photos by Bill Freeman
Hans Rey’s annual fundraiser in his adopted hometown of Laguna Beach, California, is about as close to a black-tie affair that the mountain-bike industry can muster. And this year, once again, tickets sold out as 180 friends and supporters of the legendary trials and adventure rider came together to help raise $58,000 for Rey’s Wheels 4 Life foundation.
Guests, which included fellow riders Richie Schley and Darren Berrecloth and representatives from Rey’s longtime sponsors like GT Bicycles and Crankbrothers, mingled at the outdoor venue at the Ranch T golf course in Laguna Beach sipping cocktails and bid on silent auction items that ranged from new mountain bikes to art and jewelry to tickets to Hollywood movie premier.
During dinner, Rey and his wife Carmen, who organizes the fundraiser every year, screened the new Wheels 4 Life film “Riding Out of Poverty.”
“Immediately after the film I addressed our audience and asked them if anyone would like to join the Wheels 4 Life family and help change four lives through the gift of a bicycle by pledging to buy a bicycle right here and now. The result was phenomenal. Just from this we were able to raise enough money to buy 90 bikes. We had 181 guests, just goes to show how generous and giving people are,” Carmen said.
That was followed by a live auction, dancing to the sounds of Nick-I Hernandez of Common Sense and his band A.D.D.
Post dinner our guests perused the silent auction offerings, caught up with friends and danced to Nick-i Hernadez and ADD.
“The atmosphere felt incredible, it seemed like everyone was having a good time and the result: Enough to buy 530 bicycles, which equals 2,120 people having a better life thanks to the gift of a bike,” Carmen said.
Rey started Wheels 4 Life in 2006 and has since delivered–sometimes by hand–more than 6,300 bikes to people in 20 developing countries that help locals travel to work, school or to seek medical care. For more information, go to www.wheels4life.org.