In the past Wheels 4 Life hosted sit down dinners with live music, dancing, live and silent auctions and raised between $56,000 and $58,000 to enable the buying of bicycles for people in great need of transportation throughout the developing world. This year it was decided to create an event that would allow guests to mingle in a cocktail party environment whilst listening to and dancing to some truly excellent music.
The evening opened up with guests arriving to the beat of local California Reggae band “Common Sense” as they sipped cocktails, perused the auction items and enjoyed the appetizers served by GnarlyQ.
The party held at the residence of Dr. Sten and Elizabeth Kramer was in full swing as the sun set, light dimmed and we were treated to songs like “Hey Soul Sister” performed by Charles Colin from Train, Stan Frazier from Sugar Rey and Scott Owen from Pawnshop Kings.
For the first time Wheels 4 Life employed a professional auctioneer, Dawnmarie Kotsonis, well know by many that attend charity functions as being exceptional at what she does. After a few words from Wheels 4 Life co-founder Hans Rey explaining the charity, why we do it and how, followed by four short videos from project leaders in the field, Dawnmarie launched into the live auction. Six items including a Porsche experience at their purpose built test track outside of LA and a Bosche Benno e-bike, went quickly as Dawnmarie fired off the bids and slammed down her gavel, bang!
It was then time for words from a donor, Lynn Walworth, the matriarch of a family in England that lost her beloved son Rory in a mountainbike accident in 2009. Since then Lynn and her family have been raising money for Wheels 4 Life in memory of Rory, $120,000, which equals over 800 bicycles. Over a slide show with photos showing their various fundraisers and happy people receiving their bicycles, even a square in Kenya named after Rory with 100 bikes lined up in front of the “Rory Walworth Square” sign; Lynn’s voice told the story of why they chose to support Wheels 4 Life and what the results have meant to them and their supporters.
The audience was clearly moved by Lynn’s words, as was Carmen, co-founder of Wheels 4 Life. After working with Lynn for eight years, it was extremely emotional for Carmen to stand on stage looking at the slide show and listening to what Lynn said. But now it was time to rally the crowd, with a call for everyone to become warriors for Wheels 4 Life, Carmen asked the guests to trust in what Wheels 4 Life does with all donations and to believe in the simplicity of a $150 bicycle changing lives for the better; allowing people to travel four times as far, with four times the speed and carrying four times the load. A bicycle can make the difference between having an education or not, from having healthcare or not or from earning a living or not.
On the back of these words, Dawnmarie again set to the stage and looked out at the crowd, now glowing a strange shade of green as they held their illuminated glow sticks that acted as pledging wands. Our auctioneer asked that if anyone there felt like they would like to be warriors for bikes to please raise their wands and pledge for bikes. The reaction was both incredible and exciting with so many arms in the air waving their green sticks. Volunteers dashed in all directions at full speed to gather up the pledges, it was hard to keep up. The atmosphere was as electric as the smiles were huge on the faces of the guests as they joined together to buy bicycles.
Everyone was pumped; it couldn’t get any better, could it? Yes, it could. The finale of the night was our third and final band, Chevy Metal, voted best cover band in the world, lead by Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters, with Wiley Hogden and Brent Woods. Bodies merged as they jumped, bumped and swayed to the rock beat, the harder Taylor banged his drums, the more the energy grew. The electricity in the air fired the adrenaline and no one wanted the music to stop.
But alas, stop it had to. We had a couple of new guests, two of the Sheriff’s department’s finest, they heard the music from quite a way away and had to follow the rules and investigate. With a little explaining from Hans, they were very understanding, “two more songs”, they said and so this is what we had, Chevy Metal closed it up with two last songs as the Sheriffs tapped their feet and enjoyed the music. It’s only Rock n Roll after all.
So many people gave their time both before, on and after the night, companies donated auction items, musicians gave their talent, our friends opened their home to so many guests. The planning was intense, but the night was incredible and all of it was for one reason; to raise money to buy bikes. And that we did, over $92,000, far exceeding anything we have achieved in the past.
Thanks to “Rock 4 Bikes” and the many Warriors that supported it, Wheels 4 Life will be able to purchase 1000 bicycles for projects in Guatemala, Uganda, Malawi, Nepal and Kenya.
On June 6th Will Oldham will be setting out on an 8-day challenge, covering 340 miles across the South of England and visiting all 24 schools against which he played rugby with Rory Walworth in order to raise money on behalf of the Rory Walworth Memorial Fund for Wheels 4 Life. He will be finishing at Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar School on 13th June, where he and Rory both grew up playing rugby together in a team of incredibly close friends, all of whom have gone on to various careers around the world but most of whom have already been in touch about the event to help in one form or another.
The idea came about after discussing with a couple of friends how they could go about linking Rory’s two great passions of rugby and cycling. After some deliberation and various equally crazy ideas being thrown around they settled on the Big School Run with the hope that keeping it fairly local to Rory’s hometown would help encourage others to get involved. Even if only in the capacity of providing refreshments en route! Whilst the physical demands are clear to see, he is sure that the mental challenges will be just as tough if not more so to overcome along the way. As much training as he has done to date, the concept of putting one foot in front of the other for over 40 miles a day for over a week is still somewhat troubling!
Rory Walworth was a young man from the south of England who was tragically fatally injured whilst riding his bike. Rory’s family wanted to honour Rory’s memory with something on going, far-reaching and impactful on people’s lives. They have worked tirelessly and to date raised funds for 800 bicycles, which have been distributed in Kenya and Uganda. These bikes have both changed and saved lives. Rory’s name is known very well within the communities that received his bikes. In Kenya there is the Rory Walworth Square and in Uganda our northern district project leader has named his son Rory.
Here is a list of schools Will shall be visiting on the various days, hopefully seeing as many familiar faces along the way as possible:
- Saturday 6th June – Marlborough College (Wiltshire)
- Sunday 7th June – Churcher’s College (Hampshire), Chichester College (West Sussex), Portsmouth Grammar School (Hampshire)
- Monday 8th June – King Edward VI School (Hampshire), Hounsdown School (Hampshire), Hampshire Collegiate School (Hampshire)
- Tuesday 9th June – Bournemouth School (Dorset), Poole Grammar School (Dorset), Corfe Hills School (Dorset), Canford School (Dorset), Queen Elizabeth School Wimborne (Dorset)
- Wednesday 10th June – Clayesmore School (Dorset), Sherborne School (Dorset), Millfield School (Somerset)
- Thursday 11th June – Kings Bruton School (Somerset), Downside School (Somerset), Clifton College (Bristol)
- Friday 12th June – Kingswood School (Somerset), Beechen Cliff School (Somerset), Sheldon School (Wiltshire)
- Saturday 13th June – Dauntseys School (Wiltshire), Wyvern College (Wiltshire, Chafyn Grove School (Wiltshire), Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar School (Wiltshire)
So if anyone happens to be in Salisbury, Wiltshire on Saturday 13th June then please keep an eye out around Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar School at about 4pm!
Will Oldham’s twitter is @willoldham89 and he has a link with instagram – @willoldham89 – These will be the platforms for fairly regular training updates!
Check out this cool fundraiser to benefit Wheels 4 Life by Lindsey Colla. He is going to ride a unicycle 900 km throughout the Australian Outback. Read more and find out how you can support his mission: http://www.pozible.com/project/195031
On April 11. & 12. is the kick off for the “Hut To Hut” photo exhibition by Stefan Voitl during the Argos Bike Festival in Vienna Austria. All photos were taken during a recent Wheels 4 Life trip to Guatemala and during a bike adventure in the Guatemalian Highlands with Hans Rey and Tom Oehler. The photos are for sale and the proceeds will be donated to our charity. More info at: www.voi.tl
More info below in German:
Kunst für die gute Sache
Mountainbike-Fotoausstellung zugunsten von “Wheels 4 Life” am 11. und 12. April 2015 beim Argus Bike Festival in Wien
Am 11. und 12. April 2015 findet im Rahmen des Argus Bike Festivals am Wiener Rathausplatz die Charity-Fotoausstellung “Hut to Hut” des österreichischen Fotografen Stefan Voitl statt. Zu sehen und zu erwerben gibt es die Bilder einer Abenteuerreise nach Guatemala, die in Zusammenarbeit mit Mountainbikelegende Hans “No Way” Rey und MTB Trial Profi Tom Oehler entstanden sind. Der Verkaufserlös der Bilder sowie die Einnahmen aus freiwilligen Spenden und einer Tombola gehen zu hundert Prozent an die Organisation “Wheels 4 Life”. Nach bereits zwei erfolgreichen Ausstellungen im Dienste der guten Sache widmet Stefan Voitl seine dritte Fotoaustellung nun der Charity-Organisation “Wheels 4 Life”. Diese hat sich mit dem Leitsatz “Give a bike, change a life” ganz der Aufgabe verschrieben, Räder als Transport- und Fortbewegungsmittel für Menschen in Entwicklungsländern zur Verfügung zu stellen und damit neue Möglichkeiten und Perspektiven im Alltag dieser Menschen zu schaffen.
“Mir gefällt die Idee von “Wheels 4 Life” so gut, dass ich unbedingt etwas für die Organisation auf die Beine stellen wollte”, erzählt der 25-jährige Fotograf, der selbst auch begeisterter Mountainbiker ist. Für die Umsetzung seiner Projektidee konnte er nicht nur den österreichischen MTB Trial Profi Tom Oehler, sondern auch “Wheels 4 Life” Gründer und Mountainbikelegende Hans Rey selbst gewinnen. “In der westlichen Welt ist das Fahrrad ein Sportgerät und Lifestyle-Produkt. Für Menschen in Entwicklungsländern ist es als Transportmittel oft der Schlüssel zu Bildung, Gesundheitswesen oder einem besseren Lebensunterhalt”, erklärt Hans Rey den Gedanken hinter seiner Organisation.
Anfang des Jahres reiste das Trio mit finanzieller Unterstützung von Sponsoren nach Guatemala, eines der ärmsten Länder Mittelamerikas. Neben dem Besuch eines Schulprojekts, das von “Wheels 4 Life” unterstützt wird, erkundete das Team einige Tage lang auf einem Abenteuertrip das Hochland Guatemalas mit dem Mountainbike und produzierte dabei faszinierendes Bildmaterial.
Zu sehen gibt es die Aufnahmen der Reise nun im Rahmen des Argus Bike Festivals am 11. und 12. April am Wiener Rathausplatz. Der Eintritt ist frei, der Verkaufserlös der Bilder und der Tombola sowie die Einnahmen aus freiwilligen Spenden werden zu hundert Prozent an “Wheels 4 Life” gespendet.
Für alle, die es an diesem Wochenende nicht zur Ausstellung schaffen, gibt es eine Auswahl der Bilder noch bis Ende April im “LOFT Café” in Wien zu sehen. Dort findet am 30. April beim “Trailfest” des Vereins “Wienerwald Trails” auch die Abschlussveranstaltung der Ausstellung mit der Tombola-Losziehung statt.Ausstellungsinfos
11. und 12. April 2015, Argus Bikefestival, Rathausplatz Wien
13. bis 30. April 2015, “The LOFT Café” Wien, Lerchenfeldergürtel 37
freiwillige Spenden zugunsten von “Wheels 4 Life”
beim Argus Bikefestival und anschließend im “The LOFT Café” Wien bis 30. April 2015
30. April 2015 beim “Trailfest” der “Wienerwald Trails”, “The LOFT Café”
Eintritt: Vorverkauf € 5,00, Abendkasse € 7,00
Long time Wheels 4 Life supporter and bicycle components manufacturer crankbrothers is participating in 2015 in the Laguna Beach Artwalk which happens on the first thursday of every month. Different bicycle related artists, photographers and painters will showcase and sell their artwork at the crankbrothers Outlet Shop at the headquarters in downtown Laguna Beach. Proceeds of each artpiece sold will be donated to Wheels 4 Life. Come join the exhibition and hospitality starting March 5th from 6 – 9pm at 580 Broadway, Laguna Beach, CA