Chris Vogts’ cycling friends plan to pedal around Lake Monona on Friday evening, in a memorial to the red-bearded adventurer killed near the end of a solo bike tour from Madison to New Orleans.
Vogts, 25, left Madison on Jan. 23, fully prepared with gear and experience for the long journey to join friends in the south. He was killed Friday night, when a van hit him on U.S. Highway 61, near Blakely, Miss. The crash is being investigated by the Mississippi State Highway Patrol.
Originally from DeForest, Vogts moved to Madison after high school and found work as a mechanic at the Budget Bicycle Center, on Regent St. He impressed his co-workers with his mechanical skill, happy demeanor and passion for cycling.
“He had a Bohemian kind of view on life,” said Hank Disch, the bike shop’s manager and a friend of Vogts’. “He loved traveling, seeing the world, meeting people. He would go on a couple long bike trips every year, and come back from that refreshed. It’s really sad, but there’s a little bit of beauty in that he was doing what he loved when he died.”
Genuine, quiet and hard-working, Vogts gathered friends across the country during his epic bike tours. He never let obstacles or excuses “override his mission of fun,” said Chris (Wienerstick) Gefvert, a friend and traveling companion.
Gefvert is preparing to speak at Vogts’ funeral, which starts at 7 p.m. Friday in the Gunderson East Funeral Home, 5203 Monona Drive, Madison. A visitation will precede the service, starting at 4 p.m. More details can be found here.
“There’s really nothing we can do to memorialize him correctly, so we’re just going to do as much as we can,” said Gefvert, who is helping to organize the post-funeral ride.