A Christmas Eve Present from Specialized: A $10,000 Bike and a $15,000 Donation

12.24.2013 | 9:55 am

When I went to bed last night, The Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5 was closing in on $98,000. I had every hope that sometime today we’d cross the $100,000 mark. 

So I was a little bit surprised and amazed to see this when I checked the fundraising page this morning:


Nearly $114,000. That’s a leap of $15,000. How did that happen? This press release explains:

MORGAN HILL, CA (BRAIN) — Specialized Bicycle employees decided to scale down their holiday party this year, and donate the excess party budget to two non-profit organizations.

The employees decided in a company-wide vote to opt for a modest office party instead of an off-site event. 

In a second vote, the employees chose to donate the extra budget amount to the United Way San Jose and World Bicycle Relief. Last Thursday representatives from these organizations learned that they would be receiving a $15,000 donation.

WBR and Specialized then agreed to put the WBR donation towards the Fat Cyclist’s fundraiser, given his long-time support for WBR, and that Simon Dunne, Specialized Advocacy Director, was on the trip to Zambia with Fatty in the summer of 2012. 

It’s not often that a press release chokes me up. But this one did.

And that’s not all Specialized is donating in this fundraiser. 

Win Your Choice of an S-Works Tarmac SL4 or S-Works Roubaix SL4

One of the five bikes we’re giving away in the Grand Slam for Zambia is an S-Works Specialized road bike, loaded up with the lightest, fastest selection of SRAM and ZIPP parts you can dream up.

And the cool twist for this particular bike is that you get to decide, which would you rather have: the S-Works Tarmac


 Or the S-Works Roubaix?


For me, the choice is obvious, because I voted with my own personal wallet earlier this year. I am the (very) proud owner of a Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4:


On this bike, I have been faster than I have ever been before in my life


Last summer, on this bike, I set all kinds of PRs, both on the flats and on climbs. Part of it is because I happened to be in really good shape this past summer, but part of it was that I was on a phenomenal bike.

With a SRAM RED build and some nice ZIPP wheels, you’ll be able to build this bike up so it’s both seriously aero and well under fifteen pounds.

You will be faster on this bike. I promise. It is something special. 

But What About the Roubaix?

Here’s the thing, though. While I love my Tarmac, The Hammer wants a Roubaix. Why? Because at Levi’s Gran Fondo this past year, she was able to rent one for the day.

And on this hilly, hard-riding century, she fell in love with it. Why? Well, for one thing, it’s fast. For another, it’s light. And for the third thing, it’s insanely comfortable. Chris Riekert of Specialized explained why to me in this video:

Heh. He said “Cobble Gobbler.” 

Just as a little side note, something kind of funny happened after this ride. The Hammer and I were returning the bike at NorCal Bike Sport (which had done a fantastic job of taking care of us, by the way). The Hammer was talking to one of the shop employees about how much she liked the bike, especially how comfortable the damping the frame’s gel inserts made the ride. She went on and on, saying she had to get one of these bikes.

Meanwhile, Mike Sinyard was loitering nearby, kinda sorta pretending to not be eavesdropping…while definitely listening to everything The Hammer said.

After we left, I asked if she had noticed the tall guy in the shop.

“Not really, why?” The Hammer asked.

“Oh, nothing really,” I replied. “You just totally gave a great little speech about how much you love the Roubaix in front of the CEO of Specialized.”

How Can You Win One?

The choice between a Specialized Tarmac and Roubaix will go to some lucky donor in my Grand Slam for Zambia: the Power of Five fundraiser. And getting a chance to win is easy: just go to my fundraising page and donate in some multiple of $5.00. You’ll be automatically entered in the drawing for this… and the other four dream bikes. And the dream cycling trip to Italy.

It’s not a bad set of prizes, really. And — even if you don’t win — you’re still making the world a better place by getting bicycles into the hands of students, health care volunteers, and small business people who otherwise have no way of getting around except walking. 

In other words, by donating, you are changing lives. Instantly, massively, and permanently. 

Attention, Last-Minute Christmas Shoppers

So, I think by now I’ve quite possibly revealed that I’m a fan of the Tarmac, and The Hammer loves the Roubaix. So it’ll be up to you to decide which you’d prefer.

Meanwhile, today is Christmas eve. And maybe you still have a present or two you haven’t taken care of. In which case, allow me to recommend you check out my post on how to make a donation on someone’s behalf as a gift. They’ll get a great e-card emailed to them right away, and you go from being a goat to being one of the most thoughtful gift-givers there could ever be. 

Which is not a half-bad transition to make.

Thanks for donating, and for being awesome.

And have a really merry Christmas, OK?


  1. Comment by Louutah | 12.24.2013 | 10:23 am

    Merry Christmas Fatty!
    Specialized had a rough couple of weeks, however the spirit of giving is alive and well within that company! good on ‘em.
    Oh….and Ill take the Roubaix once my magic number is drawn :)

  2. Comment by Michelle | 12.24.2013 | 10:42 am

    Is there a way to donate to WBR and have it count towards your campaign, but not enter the giveaway drawing?

  3. Comment by Dave T | 12.24.2013 | 10:50 am

    Nice job Specialized. Merry Christmas Fatty.

  4. Comment by Jeremy | 12.24.2013 | 10:54 am

    Merry Christmas, Fatty!

  5. Comment by Katie Bolling | 12.24.2013 | 10:57 am

    @Michelle – Yes, visit: http://www.worldbicyclerelief.org/
    We will then put it towards Fatty’s goal. Simply email me at kbolling@worldbicyclerelief.org with your receipt so I can make the adjustment.
    @Louutah – I should tell you that I’ve been working closely with Specialized the past few years in connection with their support to WBR. I should tell you that they cease to amaze me with their generosity and support for our work. I find their employees to be outstanding, creative, generous and willing when it comes to WBR.
    Merry Christmas to all!

  6. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 12.24.2013 | 10:57 am

    Merry Christmas Nelsons!


  7. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 12.24.2013 | 10:59 am

    Thank you Janeen(The Noodle) for what you did!


  8. Comment by BamaJim | 12.24.2013 | 11:04 am

    That would be a great upgrade for my old Roubaix. As you suggest, our WBR donation was a Christmas gift in honor of some family members.

    Merry Christmas to all!

  9. Comment by Kukui | 12.24.2013 | 11:04 am

    Merry Christmas, Fatty!!! And FoF!!!

  10. Comment by Clydesteve | 12.24.2013 | 11:10 am

    15mm = about 9/16″, which is a thickness of bar tape bigger than 1/2″. But who’s counting?

    Merry Christmas to all! And to all a Roubaix!

  11. Comment by Wife# Ho-Ho-Ho | 12.24.2013 | 11:41 am

    Merry Christmas to all the Friends of Fatty! And thank you to all the employees of Specialized – what a wonderful choice to make! I hope we hot the original goal and blow right past it in the spirit of giving and making a real difference!


  12. Comment by AKChick | 12.24.2013 | 11:44 am

    Woot! AWESOMESAUCE! Specialized Rocks!!!!

    Merry Christmas to all the Friends of Fatty Family!

    I hope we can determine a ride that some of us can meet up at in 2013. :)

  13. Comment by AKChick | 12.24.2013 | 11:46 am


    Merry Christmas to Fatty and The Hammer and Family!!!

  14. Comment by Noodle | 12.24.2013 | 12:29 pm

    @davidh-marin I didn’t do nought. But I am donating on behalf of my family members instead of gifts this year. Was waiting until today (christmas in Australia already kids!) to do it so they get the email telling them of this happy news.

    Now, all that’s out of the way. In the past couple of weeks I’ve been working with Evelyn Stevens to make a thing about her trip to Zambia (Fatty shared it on the tweets the other day). A one hour talk with her solidified my belief that 1) bikes are rad and 2) WBR is doing an amazing amazing thing. So even if you’ve bought gifts for people, pop a $5 donation to WBR in there too. You know, like a digital stocking stuffer (where the confirm email is the stuffer and their inbox is the stocking handing in front of a blazing fire of monitor pixels). That’s what I’d do. But I’m weird like that. Hey, let’s all be weird!

  15. Comment by MikeL | 12.24.2013 | 1:24 pm

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

  16. Comment by Michelle | 12.24.2013 | 3:00 pm

    @Katie – thanks! I submitted a question through the site and Beth took care of it. That’s 10 more bikes to WBR, and I’m lucky enough to work for a company that matches donations so that should be another 10 next month. My mom, sister, and I are donation to charity instead of exchanging gifts and this was my Christmas gift to them.

  17. Comment by Bykjunkie | 12.24.2013 | 3:41 pm

    Did you see it? Did you see it? NORAD tracking ! Santa just went through Lusaka Zambia!

    Merry Christmas Nelson family, team fatty and friends of fatty!

  18. Comment by Heidi | 12.24.2013 | 6:27 pm

    Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good bike!

  19. Comment by Jake | 12.24.2013 | 7:06 pm

    Wat would really be an amazing gift is if this fundraiser went to Americans in need. I know that is a strange concept, using American dollars to take care of Americans first.

    First, some of my fundraisers are for Americans, some are for those outside of America.

    Second, please note that this fundraiser is not just raising “American dollars.” Donations are coming from all over the world.

    Third, if your concern is for those in need specifically in America, I would urge you to do three things:
    a. Donate to one or more of the many worthy fundraisers specifically for those in need in America.
    b. Do some fundraising yourself for the charity of your choice.
    c. Don’t use your time trolling me; use your time making the world a better place.

    - FC

  20. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 12.24.2013 | 11:47 pm

    $113.872 That’s sooooo 10:00am!

    I’m tempted to kick in 6 bucks tonight just so we can have it in code. 1EA6C

  21. Comment by ScottR | 12.25.2013 | 2:01 am

    Fantastic job by Specialized on multiple fronts, it appears.

    S-Works stuff is generally out of my price range, but man is it beautiful stuff.

  22. Comment by ScottR | 12.25.2013 | 2:02 am

    Merry Christmas, Fatty, to you and your family – and to my fellow readers.

  23. Comment by zeeeter | 12.25.2013 | 10:44 am

    Merry Christmas to the extended Team Fatty family, looking forward to whatever 2014 throws at us!

  24. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 12.25.2013 | 9:16 pm

    I got tights for Christmas, I Got TIGHTS For Christmas!!! I thought you’d understand.

  25. Comment by Carl | 12.26.2013 | 7:25 pm

    A day late, but Merry Christmas to Fatty and family and everyone else out there in Fattydom.

  26. Comment by Andi | 12.27.2013 | 7:19 am

    Merry Christmas fatty, hope you and your family had a great day. Also, awesome to see the fundraising shoot up :)

  27. Comment by Chris | 12.27.2013 | 2:13 pm


  28. Comment by Chris | 12.27.2013 | 2:19 pm

    Fatty – My wife demanded a tax deduction for the donation I wanted to make to WBR, so we arrived at a compromise: I donated $134 directly to WBR, and $25 to your fundraiser. This way I have an infinitesimally small chance to win a sweet bike, and still provided two ($ for $ match!) bikes for those in need. Thanks for spreading the word about this great cause. I love the blog, keep writing and have an awesome 2014!

  29. Comment by Wife# Ho-Ho-Ho | 12.27.2013 | 2:46 pm

    151 more bikes… that’s what we need to make the goal! David and I will get one more before 12/31, so that leaves 150…. who else is in for una più? :-)

  30. Comment by rich | 12.27.2013 | 5:47 pm

    I got one more in this morning….we’re getting there.
    Unfortunately, that will be my last for this year. We’re soooooo close…

  31. Comment by Wife# Ho-Ho-Ho | 12.27.2013 | 8:06 pm

    140 to go… :-)

  32. Comment by Cyclingjimbo | 12.28.2013 | 9:20 am

    I watched the video the second time reading through this post. For the record, 15 mm is about 0.6 inches, not an inch and a half as stated. It still sounds like an amazing bike.

    Fatty never ceases to amaze us, and with this grand slam he has done it again.

    As several others have also said, our Christmas present to the family this year was a donation to WBR. My wife’s birthday is coming up, and she may get a bike or two as well.

  33. Comment by Colorado Mama | 12.28.2013 | 1:25 pm

    You bring out the best in people!
    And a Happy New year from your Colorado Mama in
    Moscow Russia!


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