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?