I love you guys.

12.16.2013 | 12:34 pm

A Mark-Yer-Calendar Note from Fatty: One thing you may have noticed with all five of these bikes that we’re giving away with this fundraiser: they are all loaded up with top notch SRAM parts. And that ain’t cheap. At all. 

Which means that of all the companies who are sponsoring this Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5 fundraiser, SRAM is the biggest. Which you probably already knew.

But what you may not have known is that SRAM sponsors World Bicycle Relief in a huge way, year round. 

And tomorrow, we’re going to have a nice Spreecast talk with the President of SRAM and the President of World Bicycle Relief, to talk about why they do this and how it all works. It should be an amazing chat.

So mark your calendar for 3PM ET / 12noon PT and come back to this site; I’ll have a link to the Spreecast URL at that time.

If you were right here, you’d be in massive danger of getting a big ol’ Fatty-style hug. So you’re lucky you’re not here. And I am too, I guess, because since you’re not here I don’t have to worry about the awkwardness that would ensue after this hug.

But still: consider yourself hugged, virtually, by a beloved, award-winning blogger who is currently right on the threshold of needing to start wearing his seasonal fat pants.

Let me tell you why. 

Awesome Email

The first reason I’m so happy is because you people have already donated $56,616 in the Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5 fundraiser. That’s a lot of money.

And as you’re donating, some of you are sending email that makes me, well, kinda proud to be a part of this. In particular, someone sent this one to Scot Nicol (Chuck Ibis) upon learning about Ibis’s participation in this fundraiser

Hey Chuck,

Thank you so much for sharing this with me.  I totally get the joys associated with riding a bike, especially with my family and friends, but I never really thought about how it could change lives until I saw this video.  It really stirred up some emotions within me as I realized how fortunate I am to have always had a bike!

I immediately hit the link to donate my $5 until I realized that it only takes $134 to buy one complete bike.  Heck my dream Ibis is $10,000!  So I bought a bike and found great pleasure in knowing that some other awesome person is going to match that, so two bikes will now be donated!

I have asked my family to donate to this cause in lieu of any Christmas gifts for me and I am sharing your email with my community.  It is my goal to get 10 bikes donated!  I have always really appreciate all the charity initiatives that Ibis supports and have contributed to them all, but this one is something else!

Thanks again for sharing and Merry Christmas!

And that’s just one email. Your comments in blog posts tell similar stories. So thanks for that.

Awesome Blog Post

You may know that last winter I used Beeminder as a way to help me track and stay honest with my weight loss goals. What you may not know is that the folks at Beeminder use their own tool to make sure they hit their own product development goals, with $1000 on the line for the first time they didn’t hit their goal.

And when they didn’t, Henrik was right there to collect the $1000 premium. Which Beeminder gladly paid. 

At which point, Henrik turned around and donated it in this fundraiser. Which, effectively, paid for 14 bikes for WBR (paid for 7, matched for another 7).

This story totally made my day — and I think it will make yours, too. Read the whole thing here

And then go donate. 


No Apology Necessary

12.13.2013 | 12:47 pm

Sometimes I work through things by writing. Today is one of those times. And I’d love to have your thoughts as well. 

Maybe you’ve noticed that I don’t talk a lot about pro cycling much — if at all — anymore. As an example, check my archive for this year and see how much I wrote about the Tour de France (hint: I can’t remember writing anything at all about it). 

Part of that has to do with the fact that, to me, my own riding and racing seems a lot more interesting (and dramatic) to me lately, and I write about what interests me.

Part of it has to do with the “Once bitten, twice shy” thing.  

But even though I don’t write about it much in the blog, I do still follow it. And so, after reading an extremely well-conducted interview with Lance Armstrong yesterday, I tweeted:

To which my friend Paul Guyot replied: 

I can understand Paul’s point of view. But you know, I can’t help it. I followed Lance for a long time, got to know him (I thought) a little bit, spent a ton of my fundraising efforts on LiveStrong. So I’m still interested when he says things like this:

And that’s been the biggest issue I think, is that this hurt the support that survivors had and their friends and family had and the organization had. I know this will sound bad, but I don’t really care what the hard-core cycling geek thinks. I don’t. No offense to them. But I care about what a supporter of Livestrong thinks, and I care about what the survivor thinks. I think back to someone who was diagnosed back in 1999, and this whole story they believed in. And more than that, they fought for me, whether it’s in an online discussion or in a hallway or a workplace or café or bar, they had my back. And now they got egg on their face. That’s the thing that hurts me the most and the thing I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to make up for. And I hope I can. I’m in timeout right now. And I may be in timeout forever. But I hope not to be. 

I’m pretty sure I’m one of those guys with egg on his face. I might even be one of the more prominent ones, what with Team Fatty having raised close to two million dollars for LiveStrong. But the sole interaction I’ve had with Lance Armstrong, post-Oprah, is that he’s unfollowed me on Twitter.

Which, you know, doesn’t exactly jibe with what Lance is saying above.

But here’s the thing. This past few post-Oprah months has been useful. I’ve considered a little more deeply how I want to spend my fundraising time and effort (and — much less importantly — my charitable giving). And I’ve decided I want my efforts to go to charities that help individual people, in very specific ways.

Like, for example, the way a World Bicycle Relief bicycle helps an individual child stay in school. Or the way Camp Kesem helps children compensate for the unhappiness and stress of having a parent with cancer. 

I feel like I’m now a more thoughtful — and maybe a little more careful — person. I still want to make a difference in the world, but I think I’ve got a better idea of what kind of difference. So the end result, for me, has been positive.

And I wish Lance well, too. I hope he’s able to find a path toward redemption and greater involvement with things that matter to him.

As for me, I’ve got plenty of work to do, and am grateful for those who are helping me do it.

Win a TREK MADONE 7, Customized Through PROJECT ONE

12.11.2013 | 9:40 am

Of all the ways that World Bicycle Relief helps people in Africa, the thing that I love most is the way it completely changes kids’ lives, transforming education from a near-impossibility to something they merely have to work extremely hard for.

And the “Ethel” video in the “Mobilize Me” series of videos beautifully shows and tells the story of what a bicycle means to a student:

One thing the girl says in the video really hits home for me. “The bicycle,” says Ethel, “has already shown me that I will have a bright future.”

Think about that. A $134 bicycle, in a practical and immediate way, has given a person a bright future. 


Can you think of any other way so little money can make such a big difference to a person’s whole life (or actually, to the lives around her too)? Cuz I can’t.

So — more than any prizes your donations might (or might not) win, your donation in the Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5 is incredible. 

Literally life-changing.

Which is pretty remarkable. No, make that really remarkable


Win a Trek Madone 7 Series, Customized Through Project One!

Last Wednesday, I announced the first of the five dream bikes you might win by donating. Today, I’m happy to announce the second: a Trek Madone 7 Series frame, loaded up with your choice of top-end SRAM parts and components, and customized to be incredibly beautiful through Trek’s Project One.

That, my friends, is about as dreamy a dream bike as a dream bike can get. 

We’re talking, retail-wise, about a bike that’s worth well north of $10,000. 

And you know what? This is the second time this year that Trek’s been so generous about donating this kind of bike for me to fundraise for WBR, making for what was truly the best July ever

And remember, Trek wasn’t just donating bikes in this fundraiser. They were also matching, dollar-for-dollar, all the donations that were coming in. That’s beyond generous. That’s downright touching to see a bike company doing so much of the right thing. 

Just to refresh your memory, here’s what the winning bike from that fundraiser looks like






I tell you what: I am still jealous of Jim for that amazing bike he won. In a nice way. 

A Little More About The Bike

The Madone 7 Series is Trek’s top of the line frame in the Madone family, hand-built in the USA, and completely customizable through Project One

The lucky winner can choose any Project One paint scheme that they desire—from boldly simple to outrageously cool. 

And you can build this bike up with any parts you want that SRAM has to offer, which means, between a SRAM Red drivetrain and some sexy Zipp wheels (I’d personally go with the 404 Carbon Clinchers) and parts, you’re looking at a bike that is going to weigh less than fifteen pounds

Yeah, I mean it.

This is going to be a beautiful, glorious racing machine.

Why Trek is Supporting WBR  

I asked Brandon Buth of Trek about why Trek supports WBR. Here’s what he said:

Trek has been a supporter of WBR since the beginning, and we have continually been impressed by the work they are doing and the countless lives they are positively affecting. 

When you think about it, the bike really has been good to all of us in the industry—we use it for fun, recreation, and competition (to name a few), and it provides our livelihood. 

How many other products can you say that about?

The way I see it, we owe a lot to the bike. So, supporting WBR is such an easy, relatable way for us to help an organization who is focused on improving the lives through the Power of Bicycles. 

Huge thanks go out to Trek for their amazing support of this cause. And just as huge of thanks go out to you, for donating (click here to donate, ok?).

Good luck, and I hope you win. 

Helping the Caregivers: Grand Slam for Zambia – The Power of 5

12.9.2013 | 12:32 pm

I wonder how many times in my life the bicycle will amaze me. The way this incredibly topheavy-looking machine manages to stay upright with just a couple square inches of rubber touching the ground. It’s like it’s defying gravity.

Or the way it moves much faster than you otherwise could, while requiring less energy, in spite of the fact that your net weight is higher. It’s like it’s defying the laws of physics.

Or the way they can make you happy, just by being out on one, going somewhere…or nowhere.

Or — and this is what I want to talk about today — the way they can help save lives.

I’ve talked a lot about how World Bicycle Relief bikes donated to kids help them get to school, as well as how bikes give them more time for their work and studies. But WBR bikes are also given to volunteer health caregivers, who use them to visit the people who desperately need their help.

These bikes make it possible for these health caregivers to see more people. To help them get water. To bring them medicine. To get them to the clinic. To give them the moral support they need. To, in short, save their lives. 

Today, I’m lucky enough to be the first person to get to show you the latest video in World Bicycle Relief’s “Mobilize Me” series, about the power of a bike. Please watch what Royce, a volunteer caregiver rural Zambia, is able to accomplish with a Buffalo Bicycle has to say:

So, yes. The $134 bicycle you donate might make it so that a person (no, make that two people, because of the dollar-for-dollar matching) like Royce is able to see five times as many patients. Helping people, educating them, and improving lives throughout her village. 

That amazes me.  And makes me so happy.

I’ve written a little bit more about the volunteer caregivers who get WBR bikes. Take a look at that post…and then take the time to donate. You might win win one of the five incredible bikes we’ll be giving away.

Free Verse Friday: Lament in Three Parts Over Inclement Weather in an Oft-Sunny Clime

12.6.2013 | 9:38 am


A Note from Fatty: The Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5 is going strong. To learn the basics of this amazing event, click here. To learn about the Ibis Ripley (one of 5 bikes to be given away as prizes), click here. To learn more about World Bicycle Relief itself, click here. And to make a donation to be entered in this contest, click here.

Lament in Three Parts Over Inclement Weather in an Oft-Sunny Clime

Betimes I consider
How it could be possible
That I have stumbled
Into this, my life

How is it that I am me
And not another
Some other guy
Who maybe doesn’t even own a bike

When I think such Thoughts
My heart recoils
And I once again
Reflect upon my luck

For I ride with the core team
And each autumn we get together
For an event called Fall Moab 
Which—truth be known—is only occasionally in Moab

But it is during the autumn!
And usually it is perfect
The weather is mild
Note how I said “usually,” above

Part I: The Bad

The core team gathered 
With intent 
To ride in St George
For a long weekend

We had plans
Oh such grand plans
To stay in the yurt
Which Kenny has built

A yurt on Gooseberry Mesa!
Surely it will, one day,
Be a coveted destination
A place to stay while riding in beautiful desert

But not this day

For the weather kicked up
As we drove to St George
And the snow was so hard-driven
We nearly turned around

But we did not
No, we did not turn around
But we also did not stay in a yurt
We camped, instead, at Kenny and Heather’s home 

Part II: The Good

I confess I was weak
I had my doubts
And in short
Riding in the rain didn’t sound that great

And yet, it was great 
Sure, we didn’t ride as far
Or as long
But sometimes, riding at all is what matters

And when it comes right down to it
Most of us are closing in on 50
And one good ride per day
Is probably enough

And so we rode
For three days
On local trails
Often, beginning from Kenny’s house

And you know
Maybe Fall Moab
Isn’t about where or how much
But about who is there

Yeah, let’s go with that for now 

Part III: The Video

I shall now conclude
With a video montage
Of Fall Moab 2014

Thank you. 

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