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Grand Slam for Zambia II: This Time It’s Personal by fatty

A Note from Fatty: If you already know the details of what this is and how it works and are now ready to go donate,click here to go to the Grand Slam II Donation Page .

In the summer of 2011, I partnered up with World Bicycle Relief  to try to do something big: raise enough money to buy 1000 bikes for kids in Zambia: $134,000. We called the project “Grand Slam for Zambia” (because 1000 = a “Grand” — get it?).

In the end, we wound up raising more than $158,000. I felt pretty good about that.

But then I went to Zambia for a few days and fundraising for these kids stopped being something I liked doing. This year, it’s something I need to do. Because I’ve seen exactly what an incredibly stand-up organization World Bicycle Relief  is. And I’ve seen the astonishing change a single well-designed, well-built, bicycle makes in the lives of multiple people.

Here I am, giving one of the 1000+ bikes we bought for kids in Zambia:

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When I gave this bike to this girl, her life was suddenly filled with new possibilities and opportunity. She’d be able to get to school in half an hour, instead of in two hours. She’d be able to bring water to her home quickly, and in one trip. She’d be able to help her neighbors. She’d be able to get to the market faster, carry more, and get home sooner.

Her father cried and shook my hand for at least a minute, saying “Thank you, thank you,” over and over.

I might have cried too.

So this year, I want to do more. A lot more. The I want to raise $250,000. A quarter million dollars.

You know what that will do? That will buy bikes for 1800 kids. And it will train 36 bike mechanics for employment (one mechanic for every 50 bikes). And it will outfit those mechanics with basic tools and supplies.

That’s 1836 lives, changed for the better in permanent, powerful ways. And we won’t just be tossing assistance out into the void. We’ll be jumpstarting a sustainable bicycle ecosystem for whole communities.

What are we going to call this project? Easy:

grand slam ii final_small.jpg 

Your Money Counts Double

I know, $250,000 seems like a lot. It really does. But you know what? It isn’t impossible. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion we’re going to rocket right past $250,000. You see, during the months of November and December, World Bicycle Relief has found companies and individuals who have promised to match, dollar-for-dollar, our donations. So in order for us to get to $250,000, we actually need to raise only $125,000.

That’s quite a bit easier, isn’t it?

But I’ll still need your help.

I’m a Little Bit Overwhelmed by the Awesomeness of the Prizes I’ll Be Giving Away

Working with World Bicycle Relief, I have put together the most impressive slate of incentives I have ever built. There will be lots of big prizes (like some very nice bikes), small prizes, and experiences that you will definitely want to be a part of.

Over the next couple weeks (or so), I’ll be revealing what all of them are. The cool thing is, though, by donating now you are entered to win all of the prizes, including the ones I haven’t yet revealed.

P5220380.JPG Today though, let me tell you about one of the prizes that F.K. Day — The CEO of World Bicycle Relief (pictured at right) — and I dreamed up while we were riding our bikes together on a dirt road in Zambia.

“I wish more people could have this experience,” I said, talking about the trip I had just been on, seeing what a difference bikes make to people who otherwise have to get around on foot in a huge, spread-out place like Zambia.

“It’s incredible the way it hits you — how powerful a tool the bicycle is,” F.K. agreed.

“What if we brought at least some of the experience to the U.S.?” F.K. wondered. “Gave a few people the chance to see what it’s like to walk five miles, then ride that same five miles? To carry a bucket of water for a kilometer on foot versus on a bike?”

“We should do that,” I said. “Give people a sense of how these bikes feel, what a difference they make. Tell them stories about how peoples’ lives have changed while we ride with them.”

“Where do you think would be a good place to do this?” F.K. asked.

“How about Moab?” I replied. “The dirt roads there aren’t too different, it’s warm, it’s dry.”

And that’s how we came up with one of the many grand prizes we’re going to give away as part of this contest, which we call:

Africa In Moab

Three randomly chosen donors  will have an all-expense paid (if you’re outside the U.S., you’re responsible for your own airfare to get into the U.S.) trip to the first-ever “Africa in Moab” adventure, where you’ll join F.K. and me as you build your own Buffalo bike — the exact same kind given out to kids in Zambia — and experience the power of bicycles firsthand.

Joining us from Africa will be Brian Moonga, Country Director of World Bicycle Relief Zambia, who is shown here using his mind to make a child’s hat levitate off his head:

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Brian is one of the smartest, nicest people I’ve ever met, and is an amazing storyteller. He’s also an incredible Zambian success story, and the kind of guy who gets things done.

I asked WBR especially to send Brian here for this trip, and they were awesome enough to agree. If you’re one of the people lucky enough to win this prize, meeting Brian will be one of the highlights of your trip.

Between the lot of us, we’ll have enough pictures and stories to make you feel like you’ve been there. All without having to fly for 25 hours.

But you won’t be hanging out with just F.K., The Hammer, Brian and me. Nosirree. Mountain Bike Hall-of-Famer Greg Herbold  will be there, too. In fact, as a Moab local, he’s volunteered to be party coordinator and to keep things fun.

And Western Spirit Cycling Adventures  will be handling the logistiscs — setting up camp, handling food, taking care of shuttles, you name it.

And since this is going to be a prize we give out to three lucky winners, we’ll be able to customize the trip for you. For example, if you want to get out and do some mountain biking while you’re in Moab (and you’d be crazy not to), we’ll make time for it. More of a roadie? Well, Moab’s got some epic paved rides too.

Hikes? Sure.

Base jumping? Absolutely not. But you know, pretty much anything else. We’re going to do a lot, see a lot, learn a lot, and generally make this an amazing experience.

It’ll be this May (over the Memorial Day weekend, probably, so it’ll be easier for the winners to deal with days off, travel, etc.), and it’ll be incredible.

More Coming Soon

The three “Africa in Moab” prizes are just the beginning of the big prizes that will be on offer for this fundraiser. I’ll be talking about each of the many other prizes during the next few weeks.

I’ll also be posting a lot of stories about my trip to Zambia (yes, anticipation of this fundraiser is why I haven’t posted much about that trip ’til now).

What Your Donation Buys (Times 2!)

Of course the possibility of getting a prize is exciting, but the reason you’re donating is to make a massive difference in someone’s life.

  • Every $5 you donate, of course, gets you a chance at winning one of the many prizes that I’ll be rolling out.
  • Every $50 you donate buys a toolset for a mechanic to work on bikes
  • Every $134 you donate buys a bicycle and changes a persons life in a powerful way, plus you get bonus chances in the drawing.
  • Every $250 trains someone to be a bike mechanic, setting them up with a new employment opportunity, plus you get bonus chances in the drawing

Of course, any amount you donate is great, but I recommend donating $134 — the cost of a bicycle for a child. And remember, because you’ll be donating during November to December, your donation is being matched, which means when you donate $134 for a bike, it turns into two bikes. Like magic, but even better.

All you have to do to make a huge, permanent difference in someone’s life is donate here .

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Christmas is Coming

Last year, a lot of people did something amazing. As Christmas gifts to their friends and family, they donated enough money to buy a bike for a girl in Zambia on their behalf.

This year, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to donate a bike on behalf of each of my sisters and parents. And anytime you donate $134 or more, World Bicycle Relief will help by sending a great-looking card  to anyone you want. (I just tested it out by by a bike on behalf of The Hammer; I’m excited for her to get her card and message, and know for sure she’s going to be excited that I was thinking about her when I made a donation that will make a huge difference in a girl’s life.)

So. If you don’t know what to get someone for Christmas, do what I’m doing: make someone’s life vastly better  on their behalf. (You’ll be given the option of what card to choose, who to send it to, and what message to include after you finish your donation.)

Which brings us to when this contest ends: Midnight, December 24.

Note: If you want to send cards out to different people, you need to do multiple donations.

The last little while has been an ugly time in cycling. It’s time for that to change. I’m excited to show thousands of people — quite literally — exactly how wonderful bikes and the people who love them are.

Thank you for your help .

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