7:00PM Update: The fundraising total, with Trek’s match, is now at $77,258. This means 776 donors have worked together to purchase 576 bikes. Incredible!
2:30PM Update: The fundraising total is now at $74,354 (when doubled by the Trek match), coming from 756 donors. You know how many bikes that is? I’ll tell you how many. That’s 554 bikes.
That’s a lot of bikes — and a lot of lives changed — thanks to a lot of very generous people. Thank you!
9:00AM Update: The fundraising total is now at 731 donors and ~$67,500. That means 504 bikes.
If I were good at complicated, sophisticated, modern things like looking at a calendar, I would have realized that the final few days of July happened to coincide with an extremely busy workweek for me. One where I simply would not have enough personal time in a day to even exercise, much less write daily blog posts.
Luckily for me, this fundraiser for World Bicycle Relief doesn’t exactly need a carnival barker standing around and shouting nonstop. It sells itself rather nicely.
I mean, think about it. A Trek Madone 7 Series Frameset. Customized with Trek’s Project One program, letting you select from thousands of colors and design schemes.
And then wheels and cockpit by ENVE Composites. I’ve ridden with ENVE wheels, and I’ve never experienced anything like them. They are so fast. The aero advantage is noticeable, and it’s incredible.
Oh, and they’re dead gorgeous too.
And let’s not forget the full complement of SRAM RED – Black Edition components.
Honestly, the two biggest problems you’re going to have if you win this bike are:
- Obsessing over the thousands of choices you have to make. This is what I like to call “a really, really, really, really good problem to have.”
- Finding a way to make this bike weigh 15 pounds. Yeah, I’m afraid the UCI is going to be pretty upset with the way your bike is going to weigh around 14.something pounds. I know, that’s a tragedy.
And of course, there’s the daily drawing from The Feed
— today’s is a $19.99 food box + 1lb Skratch Labs Hydration mix.
Why This Matters
Realistically, very few of you are going to win anything. And you know that. But hundreds of you have donated anyway. In fact, 724 of you have donated so far, raising $32,000 in this short couple of weeks. When the Trek dollar-for-dollar matching is applied, that’s $64,000 dollars.
And do you know what $64,000 means? It means 477 bicycles to children in Zambia. Which means 477 children are going to be able to get to school by riding a bike for forty minutes each way, instead of walking for more than four hours per day.
Which means those 477 kids are a lot more likely to stay in school, a lot longer.
And these 477 kids will have a much larger geographical radius of job opportunities, once they leave school.
Fetching water from a well a couple of kilometers away will be much easier. And getting to the market — and bringing things back home from the market — will be easier and faster.
For 477 people living a life without basic transportation, their world is about to explode with new possibilities.
And this is thanks to you.
Today is the last day of the fundraiser. If you haven’t donated, why don’t you? You have a tiny chance of winning a bike worth around $15,000, but you’re guaranteed to improve someone’s life, instantly and permanently.
Click here to donate.
I’m out of town for work all this week, and am not going to have a lot of time to post, but I want to remind you that we’re down to the final three days of the contest to Change a Life, Get Your Money Doubled, and Win a Dream Bike. The last day to donate is this Wednesday.
And remember, the grand prize bike is off the charts. Check out the details here, but let me give you a quick recap.
The winner gets a Trek Madone 7 Series Frameset, the absolute top-of-the-line road racing frame, styled with Trek’s Project One customizing program:
Then you get wheels, bars and stem from ENVE Composites, a designer and manufacturer (right here in the USA, thank you very much) of parts so beautiful you can’t help but want to frame them:
And by “would choose” I mean “did choose.” These are the wheels I ride with on my own personal road bike. And they are amazing. They seriously, genuinely, and for reals make you a faster rider.
Finally, SRAM completes your bike with a full complement of SRAM RED – Black Edition components: Shifters, derailleurs, crankset, cassette, everything.
The Daily Drawing
As if that weren’t enough, we’re also doing a daily drawing from the list of people who have donated so far. Today’s giveaway from TheFeed.com is awesome: a THREE-month subscription at the $19.99 level, which means that every month for three months, you’re going to get a box of food good for 10-12 rides. Like this:
In addition to this, the winner is going to get a 30 serving container of Fluid Hydration Mix.
So how do you enter and be eligible to win this prize from TheFeed.com, the ones after that (there will be six more!) and the bike? Just donate here, in increments of $10.00. It’s that easy.
A Note from Fatty: Wow. We’re almost to the end of the Dream Bike Giveaway. But not quite. And in fact, today’s giveaway from The Feed is tres awesome. (“Tres” is French for “triple.”) specifically, the winner of today’s drawing gets a three-month subscription to The Feed, plus a 4-pack of Probar Core Protein Recovery Bars. Yum!
So, if you haven’t donated yet, get yourself on board and go donate now.
Ode to the Otter Pop
With your heat
And your arid heat
And your humid heat
And in short, your heat
I’m so thirsty
I am so very hot
And not in the sense
Made famous in the Foreigner song.
No I need
I must have an Otter Pop
I will have 6.
Because after all
Who am I kidding?
In their fruitiness
If that’s what you call it
Do not leave
The cut-off tops
Or empty containers
Nor gross sticky scissors
Laying about, lest you risk
The wrath of The Hammer.
Trust me, you don’t want that.
A Note from Fatty: I’m incredibly proud to announce that as of last night we hit the 100% mark of the $26,978 goal for the WBR fundraiser. This unusual number indicates that — even without Trek Matching — Friends of Fatty have raised $400,000 for World Bicycle Relief in less than a year.
And with Trek Matching, we’re well beyond that $400,000 number.
So, first and foremost today, I want to thank you for your generosity. I’m overwhelmed, and very grateful to see how much good you people do.
Next, I wanted to say that the contest to win the Trek Madone Project One / ENVE / SRAM dream bike is still in full swing, and will be ’til the last day of the month. So if you haven’t donated yet, you still can, and you should. Because someone is going to win this bike, and it might be you.
Also, you might win one of the eight very cool prizes from The Feed, including the one we’re announcing today: A 3-month subscription to The Feed, which means you’ll get a $19.99, 14-piece box of food each month for three months. Plus, you’ll get a 16-serving container of Fluid Chocolate Recovery mix, a $31.99 value.
And in short, there are still plenty of reasons for you to go donate.
What I Did Before Work This Morning
Most mornings, I get up at 5:00am and work on this blog ’til it’s time for me to go to work, at which point I swivel my chair 90 degrees and start typing on a different computer for my day job. (I may have the world’s shortest commute)
This morning, however, I went on a ride with Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) and Dug, on some of the trails in American Fork Canyon.
I do not regret this decision.
Rather than write much of anything today, then, I think I’ll just show you a few photos from my ride, then sit back and let you envy me.
Before the ride. Sunderlage is itching to go; Dug needs a rest.
Our local trails do not suck.
Nor do our views.
Sunderlage: Game face.
Dug: Game face.
I took this picture specifically to show that I got somewhere before Sunderlage did.
The sky was blue, with very few clouds. Yes, I really took this picture.
Dug summits the Mud Springs climb, a trail unusually rich in Pain Pellets.
A selfie after the Mud Springs Climb. I’m happy, because I had my suspicions about something. It turns out I was correct.
Yes, this is the view from the ride that is fifteen minutes from my house.
A Note from Fatty about the WBR Contest: I have two awesome things to tell you today. I shall reveal them to you in the form of this convenient numerical list.
- Today’s Giveaway from TheFeed.com: Today TheFeed will be giving away a one-month subscription to The Feed – the 14-piece, 19.99 pack — along with a six-pack of Garmin-Sharp Podium Bottles.
- We’ve Reached the Ceiling: Trek’s matching program for the month had the upper limit of $90,000. We’ve reached that limit, and blown right by it So from this point our dollars are not being matched by Trek. This does not however alter the number of chances you will get in any donations you make in the contest for the bike and The Feed. Which means when you donate you still get the same number of bonus chances as when the matching was going on.
I have to say, I love the fact that Trek put together an audacious matching program with a very large matching ceiling — and then donors smashed right through that ceiling, with plenty of days left in the month. That says good things about everyone.
And remember, the Trek Madone Series 7 / ENVE Wheels and Cockpit / SRAM RED bike contest continues through the end of the month, so — if you haven’t already — be sure to donate today.
Aligning the Stem and the Front Wheel AKA Why I am Now Insane
I have ridden in an astonishing number of conditions. In the snow. In rain. Up steep hills with grocery bags hanging from my handlebars. In 111-degree (F) temperatures (last weekend, in fact).
No matter what, though, I love being on my bike. I just do.
Unless and except when I start fixating on one thing. One simple, unimportant — but absolutely infuriating — thing that completely absorbs my attention and has, I’m sad to report, driven me completely insane.
I am speaking, of course, of the alignment of my bike stem to my front wheel.
Now, some of you are cocking your heads in confusion. What could I possibly mean? What problem is there with stem / wheel alignment? The stem points forward, the wheel points forward. They’re aligned.
Others of you, on the other hand, know exactly what I’m talking about, and are nodding sympathetically. You may even be suppressing an urge to reach out and give me a hug, for which I thank you (for the suppression of the urge part, I mean).
For those of you who don’t get it, let me try to explain.
In an ideal universe, your stem should be pointing exactly straight when your front wheel is pointing exactly straight. Like in this very well-drawn illustration:
See how nice that is? The line of the stem is obviously going right down the middle of the front wheel, which means the handlebar is perfectly perpendicular to both the front wheel and the stem.
Unfortunately, real-world space is three dimensional. Which poses a real problem for me. Specifically, neither of my eyes is exactly in the center of my head, so even if the stem is perfectly aligned, when I look down at the stem and bar with just my right eye, it looks like this:
And if I look at it with just my left eye, it looks like this:
And before long, I’m riding along, looking straight down, peering through one eye and then the other, moving my head side to side, wondering not whether my stem is perhaps slightly off, but just exactly how incredibly misaligned it is.
And also, how is it even possible that I’m able to stay on my bike with my handlebar turned so egregiously either this way or that (depending on which eye is open at the moment).
No, Seriously, This IS a PROBLEM
I try to calm myself. I tell myself, “Look, even if the stem isn’t perfectly aligned with the wheel, it’s pretty darned close. I mean, think about your arms for a second. Is one or the other of them closer or farther away than the other when you’re riding?
So I begin to focus on my arms. I look at the left, then the right. They’re out at approximately the same angle.
I look again. I’m not sure, but I think my right arm might be stretched out a little bit further than my left arm. Or it’s possible that the opposite is true. Regardless, I am beginning to be convinced that — one way or another — my arms aren’t stretched out the same amount.
“This must be why my right hand goes to sleep when I ride,” I think. “Because my right arm is stretched out further than my left arm.”
“Or not as far, I guess,” I conclude to myself.
And then I begin to wonder how it’s possible that I’m ever able to even ride in a straight line at all. With my stem so crooked (either pointing too far left or too far right…I’m still not sure), I should be riding in perpetual circles.
Then, just to see whether it helps me figure things out, I try riding around in circles to see which is easier: clockwise or counterclockwise.
The results are troubling, but inconclusive.
Attempts at Diagnosis
Back at home, I stand over my bike. My left eye closed, my neck craned slightly so that my right eye is — I imagine — exactly lined up with the top tube. I position the stem so that it is a perfect continuance of that straight line, then look to see if the front wheel continues that Platonic Straight Line.
It does. Or maybe it doesn’t, quite. It’s hard to tell.
So I do it over, this time with my left eye. In the end, I give up without adjusting anything. Whenever I adjust things, it only gets worse the next ride. “Did I adjust it too much? Or maybe not enough? Is it better now, even a little? Or is it out of alignment now, but just in a different way?”
And then, “You know, I’m not even sure I adjusted it in the correct direction. And now I think my headset is creaking.”
I tell Lisa about this problem, wondering if she does the same thing. She looks at me uncomprehendingly. “My bike is fine.”
What does she know?
Invention is Needed
I go to the Park Tools website. There must be a tool for this, something that makes it mathematically certain that your stem is lined up with your wheel. I can even picture it: two ratcheting clamps, parallel to each other, on a telescoping bar. Fasten one end to the stem, the other to the wheel.
There is no such tool. I consider a Kickstarter to create one, then realize I’m terrible with using tools and may be the single worst person in the world to invent one.
So maybe there needs to be a new standard, I think. Where forks and stems interlock, so they line up perfectly all the time.
Also, by the way, I’d like someone to do the same with seatposts.
And In Conclusion
I’m heading out on a ride now; it is my sincere hope that I will be able to ignore the horror that is the misaligned stem / front wheel.
Further, I am acutely aware that there will be someone who will read this and — having never before given this malady a single thought — will suddenly become obsessed.
And in short, I apologize for having brought this to your attention.
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