2015 Gala a Big Success

Saris Gala
Saris Gala 2015 Sponsors
Gary Fisher looked transplendent. Simply transplendent.*

The inventor of mountain biking was our special guest at this year’s Saris Gala, the 12th annual fundraising event for the Wisconsin Bike Fed sponsored by the bike rack and accessories manufacturer based in Madison. Saris founder Chris Fortune first hosted the event inside his his warehouse on Verona Road, and through his hard work in tandem with his daughter, Heather, the gala has grown into the biggest single fundraiser for a bicycling advocacy organization in the country.

Thanks to your support last Friday, we were able to come together and raise over $65,000 for Wisconsin bicycling, putting the 2015 Gala among the best.

Surveys and conversations with people tell us they come for two key reasons: to support our work and visit with old and new friends. The whole thing is an exciting, bubbling and noisy celebration of all things bicycle.

This year was no different, and Fisher brought his own style of spectacle (and spectacles). The icon of mountain biking wore a deep red, satin suit that perfectly matched his trademark waxed mustache. We picked up on the Gary-inspired theme by serving a “Mustache Mule” cocktail with mustache swizzle sticks, to match.

Gary was incredibly generous with his time. Those who joined, buzzed about the VIP ride on the Trek Trails in the afternoon, and Fisher mingled and signed posters all night. He motivated the assembled advocates with reports on his newer pursuits into cycling advocacy and his strategy to make inroads into difficult political terrain, just as he did building the first mountain bike trails in inhospitable territory.

Our new, elegant venue at the University of Wisconsin – Madison Union South seemed to be a big hit, and the clothing choices – more suits and cocktail dresses – matched the setting and Fisher’s sartorial splendor. This was, in all respects, a “Gala!”

Our sincere, deepest thanks to all the sponsors: Saris, Godfrey & Kahn, Cooper Perkins, National Metalwares, Speed Cycling, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, and New Belgium. Thanks to everyone who participated in the silent and live auctions. And thanks to all of you who just showed up and enjoyed the fun. You partied hard for a cause!

* For those not familiar with the term “transplendent” see the Woody Allen classic “Annie Hall.

About Dave Cieslewicz, Executive Director

Dave Cieslewicz served two terms as mayor of Madison where he set the city on a path for Platinum status as one of the best biking cities in North America. Before that he started his own nonprofit, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which focuses on land use and transportation policy. He has been an adjunct professor at the UW Madison's Department of Urban and Regional Planning where he teaches a class called Bikes, Pedestrians and Cities. He pronounces his name chess LEV ich, but nobody else does.

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