You Never Know Who’s Reading

Readers give blogger ride of a lifetime

Fat Cyclist on the ride of his life. Photo by Glenn Kasin

These days it’s not unusual to get a high-level response to a blog post, e-mail or comment you make in your Facebook status. While the storyline itself is becoming commonplace, sometimes when it happens it’s an exceptional story.

Like what happened to recreational cyclist/IT product manager/blogger Fat Cyclist . He’s usually called Fatty, but in the name of professionalism I will use his real name, Elden.

In 2007, the blogger’s wife Susan was diagnosed (again) with breast cancer. Rather than abandon his blog, he used it to chronicle and share his family’s painful battle and to raise money to fund cancer research.

Susan died in August 2009 and he credits her for turning his blog from bike jokes into a cancer-fighting powerhouse. And that it is.

On December 3, 2009, on a whim, Elden posted a resume cover letter  to Johan Bruyneel, the manager of Lance Armstrong’s newly formed professional cycling team, Team RadioShack. He hilariously outlined his qualifications for becoming a professional cyclist.

 Within 24 hours of the post, Johan had:

  1. read the letter.
  2. asked his Facebook followers if he should give him a shot.
  3. extended Elden the opportunity to ride with Team RadioShack for a day provided he could meet two fundraising goals.

With his readers’ help, Elden reached both goals within 24 hours of announcing the contest on his blog on December 6.

So, on December 7, Johan upped the ante. If Elden could raise $100,000 he’d throw in a trip for two from Trek Travel to the finish of the 2010 Tour de France. Elden’s supporters propelled him past the new goal again less than 24 hours later. In less than three days, “Team Fatty” generated more than $135,000 for Livestrong and World Bicycle Relief.

Elden rode with Lance, Levi and rest of the team the weekend of December 11 while donors reaped the HUGE rewards Elden gave away to further the cause: the autographed team Trek Madone bike, a custom Fat Cyclist Gary Fisher bike and the Tour de France weekend. Here’s his video recap  of the experience.

Fully aware of all that Elden had simply given away to his blog readers, Johan and the team gave him his own Trek Madone and a trip to the Tour of California for his family complete with a ride in the team car.

For the past few years, Elden openly shared the painful realities and raw emotions of his family’s fight with cancer. While many readers did have hopes of winning the Madone bike, I believe most wanted to give him a small slice of happiness in one of the most painful years of his life.

Elden’s blog post set the wheels in motion, but his loyal, engaged readers got him to the finish. Would your blog’s readers do the same for you?

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4 Responses to “You Never Know Who’s Reading”

  1. Social Media Unites People and Communities « The Adams Group Blog Says:

    […] have in social media. I spend so much time reading and talking about it, it’s easy to forget how powerful it is in action. I got a beautiful reminder over the New Year holiday when our very close friends’ dog […]

  2. Frank E Says:

    It appears Fatty has perfected the art of the Charity Lottery. Others should follow suit. There are a lot of worthy causes out there that need our support. Glad to see how Johan leveraged it to get more people on bikes.

  3. thecatsman Says:

    A very inspiring story.I am pleased I came by to read it.MY blog doesn’t yet have much of a following but I shall remember this story of compassion and kindness as I pontificate about these things on a regular basis.Maybe someday I will have inspired a fraction of what this man has accomplished and I would consider that an accomplishment indeed.

  4. skippy Says:

    “Fatty is a star” i came on his blog thru @johanbruyneel and was amazed to the extent i started my own blog “”. i had been tweeting to help “disabled/physically challenged sport” as i see that so many of them get no help with sponsorship and are left out of events such as the Tour de France, tour of California & Giro d’italia.

    using @Skippydetour on twitter i have not made the progress in finding the help i need to turn a project into rality. i have “fatty’s permission to use photos etc but hope even some of his followers will join with me to get a result.

    12 years of the tours riding alone has taught me all there is to know as an individual but organising a team effort is somewhat daunting. it requires commitment from the athletes,volunteers and sponsors.

    i wish all a festive holiday and ask yourself and your friends what you can do to help.

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