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06.2.2006 | 5:01 pm

A very special note from Fatty: Today, I will write about farts. It occurs to me that not everyone wants to read about farts. I understand that. I respect that. I even sympathize with that.

And yet, today I will write about farts.

For those of you who prefer to read about something besides farts, please allow me to recommend reading the MinusCar Project today instead. It’s well-written and always has something thoughtful and interesting to say about biking.

Thank you.

And now, I shall now begin writing about farts.


The single most satisfying biological function one can perform on a bike is breathing. Here’s a fun experiment you can try to verify this assertion: while riding a bike, don’ breathe. Hold your breath until you think you’re going to explode. Keep holding it. Hold your breath until you think you’re going to die. Keep holding it. Hold your breath until blackness starts crowding the perimeter of your vision. OK, now feel free to breathe again. Isn’t that satisfying?

Farting, however, comes in a close second, satisfying-ness-wise. Here’s a fun experiment you can try to verify the truth of this assertion:

  1. First, try the “hold your breath” experiment described above, so you have a fair basis of comparison.
  2. Ensure that you are on a nice, long mountain bike ride. Something that will shake you up for hours on end.
  3. Eat several Clif bars. Or Powerbars. Or whatever.
  4. Force down extraordinary quantities of energy gel.
  5. Drink Cytomax (if you’re me). Lots and lots of Cytomax.
  6. Observe the beginning of a gurgling sound.
  7. Observe the building of pressure.
  8. Note that you begin to stand as you pedal from time to time, hoping you’ll fart soon.
  9. Try positioning your body in different ways, trying to straighten the path.
  10. Start fantasizing about farting.
  11. Finally, gratefully, fart. Cry a tear or two of joy.


Rick’s Story

Whenever my good friend Rick tells the story of the time he raced the Leadville 100, he talks about how prominently farting figured into his day.

“As the pressure grew, my stomach started bloating,” Rick says. “It became more and more difficult to ride at all.” Rick continues. “At one point, I got off my bike and laid down for a few minutes. It didn’t work.”

“I began making promises to all manner of deity, saying I’d be a better person, spend more time with my kids, start going to church, and stop stealing toilet paper from gas station bathroom. I would apply myself at work…if only I could fart.”

“Finally, it happened. I farted, loud and strong. The relief was exquisite. My stomach reverted to its previous non-distended state. It was the happiest moment of my life. I was able to finish the race, a big smile on my face.”

“True to my word, I have attended church every day since, and have become an excellent father. I have received several promotions and now am a vice president at a major advertising firm.”

“That fart changed my life.”


After the Ride

During the ride, a fart is truly welcome. Eventually the ride ends, but that doesn’t mean the effluvium flow comes to a halt. The problem is, long rides usually involve a car trip, both to and from the ride.

That return trip can be problematic. Farts become stinkier, though that may just be a perception thing, based on the fact that you’re no longer leaving them behind.

It can get pretty bad, because for some reason, everyone else’s farts smell worse than your own (by which I mean “my own”).

In order to minimize the effects of lots of already-stinky mountain bikers making lots more stink, I have developed the following rules of post-ride, in-car fart etiquette:

  • Make your intentions clear. Two seconds before release:  say clearly, “Fire in the hole.” You are allowed to interrupt conversation with this statement, because what you have to say is definitely quad one (important and urgent). If you have a different catchphrase, that’s fine. Just be sure everyone knows what the announcement phrase is. Above all, do not simply fart without any announcement, hoping that nobody will notice.
  • Take action. One second before release: If you have access to a car window, roll it down two inches. If you do not have access to a car window (ie, you have no seniority in the riding group and are therefore the poor sap who has to sit in the middle), you have no obligation. If you have access to a window when another announces he’s going to fart, you are obligated to roll down your window. It is important that all four windows go down a minimum of two inches.
  • Do not comment. OK, you farted. Fine. Let’s not dwell on it. And above all, please do not boast.
  • Back to normal. Once all effects have passed, roll the window back up.

To give you an idea of how well my riding group knows each other, we no longer have to do a separate “Make your intentions clear” step. Rolling down the window is sign enough.


In Conclusion

There. I’ve done it. I’ve written about farts and biking. I think I’ve made the world a better place.


  1. Comment by Unknown | 06.2.2006 | 5:29 pm

    yep nice.
    i also use farting as an example
    to my girlfriend’s son of what not
    to do. he’s getting very good at it.
    eldon, another topic in this catagory
    would be jock-itch. women will not understand.
    as we men know, a good case of "the itch" left
    unscratched for 2-4 days can be absolute pure
    Heaven when finally attended to.
    God, this a great blog. nay, a manly blog.
    i fart in your general direction. (said with french accent)

  2. Comment by uncadan8 | 06.2.2006 | 5:38 pm

    I am actually crying with laughter! Whew, that’s funny!

  3. Comment by barry1021 | 06.2.2006 | 5:49 pm

    FC (Do we add an "r" to your name now?)
    Well you did the impossible. I am speechless.

  4. Comment by Unknown | 06.2.2006 | 6:23 pm

    Like Brad, I’ve felt that relief, but unfortunately there was a lot more than air coming out. I’ll never eat clifshots again.

  5. Comment by Hillel | 06.2.2006 | 6:56 pm

    It was Thomas Hobbes who wrote about farts and perception: if there is a fart but nobody knows who farted, it will smell worse if you think it is someone else’s than if it was your own. This was an important inisght in the history of philosophy, since it shows that our perceptions have nothing to do with reality.

  6. Comment by Unknown | 06.2.2006 | 7:32 pm

    Farting has a special place in my heart. It is what got me and my step daughter to bond like nothing else. At 8 years old, she can let rippers better than me in my prime. Loud & proud on demand.
    Brings a tear to my eye just to think of it. I wonder what my crew would think if they knew I was red-eyed over my daughters farts? Makes this dad very happy.

  7. Comment by Unknown | 06.2.2006 | 7:44 pm

    Do farts have lumps ?
    Does Assos make a special absorbent chamois ? A luxury body should smell good at all times.

  8. Comment by Unknown | 06.2.2006 | 9:24 pm

     Hold your breath until you think you’re going to explode. Keep holding it. Hold your breath until you think you’re going to die. Keep holding it. Hold your breath until blackness starts crowding the perimeter of your vision.
    Amazing.  Now I understand why you don’t roadrace.  You don’t need to be in the middle of a field sprint after a brutal criterium with riders from the next two classes up, in order to get the "blacking out, seeing spots, weaving, ’coming to join you, Elizabeth’" sensation.  All you need to do is whack Clif bars and Cytomax, and ride Leadville. 
    Ironically, roadies seem to have a different culture when it comes to farting.  You only rarely hear a blast.  Like most other things roadies do, the focus is on making it smooth, and stealthy.  The ritual is religious.  The first guy to note the stench inevitably prays, at the top of his lungs, "Ohhhhh, Jeeeezus."  Working at or near VO2 Max in a tight pack, the effect resembles the first employment of Mustard Gas and Phosgene by the Hun on the Somme.  
    It is like a wine tasting in other respects.  Those behind the stinker in paceline will note the texture, whether it is earthy or technological in nature ("smells like you’ve been munching on the embrocade again, Fred…") and whether it is as pleasing visually as it was olfactorily terrifying ("dude! what was that green fog?")  Being roadies, the fart cannot pass without insulting comment.  ("Man, smells like your mother/wife/daughter in here, Bob…")  Then, in customary roadie fashion, the fart will take its place in the great paceline of epic stenches.  ("Al, that was nice, but not as good as the one Tom ripped while we were waiting for the crit to start at Tour de ’Toona.  That soigneur from Colavita, y’know, the guy who’s a Cat 1 now, actually vomited!  Welcome to the East Coast, Olive Oil Boy!  South Philly Representin’!")   
    The gross irony of all this, pardon the expression, is that as bad as ass smells, it’s nothing compared to what our kit smells like after a month’s worth of summer rides.  This raises the specter of the "other people’s smells" rule alluded to below – one can have gaseous gangrene and won’t notice the odor, but if one’s friend ate onions a week ago on his burger, his breath is revolting.  Well, if one’s friend is in your circle, Fatty, it probably has nothing to do with their diet…

  9. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 06.2.2006 | 10:37 pm

    Truly the worst of it comes during the car trip home from a 100 mile road race with 5 exhausted men packed in a station wagon.  There is nothing like the combination of the musky aroma from duffles full of sweat encrusted kit added to the the sharp sour pungency from 10 very unhygienic armpits.  Until the inevitable…
    The Arse Trumpet Symphony – a wonderful noise, and an eye-watering stench.  5 colo-rectal cavities all competing for the attention of their peers.  It may be high winter.  It may be 5°C (41°F) outside.  The car may be travelling at anything from highway to highway+30.  It is vital for survival to have all windows down.  Not inches… all the way.  All the time.
    Windows down.  Stereo up.  Drive like the wind, bullseye.  That’s manhood at it’s finest.

  10. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 06.3.2006 | 12:16 am

    Elden, My eyes are watering, and nobody farted! I don’t know which is better, this post or the comments! Mrs Stormcrowe just read your post and brought it to my attention by telling me I apparently have a "Band of Brothers" and they all read your blog!

  11. Comment by joan | 06.3.2006 | 2:14 am

    My favorite part about this very funny post is the fact that you use the words effluvium and fart in the same paragraph.  Brilliant!!

  12. Comment by sans auto | 06.3.2006 | 5:18 am

      I’m following in your footsteps (although unintentionally).  I recently started a blog about getting rid of my car and using the bike for transportation.  It is all going to start when I move from the Pacific Northwest (Astoria OR) to Happy Valley (Spanish Fork UT).  I’m selling my car in Oregon and beginning my life without a car by riding my bike to Utah.
      It has been well established that cycling and/or the food consumed during cycling cause digestive issues, especially excessive gas.  I frankly enjoy it.  However, the biggest fear that I have about riding my bike from Oregon to Utah is that a week or two worth of powerbars and Cytomax could cause much worse than just gas.  What do you do if you have diarrhea 100 miles from the nearest public restroom and 50 miles from the nearest tree?
      I enjoy your blog.  I feel like a mediocre peon in the world of blogs, trying to escape the vast shadows of the great FATTY.

  13. Comment by Unknown | 06.3.2006 | 9:48 am

    What do you do if you have diarrhea 100 miles from the nearest public restroom and 50 miles from the nearest tree?
    Why, blog about it, of course.  And solicit stories of similar experiences from the degenerates who comment regularly here.
    Next question…

  14. Comment by Tim D | 06.3.2006 | 11:54 am

    I have to disagree with the do not comment rule.  Suitable comment:"Name that tune""Get out a walk""Here’s one I ate earlier"

  15. Comment by Unknown | 06.3.2006 | 4:34 pm

    luckily, i never fart.

  16. Comment by Diego | 06.3.2006 | 5:08 pm

    Hey Mr. Fat Cyclist!
    WOW! What insights into the world of farting! Gotta love !!

  17. Comment by barry1021 | 06.3.2006 | 6:00 pm

    Upon ruther rumination, I believe we have to put Farty’s, uh Fatty’s recent dialogue in historical perspective. Forget the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, this is on par with the Holy Trinity. Now we have "How to Spit", "How to Pee from a Bike", and "Backdoor Breezes". THIS IS BY FAR THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF EMISSIONS FROM MAJOR BODY ORIFI WHILST CYCLING. You won’t find THIS on, no siree! FC, if I ever win something from you, in lieu of not receiving the item, I would prefer to not receive a leatherbound, autographed copy of this epic trilogy, which has never been seen before in the anals, uh, annals of history.

  18. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 06.3.2006 | 7:25 pm

    Hey Barry, you forgot the immortal "Ride til you Puke" post too!

  19. Comment by Katie | 06.5.2006 | 12:17 am

    Thank you, thank you for making me almost wet my pants at work. That has to be one of the funniest posts I’ve ever read – and so true as well. Not a breadth of exaggeration.
    I *try* to do triathlons, but mainly I’m a runner, and we suffer from the dreaded farts as well. It’s mostly more embarrassing on a treadmill (when it’s raining outside) and you’ve been running for 40 minutes and you can feel it coming – but how can you let one fly in the middle of a crowded gym floor??!! Any suggestions?
    - Katie

  20. Comment by Andrew | 06.5.2006 | 12:46 am

    I thought you bikers were envirnmentally conscious. Just think of what you’re doing to the ozone layer.
    For many reasons it would be better to squeeze the cheeks and hold it in. The hydrogen gas that colonic fermentation generates has got to lighten your load and improve your climbing ability. And if I were riding behind you, I would do all in my power to get upwind from you.

  21. Comment by Andrew | 06.5.2006 | 12:53 am

    Katie, I would suggest a "silent but deadly" release, then blame it on someone else.

  22. Comment by Rick | 06.5.2006 | 5:36 am

    wow, i can’t believe you wrote about farting. you get mad when we discuss the matter. in fact, you rank it up there with nose and ear hair and pebble-throwing while riding. are you ok, man?

  23. Comment by B-ballaGurl | 06.5.2006 | 7:48 am


  24. Comment by Unknown | 06.5.2006 | 5:13 pm

    but how can you let one fly in the middle of a crowded gym floor??!! Any suggestions?
    Katie, I can’t speak for Fatty, but what works for me in spin class is to rip one as loud and long as I can manage during the "standing climb" portion, and then start screaming at the geriatric lady next to me about it.  "Oh, you filthy old bag!  I can’t believe you did that!  You pig!  Crap, I think I’m going to choke!"  The music is loud enough that it’s hard to tell exactly where it came from, and the old girl is typically too broken up at that point to argue about it, and then everybody is sure she did it. 
    The bonus in this approach is that nobody will try to get there early to take your spinning cycle before the next class.  Or for that matter, to be anywhere near you during the class.  Which is fine, because if you’re working as hard as you should be, you’re sick of the complaints about your flying sweat from the recreational spinners who like to keep dry during the class.
    Alternately, you can just sit in the back of the spin class and blame it on other people in the back row.  They never work hard and everybody else in the class is likely to take a huge ripping fart as just another back row maneuver to try to avoid hard work. 

  25. Comment by Stephanie | 06.5.2006 | 7:59 pm

    in the winter i’m stuck on a treadmill for long work outs… and have totally let one go and tried to pass it off on the person next to me.  However, here are a few things i’ve found that work best:
    1. the treadmills and bikes at my gyms have personal fans, so i turn them up on high.
    2. I usually try to situation myself under the air conditioning duct on longer runs… this way it disperses a lot easier.
    3.  Find a treadmill in between two huge smelly gross guys.  If anyone else smells it, they definitly do not think that it’s coming from you.

  26. Comment by barry1021 | 06.5.2006 | 8:38 pm

    -Find a treadmill in between two huge smelly gross guys.  If anyone else smells it, they definitly do not think that it’s coming from you.-
    Now wait one cotton pickin’ minute here, Stephanie! We don’t stand for this kind of totally inappropriate, sexist comment on this board. You are clearly implying that huge smelly gross guys are more likely to be blamed for a fart than a sweet demure young woman in matching workout clothes and headband. This is just the kind of sterotyping that I, as a huge smelly gross guy, have been fighting for years. Why do I have to get blamed for everything??
    But what really fries my butt (notice the complimentary phrasing to the discussion at hand) is that you are clearly implying that it is a simple matter of course to find an available machine between two huge gross guys, i.e. and to wit, we are everywhere. First you seek to push the blame upon me, and then you minimize my uniqueness by saying I am a dime a dozen, metaphorically speaking. An ill wind bloweth here, I tell you. Besides, and I am capitalizing for effect here,  HOW DO WE KNOW YOU AND KATIE AREN’T HUGE SMELLY GROSS GALS?? Unless you are prepared to issue a picture-in Speedo forthwith to prove this supposition totally false, I would suggest you owe an apology to huge smelly gross guys everywhere.

  27. Comment by Andrew | 06.5.2006 | 9:26 pm

    Dear Scatalogic Cyclist of Sulphur dioxide,
    You better post again. It’s getting funky around here.

  28. Comment by Unknown | 06.6.2006 | 2:48 pm

    From Katie:
    > I’m a runner, and we suffer from the dreaded farts as well.
    As well??  In my experience long distance runners leave cyclists for dead.  Slower speeds = less smell dissipation?  Or do the guys I run with just fart more?  With certain runners I always make sure that I’m on the upwind side on a long run, and a pace or two ahead of them.  This can give the impression that I’m really keen, resulting in ever increasing pace to the point of cardiac arrest.  But it is better to die of a heart attack than as a result of gas inhalation.
    In fact I don’t think that I’ve ever noticed a fart either on a ride or packed into a station wagon with four team mates on the way back.  That probably confirms my newbie status as a cyclist.
    P.S.  Like Dug, I don’t fart.

  29. Comment by Stephanie | 06.6.2006 | 3:58 pm

    i do apologize for even considering that anyone on this site would in fact be:
    1. smelly
    2. gross
    However, if you ever came to my gym, you would understand that this is not a stereotype, but a fact.   For some reason, between the hours of 8-9pm, my gym is filled with men who do not really ascribe to hygene and sweat profusely.
    So, once again i apologize for my over generalization of men.

  30. Comment by B-ballaGurl | 06.15.2006 | 6:33 am

    didnt know that farts could be that interesting…


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