Steel is Real 2012

The annual Steel is Real ride went off this past Saturday and was, by all accounts, a rousing success. Billed as a 25-mile bike crawl through the underbelly of Milwaukee, that is a fairly accurate description. It helps to know that Pee Oui Roubaix, the founder of the Fat tire Tour of Milwaukee, runs this show as well. FTTM is closing in on 30-years and is one of the longest running bike/pub crawl events in the country. Steel is Real came about out of Pee Oui’s love of steel bikes. In his case a 1950’s J.C. Higgins Road Bike, in our case steel fat-bikes.

We congregated at the Cafe Hollander on Milwaukee’s Eastside Saturday AM where registration was and where the first event of the day took place. Included in your registration packet were several stickers like “Best Rust Bucket”, “Best One-on-One”, “Best Road Bike” and “Best Balloon-Tired Bomber”. (We lobbied heavily to include votes for fat-bikes in this category but in the end, as there was no official fat-bike category, the prize went to an old Schwinn.) Maybe next year we will have our own category!

Stop one was the Estabrook Beer Garden, a traditional Biergarten set in one of Milwaukee’s great county parks along the Milwaukee River.

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit.


Stop two saw us make a return visit to the Best Place Tavern at the Historic Pabst Brewery where owner Jim Haertel led a historic tour through the old part of the brewery including Captain Fred’s office and a preview of the work being done to refurbish another of the old halls to operational status.

Then it was on to the Valley Inn in the neighborhood just south of the Miller Brewery called Piggsville though there seems to be a movement to call the area Valley Park these days.

From there we headed to Cocktails and Dreams out ‘stallis way passing through the grounds of the VA and Miller Park.

After a ride through the Forest Home Cemetery to visit the Beer Barons of the past, Pabst, Blatz, Schlitz and Uihlein as well as a host of other famous names from Milwaukee’s past, and a stop at a strategically placed Taco Truck, it was on to the Holler House, the longest continuously operating bowling alley in the country. Unfortunately, on this day, there was no pinsetter working so we had to be content with the Zwiec Polish beer.

Cafe Centraal was next on the list and just happened to be hosting “SausageFest” where for $10 you could sample all the sausage you wanted. Centraal was also the site of the “Tattoo Contest” judging. Real of fake, there were tattoos a plenty.

The final leg of the trip saw the remaining riders head back to Cafe Hollander for the parting of ways.

Fat-bike or no, Steel is Real is a great event. Join us next September!

About Greg Smith 1127 Articles
Greg Smith, known to many site visitors as Sven Hammer, founded in 2011 and the site quickly became the #1 online community for all things Fat. You can currently find Greg outfitting Everyday Cycles; a Milwaukee, WI retailer of gear for fatbikers, adventure cyclists and urban assault riders.