Thankful, 2015 Edition

11.23.2015 | 1:32 pm

One of the quieter traditions I have with this blog is that before Thanksgiving each year, I like to write a “thankful” post (2007, 2008, 2009 plus bonus 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). This year, I think I have more things than ever to be thankful for.

I’d like to tell you about a few.

Strength: I’ve talked (but not much) before about my son and the extraordinary depression he lives with with. This year has seen extraordinary progress for him. He’s gotten a job, and he’s excelled at it. He’s started pharmacy tech school, and he comes home after the weekly test each Friday saying he’s aced another one. He’s told stories about confronting the teacher (politely) with errors she’s made — unthinkable even a year ago.

I have two people I’m thankful for in this case. First, I’m thankful for my son’s strength. This progress hasn’t been easy for him, and I’m proud of each step he takes.

Second, I’m thankful for The Hammer’s strength. Her strength and toughness was key in my son making making these remarkable strides. 

When I think about 2015, I think I will always remember it as the “turning a corner year” for my son. And I’m so thankful for the work both my son and wife have done to make this happen.

People I Love: When The Hammer and I tell people about our family — my four kids, her three kids — folks are generally astonished. They would be even more astonished if they understood how great all seven of these kids are doing. The Hammer’s eldest has a great job, a great wife, a great son, and a new house. Her second son is valedictorian at the school he attends and is already getting amazing opportunities. Her youngest is doing great in college and has big plans to do something important in the world. My eldest is working and going to school and has an amazing moral center; he has changed my own thinking on a few things. My twin girls are the kindest, most artistic fourteen-year-olds you could ever meet. My wife is genuinely my best friend. I’m as lucky a person as there could be. I love all these people.

Generosity: I don’t even keep track anymore of how much money Friends of Fatty have donated to causes I care about. I don’t keep track of how much product and prizes good companies have donated to help me with my efforts. It’s just too much. You see so much happen in the news that is so bad that it’s easy to overlook the fact that we are surrounded by good people who want to make the world a good place. 

Bikes: I love the incredible improvements we’ve seen in bike hardware during the life of this blog. I love the feeling when I ride, and how I feel after a ride. I love the stories my rides tell me (so I can tell them to you). And I love the different kinds of amazing experiences I still haven’t experienced on bikes; there’s still so much for me to try. I haven’t tried cyclocross. Or bikepacking. Or track racing. Or recumbents. I’ve been in love with bikes for more than twenty years now, and I still am in many ways an absolute beginner.

I’m thankful for all the new experiences still ahead of me, and I’m thankful to you for taking the time to read my stories.

Happy Thanksgiving,


PS: I’d love to hear what you’re thankful for.

PPS: I’ll be taking the rest of this week off to be with my family and to work on my current secret project (which I hope to tell you about sometime soon).


  1. Comment by pgreen | 11.23.2015 | 1:42 pm

    Family, Like you, I have twin daughters. They are wonderful young women (22 years old). One helped to found a chapter of Camp Kesem here in PA and graduates from college this spring. The other graduated in May and is going into the health care field. I couldn’t be more proud of both of them.

    Health, something I hope to keep for a while so I get to enjoy my family.

    Happiness and health to you and yours. We all have a lot to be thankful for.

  2. Comment by Matt | 11.23.2015 | 1:45 pm

    Thankful for lots of stuff, but since we’re here, thankful for you and your blog, Fatty.

    I started reading Fatcylist at a time when bikes and cycling played a far smaller role in my life and when I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with it. In the intervening (nearly) decade, I’ve gotten a chance to deepen and explore that nascent love of cycling and all the good things it can do for people. You were THE shining example of that when I got started.

    If it wasn’t for you, there’d be no 100MoN. If it wasn’t for 100MoN, I would never have been inspired one winter five years ago to get in shape by riding obscene amounts of mileage on my rollers. If it wasn’t for that, I never would have started indoor group rides or been intrigued by the possibility of using the most mundane cycling activity of all (stationary cycling) to energize and inspire other people to get moving.

    And here I am running goldsprints races, a member of a vibrant local cycling community, with a happy young son who gets me extra #kidwatts on the tandem every time we go out together.

    I am thankful that life is sweet, and I am thankful for the part you and your blog have played in that.

    Wow. Thank you. That completely made my day. – FC

  3. Comment by Mark in Bremerton | 11.23.2015 | 2:05 pm

    Looking at the state of the world today, I am thankful for the quirk of fate that I was born where, when, and to whom I was. That allowed me to make (mostly) my own good decisions that got me where I am now.

    Some of the current things I’m thankful for are; A great wife, two great kids, a comfortable semi-retirement, and health to enjoy it all. And, of course, bikes.

    Some of the things in the past that I’m thankful for are; My parents, and where I was raised. Even with 20 years in the Navy I avoided bullets and bombs. No major injuries, no overwhelming legal issues or other “inconveniences” to a great life.

    In short, I don’t take where I am today for granted, and thank my higher power frequently. A good life takes continuous hard work, but it can all change to bad in an instant. Hug your family, enjoy the sunshine (or snow, or whatever), and have a great Thanksgiving, everyone.

  4. Comment by Bart the Clydesdale | 11.23.2015 | 2:11 pm

    I am thankful for many things but this year’s top objects of gratitude would have to be.
    1. My family; better wife than I deserve,better kids than I deserve. Sure hope I can be as good as they deserve.
    2. Faith, keeps me grounded and focused.
    3. Challenges that keep me striving to improve.
    4. All the great people I meet through cycling, I know have a much larger group of friends because of cycling, and outside of church I have never meet a better group of people in my life

  5. Comment by Eric | 11.23.2015 | 2:41 pm

    Echoing Matt, I also want to thank Fatty for this blog. It inspired me to get way more into biking than I had ever planned to, culminating in me finishing this year’s Leadville 100, a race I only heard about through this blog, and, even a year ago, considered far beyond my capabilities. Ken Chlouber’s “You can do more than you think you can” is a motto I appreciate more than ever.

    Thanks also for introducing me to World Bicycle Relief – it’s a great charity, and one that inspires generosity in others (as I have discovered over a couple fundraising drives for them).

    And finally, I’m thankful for the basics of life that enable me to spend my time biking (and occasionally raising money) – I have a great job that puts food on the table, a nice roof overhead, and lets me indulge my biking habit. I am also thankful to belong to several strong communities that inspire and challenge me (including a local biking group). Life is pretty awesome, and it’s good to take a moment to appreciate that.

  6. Comment by Frank W | 11.23.2015 | 3:42 pm

    First and foremost I want to thank my wife for putting up with me throughout this difficult year. She is amazing!

    Fatty, I would like to thank you for inspiring me to get into Mountain Biking, to go beyond my self-imposed limitations and to join you in Colorado. In general you are the reason why I found my way back to cycling a few years ago and was able to survive my divorce due to many long rides on the Orbea. Thank you for having a positive impact on so many lives!

  7. Comment by Joe Lee | 11.23.2015 | 4:08 pm

    I’m thankful for your blog, Fatty. Thanks for entertaining and inspiring!

    I’m also thankful for my wonderful family that endured my many hours in the saddle this year while I rode to and from work in a quest to lose weight. Was 205 (at 5′8″) and now 160lbs. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 11.23.2015 | 4:09 pm

    I’m thankful for the Team Fatty community. I’m friends with many of you whom I’ve met in person and feel just as close to others with whom I’ve exchanged comments here.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. Comment by Susieh | 11.23.2015 | 4:35 pm

    Beautiful words, Elden…grateful for all these things and more, in my own life…love always wins.

  10. Comment by Rob L | 11.23.2015 | 5:01 pm

    I’m thankful for another year here and the prospect of another. Good friends, Good Food, Good Beer, Good Bikes. A good life.

    Glad you’ve had a good year Elden, was wondering how your son was doing recently. I’m stoked, he’s so stoked on this path!

  11. Comment by Jim | 11.23.2015 | 5:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing about your son’s depression and glad he is dealing and thriving.

    Health is a big one to be thankful for. When you don’t have it, that is when you really miss it.
    Happy day to you, your family, and all .

  12. Comment by Davidg | 11.23.2015 | 9:43 pm

    Gee don’t know what to add but I feel a need to write.

    So first I am thankful that I can write. A while ago I would probably just lurk anti social like. Little by little I am getting out into conversations. I think your blog has helped motivate me to do more group rides which in turn is helping me be more social.

    Started following your blog when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. Been five or more years. She is still fighting. Like others in this world. Fight to live. Life is a great gift.

    Thank you for recognizing the beauty of life and showing me what you see.

  13. Comment by sr | 11.23.2015 | 11:50 pm

    I will take some more time to think of what I am thankful for. Oh, there is definitely a lot, but I ought to take the time to properly recognize all the good, and the good fortune, I have. Too often- I don’t!

    Fatty- how is the Hammer’s father doing? Hope he is doing well, and still able to do that monthly mountain hike with the Hammer …

  14. Comment by sr | 11.23.2015 | 11:52 pm

    Apologies if this is a double post!

    Original comment:

    I will take some more time to think of what I am thankful for. Oh, there is definitely a lot, but I ought to take the time to properly recognize all the good, and the good fortune, I have. Too often- I don’t!

    Fatty- how is the Hammer’s father doing? Hope he is doing well, and still able to do that monthly mountain hike with the Hammer …

  15. Comment by Shugg McGraw | 11.24.2015 | 4:08 am

    Very moving to hear about your son. I hope he continues to progress.
    Like others I’m not thankful enough when I have an awful lot to be thankful for. Thank you for the reminder.

  16. Comment by Chris | 11.24.2015 | 6:48 am

    As a Canadian we celebrated the “Real” Thanksgiving back in October but in any case I’ve realized over the past little while that I lead a truly blessed life that includes a wife, son, family and bikes.

    Enjoy your time with your family and happy Thanksgiving.

  17. Comment by Brian in VA | 11.24.2015 | 7:34 am

    I’m thankful for my family; my wife and our 4 kids make me a far better person than I could ever be without them.

    For rediscovering cycling after many years off it. The joy of a warm, morning ride in the summer. Of a mid-day ride in the cold of the fall and winter. Of that first ride in the spring where things are turning green and the earth seems so alive.

    For this blog that has spurred me on to writing my own and, far more importantly, for driving me to take on some fundraising of my own.

    Thanks Fatty! And warm joy to you and your inspiring family!

  18. Comment by New Zealand Ev | 11.24.2015 | 9:53 am

    I am thankful for this blog and the opportunities that Fatty continues to give us to help others.

    I am very thankful for where I live in NZ and that my partner and I took the leap and moved here 9 years ago from the states.

    I am very thankful that my wonderful partner of over 30 years is very understanding about my addiction to cycling and knows how much my “Me” time means to me when out on the bike.

    We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in NZ, however that thoughts and sentiments of Thanksgiving are always close to my heart. Enjoy your holiday everyone!!

  19. Comment by AKChick | 11.24.2015 | 12:02 pm

    That is GREAT news about your son. I love to see a WIN when it comes to depression. My mom suffered from it most of her adult life. I’m thankful you son is doing so well. :)

    I’m thankful for my friends and family. I’ve had an up and down last three years losing my dad, my brother-in-law and most recently my mom to cancer. My husband, his mom and his sister have been such a tremendous support to me through everything that has gone on. I’m thankful that I don’t have a monster-in-law or a horrible sister-in-law. I’m blessed in spades. I’m thankful for my four half sisters – I consider them full sisters, especially the oldest. She is the glue that is keeping me in the sister loop.

    I’m thankful for this blog, the FoF community and the friends that I’ve made. I’m thankful and honored that I’ve been able to actually meet you and The amazing Hammer in person and also some FoFs. I wish we had a cycling event that we could travel to each year to see each other. We need to organize something (and by me, I mean FoFs).

    I’m thankful for my small stable of bikes and the amazing benefits that I’ve received from them. They are my go to stress reliever. Even the worst time on a bike is a great day (though I may not say so at the time). There is nothing like being on a bike and pushing yourself up a giant hill and the feeling you have when you make it to the top. Or just riding with friends for fun. Or even riding on my spin bike (which thanks to our weird fall weather, and now our weird freeze thaw weather, has become a go to machine for me). Or those long training rides on sunny, warm days with Denali staring at me and fresh pavement under my wheels. I do a lot of thinking while riding. Riding my bike is better than any drug you could ever take. I can’t imagine life without a bike in it.

    Happy Thanksgiving to Fatty, the Hammer, their families, and the FoF’s that celebrate! I cherish and am thankful for each one of you.

  20. Comment by Dave T | 11.24.2015 | 12:37 pm

    I’m thankful for having such a wonderful family and friends. And like many here thankful for this blog. Without it, I might not have met many of you truly amazing people that I am happy to call my friends. You bring us together Fatty. Elden you are a magnet for awesomeness. Happy Thanksgiving.

  21. Comment by leroy | 11.24.2015 | 1:23 pm

    I’ve had a year of character building experiences. I’m thankful they are behind me.

    I’m thankful for bikes and every opportunity to indulge my inner goofiness (including FC’s blog).

    Have a good Thanksgiving all!

  22. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 11.24.2015 | 1:24 pm

    “Magnet for Awesomeness” beats any job title ever.

  23. Comment by Christina | 11.24.2015 | 4:13 pm

    I like what leroy said.

    I’m thankful I made it an entire year without a car of my own. I spent more time on my bike than ever. Sure, there were times I felt like it was the dumbest thing on earth (like subzero days with ice), but in the end I feel so free to go by bicycle. I’m thankful I have a ten-year-old son who does the same and loves it and I’m thankful I have a husband who puts up with it all. I’m thankful for a garage of bikes that answer to the weather needs, from a mountain bike to a recumbent.

    I’m thankful you’re still writing.

  24. Comment by BostonCarlos | 11.24.2015 | 4:56 pm

    I’m thankful for bikes! I’m thankful for Team Fatty, Team Rescue Project, and World Bicycle Relief. I’m thankful for my health and happiness that are furthered by bicycles. I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made here and everywhere that love bikes.

    Peace, love, and bicycles. Happy thanksgiving guys & gals.

  25. Comment by esteefatty | 11.26.2015 | 9:11 am

    Ever thankful for family, the FC Universe and I wish you all a Happy Pie Day. Hugs galore.

  26. Comment by jc | 11.27.2015 | 11:59 am

    staying out of jail… I hope.

  27. Comment by Henry | 11.29.2015 | 9:52 pm

    Go for the cyclocross thing. All the fun of racing combined with all the fun of riding with your mates. And there is usually lots of mud.

  28. Comment by Dad On A Bicycle | 11.30.2015 | 12:46 pm

    I’m thankful for my family, who are also bike fanatics! I’m also thankful for health, because without it, I wouldn’t be able to ride like I do. And I’m also thankful for thoughtful blogs about cycling like this one.

  29. Comment by Liz M. | 11.30.2015 | 1:03 pm

    SO happy to hear the good news about your son. I have been thinking about him from time to time and glad life is going so well.

    I’m thankful for family, another year of good health and my work. I’m thankful for all the adventures and people my bikes have brought into my life.

    Cheers for 2016.


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