I Love the Cold

12.2.2005 | 3:12 pm

Oh, this is such a cheap gimmick. Yesterday I talk about how much I hate riding in the cold, and now today I’m talking about how much I like riding in the cold. Ooooh, what an interesting contradiction! Clearly, it’s Amateur Literary Trick day at the Fat Cyclist blog.

So let me explain.

I rode my bike home yesterday after work. It was no longer snowing, but there were very few cars out. It was incredibly quiet and dark out as I rode through Marymoor Park. Luckily, there wasn’t much snow sticking to the road, and I could avoid that by riding closer to the center of the road than usual.

It was quiet. It was dark. It was cold. And the air felt sharp and clean against the back of my throat; it tasted great.


Fog Machine

As I rode up Inglewood Hill, I stood up, breathing hard. The fog from my mouth would go right into  the beam of my handlebar-mounted lights, and make a really cool, brightly illuminated cloud. I found myself blowing out further out into the beam, experimenting with how impressive of a light show I could put on. And for the first time ever, I forgot that I was climbing Inglewood Hill.



I stand by what I said yesterday: it’s a pain to get ready to ride in the cold. Once you’re out, though, it can be fun. In fact, one of the most memorable rides I’ve ever been on was in the snow. Rick Maddox and I took part of a day off from work to go ride up Squaw Peak in the middle of the winter. This four mile road is a brutally steep road bike workout in the summer, but it’s a snowmobiler’s and sledder’s paradise in the winter.

So Rick and I decided to find out whether we could bike it.

By letting practically all the air out of our tires to increase the size of our contact patches, we were able to — mostly — ride up. The trick was to stay in the most recent snowmobile tracks. It was slow going, but we warmed up soon; riding a steep climb with no air pressure in soft-packed snow is quite a workout. About three miles up, we ran out of snowmobile tracks to follow. It was time to turn around.

And thus began the goofiest three-mile descent of our lives.

We experimented with putting our weight forward to give us better steering and keeping out weight back to avoid auguring in. I think we finally decided on a balance in the middle. It didn’t really matter; at pretty much every turn one or both of us would wipe out, often into the other.

The thing is, though, wiping out on a bike is a lot of fun when it’s penalty-free. The snow was so forgiving and banked so high we could practice our snow mountain biking skills without fear. We’d ride for a few seconds, fishtail around a corner (or, more accurately, failing to make it around a corner), and wipe out, often with a little flourish to make it look good.

As we got closer to the bottom of the hill, we started coming across kids and parents on sleds. They stared at us openly. What were mountain bikers doing coming down this hill? We were too strange to be real. Rick and I kept riding, laughing and wiping out.


PS: Let’s Outfit Tayfur and Friends

Tayfur, the winner of yesterday’s bike bag, lives in Turkey. He loves bikes as much as any of us, but doesn’t have a lot of good cycling clothes. He tells me, in fact, that he knows of quite a few riders in his area who could use some good cycling clothes. So how about we help Tayfur and friends out.

Let’s send Tayfur our good unused bike clothes — shorts, jerseys, jackets, vests, gloves, socks, you name it. He’ll take what fits him, and distribute what doesn’t. Everybody wins.

How to do it

Just email me. If you want to send your stuff direct, I’ll give you his address. If you want to combine your stuff with a big package I’m putting together, I’ll give you my address. To keep things from being too obvious and therefore getting “lost” in customs, Tayfur recommends we send relatively small boxes. So if you don’t mind sending stuff yourself, that’d be great. Meaning, I’m OK with some out-of-pocket here, but I don’t want this to clean me out.

I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of a bunch of these jerseys I don’t use finding their way onto some cyclists’ backs.


  1. Comment by Zed | 12.2.2005 | 3:52 pm

    You might have a future competing in downhill cycling on the X-games, Fatty.I’d love to donate, but I really don’t have anything to throw into the mix (unless you guys want a pair of socks or something). I’m one of thost minimalist types. Nothing personal, Tayfur. I hope you get a whole bunch of donations.

  2. Comment by Unknown | 12.2.2005 | 4:41 pm

    You’re not so tough. The fact that you even questioned riding home is, well, so not tough. And that liver thing is no big deal. Liver-schmiver. I re-assert that you are a pansy, even if you did go ahead with the ride.

  3. Comment by Unknown | 12.2.2005 | 4:41 pm

    hear hear on ‘Project Outfit Tayfur’ (POT) for the acronymists among us.i will be requesting the address forthwith. fwiw, some of my best rides have been snow rides on dirt farm roads . there is a stillness that only snow can provide.

  4. Comment by tayfuryagci | 12.2.2005 | 5:51 pm

    hey everyone. I’m sending an extensive email to fatty right now. I will tell him how the packaging must be done and what is the adress. you can donate whatever you have as fatty mentioned in his email to me one guy asks if I or others need parts? I’m a university student so are nearly all of my cycling friends. Many of us still live with our families of whom most cannot really support this rahther expensive sport. So we use scholarships and money we get from small jobs on our bikes. As you can guess that doesn’t add up to be much. you can donate whatever you want, a pair of socks or a jersey, even used parts and such. I or my brother or one of our cycling buddies will have a use for your donations. and you MUST know they WILL be appreciated. caloi-rider thanks anyway man, just you thinking is enough ;)POT ?? thats a cool name :DDthanks for everything again and again Elden and everyone! I gotta go and finish the email to fatty or I’ll get mushy here.tayfur

  5. Comment by Unknown | 12.2.2005 | 5:52 pm

    You are so cool. Nothing else to add.Oh, except, does Tayfur want any old Legos and American Girl Dolls? Nearly complete Bionicles? Beanie Babies?

  6. Comment by Margaret | 12.2.2005 | 6:14 pm

    What a great thing to do. Go Project POT!I’m a noncyclist, but still a fan of your humor and good (sometimes) spirit.

  7. Comment by Unknown | 12.2.2005 | 7:23 pm

    fatty, faty, fatty,You misread my post of yesterday, at least a bit. Okay, I may have been whinging about the foot of snow and ice we have on the ground in Spokane, the next food of snow thats blowing from the sky right now, and the icy roads beneath it all and wanting to live through the winter so I can ride when it’s merely wet before it gets warm. I guess that’s whinging. But the "fools" I was referring to were the folks who ride in this weather, on this side of the state, not you and the others on the merely wet and occasionally cold side of the state you’re on (where I rode many a wet winter day). And hey, the last two out of three of my blogs are on cycling! Ask Jake, he’ll tell you I’m worthy, at least I hope he will!

  8. Comment by A Dawn Tinsley | 12.2.2005 | 7:49 pm

    I wish I had some things to donate, but I only have one jersey, 1 pair of shorts and a pair of gloves. I’m a minimalist who likes doing laundry.

  9. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 12.2.2005 | 7:51 pm

    Fatty, your altruism is showing::GRIN:: Great idea! I don’t have any gear to contribute, as I use sweats myself for now, + I really doubt there are too many cyclists on the globe my size, much less Turkey!::GRIN::

  10. Comment by Unknown | 12.2.2005 | 8:40 pm

    So…. Fatty. Or is that just your cover name ?It has occured to me that there may not really be a so called "Fat Cyclist", but an elaborate marketing campaign by the bicycle industry. Clever. Since I stumbled upon your blog some months back, strange things have been happening. My return to cycling. Clothes. Helmuts. Jerseys. Shoes. Bikes. Racks. Magazines. Books. Catalogs galore. My fiance thinks I am not the same man I was when we met. I don’t blame her, just look at the credit card statements. Nashbar, Performance, Blue Sky, Supergo, the goes on. Now sending gear to another country, to be sold on the black market by your operatives in Turkey. How low could go in the name of the almighty dollar ?You’ve sucked me back into the gaping maw of the cycling industry. Thanks alot, pal.Bozp.s.:What size does Tayfur wear ?

  11. Comment by tayfuryagci | 12.2.2005 | 8:51 pm

    tayfur wears L-XL but as most of these will be sold on the black market by fatty’s lackeys you can send whatever size you like. fatty has all the information on sending so please e-mail him. you can mail me too.

  12. Comment by Conejita | 12.2.2005 | 9:56 pm

    Hey fatty, is this the house you’ve been spying on me from? (make sure your volume is on)http://members.cox.net/transam57/lights.wmv

  13. Comment by Andrew | 12.2.2005 | 10:10 pm

    Dear Mr. Fat Person, I didn’t realize that there was a competition for obtaining used bike clothing, elsewise I would have told you the real truth of my situation several days ago. I started biking when I was young, because my dad, who was dying of cancer, couldn’t afford to travel to the hospital for his chemotherapy. I would carry the chemo in the same little basket on the handlebars that I would carry chicken eggs that Mom would gather (actually, steal, because we were too poor to own any chickens) to the market to sell so that we could buy a small bottle of milk and some paper to burn in our wood-burning stove. I’d tell you the rest of the story but I’m getting tearful typing this out and am afraid I might collapse. Please, I really like CoolMax and stuff like that. I don’t like the color yellow. Don’t send me any cotton stuff. I don’t like Itty’s, so no jerseys with stupid foreign names.

  14. Comment by craig | 12.2.2005 | 10:11 pm

    how quickly we forget the lessons learned of 11/28.

  15. Comment by tayfuryagci | 12.2.2005 | 10:23 pm

    11/28 what is that?is juspasenthru mocking me? did I sound like begging? was I taking advantage of anyone? "I’m getting mushy" was just a joke.

  16. Comment by Ariane | 12.2.2005 | 11:42 pm

    You’re right about the crashing in the ice thing. After a few dozen times, it starts to get kinda… fun. It’s pretty amusing to wreck spectacularly in front of some passers by, then get up and go off again as if nothing happened.Tayfur– 11/28 was just yesterday’s post, don’t worry. And juspassenthru’s not mocking you, because he would not want the tongue-lashing that would be visited upon him by the sharp biting wit of either one of the other posters or fatty himself.

  17. Comment by tayfuryagci | 12.2.2005 | 11:58 pm

    thanks for the explanation toad. SORRY PEOPLE. I might have misunderstood what you said. It’s 2AM here and I’m, well.. a little sleepy.sorry if I offended anyone.(made an ass outta yourself again tayfur) oh shut up conscience!tayfur

  18. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 12.3.2005 | 1:59 am

    Don’t sweat it Tayfur! Most of us realize there are some slight cultural differences bertween US and Turkey, and humor doesn’t always translate well! Most of us here in the ol’ US of A are pretty well impressed with both you and your goals in life. American humor can be both biting and inane, sdo if you’re not sure about it, just l;augh it off, because then you take away the nasty persons fun. I’m 99.9% sure there was no mocking meant either.

  19. Comment by Unknown | 12.3.2005 | 2:06 am

    "the lesson of 11/28"Thanks for clarifying that, Toad. I was under the assumption that 11/28 referred to yet another one of Fatty’s good story-generating disastrous equipment choices, probably relating to how he set up the gearing on his his fixie for a 600 kilometer randonee. FWIW, the forecast is for 19 degrees F tomorrow when I start riding tomorrow, rising to 23 by noon. The F is significant because that’s what I’ll be saying about three minutes into my ride. I’m scheduled for 50 on the fixie. I’m looking forward to practicing my skids on the black ice, but not really thrilled about the prospects for frostbite.

  20. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 12.3.2005 | 2:40 am

    Sounds like my day tromorrow, I just gotta try out the new bottom bracket I just got in the bike as I shredded a bearing in the old one! 20-25 tomorrow here in the Hoosier state as well…….Hmm, must be coming into winter!

  21. Comment by Unknown | 12.3.2005 | 3:41 am

    Huge congrats on your win, Tayfur! And Fatty… your big fat heart hasn’t lost any weight… what a superb idea! I heart you for that, too!Hugs,MuMo

  22. Comment by Unknown | 12.3.2005 | 3:42 am

    P.S. Today’s blog was sheer joy to read… thanks for the ride!

  23. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 12.3.2005 | 4:59 am

    All this talk of riding in the cold has inspired me. I got on the bike this morning for a brisk 45 minute spin around the suburb. When I got home at 7am the thermometer said 21, but the weather report on the radio says it should get up to 28 in the afternoon. brrrrrrrr.P.S. If you are reading this in America, sorry to hear about your sad little fahrenheit problem. My temperature is celcius. Ha ha ha.

  24. Comment by Jill | 12.3.2005 | 9:13 am

    The juxtaposition between yesterday’s post and today’s is hilarious. But snow riding is a blast – sometimes literally. Falling isn’t always painless, though. Inhailing large quanities of snow can give you an awful headache.

  25. Comment by tayfuryagci | 12.3.2005 | 10:28 am

    I wonder when it’s going to snow here. I missed it since last year. It’s nearly 20 degrees celcius outside and (of course) no sight of snow. :(

  26. Comment by Stephen | 12.4.2005 | 9:51 am

    "Amateur Literary Trick" ? I resemble that remark.And riding a bicycle in the SNOW?"The thing is, though, wiping out on a bike is a lot of fun when it’s penalty-free. The snow was so forgiving and banked so high we could practice our snow mountain biking skills without fear. We’d ride for a few seconds, fishtail around a corner (or, more accurately, failing to make it around a corner), and wipe out, often with a little flourish to make it look good." WTF?Two words…. SEEK COUNSELING. (snickering here)Loved this one.s.

  27. Comment by pete | 12.4.2005 | 3:26 pm

    Good stuff. Glad to hear you got it together: everyone is allowed a momentary loss of nerve. Mine has lasted from the first major skid of the year on November 10th. Downhilling in the snow sounds like a real good time as well.HOWEVER. What’s not to like about hot tubs?The prospect of soaking in a hot tub with a couple of cool beers after a hard day on the slopes is the one thing that can persuade me to spend twice as much on a winter holiday in the US instead of the Alps. Well, that and the better facilities, wider runs, much greater ‘board-friendliness, bigger steaks, the chance to go snowmobiling on your day off and hilarious advice to "make yourself big" if you encounter a mountain lion.

  28. Comment by craig | 12.5.2005 | 1:17 pm

    tayfurwhat I meant is that all of our used bike jerseys will be stinkified, as was explained in fatty’s post on 11/28.Really in jest because mine don’t stink at all. (oh yeah I forgot, we can’t smell our own stink)

  29. Comment by tayfuryagci | 12.5.2005 | 1:34 pm

    I understood the joke (with some help from fellow commenters) waay after I furiously commented. :) tayfur(my tshirt doesn’t seem to stink too:)

  30. Comment by Unknown | 12.5.2005 | 4:28 pm

    I tried doing 50 in the 19 degree cold on Saturday, as promised. Nope, I didn’t make it. Totally pussed out when I lost feeling in my feet and the snot froze on/in my nose – rewarding me with cut up and raw nostrils. For the record, it was actually 16 degrees, and there was a 15 MPH crosswind for most of the ride – for the 15 or so miles I lasted. I went further than 15 but the LCD wasn’t working so good on my cheeeep cyclocomputer. Yes, that’s around 5 degrees, maybe into low negative single digits, when you take into account the ambient wind chill, and my cruising speed. The mega asthma attack, probably cold-induced, didn’t help either. On the plus side, if you can stand being out in weather like that, it’s a super grueling workout, like pedaling uphill on an MTB with too-tall gearning in mud. I can normally cruise at around 17 or so on the fixie very comfortably, but could barely keep up 14-15 MPH even though I was on nice smooth dry pavement, and had trouble spinning down the hills. The extra layer of pants probably didn’t help, but mainly it just felt very hard and inefficient to pedal. Yes, I know, I’m a ten percenter. A non-hacker. I couldn’t make it in John Wayne’s Marine Corps, Mister. It was up to maybe 20 degrees at the time I quit, and I saw other bikers rolling out for their rides at 9:30 AM. I wanted to cry. Worse, it hit 34 by late afternoon, fine riding weather normally, I commute in that weather. But I was too demoralized at that point and caught up in the "household suck" – weekend chores – to get back out. I spent yesterday fighting off the chest cold that the ride seems to have induced… Okay, I think it’s time for some Poly booties and maybe some lined Underarmor thermies. It’s also time for a bleg over where I blog on Cold Fury. Tonight – it’s not up yet so don’t bother stopping by until after 8:00 or 9:00 PM. I’m going to post an entry soliciting cold weather riding gear recommendations to go onto my Christmas wish list. Oh yeah, that, and on the way home tonight I’m buying a fluid trainer and another spinergy tape. Unless I get a serious riding gear magic bullet in response to the bleg, I’m going to draw the line at 20 degrees.


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