Leah Benson Recognized with Londonderry Award
The Londonderry Award recognizes bicycle industry professionals who work to encourage, promote, and develop women’s cycling and women in the cycling industry. This year’s Londonderry Award recipient is Leah Benson, owner of Gladys Bikes in Portland, OR.
Born from Benson’s desire to provide a welcoming space for women, trans, and femme folks, Gladys Bikes operates as a full-service repair and sales shop known just as much for its comprehensive Saddle Library as its inclusive environment. With a manifesto that includes statements such as, “You fit in here. We promise,” Benson continues to stand out as a leading figure in generating more awareness about WTF cyclists.
“In my original business plan for the shop, there was no talk about buying strategies, profits, long-term growth, or the like. Instead, the bulk of the 10+ page document outlined how the shop would work to encourage more women to ride, how we could develop a space that respected folks of all gender expressions, and how we would use bikes as a tool for personal empowerment and community building. Four years later, I now understand that we also have to turn a profit, but am still just as committed to cultivating a business with a purpose that goes beyond dollars and cents. And so, I’m beyond honored to have that aspect of the work of Gladys recognized. This means more than hitting any sales goal ever could,” says Benson.
Saris Wins Vendor of the Year
QBP’s Vendor of the Year Award is presented to companies and brands that not only have a strong partnership with QBP, but have worked with the company to both serve bike shops and advance the cycling industry. This year, the QBP Vendor of the Year Award goes to Saris.
Since its inception in 1989, Saris has been committed to keeping the independent bicycle retailer at the forefront of everything it does. Whether it be through community involvement, best-in-class dealer margins and marketing, or new innovative product, Saris is a prime example of a brand that is painting a bright future for independent bicycle retailers.
“When we look at our industry and the community, we’ve been very successful as a company and we’re fortunate individually, and with that comes responsibility to give back, whether that’s to the cycling community or the Madison community,” says Saris founder, Chris Fortune.
With community efforts ranging from the Saris Gala, to its involvement with organizations like People for Bikes, Saris’ presence in Madison, WI along with its presence in the greater bike community has contributed to safer cycling infrastructure and increased awareness of cyclists. Few other companies have the same ability to think globally and act locally on the scale that Saris has achieved.