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06.2.2006 | 6:26 am

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.


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