Over 1,000 riders show they’re Kegel Strong

The Wheel and Sprocket family and their company father figure.

Organizers printed 1,000 bright yellow tee shirts with the image of a happy man with glasses and curly hair. They ran out.

Over 1,200 riders took to the Hank Aaron Trail in Milwaukee on Sunday morning to honor Chris Kegel, the owner of the Wheel & Sprocket Bike Shops, who was diagnosed last week with what appears to be terminal liver cancer.

It was an incredible outpouring of love and support for a man who does not seem to have an enemy in the world. Riders slow rolled the twelve miles to the Milwaukee lake shore where they scrawled messages of support on giant posters, then rode back to Kegel’s Restaurant (founded by Chris’ grandfather and now owned by his son, Julian) for a street party. The party featured (what else?) brats with all the fixings and beer served in pint glasses emblazoned with the image of the same smiling man. Trek, which sponsored the event, thought of everything, even a huge screen so that the crowd could watch the Packer game.

Julian Kegel waves from the front of the group as they ride down the Hank Aaron State Trail.

Chris appeared at the party for awhile as Trek CEO John Burke and People for Bikes’ Tim Blumenthal gave brief but moving tributes to the man who has done so much for cycling in Wisconsin and the nation.

It was a perfect warm fall day. The ride was beautiful. The food, the beer and the camraderie were excellent. The Packers even won. But as we rode home all of us had a little catch on our throats. But we held back the sobs. Just as our new green wrist bands suggested, we were Kegel strong.

John Burke, president of Trek, helps pour the German beer with other Trek employees who volunteered their time.

If you got there before they ran out, you got a free pint glass, also courtesy of Trek Bicycles!

More than 1,000 people wrote their well wishes to Chris at Lakeshore State Park.

Chris Kegel worked with Jeff Dardes for years when he was heading up the UPAF Ride for the Arts.

About Dave Cieslewicz, Executive Director

Dave Cieslewicz served two terms as mayor of Madison where he set the city on a path for Platinum status as one of the best biking cities in North America. Before that he started his own nonprofit, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which focuses on land use and transportation policy. He has been an adjunct professor at the UW Madison's Department of Urban and Regional Planning where he teaches a class called Bikes, Pedestrians and Cities. He pronounces his name chess LEV ich, but nobody else does.

2 thoughts on “Over 1,000 riders show they’re Kegel Strong

  1. I was proud and deeply moved to be part of this event. Thank you to Trek, the Bike Fed, and everyone who helped organize this event. Most of all, thank you Chris Kegel!

  2. I was very glad to see, Chris receive the well deserved adulation, by people he has touched in so many ways over the years . I have told him he has much more to do, so best wishes my friend !!

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