Photos by Bill Freeman
The Southern California bike industry turned out in the hundreds last Friday night to support Wheels 4 Life, the nonprofit organization of mountain-bike luminary and Laguna Beach, California, local Hans Rey. Similar to other industry nonprofits, Wheels 4 Life provides bicycles to villagers in developing countries, mostly in Africa, in hopes of improving the quality of life. The bicycle allows locals a quicker, more efficient method to get to work or school, or to transport goods, everyday tasks that could otherwise only be done by foot.
Friday night’s charity gala, held at the Aliso Creek Golf Course in Laguna Beach, raised $50,000—enough to buy at least 500 bikes—and brought out 240 supporters including industry folks from Rey sponsors GT, Crankbrothers and Oakley, and several of the sport’s other big names, like Troy Lee, Brian Lopes and Richie Schley.
The crowd bid on silent and live auction items including a brand-new Ibis Tranny, Burton snowboard, art, spa packages, a SRAM XX1 group, Oakley sunglasses and signed memorabilia and gear from the Foo Fighters, tennis star John McEnroe, Phil Mickelson and Rey himself. For the high rollers, lodging packages in Umbria and Livigno, Italy, and Laguna Beach were up for grabs.
The evening’s entertainment started performance by longtime Orange County reggae band Common Sense, and ended with a rowdy set from Chevy Metal, a cover band headed by Foo Fighters’ drummer Taylor Hawkins, who grew up in Laguna Beach.
Friday’s event was Wheels 4 Life’s first big fundraiser gala, and Carmen Rey said she was pleased with how the night turned out.
“I had a very clear idea of how I wanted things to look and the atmosphere we wanted to create. Putting everything into place was a lot of work, but ultimately very worth it. It was wonderful to see so many people looking glamorous and gorgeous, both the men and the women, looking around it appeared that every one was having a lot of fun,” she said. “We are keeping our fingers crossed that some people that had never heard of Wheels 4 Life went home feeling inspired to support us in the future and that those who have already supported us, will continue to do so.”