Mayor Tom Barrett will be a no-show Tuesday morning for his annual bike ride to City Hall, part of the Bike to Work Week events in Milwaukee.
His excuse: a trip to the White House and a state dinner with President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The visit and dinner plans were announced in April.
Barrett will be a guest at the fourth state dinner hosted by Obama, and the first devoted to a European leader. The White House said it's a sign of the close working relationship Obama and Merkel have forged in two and a half years.
Ride organizers from the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin graciously accepted the "unable to attend" note from the mayor.
"We can't blame him for jumping at that opportunity instead of our ride!" the group noted on its Bike to Work web page.
Instead of Barrett, the group ride from N. 51st St. and W. Washington Blvd. will be led by Milwaukee's Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator Dave Schlabowske, City Engineer Jeff Polenske and many other power commuters. The start time is 7:30 a.m.
In keeping with the formal overtones, the officials and those joining them are encouraged to show off their best power suit, pant suit or three-piece suit for the trip to the Zeidler Municipal Building, 841 N. Broadway.
Check out the Bike Fed site for more Bike to Work events, including the Bike to the Brewers game on Thursday.
Mayor Barrett won't repeat this scene from the 2010 Bike to Work ride.
Photo by Tom Held