National Bike Summit: Wisconsin Goes To Washington

Wisconsin has three Bike Fed staff members and three citizen members attending the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. this year. We will try to have a summit report each day to keep you abreast of the events. —Dave Schlabowske

On Monday, the League of American Bicyclists honored Chris Kegel and Kit Keller at their 2017 Advocacy Awards during the first day of the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. Wisconsin was the only state to have two people take home awards.

Wisconsin advocates were well represented at the awards ceremony Monday evening.

Chris’ son Noel accepted the award in his father’s honor. Noel is taking over as President of Wheel & Sprocket. Among his many other accomplishments, Chris, served as Chair of League Board of Directors, was posthumously awarded the Paul Dudley White Award.  Paul Dudley White was a world-renowned cardiologist who pioneered safe cycling campaigns, helped open the first modern bike path in the United States, and was the first to promote cycling as a preventive measure for heart disease.

Eric Swanson, long time member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer, commented “Chris Kegel made significant contributions to cycling at the national, local, and personal level. The Paul Dudley White award honors those who, through their personal commitments, have made a significant contribution to the cycling movement and the opportunities of everyone to enjoy the benefit of cycling. I can’t think of a more deserving person than Chris.”

Noel Kegel addresses the audience during the 2017 Advocacy Awards ceremony, after the National Bike Summit dinner in Washington, D.C.

Gail Copus Spann, Vice-Chair of the League Board remembered Chris for his commitment to cycling and his tenacity and grace during his illness from cancer. “Our joy at the way Chris lived his life is tempered by our deep sadness because he will not be with us as we celebrate his accomplishments.”

Kit Keller (left) accepts the BFA Professional Award from Richard Freiss, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition.

Kit Keller, another long-time advocate for bicycling and walking from Cedarburg, was also honored at the ceremony. Kit received the BFA Bicycling Professional Award. which is given to a person who makes a difference for the bicycling community in their everyday work. Kit was one of the real founders of modern bicycle advocacy, and was an early leader at the national level and in Wisconsin.

When I started at the Wisconsin Bike Fed in 2001, Kit was one of the leading state and national advocates for bicycling and walking I met, along with Chris Kegel. She was the former Policy Director and then Executive Director for the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, and helped found Wisconsin Walks. Kit helped form the Bicycle Federation of Southeastern Wisconsin, the first bicycle advocacy group in the Milwaukee metro area, which organized the first Bike to Work Day in 1999.

I and everyone who rides a bike in Wisconsin have benefited from the work done by both Chris and Kit, so it was a pleasure to see them honored together for their valuable work.

About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

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