1200 Bikers Ride to Support Chris Kegel

Trek-sponsored event salutes Wheel & Sprocket owner who has cancer.

By , Bike Federation of Wisconsin - Oct 2nd, 2016 04:53 pm
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The Wheel and Sprocket family and their company father figure.

The Wheel and Sprocket family and their company father figure.

Over 1,200 riders took to the Hank Aaron State Trail in Milwaukee last Sunday morning to honor Chris Kegel, the owner of the Wheel & Sprocket Bike Shops, who was diagnosed recently with what appears to be terminal liver cancer.

It was an incredible outpouring of love and support for a man who does not seem to have an enemy in the world. Riders slow rolled the twelve miles to the Milwaukee lake shore where they scrawled messages of support on giant posters, then rode back to Kegel’s Restaurant (founded by Chris’ grandfather and now owned by his son, Julian) for a street party. The party featured (what else?) brats with all the fixings and beer served in pint glasses emblazoned with the image of the same smiling man. Trek, which sponsored the event, thought of everything, even a huge screen so that the crowd could watch the Packer game.

Julian Kegel waves from the front of the group as they ride down the Hank Aaron State Trail.

Julian Kegel waves from the front of the group as they ride down the Hank Aaron State Trail.

Chris appeared at the party for awhile as Trek CEO John Burke and People for Bikes’ Tim Blumenthal gave brief but moving tributes to the man who has done so much for cycling in Wisconsin and the nation.

It was a perfect warm fall day. The ride was beautiful. The food, the beer and the camaraderie were excellent. The Packers even won. But as we rode home all of us had a little catch on our throats. But we held back the sobs. Just as our new green wrist bands suggested, we were Kegel strong.

John Burke, president of Trek, helps pour the German beer with other Trek employees who volunteered their time.

John Burke, president of Trek, helps pour the German beer with other Trek employees who volunteered their time.

If you got there before they ran out, you got a free pint glass, also courtesy of Trek Bicycles!

If you got there before they ran out, you got a free pint glass, also courtesy of Trek Bicycles!

More than 1,000 people wrote their well wishes to Chris at Lakeshore State Park

More than 1,000 people wrote their well wishes to Chris at Lakeshore State Park

Chris Kegel worked with Jeff Dardes for years when he was heading up the UPAF Ride for the Arts.

Chris Kegel worked with Jeff Dardes for years when he was heading up the UPAF Ride for the Arts.

Dave Cieslewicz is the executive director of the Wisconsin Bike Fed and former mayor of the city of Madison.

Categories: Transportation

5 thoughts on “1200 Bikers Ride to Support Chris Kegel”

  1. Kathleen Ortman Miller says:

    Thanks for this article. We heard about the slow roll from the JS article while traveling abroad and definitely would have come had we been able, to show our love and support for Chris as a generous person and for what he has done to promote biking, not to mention good business practices. We love his prescient motto, “Life is short, enjoy your ride.”

  2. Peter Biermeier says:

    What a magnificent tribute to a stalwart of humanity. Having known Chris for years as an unrelenting giver it seems only fair that the universe returns the favor. It appears to have been an amazing tribute and one I am sorry to have missed. Chris…you have made the world (and my biking) stronger in a zillion wonderful ways. Thank you!

  3. Jim Crue says:

    I am so sad to hear about Chris’s illness. I first met Chris in 1979 when he and Frank had one shop in Hales Corners. Chris is a wonderful generous guy. Very sad news

  4. Herman Kutschenreuter says:

    I do not know Chris personally, but Chris was great to my Late Son Chris Kutch. Early on in my sons disease, Chris at Wheel & Sprcocket, befriend my son several times. Thank you for being you: Chris Kegel.

  5. Christine says:

    Many years ago Chris was a customer of Mcbobs when his dream was in the early stages of growth. How blessed he is with all who love him and for the love of bikes he brought to our great community. Ride strong Chris.

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