A record US$100,000 was raised for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin on October 17, with silent and live auctions, a raffle drawing and appearances by Tour de France rider Christian Vande Velde and former US Postal Service rider and Versus commentator Robbie Ventura.
The event drew more than 400 guests from across Wisconsin, including a motor coach full of bicycling enthusiasts from Milwaukee.
Saris Cycling Group, owners of Saris racks, CycleOps and Powertap, has hosted this annual event every year since its inception in 2004, opening its factory doors to any guest that wishes to support bicycling in Wisconsin, raising US$250,000 for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin over the past five years.
“I feel it's extremely important for all members of the cycling community to come together for causes such as these," Saris president Chris Fortune said. "I'm proud that this event has grown over the past five years. We at Saris have set a precedent for industry members to become involved with their state and local Bicycle Federations to promote bicycle advocacy and education.
"We are the first in the nation to raise US$100,000 in one fundraising event for a cycling advocacy group," he added. "We couldn't have done it without the generosity of our contributors, employees and volunteers.”
In addition to the title sponsor Saris Cycling Group, the Gala’s Gold Wheel sponsors included Madison-based bicycle accessory maker Planet Bike, Madison-based bicycle company Cannondale Sports Group and the law firm of Godfrey & Kahn of Madison. Numerous Silver Wheel sponsors from across Wisconsin including Trek Bicycles, Trek Travel, Food Fight Restaurant Group, J.T. Whitney’s Pub and Brewery, and many others also contributed to the success of the event. Many manufacturers from across the US donated products for the silent and live auctions.
"The majority of the money raised will support the resources needed to implement educational programming across all users and to work on local and statewide advocacy efforts," said Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin executive director Jack Hirt. "We need to continue to build a grass roots lobbying base that is representative of the entire state and build bicycle friendly communities along the way. The success of the event reaffirms the confidence that the bicycle industry, as well as our members and guests have in our organization."