MILWAUKEE — Hundreds turned out on their bikes for Riverwest 24 Friday night.
"It’s the people’s holiday," said Jordan Missiaen, who has participated in the race for 12 years. "It’s the people's holiday, that’s what everybody calls it now. Just fun to be out here, there's a lot of people out, having a good time, riding bikes."
The event includes 24 hours of biking a four-mile loop and stopping at dozens of block parties along the way.
"It’s goosebumps. When I saw how many people show up, honestly I could get a little teary," said organizer Julie Krawczyk.
Organizers say they have been working getting it up and running since March.
"Meet your neighbors, meet somebody new, try something new," said organizer Wendy Mesich.
"It's a really big community-building thing," said Claudine Lienau. "And the fact that we have 100 check points is really pretty rocking. It speaks a lot about the neighborhood and how committed people are to doing this."
100 businesses, organizations and community members stepped up to offer "bonuses" or stopping points with activities along the 4-mile route.
"We’re hosting board games, b-o-r-e-d, between 3 and 5 a.m.," Lienau said. "I will probably take a nap shortly."
The event has been going on for 14 years. Plenty of people say they have participated in it since its inception, and plenty say they are trying it out for the first time.
"This is fun. I like how everyone is cheering you and the whole community aspect of it," said Anushka Fonseka.
"I got a new bike, and I wanted to give it a shot, and the energy is so nice," said Sagar Sangle.
Last year, some biked the route anyway, but they say this year feels so much better.
"I missed last year, and just catching the bug the past two years, he got me into it, it’s just great to be back," said Henry Boeh.