Grand Slam for Zambia II: This Time It’s Personal

11.6.2012 | 1:21 pm

A Note from Fatty: If you already know the details of what this is and how it works and are now ready to go donate, click here to go to the Grand Slam II Donation Page.

In the summer of 2011, I partnered up with World Bicycle Relief to try to do something big: raise enough money to buy 1000 bikes for kids in Zambia: $134,000. We called the project “Grand Slam for Zambia” (because 1000 = a “Grand” — get it?).

In the end, we wound up raising more than $158,000. I felt pretty good about that.

But then I went to Zambia for a few days and fundraising for these kids stopped being something I liked doing. This year, it’s something I need to do. Because I’ve seen exactly what an incredibly stand-up organization World Bicycle Relief is. And I’ve seen the astonishing change a single well-designed, well-built, bicycle makes in the lives of multiple people.

Here I am, giving one of the 1000+ bikes we bought for kids in Zambia:


When I gave this bike to this girl, her life was suddenly filled with new possibilities and opportunity. She’d be able to get to school in half an hour, instead of in two hours. She’d be able to bring water to her home quickly, and in one trip. She’d be able to help her neighbors. She’d be able to get to the market faster, carry more, and get home sooner.

Her father cried and shook my hand for at least a minute, saying “Thank you, thank you,” over and over.

I might have cried too.

So this year, I want to do more. A lot more. The I want to raise $250,000. A quarter million dollars.

You know what that will do? That will buy bikes for 1800 kids. And it will train 36 bike mechanics for employment (one mechanic for every 50 bikes). And it will outfit those mechanics with basic tools and supplies.

That’s 1836 lives, changed for the better in permanent, powerful ways. And we won’t just be tossing assistance out into the void. We’ll be jumpstarting a sustainable bicycle ecosystem for whole communities.

What are we going to call this project? Easy:

grand slam ii final_small.jpg

Your Money Counts Double

I know, $250,000 seems like a lot. It really does. But you know what? It isn’t impossible. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion we’re going to rocket right past $250,000. You see, during the months of November and December, World Bicycle Relief has found companies and individuals who have promised to match, dollar-for-dollar, our donations. So in order for us to get to $250,000, we actually need to raise only $125,000.

That’s quite a bit easier, isn’t it?

But I’ll still need your help.

I’m a Little Bit Overwhelmed by the Awesomeness of the Prizes I’ll Be Giving Away

Working with World Bicycle Relief, I have put together the most impressive slate of incentives I have ever built. There will be lots of big prizes (like some very nice bikes), small prizes, and experiences that you will definitely want to be a part of.

Over the next couple weeks (or so), I’ll be revealing what all of them are. The cool thing is, though, by donating now you are entered to win all of the prizes, including the ones I haven’t yet revealed.

P5220380.JPGToday though, let me tell you about one of the prizes that F.K. Day — The CEO of World Bicycle Relief (pictured at right) — and I dreamed up while we were riding our bikes together on a dirt road in Zambia.

“I wish more people could have this experience,” I said, talking about the trip I had just been on, seeing what a difference bikes make to people who otherwise have to get around on foot in a huge, spread-out place like Zambia.

“It’s incredible the way it hits you — how powerful a tool the bicycle is,” F.K. agreed.

“What if we brought at least some of the experience to the U.S.?” F.K. wondered. “Gave a few people the chance to see what it’s like to walk five miles, then ride that same five miles? To carry a bucket of water for a kilometer on foot versus on a bike?”

“We should do that,” I said. “Give people a sense of how these bikes feel, what a difference they make. Tell them stories about how peoples’ lives have changed while we ride with them.”

“Where do you think would be a good place to do this?” F.K. asked.

“How about Moab?” I replied. “The dirt roads there aren’t too different, it’s warm, it’s dry.”

And that’s how we came up with one of the many grand prizes we’re going to give away as part of this contest, which we call:

Africa In Moab

Three randomly chosen donors will have an all-expense paid (if you’re outside the U.S., you’re responsible for your own airfare to get into the U.S.) trip to the first-ever “Africa in Moab” adventure, where you’ll join F.K. and me as you build your own Buffalo bike — the exact same kind given out to kids in Zambia — and experience the power of bicycles firsthand.

Joining us from Africa will be Brian Moonga, Country Director of World Bicycle Relief Zambia, who is shown here using his mind to make a child’s hat levitate off his head:


Brian is one of the smartest, nicest people I’ve ever met, and is an amazing storyteller. He’s also an incredible Zambian success story, and the kind of guy who gets things done.

I asked WBR especially to send Brian here for this trip, and they were awesome enough to agree. If you’re one of the people lucky enough to win this prize, meeting Brian will be one of the highlights of your trip.

Between the lot of us, we’ll have enough pictures and stories to make you feel like you’ve been there. All without having to fly for 25 hours.

But you won’t be hanging out with just F.K., The Hammer, Brian and me. Nosirree. Mountain Bike Hall-of-Famer Greg Herbold will be there, too. In fact, as a Moab local, he’s volunteered to be party coordinator and to keep things fun.

And Western Spirit Cycling Adventures will be handling the logistiscs — setting up camp, handling food, taking care of shuttles, you name it.

And since this is going to be a prize we give out to three lucky winners, we’ll be able to customize the trip for you. For example, if you want to get out and do some mountain biking while you’re in Moab (and you’d be crazy not to), we’ll make time for it. More of a roadie? Well, Moab’s got some epic paved rides too.

Hikes? Sure.

Base jumping? Absolutely not. But you know, pretty much anything else. We’re going to do a lot, see a lot, learn a lot, and generally make this an amazing experience.

It’ll be this May (over the Memorial Day weekend, probably, so it’ll be easier for the winners to deal with days off, travel, etc.), and it’ll be incredible.

More Coming Soon

The three “Africa in Moab” prizes are just the beginning of the big prizes that will be on offer for this fundraiser. I’ll be talking about each of the many other prizes during the next few weeks.

I’ll also be posting a lot of stories about my trip to Zambia (yes, anticipation of this fundraiser is why I haven’t posted much about that trip ’til now).

What Your Donation Buys (Times 2!)

Of course the possibility of getting a prize is exciting, but the reason you’re donating is to make a massive difference in someone’s life.

  • Every $5 you donate, of course, gets you a chance at winning one of the many prizes that I’ll be rolling out.
  • Every $50 you donate buys a toolset for a mechanic to work on bikes
  • Every $134 you donate buys a bicycle and changes a persons life in a powerful way, plus you get bonus chances in the drawing.
  • Every $250 trains someone to be a bike mechanic, setting them up with a new employment opportunity, plus you get bonus chances in the drawing

Of course, any amount you donate is great, but I recommend donating $134 — the cost of a bicycle for a child. And remember, because you’ll be donating during November to December, your donation is being matched, which means when you donate $134 for a bike, it turns into two bikes. Like magic, but even better.

All you have to do to make a huge, permanent difference in someone’s life is donate here.

201211061209.jpgChristmas is Coming

Last year, a lot of people did something amazing. As Christmas gifts to their friends and family, they donated enough money to buy a bike for a girl in Zambia on their behalf.

This year, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to donate a bike on behalf of each of my sisters and parents. And anytime you donate $134 or more, World Bicycle Relief will help by sending a great-looking card to anyone you want. (I just tested it out by by a bike on behalf of The Hammer; I’m excited for her to get her card and message, and know for sure she’s going to be excited that I was thinking about her when I made a donation that will make a huge difference in a girl’s life.)

So. If you don’t know what to get someone for Christmas, do what I’m doing: make someone’s life vastly better on their behalf. (You’ll be given the option of what card to choose, who to send it to, and what message to include after you finish your donation.)

Which brings us to when this contest ends: Midnight, December 24.

Note: If you want to send cards out to different people, you need to do multiple donations.

The last little while has been an ugly time in cycling. It’s time for that to change. I’m excited to show thousands of people — quite literally — exactly how wonderful bikes and the people who love them are.

Thank you for your help.


  1. Comment by Eric Finn | 11.6.2012 | 1:32 pm

    Can you comment on the fact that this donation will not be tax deductible if we enter the contest? Do we have the option to not enter the contest if we wish to keep it deductible?

    Yes, it’s possible to donate without entering the contest to keep your donation tax-deductible. I’ve asked Katie Bolling, my liaison at WBR, to jump in and explain how, so check back in the comments later. – FC

  2. Comment by Jenni | 11.6.2012 | 1:45 pm

    I AM SO IN!!!!!!!! And I volunteer to help however I can. I’ll give weeks of my time to assist. Please ask early and often.

  3. Comment by Nick | 11.6.2012 | 1:48 pm

    WBR does great things. I’m glad to see your continued support.

    Anyone else still using Plus3 to turn your miles into money for WBR?


  4. Comment by ClydesDave | 11.6.2012 | 1:51 pm

    my company matches charitable donations to oganizations like this. how is it possible for me to donate thru my work and get WBR the funds (doubled!) while still getting entered into the drawings? i want to maximize all possible avenues for getting funds to you/WBR while giving me an oppty to have some fun with you and (hopefully) Brian in Moab!

    you are truly an inspiration, Fatty. it’s an honor to know you and follow your work – many thanks!

    I’ve thought about this. You should be able to get your company to match using whatever method you usually use. Once that registers, both yours and your company’s match will be matched. In other words, you have the power to have your donation effectively quadrupled, I think (WBR should jump in here if I’ve got this wrong). – FC

  5. Comment by AKChick55 | 11.6.2012 | 1:53 pm

    Yay!!! Another awesome and worthy contest!! Can’t wait to donate. Need to wait for payday. :) Glad it will run over multiple weeks so I can work my way up to an entire bike! Woot! Thanks Fatty and all the other generous folks who are making this happen! LOVE IT!

  6. Comment by GenghisKhan | 11.6.2012 | 2:13 pm

    Awesome! Also, double check your math–26 mechanics, not 260, right? 1300/50=26? Delete this comment as/when needed.

    You’re right, I bunged up the math. $250K actually gets us to 1800 bikes, + 36 field mechanics and 36 toolkits. Gonna fix that in my post right now. – FC

  7. Comment by blair | 11.6.2012 | 2:16 pm

    Donated a bike’s worth, and it didn’t cost me anything but money. In fact, if it’s like last year, I got back a lot more than the money was worth, and still do.

  8. Comment by Raph | 11.6.2012 | 2:21 pm

    One down… Hope my friends will enjoy the card.

    Thank you! – FC

  9. Comment by Clydesteve | 11.6.2012 | 2:30 pm

    Awesome deel-e-o, Fatty!!!

    (Psst – check the dangling sentence just prior to your bolded heading that starts with I’m a little bit Overwhelmed… – I think you got so overwhelmed you forgot to finish the sentence!

    Thanks, Steve! Fixed. These contest posts are a lot more complicated and involved to write than when I’m just telling a story. Easy to make a lot of mistakes as I write and re-write and add and edit. – FC

  10. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 11.6.2012 | 2:45 pm

    I hope your company is better than mine (we’ll leave the name out) Last year Wife#1 and I donated a passel of bikes with great expectations for my company’s match. The ‘decline’ letter stated they only matched when the services were in the US. (Gotta love the ‘Magic of Mxxx’s’)

    Enough of that!

    Great shout out to you Elden! My better half says we will be a little more restrained this year but you can count us in. Like AKChick the multiple payday timeline will come in handy.

    Will we hear about the groups matching so we can send our thanks by letter and/or patronage?

    I don’t know if the matching people / companies are anonymous. WBR, want to chime in on this? – FC

  11. Comment by Katie Bolling | 11.6.2012 | 3:17 pm

    Dear Team Fatty,
    My name is Katie and I have the honor of helping Fatty out on the World Bicycle Relief side with Grand Slam II. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to Fatty’s effort, please make a donation via the red button on World Bicycle Relief’s home page and then email me your receipt to
    I will then ensure that your donation is added to Fatty’s thermometer total. As for the generous folks who created our matching pool: this group is made up of the members of World Bicycle Relief’s Board of Directors along with some other generous supporters of our cause. We will be happy to forward any/all thanks to them!
    Thanks for supporting Fatty’s effort on our behalf. It’s an honor to have him — and all of you — creating this BIG impact in rural Africa. Feel free to email me directly if you have any other questions about our work. Thank you!

  12. Comment by phil | 11.6.2012 | 3:50 pm

    Hi Fatty,
    really glad to see what an impact you had on these children’s lives last year with the awesome amount of fundraising everyone did. I also saw which is great to see that part of the fund raising goes towards training mechanics and getting them toolkits to do the work.

    My question which i hope you don’t mind me asking is how does all this good work help keep people on bikes once you’ve donated them. Who helps the kids when they require a new inner tube or a new tire or new brake pads. With a per captia of of 1,400 $/year a $3 inner tube is almost a days wage for someone in Zambia. As you can see all over the world it is easier to get the money to build a large infrastructure project but not the money to maintain it which is often a fraction of the original costs. I’m curious to see how this is accouted for, i’ve probably not read it through well enough, so apologies if you explained it already.

    Anyways keep up the great blog and all the fantastic fund raising you do.

    That’s a great question and I actually saw the answer in action. It’s a wonderful story but you’ll have to wait a few days for me to tell it. For now, let me tell you that these bikes are built to use way less consumable parts than the bikes you and I ride. No brake pads or cables, for example — coaster brakes instead. And no cassettes — these are singlespeeds. The other part is that the field mechanics do a ton of “make do” repairs, and do a lot of the fixes using used parts to keep things inexpensive, and pricing happens often with the barter system. – FC

  13. Comment by ScottR | 11.6.2012 | 3:53 pm

    “Like magic, but even better.” <- An excellent description of this project.

    I agree! – FC

  14. Comment by Chris | 11.6.2012 | 4:47 pm

    We’ll be glad to help out again, I like this organization.

    ps. I wore my LS orange/black Team Fatty jersey at the Texas Mamma Jamma ride against breast cancer last week, had several people ask me about it, where they could get it, hope they found your blog.

  15. Comment by Janine | 11.6.2012 | 5:48 pm

    Donated last year and I really appreciated WBR’s follow up – this seems like a fantastic organization.

    Stupid questions, related to the draw:
    (1) if we give a gift to a friend, are we in the draw or is the friend?
    (2) how do you (Fatty) know that we have donated and how many $5 increments (i.e. how do you (Fatty) determine how many entries go to whom?


    1. You.
    2. I run a report that has names and amounts for all donors, then go crazy with Excel and – FC

  16. Comment by Les | 11.6.2012 | 5:55 pm

    Can we donate using paypal?

  17. Comment by Katie Bolling | 11.6.2012 | 6:10 pm

    @Les – We process donations via all major credit cards but not via paypal.
    @Janine – If you give a gift to a friend, YOU will be entered in the drawing not the friend. I will let Fatty comment on his tracking system but he’s got a great system that tracks everything well and WBR helps with this, too!

  18. Comment by Kit Cischke | 11.6.2012 | 8:56 pm

    One really cool thing that’s happening is being driven by some faculty and students out of Michigan Technological University (my alma mater and current employer). A friend and racing teammate helped start a company based in Kenya called “Baisikeli Ugunduzi”, which roughly translates to “Modern Bicycle” in Swahili. They developed the Milele tube – the “Forever Tube” that costs about $10 but never flats. You can find out more details at:

  19. Comment by Terry Barnes | 11.6.2012 | 10:46 pm

    Thats cool, I remember last year and it was an awesome fundraiser. I’ll be donating and could care less about the prize. Ok, I care a little. I’m actually going to visit World Bicycle Relief tomorrow to talk about them and our fundraiser that cycles across north america to fight poverty to see if we can help each other. Sea to Sea is the project, we raised over $2 million in 2008 and are going to give it another try in 2013.

  20. Comment by Mark & Karen | 11.6.2012 | 11:04 pm

    Since it’s Grand Slam II, I think we will have to give two bikes this year. Thanks for this great opportunity!

  21. Comment by PaulW | 11.7.2012 | 3:08 am

    What a great cause and easy decision to donate! Thanks Fatty!

  22. Comment by Triflefat | 11.7.2012 | 6:17 am

    Like Nick, I still upload to Plus 3 for WBR, but there seems to be a distinct lack of Elden Nelsons on the leader-board. That seems strange considering the epic amount of riding you’ve been doing.

    Are you still on Team Fatty on Plus 3 Fatty?

    Has there been any calculating of the effectiveness of Team Fatty on Plus 3? Have we raised money for many additional bikes?

    BTW I’m in for the Zambia challenge again.

  23. Comment by Christina | 11.7.2012 | 8:45 am

    Man, I’d pay good money to attend the winning prize in Moab. Any thought to a fundraising event?

    I also am a plus3er who’s been raising money throughout the year. I’m closing in on one bike purchased and made the leaderboard in June. I felt really proud of that. You guys are hard to compete with!

  24. Comment by Daniel.weise | 11.7.2012 | 9:02 am

    Awesome! Such a great cause and great effort by you Fatty! I’m definitely in again this year.

    I too am still logging the miles (as few as they are) on Plus3 and I too wonder why I don’t see any miles from Elden or Lisa! I figure every little bit helps.

    Keep up the good work Fatty!

  25. Comment by Dave T | 11.7.2012 | 9:24 am

    World Bicycle Relief is a fantastic origination. I’m in for a few more bikes. Thank you Fatty for once again doing good things.

  26. Comment by Angie G | 11.7.2012 | 10:03 am

    FC- Will there be a bike delivery in Zambia again in 2013? If so, would it be possible to pay our own way to participate?

    MattC, GregC and I were talking about this a few months back. We all love Fatty (you), WBR and have been dying to visit Africa. It would be like a Fatty Trifecta. :-)

    I was one of those that purchased bikes as stocking stuffers for my kids. It made Christmas extra special and they all thought it was really cool.

  27. Comment by Maile in Florida | 11.7.2012 | 10:14 am

    @Katie & WBR: If we donate on behalf of someone as their Christmas gift, can we specify that the card notifying them from WBR not be sent until near Christmas?

  28. Comment by Katie Bolling | 11.7.2012 | 10:19 am

    @Maile in Florida-
    Yes, we can do that! Feel free to send me an email once you make your contribution so I can work with my team to ensure your card isn’t mailed until mid-December. My email is
    Thank you!

  29. Comment by RosieReader | 11.7.2012 | 2:21 pm

    We’re in. And you helped solve a secondary problem of what to get my parents for Christmas.

  30. Comment by Liz M. | 11.7.2012 | 4:11 pm

    I was just thinking, for the first time in, um, forever, that there is not a single piece of bicycle gear, clothing, equipment, etc. that I need at the moment. A chance to save some dough. But Fatty had other plans for my funds!

    Our family will be delighted to participate. But I have to know, will there be stickers? I have my Grand Slam for Zambia sticker proudly displayed on my bulletin board for work, and would love to supplement it.

  31. Comment by Liz M. | 11.7.2012 | 4:11 pm

    er, that should be “at work” and not “for work.”


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