such weather in all its 75 years.

As soon as the pummeling diminished, the group dashed across the street to seek real shelter under the awning of Pick and Save. Liz was the real saviour when she came out of the grocery store with a purchase of dry socks and gloves to make the final miles homeward more comfortable.

Riding through an inch of hail is kind of like pedalling along a beach of ball bearings.

The road home

Oma's basket by the time she got home.

 If you were one of the other brunchers who left before we did, how was your ride home?  Did you make it to safety before all hail broke loose?


About daveschlabowske

Cyclechic advocate from Milwaukee
This entry was posted in Bike clothing, Cyclechic, Rides and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Cyclechic Bike to Brunch in one word: Epic!

  1. mike says:

    wowza! that’s awesome!

  2. Dan says:

    Riding east in the wind (after 2 bloody mary’s) and meeting and inch plus of hail for the trip from Downtown to Shorewood was the most challenging ride of the spring for me.

  3. still rollin says:

    Yeah that was a interesting ride home. Glad I had rain gear in the panniers.

  4. Russell says:

    Of all the very rare days I get to sleep in until 10:30, this is one I wish to have over. Sorry to have missed it!

    • jason says:

      We missed you too, Russell. That’s why we talked about you behind yer back. 🙂 Hope you had fun @ The Exotics

  5. Ralph in the U.P. says:

    That looks like a great time was had by all and it will be a ride to be remembered fondly. I would have loved to have been part of that!

  6. KevinL says:

    Hmmm Dave, does this change your position on helmets? 😉

    • daveschlabowske says:

      Well, my Outdoor Research Odd Job Fedora kept my head dry and comfortable despite the hail. But those without a chapeau of any sort felt the rath of the gods on their knoggins.

  7. d'Andre says:

    Wow! That is a tough tribe. Songs should be written. Or at least t-shirts printed. Can’t wait for the next brunch….but those of us who didn’t make this one will never be able to tell the story of ride from hail.

  8. Victoria says:

    Handsome group. Sorry you got the hail kicked outta yous.

  9. adventure! says:

    Truly an epic brunch ride! I’ve had hail pile up like that on me once, but since it was warmer it promptly melted vs. staying put like it did on your ride.

    Like that vintage battery front light on Todd’s bike! Wonder if any light makers will make a more modern (LED) version?

  10. Linsey says:

    That was so much fun — an adventure we will never forget! Wondering how sweet little Claire fared on the way home. Hoping she’s not permanently traumatized.

    Let’s hope the next brunch doesn’t inspire tornadoes or raining frogs. Thanks to our Super Cyclechic organizer for giving us the Brunch to Remember!

    • daveschlabowske says:

      Clare is a Masterson from the northwoods. There are far more traumatizing things in her future. A little hail is nothing.

      Seriously, Casey said she was a little freaked by the noise of the hail on the trailer, but unscathed.

  11. Will says:

    Epic…too bad I had to miss this one, stupid job. If this is the direction the rides are goinng to go maybe we should change “52” to the 52 Argonauts!!!

  12. Jason says:

    Anyone hear from Casey yet regarding Clare?
    Anyone else covered in pink welts?
    I crashed on the way there, AND on the way home.

    • daveschlabowske says:

      Clare was fine, but needed to be picked up because Casey could not get any traction with her in the tailer. No other crashes that I am aware of. Liz has the welts too. I am thick skinned, if you did not already know…

    • Linsey says:

      Welts on everyone in our party. Actually, it’s not a party without welts.

      • daveschlabowske says:

        Hmm, so pretty much everybody but me got welts? Either London Fog makes superior extreme weather outerwear or only my ego bruises easily.

  13. Casey says:

    As Dave said, Clare is a-ok. Despite trying to outrun the hail, I got beaten into submission before making it home. Clare was totally insulated in our weather-proof trailer (if there is such a thing), although she was freaked out by the freight train-like sound the hail made smashing into her canopy. After losing traction once the hail piled up, we took shelter on the front porch of a nice gentleman at the intersection of Two Tree Lane & Lloyd St. Had to make the call of shame and have my wife come pick Clare up, though, before I pedaled home on the marbles. The fact that the back of my ears still hurt from the hail means I need a bigger hat.

    Until next time (if my wife ever lets me take Clare out again, at least)…

  14. P says:

    But, do u have video?!?!

    • daveschlabowske says:

      I am still kicking myself for not turning the dial and shooting video. A perfect example of when stills just don’t convey the real “impact” of the image. It would have been better to be able to hear Liz swearing up a blue streak over the sound of the pummeling.

  15. Sonia says:

    Your Liggett-style commentary makes me smile. Congratulations on a great turnout, too.

    • daveschlabowske says:

      I confess that I do steal a liggetism once in a while, but they are part of our cycling language now.

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