"Fatcyclist" raises $1m for World Bicycle Relief by Christmas day

Carlton Reid

Elden Nelson, who blogs as "Fatcyclist", has raised a cool $1m for World Bicycle Relief. He has been raising money for the bike-supply charity since 2011 and exceeded the $1m total on Christmas day. 

Nelson is director of content marketing at Infragistics, a company that makes tools for software developers and UX professionals. His fundraising page for World Bicycle Relief often hosts auctions of items from cycling celebs.

"World Bicycle Relief is a perfect charity for people who love bicycles and have seen the good they can do," said Nelson, who also answers to the name "fatty" and writes for his own blog, and for Red Kite Prayer

He told BikeBiz: "The million-dollar mark was never a target, until Katie Bolling, World Bicycle Relief's development directo, mentioned how much I had raised over the year and we were close enough this year that it felt like a good goal to stretch for. On Christmas morning, I awoke to find we had hit it. It was a wonderful gift.

Fatty added: "Like most people, given the chance, I’d like to make the world a better place. And since I’m lucky enough to have a lot of generous, good-hearted readers I’ve been able to give this interest some direction. I’ve raised money for a number of good charities, but over the past few years have started thinking hard about what my fundraising dollars accomplish about whether I was making any kind of difference."

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World Bicycle Relief is an international, non-profit organisation based in Chicago, USA, and founded by SRAM's F. K. Day. It distributes bicycles to aid poverty relief in developing countries around the world. Their programs focus primarily on education, economic development, and health care. 

"By providing sturdy, purpose-built bikes – single speed, coaster brakes, kickstands, rear racks strong enough for an adult passenger – in Africa to schoolchildren, health care volunteers, and small businesses, World Bicycle Relief transforms the lives of the people who get a bicycle," Nelson told BikeBiz.

"They save hours in getting to and from school, making it possible to stay in school. They can get water easier. They have a longer radius of options for seeking work and selling products.

"Each bike costs just $147, and I’ve been to Zambia, where I’ve seen the difference a bike makes in a person’s life. It’s astonishing and inspiring. And – for bike people – it connects. We know that bikes are important; a charity that understands this too just feels right."

Nelson's auctions and prizes have included one-off bikes and cycling trips. One of the most popular prizes  was spending a day in San Francisco riding with Gary Fisher. 

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