CHICAGO, IL (BRAIN)—“If the top candidate for the key leadership position in the world is willing to meet with people from our industry, you don’t say 'sorry' that I’m on vacation,” said Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong.
Blumenthal, who will attend tonight’s fundraising event in Chicago for Barack Obama, had been riding bikes in France with his wife to celebrate their wedding anniversary. He only learned of the event several days ago.
Blumenthal flew from France to Chicago today and will leave late tonight to return to France and complete his vacation. “I look at this a tremendous opportunity for the industry,” he said.
Upwards of 10 members from the 18-member board of Bikes Belong will be at the Obama fundraiser being held at F.K. Day’s home in downtown Chicago. Day is co-founder and executive vice president of SRAM. To emphasize the industry’s unity at tonight’s event, Kozo Shimano, the board’s president, is also attending.
Blumenthal said the timing of tonight’s event couldn’t be better. “It’s only a week after he won the nomination and right now the media is looking at everything he’s doing,” he said. “I look at this a really great opportunity to discuss cycling’s potential for the nation.
“I can’t even think of a time when a presidential candidate ever met with leaders of the industry,” said Blumenthal. He added that he would hope a similar meeting could be arranged with Republican nominee, John McCain.
Tonight’s event begins at 7 p.m. Obama is expected to give a brief speech focused on cycling and then meet and answer questions from members of the industry. Many in the industry are interested in Obama’s views on cycling and its relationship to issues like health, transportation, energy and environmental policy.
Attendance is expected to top 100 people, most of whom will pay or help raise $2,300 for Obama’s presidential campaign. For information on how to contribute to tonight’s fundraiser go to: https://donate.barackobama.com/page/contribute/june12Chicago.