The shores of Lake Michigan glimmer
My VeloGuide Kelly bombs the downhill along the lakefront in Milwaukee. We wind our way towards downtown and take a bike path through the historic Third Ward neighborhood, connecting to another neighborhood called Walker’s Point, a premier example of urban renaissance turning neglected warehouses into restaurants, bars and shops enclosed by the city’s namesake “Cream City” brick.
Our ride is both picturesque and interesting.
Something first-time visitors often comment is surprising. Kelly notes that I could extend my ride, but I choose to stop in Walker’s Point for refreshments. The craft beer she mentioned at one of her favorite local joints is too tempting.
Kelly got her start on wheels first in aggressive rollerblading and then skateboarding. Aggressive rollerblading is everything you can do on a skateboard, but on blades. In her late-20s, she transitioned to cycling and, within the past few years, began racing cyclocross. She shares quirks of Milwaukee with me, something you would only hear from a local like her. Kelly enjoys showing visiting cyclists the neighborhoods of Milwaukee because they are the heart of the city. She asks riders if they would like to stop to eat or drink along the way, or at the end. There are options for coffee, craft beer, craft spirits, snacks and meals. “That's my signature ride...a coffee along the route and a beer and burger at the end,” Kelly says.
Kelly knows where to find the best of the Milwaukee dining scene.
Her husband -- also one of the who's who of the cycling community -- and her make time after cyclocross races to refuel. “We feel more tired after a cyclocross race than we would riding a century ride!,” she quips.
As our ride nears the end, we get stopped by a train. Milwaukee reminds us of its industrial roots once again. I snap some photos as she talks with local cyclists we had passed earlier. Kelly knows the grid well and quickly reroutes us to a street that crosses under the train tracks.
The last bit of the ride is one of my favorites.
Kelly takes me past Lakefront Brewery, a craft brewery on the Milwaukee River. I can smell the beer bubbling in the kettle when we ride over the river on the pedestrian bridge and the clank of the bottling line matches my cadence. Milwaukee’s roots in the brewing industry have been present since the 1800s when a population influx of German immigrants arrived in the city. Breweries Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz and Miller thrived back in the day and remnants can still be seen. But only recently did the number of craft breweries in Milwaukee rise to match other cities in the USA with a staggering 12 new breweries opening within 14 months. And boy are they making tasty beer!
In the model of VeloGuide, Kelly works with visitors to find the best ride for them. Her other routes include spinning north of the city on a bike path following the Milwaukee River and a ride to the “Bronze Fonz,” a statue commemorating the popular character from 70’s TV show “Happy Days."
If you find yourself in Milwaukee on business, or want to take a trip to visit the city’s many festival and events, request Kelly as your VeloGuide to show you the great trail network and dining options.
Book Kelly now click here