Editor’s note: We published the following letter from Serbian mountain biker Daniel Ulijan in February 2004 in Dirt Rag issue #105. Along with the simple footnote: “Anyone want to help out Daniel?”
Dear Dirt Rag,
My name is Daniel Ulijan and I am mountain biker. I am 18 years old and I live in Serbia. Here in Serbia there is not so much and quality shops for mountain bike parts. Actually there is few but prices are very, very expensive.
I am student and I could not save enough money to buy few little parts that I need for next mountain bike season. I am drive mountain bike until my 14 and my goal is to be pro biker. Maybe you ask yourself why my parents not help me. Let me shortly explain. My father work in one little factory hard physical job, and because of that he has really small paid. My mother gets fired few months ago from her factory and now she is looking for job. I have a younger sister and we are subtenant. Here was war few years ago and financial situation is not better.
I really love mountain biking more that anything else, I dream to be excellent driver and because of that I training a lot, but now I am in one problem, which my family and me could not decide. I really do not have money to buy just a few parts for my mountain bike that is really necessary for my new mountain bike season. I know that you are not any humanity organization, but I does not know anyone else who can help me.
I will be very thankful if you entertain my case and maybe help me. Please see what you can do and I will be very thankful. Is there anything what I can do, let me know.
Please help me!
[Daniel’s letter sparked an outpouring of support from our readers. The logistics were difficult—matching parts with his current setup, dealing with customs, shipping and insurance. The whole process took about 10 months to complete, but as you will see below, Daniel is now out riding around on fresh parts, and very thankful to be doing so. To all those readers who contributed, we hope his two letters are thanks enough. –Ed.]
Dearest Dirt Rag,
I just pick up the packages in post office! Yesterday I get the mail from custom office where I was informed that packages received. So today I was there and one custom officer wanted from me some kind of papers, but then I enter in office of the custom director and he recognized me and in a few minutes packages were in my hands. I was so happy that the custom office director was ask me why I am so happy. Then I explain him that it is the parts that will help me to start my real mountain bike career. He just give me a smile.
Dearest crew of Dirt Rag and all subscribers—thank you very, very, very much for your understanding and so much help. I and my father, mother and young sister are so thankful for all you done for me! My father could not believe that there are people that helped his son.
I really do not have right words on English to explain how thankful I am for all beautiful and quality parts. I just dreamed to have XTR, XT, LX, Cannondale, Titec, equipment on my mountain bike and here my dream become a reality thanks to you, Dirt Rag and subscribers. Thank you again for all you done. I am sure that you sacrificed a lot of your time, money and energy to do so much about me. From my all heart, thank you!
Now I am going to put all that parts on bike and I am going in one real drive, I will spend all day in mountains! I am so happy, now I will start to training and training.
And thank you for your letter that I find in packages. When I saw all that signatures from Dirt Rag crew I was so happy, I put letter on the wall, to watch it every day! Thank you all! Much love to you!
Dear Dirt Rag,
The river behind me is Danube, one of the biggest rivers in Europe. This is a photo when was nice weather. Now it is much different. Now it is very, very cold. All last and this week it is something about -15° C and during night it is -23° C. It is really cold. Because of that I drive a bike in town, because on mountains snow is about 30 cm tall. I am so happy waiting for better time to start training for next season.
Thank you again for all you doing for me, and thank to all you friends! You have much greetings from my family! What do you think what I do during this days? Yes, I enjoy in reading Dirt Rag magazines that you send me, it is real high quality mountain bike magazine!
I wish you beautiful day, good health and best rides!
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