One Million

One Million

It’s just a number. It’s equal to the population of a large city in the U.S. It’s estimated to be the number of selfies taken each day and the number of people suffering Parkinson’s Disease. It used to be the number we used as a benchmark to establish if someone was rich.

I wonder at times what I will pass a million of in my lifetime. Have I, in aggregate, made a million dollars? Probably, but over the course of a life, it feels much less impressive. Have I listened to a million different songs? The way I fall in love with stuff and listen to it over and over, I rather doubt it. Have I ridden a million miles yet? Perhaps not, but I’m surely close.

It’s a number so large it defies comprehension. Should we need further proof, let us not forget Joseph Stalin’s quote that, “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”

It’s all the confirmation we need that such a large number is difficult for even the brightest of brains to digest.

And yet, I’d like to ask you to try to do that, because it is the number, in dollars, that my friend the Fat Cyclist has raised for World Bicycle Relief. Fatty has been at this for seven years like some sort of Pied Piper of bicycles (without, of course, all the missing children).

None of these exercises brings us any closer to comprehending that number, so let’s use some math.

Try this number: 147.

That’s the cost of a single bicycle as supplied by World Bicycle Relief. Just $147. It’s a pretty terrific number, and one that is all the more impressive when you get a look at the bicycles they give out. Friends, you can’t buy a bike this good for that kind of money in any big box retailer.

So what do we get when we divide one million by 147? We get 6802 bicycles. That’s a number we can think about. It’s the size of a smaller university or town. What it really represents is a societal shift in Africa. Each of those bicycles represents another educated girl. And educating girls is a way to transform society.

Consider this poem written by Dianah Mwanika, which can be found on the World Bicycle Relief web site:



The right to education is for all, even for a girl
People may wish for sons, but I’m glad I was born, born a girl child
Challenges may be more, but the blessings will be bigger
You educate a girl
You’ve educated a nation
It’s only education that equalizes a rich man’s daughter
And a poor man’s daughter
As I cycle my Buffalo Bicycle to school every day
I know, my future will be great.
What Fatty has done will resonate for generations to come. It’s a gift that, better than any stock, will grow with time.
Cheers Fatty.
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  1. Yann bertaud

    Well done Elden. So happy to have gotten to know you and ridden with you over the years. Happy to have been exposed to this wonderful organization and be able to contribute to it every year knowing that we are helping make a difference in a lot of people’s lives.

  2. wharton_crew

    For a long time, Fatty has inspired a lot of people. Whether it’s to battle cancer, ride a first century, or help improve the lives of children in Africa, he’s been at the forefront.

    Fatty, I hope you never stop. Thanks for everything.

  3. davidh, marin ca

    Proud to be a FoF and to do our small part to make such a difference in a person’s life.
    Merry Christmas Elden, lets do it again! 2M by 2020?

  4. MattC

    This is just WICKED AWESOME! Actually, there truly are no words to describe JUST how awesome. Count me as another proud FoF helping where I can! Happy New Year everybody! Can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for all of us!

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