Introducing the Wisconsin Bicycling Hall of Fame and Gala

When Otto Wenz passed last year, we published a memorial story on our blog and in our magazine detailing all he had done for cycling, but it just didn’t feel like we did enough. It felt like we should have a more permanent way of recognizing Otto for everything he did to make Wisconsin bike racing world class. Then when Chris Kegel was diagnosed with stage-four cancer last summer, we started discussing a hall of fame or museum as a way to formally honor Chris, Otto and the many other bicycling luminaries whose selfless and tireless efforts have helped make Wisconsin cycling so special.

With that, we are proud to announce the Wisconsin Bicycling Hall of Fame, a new program managed by the Bike Fed. Initially the Hall of Fame will be housed in the Pedal Milwaukee building, home to the Bike Fed’s office and community bike shop, Velobahn Coffee, and Team Sports, Inc. The location will also include a small Wisconsin Bicycling Hall of Fame museum, with plaques and memorabilia for each inductee and historically significant vintage bicycles on display. The inductees will also be recognized on the Hall of Fame website at

Our inductees will be Otto Wenz (Sport), Chris Kegel (Industry) and Phil Van Valkenberg (Advocacy).

Inaugural Wisconsin Bicycling Hall of Fame Gala

Friday, May 5th, at 6 p.m.

The Italian Community Center

Get Tickets or Make a Donation Here »

 The first 100 tickets are discount priced at $100 (essentially our cost), after those are gone prices go up to $150. Table sponsorships available at $2,000 (includes one table of 10), $3,500 (includes one table of 10), $5,000 (includes two tables of 8) and $10,000 (includes three tables of 10)

Each year, inductees will be chosen for their leadership in one of three categories: advocacy, industry or sport, and for their significant contributions to competitive, recreational or utilitarian cycling. The Bike Fed will host an annual Hall of Fame Gala each spring for the new inductees and to help raise funds to support the Hall of Fame program and Wisconsin cycling. Each inductee will be recognized with a photo relief plaque that will be on display in the museum, along with some photographs and memorabilia.

The mission of the Wisconsin Bicycling Hall of Fame is to honor those who have made significant contributions to bicycling in our state, document their accomplishments for posterity, and inspire future generations to build on the work of those who came before them.

Our first Wisconsin Bicycling Hall of Fame Gala will be Friday, May 5th, with a 6pm reception and 7:30pm dinner and program. Our inaugural inductees will be Otto Wenz (Sport), Chris Kegel (Industry) and Phil Van Valkenberg (Advocacy). The event is being held at the Italian Community Center and will be catered by Bartolotta Catering Company. It is a very special night not to be missed!

Later this summer we will have a grand opening for the physical location of the Hall of Fame and museum after the construction is completed for Velobahn Coffee Shop and our new first floor offices and community bike shop in the Pedal Milwaukee building, just off the Hank Aaron State Trail in the Silver City neighborhood on Milwaukee’s near south side.

Below we have outlined some of the procedures and timeline for nominating individuals to the Hall of Fame and the selection procedure.


Nomination & Selection Procedures

Inductees are selected from one of three categories:

  • Advocacy: Individuals whose efforts have resulted in significant improvements in bicycle infrastructure or safety education or whose efforts have encouraged more people to ride.
  • Industry: Business owners and members of the state bicycle industry who have contributed to the growth of the industry, advancement of cycling technology and/or supported advocacy, sport and charity.
  • Sport: Those who have advanced the sport through contributions in the areas of equipment, coaching, and overall promotion of the competitive sport.

Authority to Nominate:

Anyone can nominate a candidate, but they must provide supporting documentation of the nominee’s accomplishments in order for the nominee to be considered for placement on the ballot. Please be as complete as possible and document major accomplishments. A list of what are considered a nominee’s top 10 accomplishments is a good start. Submitted documents will not be returned and are retained as part of the Hall of Fame’s archives. Please submit copies of materials you wish to keep.

The nominees will then be reviewed and chosen by the Inductee Selection Committee, made up of representatives from our state bicycle industry, the racing community and local advocates.

Nominees not chosen will be held and may be inducted in future years.

Members of the selection committee may also nominate individuals.


Nominating Process:

Complete submissions must be received by January 30th for consideration for the year submitted.

The Inductee Selection Committee may ask for more detailed documents and information for a submission, which may delay consideration until the following year’s ballot.

The Inductee Selection Committee will attempt to chose an inductee from each of the three categories each year, but that is not a requirement. There may be years when some individuals from one or two categories are selected, or years when more than one person from a single category is selected.

The inductees will be announced the first Monday in April, with a formal induction ceremony and gala later in the Spring.. Individual tickets can be purchased in advance online from the Wisconsin Bike Fed. Sponsorships and corporate table purchases will also be available for the event.

Get Tickets and Donate Here »


About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

3 thoughts on “Introducing the Wisconsin Bicycling Hall of Fame and Gala

  1. Phil Van Valkenberg is a great choice. The Fat Tire Tour of Milwalkee is epic and has been around for 30 years or so. Phil was still riding in it last year.

  2. I cannot think of three individuals more deserving of this recognition . During my years of cycling, their names were mentioned almost weekly, when it came to supporting bicycling in some way shape or form . I knew Chris and Otto on a personal level, and as the years passed, my admiration for their efforts was cemented in my psyche . They will never be forgotten, and this award will make it so . Thanks to all three inductees from one grateful ” Road Scholar ” !

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