(This event has passed. Read on for details about the event. And check out the results of the 2017 Gran Fondo Hundo and see photos from the event!)
The Gran Fondo Hundo is right around the corner! From Wilmette to Kenosha, Chicagoland cyclists of all stripes come together to benefit World Bicycle Relief. Join in on the fun on Sunday, July 23rd. You’ve heard about the miles, logistics and fundraising, but what is the Gran Fondo Hundo experience really like? We spoke with two GFH veterans about the Top 4 reasons you should sign up right now!
#1: The scenic, surprising terrain
“I think what I really liked about the route was that it gets into some hilly terrain in southern Wisconsin that we don’t really get every week down here in the flatlands, and I think there are some really scenic stretches.” – Ed Brill, a regular on group rides with Higher Gear Bicycle Sales, our producing partner for the Gran Fondo Hundo
“The actual route itself is beautiful. It’s always fun to ride through towns and forest preserves that are new to me. We get to see a lot of new scenery beyond what we’ve been training on.” – Caroline Higney, a long-time supporter of WBR and second-time Gran Fondo Hundo rider
#2: The camaraderie – for every type of rider
Riding with World Bicycle Relief is a family affair for Caroline’s family, the Higneys. It goes back to the Wrigley Road Tour in 2011. Since then, they have pedaled around Chicagoland with WBR and even participated in a trip to Zambia to see WBR’s work in the field. “Just my dad and I will be riding this year, and it’s been really special to see my family cheering us on and helping to fundraise while we train,” Caroline says.
Ed sees the Gran Fondo Hundo as an inclusive group that makes room for all types of riders.
“There are self-forming packs at different paces, and there is still a bit of friendly competition that keeps it interesting. People were juiced to lead the front and I stuck up there for a while, but at the border I was dropped and formed a different group, met some new people and it was great. There are definitely more casual groups as well. And people made it interesting. I know this guy, Omar, rode his fat bike the whole way!”
#3: The post-ride celebration
Registration includes hot showers, a barbecue dinner, a Kenosha Kingfish baseball game, and transportation back (for you and your bike). Even though Ed is not a big minor league baseball fan, he had an incredible time last year.
“I was actually genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed the whole thing and my family did as well. I also found that the Kingfish environment was really entertaining. My family drove up and met me and they had a great time. They have games and crazy bouncy characters that run around. And you know, there’s a lot of fun for the whole family. So it’s a great afternoon at the ballpark, which is not words that I thought I would ever say!”
#4: The cause
“I love the feeling that our ride is empowering schoolgirls to continue their educations. They are making a future for themselves through the bikes we are able to provide,” Caroline says.
“This ride was my first exposure to WBR but it was really a chance to meet some of the people who work for WBR and learn more about the mission. I set a fundraising target of $1500 to raise which is about 10 bikes. I’ve found through my social network I’ve been able to fundraise so I’m hoping to use that to reach my goal. I’m also hoping to help with an element of education as to why WBR is important and why it should be on the list of causes for my friends and family,” Ed says.
In past years, Caroline has been one of WBR’s top fundraisers. She shared her strategy for getting donations with us:
“I start with people I’m close to and ask them to donate anything they can. And I make sure to explain the cause they’re giving too. I want them to understand what World Bicycle Relief does and the impact these bicycles can have. That definitely helps to motivate my friends and family to donate. Some years my family and I have held garage and bake sales to raise money as well. I’m hoping to match my fundraising from last year or go even bigger this year!”
Excited? We are too. Enjoy the scenic views, the camaraderie, and all the post-ride perks including a hot shower, dinner, and a baseball game, all for a great cause!
Need more incentive? The top fundraiser ($10,000+) will receive a Specialized S-Works frame outfitted with SRAM Red components and Zipp wheels – a dream bike valued at over $10,000!