And Now, A Word from Chuck

A Note from Fatty: There are Friends of Fatty (FoF), and then there are Best Friends of Fatty Forever (BFoFF). Scot Nicol, aka Chuck Ibis, is definitely a BFoFF. Last year he donated an Ibis Silk SL to help us raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. A couple months ago he made it possible for us to shave Bob Roll’s head, raising yet more money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. And now he’s working to raise money for another worthy cause. I’ll let him explain.

Scot Nicol here, you might remember me from our little raffle from last June when many of you participated in a raffle of one of our Ibis SilkSL road bikes in Susan’s name to benefit the LAF. The result of your kindness and generosity was that the Foundation had $37,505 more in their coffers. Thank you all for that, it was a success beyond our wildest imagination.

I’m giving Fatty a day off today and will use my rickety soapbox to toot the horn of another very different and very worthy group of people out here who are fighting the good fight.

epic_lunch.jpgMost of us like trails, whether we’re mountain bike riders, hikers, equestrians or Australian Shepards. Somebody has to build these and maintain these trails, and more often than not that task is done by a local, state or federal government agency. There are national organizations out there that do it, the one we cyclists know best is IMBA, the International Mountain Bike Association. There are also smaller, more regional organizations too that are doing good, innovative work. The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship is one of these.

Since 2003, the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship has been quietly building and maintaining a network of trails in and around a little mountain town called Downieville. It’s a place that’s close to my heart, as I spent a good chunk of every summer since 1959 there on the Yuba River, recreating on my grandpa’s mining claim. There were trails then, but no mountain bikes. Growing up on a river in the Sierra was absolute paradise for a kid from the ‘burbs.

The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (SBTS) has a unique approach to reaching their goals. They rely on a huge amount of volunteerism, and have honed their trailbuilding efforts to a science. Their efforts also include a tremendous amount of community outreach, including a youth program that involves the local schools. The longer-term goals of this group also include the development of trail systems around the thriving metropolises of Graeagle, Clio, Portola, Calpine, Loyalton, and Sierraville.

Actually, these are all destination resort areas whose economic livelihood will be greatly enhanced by the new trail networks. I’ve even heard mention of a hut system sometime in the future. You can read more about what they’re about here.

These guys also happen to put on what I consider to be the funnest mountain bike event on the calendar right now. It’s called the Downieville Classic, where the legendary Downieville Downhill was born (45 minutes of descending at warp speed for the winner, more for me). It all takes place in the tiny burg of Downieville, and events include a pixie cross (small bikes racing in a tight circuit) and the insanely popular river jump contest. They set up a huge ramp and jump bikes into the river, I got to be a judge last year, one of my proudest accomplishments ever. To give you an indication of its populariy, the race sold out in minutes this year (as it does every year).

Now, if you’ve persevered to this point, I have a little treat for you. This is the most incredible 5 minutes of bicycle related video I’ve seen today, and maybe forever. It starts out a bit slow, but is well worth five minutes of your day. Once you’re done, continue reading. This is totally unrelated to anything in this post or any that Fatty has ever done most likely. I simply thought it was incredible enough to share.

The SBTS is not shy about their lofty goals, and have spoken to me about taking their brand of advocacy and community involvement on the road, showing other communities how they do it.

One of my goals is to help them do it. And that’s where this post is headed.

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3434357895_2167d7054a.jpgWe at Ibis have donated a pimpy fresh Ibis Mojo, totally decked out with all the latest gear that would be appropriate for a ride around Downieville. We are raffling this bike on April 27th, this coming Monday. Raffle tickets, like before, are five dollah. 100% of the proceeds go to building trails. The SBTS estimates that one dollar of donation to their non-profit equals about $1500 dollars of normal trail building effort if it was done by a big bureaucracy. And they say they’ve had 22,000 hours of volunteer labor dedicated to their projects since 2003. Those are compelling numbers. Figure a burrito costs 5 bucks, your raffle ticket will buy someone a burrito and they might be able to build 10 feet of trail. Or more if it’s a super carnitas with guac (hopefully you vegans will still ride the trail).

We had our uber racer Brian Lopes design the parts pick of the bike, and we thank all of his kind sponsors like Marzocchi, Shimano, Easton, KS shocks, Kenda, WTB for their generous support.

In short, why don’t you go buy a raffle ticket or twenty? You might win a very cool bike.

PS: if you liked the video above, check out this one of Brian on the very same Mojo (well, not the same Mojo, but another one exactly like it) you see pictured above. That could be you, man. Or at least it could be your bike.

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