I try to be a good person. I do. I really, really do.
But sometimes I am overcome with jealousy.
Like, right this very second for example.
Because I am about to reveal to you that in addition to the five dream bikes being given away in the Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of Five, I’ve got a little surprise up my sleeve:
An all-expense-paid cycling trip to Italy, April 13 – 20, courtesy of InGamba.
You’ll be riding in the Chianti region of Tuscany, an area known as one of the best places anywhere to ride a bike. Chianti also happens to be the epicenter of the food and wine world. And João Correia knows both the food and riding in that area as well as a person can.
We’ll cover your airfare (up to $1200), and inGamba will cover your expenses while you’re there (though you should probably bring some money for tipping).
The InGamba Difference
There’s a good reason that Bicycling Magazine called the inGamba experience “The best ride on earth.” João Correia’s goal is to create moments you will never forget by sharing his favorite places, people and passions in a way that other touring companies simply can’t.
Each inGamba destination is a place he is deeply connected to: the Portugal of his youth, the Italian countryside where he lived and trained as a professional cyclist, and the immesurable beauty of northern California where he currently reside. Because of my history and relationships in these places, I’m able to craft an experience that takes you beyond the guidebooks and into the heart of a place.
João says, “As a pro I came to appreciate the things that were associated with that particular lifestyle; the best bikes, amazing kit, great roads and of course a full-time mechanic and soigenur to ensure that body and bike are both running smoothly. I bring these things to each and every inGamba trip, sweating even the tiniest of details to ensure that guests are treated—at least for a week—like a world-class professional. This attention to detail extends into everything we do, from the customized rain bags each guest receives upon arrival, to name decals on the top tubes, pre-programmed Garmins and homemade ride food that will be waiting for you every morning in your own musette.”
Eat, Drink, Ride
Whether you’re meeting revolutionary winemakers, enjoying a private tasting in the kitchen of a world-famous Siennese baker, pedaling alongside a visiting pro, spending the evening with an enigmatic philosopher-shoemaker or having a laugh around the long dining table at the Borgolecchi B&B, every day will bring new surprises, incredible riding, top-notch dining and, of course, great wine.
InGamba keeps trips small and they take great pride in creating the perfect mix of guests to ensure a memorable week. They’re as interested in the quality of dinner conversation as they are about the outcome of the sprint to the city limits sign. At the end of the week they want your mind to be as inspired and relaxed as your legs are tired—and they believe that the careful combination of those three sensations can lead to some of life’s greatest moments.
InGamba: A Huge Supporter of World Bicycle Relief
Here’s something you may not know: for every person who comes on one of their trips, InGamba donates $134 — the cost of a Buffalo Bike — to World Bicycle Relief.
InGamba has donated about $20,000 this year, collected from friends of InGamba, travelers and matching that InGamba does on top of that. They are aiming for $25,000 by the end of this year.
Here’s what João has to say about why InGamba is donating this incredible trip:
Bikes change people’s lives. For some of us it was a tool to make a living, for others a way to loose a little extra weight or simply blow off some stress. But yet for a different group of people it’s a way to get around, that allows you to get to a job or school. It can be that little push you need to get over the poverty line and make a difference for you family. At inGamba we believe in bikes. We also believe in making a difference and making sure its part of what we do. Although our trips are about great food, wine and riding bikes our inspiration as a business is to make peoples lives better. It can be one of our guests or it can be a young person in Africa whom we’ll never meet but along with our guests we will affect with our contribution that gives them the ability to get from point A to point B easier and therefore transform their lives. Join the cause and make a difference.
Seriously, how could you not love a company that believes in bikes so whole-heartedly?
Let’s Recap, Shall We?
So, just to sum up, here are the prizes that are going to be given away as part of the Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5:
And bear in mind, that all of these bikes are absolutely loaded to the max with your pick of top-end SRAM parts.
Look at that list again. Seriously, take a good hard look at it, and ask yourself if you have ever seen a cycling-oriented prize list that is its equal.
Or even one that comes kind of close.
[Hint: The answer is, “No.”]
Further, remember that even though you probably won’t win any of these prizes, your money is still going straight to World Bicycle Relief, where it’s making an instant, massive difference in people’s lives.
Every multiple of $5 gets you a row on the magic spreadsheet from which winners are chosen. And if you donate $134 (the cost of a WBR bike), you get a bonus 5 chances.
So please, go donate. And good luck!
Hey, I need to tell you something, and I’m afraid it’s going to freak you out a little bit, so I apologize in advance.
Christmas is in just a few days.
And if I know you the way I think I know you (and I think I know you pretty darned well), you are currently steeling yourself for a weekend of ugliness: walking (or maybe driving, or quite possibly driving) from store to store, trying to find something that will suffice as a present.
And we all know how that’s going to turn out.
I have a better idea. It’s a present that’s perfect for everyone, is easy to buy, and will definitely get to them on time, no matter where they live.
Donate to the Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5 in your friends’ and family’s behalf.
It’s super easy, they get an e-card saying what you’ve done, and—here’s the genius part—you are still entered in the drawing and may win one of the five dream bikes that are going to be given away (more on that in a bit).
Here, let me walk you through it. First, you go to the Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5 donation page (click here), and click the “Contribute Now” button.
Next, you fill out the the donation page, just like you normally would.
Don’t freak out that this page doesn’t have anything about your donation being in someone else’s name. That part comes after you complete the transaction.
Once you click the Donate button, you’re taken to a page that looks like this:
From here, you can click “Send an e-card,” which lets you write a custom message and choose the image you like. It gets emailed right away, and they get a cool e-card showing what a thoughtful and timely gift you have just given them: making the world a better place in their behalf. Like this one I just got from Katie Bolling of World Bicycle Relief:
This is what my sisters and parents are all getting for Christmas.
And the cool thing is, it’s my name that goes into the drawing for one of the five dream bikes being given away as part of this fundraiser. (OK, as the guy who’s running this contest I’m unfortunately not eligible to win, but you get the point).
And don’t forget: every dollar you’re donating gets matched, so feel free to tell the person you’re donating on behalf of that you actually gave them twice as much as you actually did.
Because, you know, it’s technically true.
Win a Cannondale CAAD10
I’m very pleased to announce the third bike to be given away in the Grand Slam: Power of 5 lineup: A Cannondale CAAD10, totally loaded up with SRAM Red components and ZIPP wheels. Nice!
If you want a shot at winning this — or any of the other four dream bikes — make sure you donate!
The Story Behind The Bike
You might wonder a little bit about how this bike came into this contest. Well, it’s both a sad and also beautiful story. You see, Pam Keith, a long-standing employee of Cannondale, has become one of World Bicycle Relief greatest champion’s this past year. She lost her husband, Bill — A SRAM employee — unexpectedly in January and has gone on to create an absolute stunning legacy in his name.
Thus far she has raised over $50,000 for World Bicycle Relief and is extremely passionate and dedicated. This past May, Pam and her sister, Kim, traveled to Zambia to be on-hand for a distribution in Bill’s honor. Be sure to read the story on that. Katie at World Bicycle Relief said the following about Pam and her work:
I can honestly say that Pam gives me a great reason each day to come to work with a spirit to do my absolute best for the people we serve. Her ambition to create a lasting legacy in Bill’s name is an active testament to the meaning of love. Cannondale has really impressed me with their willingness to support Pam’s drive. We’re honored to have the support of Pam, Dave and the entire Cannondale family.
I want to add my thanks to Pam and Cannondale. I love seeing people turn tragedy into something good.
I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m a big fan of the work World Bicycle Relief does, and am proud to support them (and to ask you endlessly for your support). And it’s also pretty obvious that many of you also think this is a pretty fantastic foundation.
But have you ever wondered about how WBR got started? And how it is that the president of World Bicycle Relief (FK Day) and the president of SRAM (Stan Day) happen to be brothers?
Or how about the fact that SRAM and WBR share headquarters?
Or how about the fact that all five of the bikes in the Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of 5 fundraiser are equipped with…SRAM parts, which happen to be donated by SRAM?
It all seems like quite a coincidence, don’t you think?
Well, I’m going to be talking with Stan and FK today at 3pm ET / 12noon PT today, and I’d love to have you join me. You can watch below, but you’ll be better off (and able to ask questions and stuff) if you head on over to watch on the Spreecast site (click here).
A Little More About SRAM and WBR
To prep you for the chat, here’s a little background about the SRAM / WBR relationship. As WBR’s largest corporate sponsor, SRAM supports the work of World Bicycle Relief monetarily, as well as through in-kind services, advocacy, and technical expertise. Financially, they support WBR’s work through events like the SRAM pART Project.
In-kind support includes the donation of office space, product for these types of fundraisers and support services. SRAM provides promotional support by sharing WBR’s story with their customer base and sales reps. Finally, they lend design and engineering expertise to the production of Buffalo Bicycles.
WBR Executive Director, Charles Coustan, sums it up nicely:
“It is hard to adequately express World Bicycle Relief’s ongoing gratitude towards SRAM and their employees. As an illustration of their support, I’m reminded of an experience of mine in one of SRAM’s testing facilities…the WBR Buffalo was undergoing some engineering tests next to some SRAM equipment. To see SRAM’s commitment to both the highest performing bicycles in the world as well as what could be the most important bicycles in the world side-by-side was a visual symbol of SRAM’s ongoing commitment not only to sport but also to their dedication to a higher calling via the bicycle.”
Please be sure to join me at 3pm ET / 12noon PT today. I’m thinking this’ll be the feel-good interview of the summer. Or winter. Or maybe the whole year.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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