Winter, Wine & World Bicycle Relief
Take a winter night in Chicago, add hand-picked wine from Napa Valley and a room full of cycling enthusiasts, and you have the 2012 Bash for Bikes Winter & Wine. On December 10, Vision Quest (VQ) member Dave Harrison along with Home Bistro (HB) and the entire VQ community hosted a fundraiser that raised $24,000 for World Bicycle Relief!
The event was supported by VQ Founder and former pro cyclist Robbie Ventura, the entire VQ community, many of World Bicycle Relief’s Wrigley Field Road Tour riders and legendary Chicago native professional cyclist, Christian Vande Velde of the Garmin-Sharp Team. Harrison enlisted the support of his favorite restaurant, Home Bistro (HB), to play host and called in his good friend at Trahan Winery from Napa, CA to pour delicious wines. On December 10, the candle lit dining room came to life on a prefect Chicago winter night with happy banter and admiration of the Zambia “Bicycle Charles” sculpture. After warm introductions from World Bicycle Relief’s Director of Individual Giving, Katie Bolling, small plates were passed as guests browsed the silent auction offerings from SRAM, Zipp, Saris, Green Goat, Oakley, Blackburn, Cateye and more. The pinnacle of the evening was a panel featuring WBR’s COO Mike Kollins, WBR’s Founder and President FK Day, and SRAM’s Director of Corporate Development Brian Benzer. While Kollins and Day recounted funny stories from Africa and assessed both the triumphs and challenges of WBR’s operations, Benzer commented on SRAM’s involvement with the organization. The evening culminated with a live auction, which produced the night’s biggest surprise. The big ticket item of the night--a private ride with Robbie Ventura and Christian Vande Velde followed by dinner at HB--multiplied into three prizes that went for $2,000 a piece.
Harrison was inspired by a WBR fundraiser held by Vision Quest Coaching in May. The celebration dinner at EJ’s Place in Skokie, Illinois raised $7,000 to provide bicycles in rural Africa. Harrison, in attendance that night, was inspired by the evening’s stories. After hearing about Colorado Multisport’s Bash for Bikes in Boulder, he developed the idea to host a similar event in Chicago--one that he hoped could compete with the Colorado event--resulting in Chicago's Winter & Wine event.
WBR thanks Dave Harrison and all those involved in this amazing event. We are so excited to see the Bash for Bikes events spreading throughout the country. As these amazingly fun and impactful nights continue to create real impact in rural Africa, we will be looking to expand this format to other cities in the USA in 2013. Look out for a Bash for Bikes coming to a city near you!