|Phil Liggitt addressing the crowd at the 2013 Wisconsin Bike Summit|
Each year Wisconsin comes together to celebrate the joy two wheels brings to us all. People drive or bike in from all corners of the state for a reunion of sorts--I personally like to call it an early Thanksgiving without all the family drama. The event I am speaking of is the Saris Gala, the largest fundraiser for the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation and the best damn bike party in the country.
|Pre-summit/gala gathering at the Rigby|
|Ben Sollee and Jordan Ellis on their Ditch the Van tour|
Friday morning came all too soon. A cold start to the day meant a frigid ride downtown to the Inn on the Park for the Wisconsin Bike Summit. Although I was still clearing the sleep from my eyes and hoping the coffee would start doing it's job, I felt lucky to be a part of an amazing group of presenters talking on a topic none of us can get enough of--cycling. As I pulled onto the capitol square, I passed several cyclists I know from Madison. Each one in a different riding circle, each one adding to the strength of the cycling community. It was the perfect way to recharge and balance my mind prior to my panel presentation.
|Jillian Imilkowski talking about the Bella Donnas|
As we gathered for lunch, Phill Liggitt spoke about his experiences with cycling and the importance of organizations like the bike fed. It's quite exhilarating seeing 250 people packed into a room with one purpose--to improve our state for riding. Each table had a mix of politicians, state and national transportation employees, cycling advocates and those from bicycle manufacturing companies. I can honestly say it was the largest bike "think tank" I've ever been a part of.
|Bike parking at the Saris Gala|
|The crowd for the live auction|
Here's where I need to ask a favor from you. Just like food pantries, when around the holidays they are overloaded with food and volunteers and yet are begging throughout the rest of the year, the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation needs your support year round. To keep this forward momentum, the bike fed needs you to become an active member and volunteer for other events. Your time, enthusiasm, insight and yes, money, go a long way no matter how much or how little. As a board member, I look forward to seeing you throughout the entire year. Ride on!
|Tom Klein, Dane Co. Director and Dave Cieslewicz, Executive Director|
|I had to get my picture taken with "the voice" I've known all my life|