It was a great 48 hours for the Bike Fed.
Last Thursday we held our annual Bike Summit in Milwaukee. We had a great turn out of 150 people. As usual, workshops covered a wide range of topics, but the focus was on “equity,” the idea that more people will ride bikes if they feel like it’s an activity for them.
The observation that cyclists tend to be white folks isn’t new and, of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that we think cycling is great for everyone, so when you notice that people who could benefit from cycling aren’t doing it it’s good to ask what the barriers might be. No, we don’t want to be patronizing. No, we will not force you to ride a bike against your will. But if there are barriers – physical, financial, cultural or social – to riding a bike let’s identify what they are and work to lower them.
Then on Friday evening, also in Milwaukee, we had our inaugural Wisconsin Bicycling Hall of Fame Gala Dinner. (Not to be confused with the Saris Gala, which is scheduled for October 27th in Madison. Yeah, we know it’s confusing, so next year we’ll drop the “gala” part from the Hall of Fame Dinner.)
Held at the Italian Community Center on the lakefront, 280 people attended to watch Phil Van Valkenberg, Otto Wenz and the late Chris Kegel become our first three inductees in the categories of advocacy, competition and industry, respectively. Phil was there to receive his plaque and to give a touching speech while members of the Wentz and Kegel families accepted the honors on behalf of Otto and Chris.
It turned out to be a sort of kickoff event for the Chris Kegel Foundation as well, with the foundation raising several thousand dollars by auctioning off several bright yellow “Enjoy the Ride” Saris racks, provided specially for the event by Saris owner Chris Fortune.
The Hall will have an online presence but also a small (for starters) physical location at the Bike Fed’s office in Milwaukee. Next year we’ll have three more inductees and you’ll be able to help nominate them. We’ll get details out as the year progresses.
So, all-in-all a pretty darn productive couple of days for the Bike Fed. Thanks to everyone on the staff, board and our members for working so hard and for just being part of it all.