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All Photos by Focal Flame Photography. Reuse or duplication any of these images is prohibited without the express permission of Focal Flame Photography.
Amidst Halloween-costume clad revelers, amazing silent and live auction items and over 500 guests, the 9th Annual Saris Gala was a huge success. We are still finalizing the numbers however it appears that this year’s event netted more than any other previous single Saris Gala!
Each of the last eight Galas has supported the Bike Fed’s statewide mission, allowing us to become a much stronger educational and lobbying organization, to pass one of the country’s first Complete Streets laws, to significantly increase state bicycle funding and to pass laws that have made Wisconsin bicycling safer and more accessible. I’m proud to say the Wisconsin Bike Fed stands today as a professional, stable and growing organization. Our programs have never been more effective, our membership has never been larger and our partnerships with Wisconsin-bicycle lovers have never been deeper. None of this would have come to pass without the Saris Gala.
With this year’s Gala, the Bike Fed is taking an important turn. For the first time ever the Gala had a more targeted goal on raising money to fund a local Bike Fed program in Dane Co. The resources raised through the Gala will allow us to support local staff which will energize and mobilize bicycle interests in Dane Co.
We were honored to be joined at the Gala by Tim Blumenthal, the President of Bikes Belong. Tim is a national leader who works tirelessly with communities, organizations and industry partners to create a more bicycle-friendly America. Tim fired up the crowd with a short but powerful case for Dane Co. and Madison bicycling.
Tim’s contention: all the pieces exist in Dane Co. to create one of the country’s great bicycle places. Take a look at Tim’s presentation to the left. What does Dane Co. have: political and business support, great trails, a committed bicycle community, and a vision. What does Dane Co. need: committed and ever-growing professional resources to work with all of these supporters to move bicycling forward. This year’s Gala has provided the final piece of the puzzle and will allow Dane Co. bicycle dreams to grow.
And what of the remaining 71 counties that we serve? The Bike Fed already has regional staff in Milwaukee, Eau Clair, La Crosse and Appleton and we’re continually looking for ways to better serve you in the community that you ride. Though there is only one Saris Gala, we are always looking for other partners with resources to offer in other municipalities. If you are interested in starting a local program in your community, please contact me. Tim Blumenthal’s bicycle puzzle can be applied to most Wisconsin communities, and the Bike Fed stands at the ready to help piece together yours today local bicycle puzzle today!
A big thanks go to the following folks for helping make the Saris Gala a success:
- Speed Cycling
- Madison Magazine
- Habush Habush & Rottier
- Urban Land Interests
- Godfrey & Kahn
- Capitol Brewery and General Beverage
- Shine United
- Willy Street Bikes
- Saturn’s Eight
- Focal Flame Photography
- Waterford Precision Cycles
- Bombay Bicycle Club
- Planet Bike
- Pacific Cycle
- Trek Bicycle
Thank you to Tim Blumenthal and Bikes Belong for their support; it’s a pleasure to work with you and your team. Thank you to Wisconsin-cycling star Matthew Busche for taking time away from your international training regime to support Wisconsin bicycling. Thank you to Chris Kegel, Barb Barbian, Liza LeClair and all of your event ninjas; you showed everyone how large-event check out is really run! Thank you to the dozens of volunteers; we couldn’t do what we do without your support.
The largest thanks, of course, goes to the Saris family. Heather Fortune is the Saris Gala rock superstar. Thank you, thank you Heather. Thank you Chris and Sara Fortune. Your unequivocal support of better Wisconsin bicycling is our driving inspiration.