Just Look at What You’ve Done

02.2.2012 | 12:30 pm

Last July, Johan Bruyneel and I kicked off a ridiculously ambitious fundraiser: The Grand Slam for Zambia. The idea was as simple as it was big: raise enough money for World Bicycle Relief to buy kids in Zambia 1000 bikes. We offered a huge number of great prizes as well as a pretty noble carrot: by donating $134, you’d be buying a kid the opportunity at a vastly improved life.

Oh, and we had a cool logo, too:


The thing is, it’s not like the economy was great last year, so I was a little doubtful as to whether we’d hit that goal of $134,000.

Which just goes to show: I am stupid.

Because when all was said and done, you raised $158,791.00. Almost $25,000 more than the outrageous goal we had set.

Honestly, I get choked up thinking about the generosity of you people. I do. Thank you for being the kind of people who, when given the chance to do something good, take that opportunity and go way beyond what was asked of you.

Today, I wanted to show you the beginnings of the results of what you’ve done. Katie (you should read her story), the Grassroots Development Director of World Bicycle Relief, visited Zambia to deliver the first 340 of the bikes we bought, and brought back some fantastic video.

First, a short video of her with the bikes, talking a little about what she’s doing:

But the more important part is her, here, telling the kids about the bikes she’s delivering:

I love the fact that she’s wearing a 100 Miles of Nowhere t-shirt as she’s making this presentation. And I love even more how the kids react when they hear my name.

But what I love most is the fact that those kids, in that school, in that video, right now, have a better chance at a good life because of something we did. Something you did.

Here, take a look at a few of Katie’s pictures from this trip:





Again, thank you.

Meeting WBR

When I was in Chicago (for my day job) a few weeks ago, I got a chance to meet some of the WBR people in person:


Left to right, that’s Katie, Leah (Co-Founder of WBR), and F.K. (Co-Founder of WBR). They showed me around the SRAM / WBR headquarters (WBR was created by SRAM and they share office space):


I love that the little bike test track at SRAM has all kinds of skid marks on it.

We had dinner together, and talked about what we’re doing and what good luck we have to be in the position to help people out, not to mention be surrounded by people who are willing — happy, even — to join us and do soemthing for people who need it.

By the end of dinner, I knew for absolutely positively sure that there would be a second Grand Slam for Zambia.

I’m thinking we’ll call it Grand Slam II: This Time It’s Personal.

Or something like that.

Going to Zambia

The other thing we talked about was that they wanted me to go to Zambia with them, as soon as possible. To see what these bikes we bought are doing. So I can come home and tell the story.

We’re working on the timing, but it’ll be soonish. I’m looking forward to telling these kids about how hundreds and hundreds of people who I don’t know and they don’t know bought bikes, so those kids could see how amazing and important and life-changing bikes can be.

Again — and again and again — thank you. You people are the best. And I mean that.


  1. Comment by zeeeter | 02.2.2012 | 12:37 pm

    Just sorry I could only contribute enough for one bike. Grand Slam II, sounds like I’m on the hook for at least two bikes this year!

  2. Comment by Eric Finn | 02.2.2012 | 12:46 pm

    Now this is the post I’ve been waiting to see since you started this campaign! I love it!

  3. Comment by Liz | 02.2.2012 | 12:47 pm

    Yay! Can’t wait for your trip report. I’m sure those kids will love meeting you in person even more. Katie is an inspiration, too. Excellent news!

  4. Comment by Gr8fulOne | 02.2.2012 | 12:48 pm

    This is great!
    Additionally, don’t we have huge needs and a responsibility to this country (USA) ?
    Kids in all of our cities need to increase activity, get outside, get educated on safety and helmet use and have a larger family focus on a healthy lifestyle.
    Just my two cents

  5. Comment by blair | 02.2.2012 | 12:48 pm

    yup. skid marks on the test track make me all verklempt, too.

    i’m gonna pretend i’m tying my shoes at my desk for the next few minutes.

  6. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 02.2.2012 | 1:09 pm

    Still waiting to see you(Fatty) riding your WBR Bike on the Alpine Loop. Maybe that will be our condition for Grand Slam II.

    Oh! and when I say Alpine Loop, I mean uphill too. Not just coasting.

    And if you want to tackle a domestic (not domestique) challenge take a look at Trips for Kids; http://www.tripsforkids.org/

    Maybe we could initiate a ‘Fatty Chapter’

  7. Comment by pgreen | 02.2.2012 | 1:16 pm

    Great Follow up. So cool to see the impact this has on kids that are half a world away.

  8. Comment by Rollo | 02.2.2012 | 1:25 pm

    It is so nice to see the bikes being delivered and shortly after our donations. Thank you for posting this! I loved their smiles and the laughter responding to “the fat cyclist”.

  9. Comment by melicious | 02.2.2012 | 1:54 pm

    Pure awesomeness!

  10. Comment by MattC | 02.2.2012 | 2:34 pm

    Wow. Just Wow.

    Fatty, my friend, YOU sir are a WORLD SHAKER. You were obviously put here to make a difference, and you are doing just that. I’m quite proud to be a even a tiny part of this!

  11. Comment by crossboy | 02.2.2012 | 2:35 pm

    Gr8ful — there is definitely a need, but one of the focal points of WBR is that the bicycle is “culturally appropriate” — in a country in which legislatures are slashing funding to support Safe Routes to School and greenways, how “culturally appropriate” is it to propose we give bikes to kids here in the U.S.? My own kids need to be bused less than 2 miles b/c the roads aren’t safe in my community — in fact, the school district discourages bike riding!

  12. Comment by dude | 02.2.2012 | 2:43 pm

    Hi everyone! I’m a troll!

    [Original comment edited for clarity and honesty. - FC]

  13. Comment by Laura S | 02.2.2012 | 2:46 pm

    Great post and great feedback on the fundraiser. It’s so great to see the success of it, and I can’t wait to see your Zambia report!

  14. Comment by bacmapei | 02.2.2012 | 2:53 pm

    An excellent update on a great project. Did bike donors get their sticker in the mail? It is a nice memento of the challenge. Looking forward to reading more about round two.

  15. Comment by vending machine | 02.2.2012 | 3:09 pm

    This is great! Bikes are such a good way for people all around the world to get around – healthy, eco-friendly, and, best of all, fun!

    I have one question/concern – is there going to be any follow-up to make sure that the bikes are able to stay in good repair and that there will be extra parts to go around?

    WBR trains mechanics as well as distributes bikes, and parts are available too. It’s astonishing really how well-thought-out this program is. – FC

  16. Comment by Carl | 02.2.2012 | 3:20 pm

    Fatty, Remind everyone to keep plugging their mileage into the Plus 3 site. I usually don’t even make the list at the end of the month, but I’ve still paid for 2 bikes through it.

  17. Comment by Nancy_in_MN | 02.2.2012 | 3:27 pm

    Thanks you for this post, Elden. It makes me happy! Can’t wait for the trip report(s)! Surely there will be more than one report necessary.

  18. Comment by Lulea | 02.2.2012 | 3:58 pm

    There was mention of helping those in the US as well. If you are in the Seattle area there is a great bike program in Seattle for disadvantaged youth. Check out Bike Works. http://www.bikeworks.org

  19. Comment by Dave T | 02.2.2012 | 4:12 pm

    Wow great post fatty. Looking forward to your trip report should be fantastic and I can’t wait for Grand Slam 2.
    @Gr8fulOne This charity http://www.kidsonbikes.net/ focus on bikes for kids in the USA.

  20. Comment by Mike from Melbourne | 02.2.2012 | 4:21 pm

    Team Fatty shows once again that we are awesome!
    As Carl said above, keep updating your mileage into the Plus 3 site, it all adds up.

  21. Comment by Yukirin Boy | 02.2.2012 | 4:22 pm

    Thank you Fatty for the post.
    It is wonderful to see all the smiling faces and to know we all can make a difference.

  22. Comment by Mark J. | 02.2.2012 | 4:29 pm

    Man that kid’s smile is worth a million bucks.

  23. Comment by Rob W | 02.2.2012 | 4:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing Fatty!

  24. Comment by Clydesteve | 02.2.2012 | 4:42 pm

    @dude – nice. You know that old western song: O Give Me a Home ?

    You know the part about where never is heard a discouraging word?

    Well I didn’t think of you in that part.

  25. Comment by Clydesteve | 02.2.2012 | 4:43 pm

    Elden – wow, man. This is great!

  26. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 02.2.2012 | 4:50 pm

    Fatty? Is there a UCI Label on these bikes? Do we need one? Can we get another letter from Mr. McQuaid?

  27. Comment by Gr8fulOne | 02.2.2012 | 4:56 pm

    All valid considerations and these are the challenges we face. I think the Safe Routes funding is in the process of getting slashed as well. So sad.
    Don’t get me wrong…this is great work (go Fatty et al!).
    In the end, I always think that in order to improve the neighborhood, you have to start with your own yard.

    I like to help both locally and globally. I think some people have preferences and opinions on this matter, and luckily there’s enough work to go around that everyone can pretty much go with their preference. Like local? Help local. Like global? Help global. Got a lot of money? help that way. Got no money but can make some time? That’s even more helpful than money a lot of the time. – FC

  28. Comment by Anonymous | 02.2.2012 | 6:09 pm

    The difference is that I’m thinking you can AFFORD to buy your kids a $300 bicycle. You have the means, the capability and the ease to do it w probably negligible affect on your lifestyle. Granted, we do struggle w the infrastructure tremendously.
    That being said, the SRTS directly affects me and my income and it stinks for every walking and bicycling person in the United States.
    Regarding maintenance- I believe the local people are taught to repair them.

  29. Comment by Nurse Betsy | 02.2.2012 | 8:43 pm

    Love seeing this. I have seen other WBR videos on You Tube. Such joy on the kids faces.

  30. Comment by AustinSteve (aka Captain Steve) | 02.2.2012 | 10:37 pm

    @bacmapei, I got a nice card from WBR, but no sticker. Did you get one? Maybe we bought too many bikes and they had to use them all on those?! That would be a excellent tradeoff.

    I’m not sure on the sticker status. I’ll check. – FC

  31. Comment by Ian | 02.3.2012 | 12:12 am

    This is the best blog ever

  32. Comment by PeckishCyclist | 02.3.2012 | 12:42 am

    Unbelievable. Thanks, Fatty, for getting us organized. This is amazing.

  33. Comment by eclecticdeb | 02.3.2012 | 1:46 am

    Thank you Fatty, for showing us exactly where our money went. It’s not often you can donate to a cause and see tangible results.

    I’ve been lucky enough to go to Zambia (and Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa) — I was humbled by how gracious the people are, and how they find happiness wherever they can — despite terrible hardships. I’m glad I was a small part of this wonderful cause.

    @dude: I really feel bad for you. Only someone who is deeply unhappy with themselves, and/or is terribly ignorant would make such a stupid comment.

  34. Comment by GenghisKhan | 02.3.2012 | 8:23 am

    Awesome and definitely inspiring–thanks for sharing the follow up!

    @eclecticdeb, excellent observation on the troll!

  35. Comment by World Bicycle Relief | 02.3.2012 | 10:46 am

    Quick Note to our Grand Slam for Zambia supporters:

    Thank you once again for your incredible enthusiasm and for sharing The Power of Bicycles. For everyone who donated $134 or more, rest assured we haven’t forgotten our promise. In fact, we have a special surprise which is why it has taken longer than expected for your stickers to arrive. Let’s just say, your gift will be accompanied by some rather special signatures when it reaches you. Thanks for your patience and thank you again for meeting this awesome challenge. Your impact is truly life-changing!

  36. Comment by Kathy Brown | 02.3.2012 | 10:56 am

    Fatty, I feel sure that you have been told this more than once but I want to reiterate that you are a very special person. Yes, everyone that donated are special also, but you, you have the gift,desire, love and fortitude to see these projects through. I believe that everyone has their own mission in life and few either act upon it or don’t realize it. You know your mission and act on it. Bravo.

  37. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 02.3.2012 | 12:40 pm

    @troll gives us something both disappointing and encouraging in the same post.

    Disappointing: Ignorance, prejudice, and meanness have no place on Team Fatty.

    Encouraging: He is massively outnumbered!!!!

    Wife#1 says industry standard is approximately 70% positive 30% negative within ‘comments’ sections online. I believe we hit a somewhat higher bar!

  38. Comment by blair | 02.3.2012 | 1:30 pm

    just read World Bicycle Relief’s comment and, well, here i go tying my shoes for an inordinate length of time, again.

    i need to stop coming in to work if this is going to keep happening.

  39. Comment by Skippy | 02.3.2012 | 2:24 pm

    Picked up Johann’s tweet and delighted that your effort was so successful ! Johann may RT a tweet about “The Times ” who have started a Safety campaign for Cyclists in London as a result of a colleague being hospitalised by a truck ! Sunday there is a Cycle campaign get together as advised on the ” Thecyclingsilk blog ” !
    Would be great to see ” Fatty Cycling Shirts ” on the front page of ” THE THUNDERER ” ! No doubt they would refer to the “Grand Slam for ZAMBIA ” in that story !

    Good luck with year 2 , i guess it will become an annual event perhaps as well known as the other charity ” LiveSTRONG ” !

  40. Comment by ScottR | 02.3.2012 | 4:54 pm

    This is beautiful stuff. Glad to have been given the opportunity to be a (very) tiny part of it.

  41. Comment by Lonster | 02.3.2012 | 7:21 pm

    It was nice to make a difference even if just one bike. Congratulations on making a huge difference in the lives of many Zambians.

  42. Comment by Heidi | 02.4.2012 | 1:50 am


  43. Comment by Nurse Betsy | 02.4.2012 | 1:12 pm

    Hey Fatty, nice edit on the troll!

  44. Comment by The Outspoken Cyclist | 02.4.2012 | 2:02 pm

    So, if you don’t ask you never receive and when you have an open and honest heart… well the Universe just opens up and pours good things into it.

    Congratulations… great job!


    Diane Lees
    The Outspoken Cyclist
    WJCU 88.7FM

  45. Comment by daddyo | 02.4.2012 | 6:12 pm


    congrats on a tremendous achievement. have you considered giving slightly fewer bikes but giving a malaria net with each bike. zambia has worked at decreasing malaria related deaths with most of the success attributed to malaria nets. “Nothing but nets” can put a net into some one’s hands for about 10 bucks. might be a strategic partnerhip. again, congrats on this astounding achievements (with thanks obviously to those who so unselfishlessly contributed.).

  46. Comment by MattC | 02.5.2012 | 5:26 am

    Had to go back and peek at the ‘edit’…NICE Fatty! You indeed have a magic decoding ring..it’s SPOT ON!


  47. Comment by Jeff R | 02.5.2012 | 12:33 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing. Absolutely awesome! I’m so glad I could pay a small part in this and I’m proud as ever to be a member of Team Fatty.

  48. Comment by Dean | 02.5.2012 | 3:13 pm

    AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME! I have done some missionary work in Central America and Jamaica and the looks on the faces of the kids we help change you forever!! Great Work.

  49. Comment by muskyhunter | 02.5.2012 | 5:19 pm

    Thanks Fatty, for letting us “play” along with you…

  50. Comment by Spence | 02.6.2012 | 6:38 am

    Words fail. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  51. Comment by GrannyGear | 02.6.2012 | 2:02 pm

    In your wildest imagination did you ever think your little blog (okay: award winning, etc) would have the reach it has?
    Well done.

  52. Comment by cece | 02.6.2012 | 2:37 pm

    I was very moved to see all those bikes lined up en mass to give out. Again, tearing up at work! I think this is one of THE most worthwhile causes to give my money to.

    I am still logging in my workouts too at the +3Network site….thanks for sharing these videos and pics!

  53. Comment by Jack | 02.7.2012 | 12:24 pm

    A reader of my blog pointed this out to me. Our group has been involved with primary schools in Uganda where we have, among other things, provided bicycles for teachers (http://ujumbeugandas.blogspot.com/2011/06/ujumbe-redefined.html).

    Whatever I might think of our program, I am absolutely blown away by what you have done. Congratulations and thanks to you and all of your supporters.

  54. Comment by StephBDC | 02.8.2012 | 9:29 am

    Thanks to WBR and Fatty for providing the video and photos that make my small donation seem so much more powerful. The smiling faces really say everything about the power of bicycles. Looking forward to the next challenge!

  55. Comment by Susie H | 02.8.2012 | 6:02 pm

    Just the coolest thing in the whole world…thanks for sharing with us all!

  56. Comment by Jesse | 02.10.2012 | 12:40 am

    Happy to hear you’re planning on another. Any chance you’ll have donation via Paypal? I wasn’t able to donate in the last one due to some issue or other, can’t remember why–but Paypal would make it easier.


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