In #RaiseMKE

Under normal circumstances, the Riverwest24 is a tight community event with a loosely run race. (PHOTO: Jason McDowell)

The Riverwest24 registration rolls on without a race

The Riverwest24 (RW24) will not proceed with its 13th annual race, due to complications with COVID-19 (as case numbers have recently jumped from 7.8 to 12.2% according to Urban Milwaukee), but registration for the event still opened over the weekend.

According to an email announcement sent Friday, even though there is no start/finish line, wheels are still in motion in spirit. In the message, organizers write, "We love our city, and we love to help. So, in an effort to raise money for local organizations on the ground, we are going to open 'registration' anyway. Registration in quotes … because there is no race."

Organizers stated earlier this year that 2020 was likely to be different.

"Planning a 'race as usual' would not be the best use of our unique energies and skills," states the Riverwest24's website. "None of us can predict the reality of life in July and, let's be honest, this race is germy AF. Now is NOT the time to hand someone a manifest that has been in your mouth since Clarke street."

The money raised from the "registration" will be used to support Ayuda Mutua, which provides Spanish-speaking communities with up-to-date information and resources on the coronavirus in Milwaukee, and LIT MKE, a coalition of youth in Milwaukee working to create local solutions to serious issues. These groups will also help with future RW24 events as well as provide equity coaching and training within the organization.

You won't walk away empty handed, either. You can still get your name on the leader board and your hands on the usual swag: the t-shirt and a spoke card – and word is the annual tattoo may still be in the works (with a heavy emphasis on "may"). According to organizer Matt Baran, "The tattoo this year is a full back piece, and you can only get it at one of the huts on Bradford Beach."

Yeah, well, if that happens, I'm in.

How to register

To register for the 2020 RW24 rider pack, go to riverwest24.com and create a rider profile, then use that same information to pay for your registration. If you don't want a rider pack but still want to contribute, you can donate without registering.

If you want to pick up your rider pack in the first wave in person at Gardner Park on Friday, July 24 from 2-7 p.m., you must register by Tuesday, July 7. However, registration for the second wave of rider packs will be open until Sunday, July 26.

Additional registration details and questions are being answered on their Facebook page.

What is the Riverwest24?

In a typical year the Riverwest24 is a 24-hour long, unsanctioned race on a roughly 4.5-mile loop through the Riverwest neighborhood. Riders, either solo or on a team, stop at each of the four checkpoints on the map to punch their manifest. Bonus checkpoints open periodically and offer more bonus laps.

It started as a community event with less than 200 people – most of whom signed up the day of the race – and quickly filled out into a thousand-person extravaganza that sells out in a few hours and has earned the nickname "The People's Holiday." Through its history, it has maintained its DIY, punk-rock attitude by refusing sponsor dollars and relying on neighborhood volunteers get it organized.

The RW24 is one of OnMilwaukee's ten best bike rides in Wisconsin.


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