Presidential candidate Barack Obama meets with bike industry

Fundraiser at Chicago home of SRAM founder

United States Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, a senator from Illinois, met with leaders from the US bicycle industry to discuss two-wheeled initiatives at the home of FK Day, one of SRAM's founders June 12.

The fundraiser was organized by Day's wife, Leah, who contacted the senator's campaign staff six months ago. Day was notified of the senator's availability about a week beforehand, and with the help of her brother-in-law Stan Day (president of SRAM), rounded up 160 guests to attend (and pay US$2,300 each) to represent the bicycle industry.

Bikes Belong, an umbrella organization representing the industry, had its executive director Tim Blumenthal divert a few days of his French bicycling vacation to spend the evening with Senator Obama and several members of his Bikes Belong board of directors, who were granted a private 20-minute meeting with the senator.

In true bi-partisan fashion, Shimano American's Kozo Shimano was also in attendance, getting some face time with the Illinois senator. SRAM and Shimano have been waging war for nearly 20 years, but according to several attendees, the meeting with a presumptive presidential candidate meant more than competing in the marketplace. Greg LeMond and his wife Kathy were also there; LeMond has stated his support for Senator Obama when he presented the Major Taylor sculpture in Massachusetts this May.

FK Day and his wife are also the founders of World Bicycle Relief, which has worked with former US president Bill Clinton in Rwanda.

Left to Right: Allen Needle (Giant), Greg LeMond, Chris Kegel (Wheel & Sprocket), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Tim Blumenthal (Bikes Belong), Chris Fortune (Saris), hostess Leah Day, Senator Barack Obama, host F.K. Day (SRAM), Stan Day (SRAM), Michael Mercuri (SRAM), Pat Cunnane (Fuji), Kozo Shimano (Shimano), Patrick Seidler (WTB), Chris Lambiase (Bicycling Magazine), and Steve Flagg (QBP)

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