Is It Time for a Fat Cyclist Jersey?

11.30.2006 | 1:45 pm

You know, I owe Mr. Lance Armstrong a big “thank you.” Knowing that he’ll be racing the Leadville 100 next year has motivated me to start training for that race a lot earlier than usual. (More about that tomorrow.)

It’s also made me start thinking seriously about making a “Fat Cyclist” jersey to wear.

The problem is, I have absolutely no idea of what’s involved in designing and ordering a custom jersey. I furthermore have no idea how much it would cost. I have no idea what brand would be good to go with. And I have no idea what logos (besides mine) I’d put on it. And I have no idea how many I should make.

I, in short, am the least-qualified person in the world to make my own jersey.

Maybe you can help.

Ten Simple Questions
One thing I’ve learned while writing this blog is that for any given topic, my readers know more than I do. So please, weigh in on the following:

  1. Would you at least consider buying a Fat Cyclist Jersey? I’m not asking you to commit right now, because you have no idea what it looks like, how much it costs, and so forth. But suppose it looks cool and you can afford it. Would you wear a jersey that boldly proclaims you are a Fat Cyclist?
  2. How much would you be willing to spend? I’m not in this for the money. All I’d want to do is break even (and would probably even be OK with losing a few bucks, because I’m pretty darn vain and like the idea of a bunch of people wearing a billboard for my site). But I need to have a good sense of what your tipping point is for buying a Fat Cyclist jersey.
  3. What brands of jerseys do you like? What brands do you hate? Most every brand of jersey, as near as I can tell, will let you do a custom jersey. What I want to know is if there are any particular jersey that several of you have had a great experience with, or conversely, if you’ve had a horrible experience with a brand.
  4. Do you think Assos would give us a special deal if I promised to delete my Open Letter to Assos? Actually, it doesn’t matter. There’s no way I’m deleting that post. Especially since that would mean losing Dr. Lammler’s comment, which I think we can all agree is the best thing that has ever appeared in my blog.
  5. Have you ever designed and ordered a custom jersey before? And if so, would you be willing to help me out if I decide to do this? Would you be willing to do a rough design as part of a contest? The winner would go on to do a finished design and get two free jerseys for her/his work.
  6. If you haven’t designed / ordered a custom jersey, but know someone who has — and has done a beautiful job — do you think you could con them into designing a jersey for me?
  7. Do you have a relationship with a company that might sponsor the Fat Cyclist Jersey, in exchange for space on the jersey? The more companies I can get to sponsor the jersey, the less it will cost me to make it. If you can get a company to sponsor at least the cost of three jerseys, I’ll give you your jersey for free.
  8. Should I just stop asking questions, start acting like a grownup, and design the stupid thing myself? I.e., am I in massive danger of creating the world’s largest committee, ensuring that the jersey will never get made?
  9. Should I feel guilty for padding this list of questions, just so I can get to 10? No, I didn’t think so either.
  10. Do you think my current logo would work on a jersey, or would the guy on a bike be too difficult to recognize when in motion? If so, do you think I should tweak the existing logo, go with a text-only treatment, or design a different logo for my jersey?

PS: It’s not too late to enter this week’s contest to win a totally awesome Banjo Brothers Commuter Backpack. I’ll take entries through Saturday, and will post the winner this Monday.


Tell Your Best Field Repair Story, Win a Banjo Brothers Backpack

11.28.2006 | 3:54 pm

A Note from Fatty: I’m really pleased to announce the fabulous Banjo Brothers have joined in the Fat Cyclist Ads-for-Schwag program. Readers with long memories will recall that the Banjo Brothers were the very first company to do giveaways with my blog, and they have always given away awesome prizes. Today, they’re continuing that tradition by putting up a great Commuter Backpack — $79.99 value — for me to give away. Read on to find out how.

When your mountain bike breaks in the middle of the ride, it changes the way you think. You see everything differently. Gum, rocks, candy bar wrappers, sticks, and rubber bands become valuable tools. If you manage to salvage a ride using stuff that was never meant to be part of a bike, you feel pride, and justifiably so. There’s a rough beauty, after all, to an innovative bike field repair.

I’ve seen some great field repairs in my time. Here are the ones I can remember right this moment.

Duct Tape Repairs
As many of you know, I always keep a yard or two of duct tape wrapped around my bike seatpost. This has been useful so many times I have lost track of them. Here are a few that come to mind, though:

  • Cut Sidewall: I’ve taped the inside of a gashed sidewall at least twice, including twenty miles into a 100-mile race. It worked well enough that I forgot I had made the repair and continued to ride that way for another few rides.
  • Band-Aid: When Kenny cut himself on a thorny bush at Moab last month, a strip of duct tape did a fine job of stopping the bleeding.
  • Seatpost Repair: One year, while riding the Kokopelli Trail, Dug’s shock seatpost kept loosening up, unthreading, and threatening to fall off. While duct tape couldn’t prevent it from loosening up, it did keep Dug’s saddle from falling off.
  • Frayed Cable Housing Repair: On the same Kokopelli trip, Dug’s front derailleur cable housing frayed, making the bike shift at incredibly inopportune moments (i.e., two or three times per second). Dug used what duct tape he hadn’t used on his seatpost to repair his cable housing. Dug owes me a couple yards of duct tape.
  • Busted Pedal: I honestly can’t remember who this happened to (Bob, I think), but I recall someone’s pedal body — this is back when we all rode Speedplays, which have very brittle pedal bodies — shattered during a fall, leaving nothing to pedal on but the smooth pedal axle. So he duct-taped his shoe to the axle. This worked, though it required a much greater commitment to not falling for the rest of the ride, cuz, um, it’s difficult to clip out once you’re taped in.
  • Busted Saddle: When I endoed at Brianhead 100 one year, my saddle snapped off, leaving nothing to sit on but a seatpost. I used my duct tape to round off the edges a bit. It still wasn’t especially comfortable to sit on, but beggars can’t be choosers.
  • Busted Frame: Corey Jones’ bike frame broke while he was riding the White Rim last year, and yet he finished the 100-mile ride. He just duct-taped the top tube to the seat tube (it broke at the weld) and kept going. Corey commented that the bike didn’t handle quite as well as it used to.

Non-Tools as Tools
The thing about duct tape repairs is that since duct tape is designed to do everything, you’re not being truly creative when you use it to fix your bike. What I love to see is when people fix their bikes with something completely outrageous. For example:

  • My Hotel Key: Before Shimano incorporated a pulley into its rear derailleur, you had to either make your cable take a long loop around, or use an aftermarket pulley — “Rollamajig” was a popular brand. I had one of these rollamajigs on my Ibis Bow Ti (I was all about the bleeding edge back then). Unfortunately, as I was racing the Leadville 100, the cable hopped off the groove of the Rollamajig and lodged itself tightly between the pulley and the apparatus that attaches the pulley to the derailleur. I simply could not get it out, no matter what. As time went on, I became more and more distraught, because I had been — for the first time ever — on track for a sub-9 Leadville. I just didn’t have a tool that would fish the cable out of that crevice. Until I thought of my hotel key, which was in my Camelbak. I swear, that thing must have been designed for the task, because I was up and riding 30 seconds after the idea occurred to me. The cable popped off five or six more times during that race, and I took care of the problem quickly each time. My finishing time was 9:13.
  • A Stick: On a ride early this season, Kenny’s ultra-expensive, ultra-trick new carbon cranks had a little problem: one of them fell off. Yep, he was riding along and one of the cranks just fell off. If you ask me, cranks just aren’t as useful when they aren’t attached to your bike. Kenny tried using a stick to wedge the crank into place, but this is one of those times that a field repair was destined to fail. The crank kept falling off. So Kenny rode the rest of the ride one-legged, and was still faster than I.
  • A Bit-O-Honey: Similar problem, but this time it was Aaron, at Fall Moab last month. And he tried using a Bit-O-Honey as adhesive. I am laughing even as I type this. Dug got this on video; Check it out at about 2:35.
  • [youtube]eXsd6fdG-Ds[/youtube]
  • A Safety Pin: Back in the olde days, when we used V-brakes instead of discs, Rick lost a pin for one of his brake pads — this was about ten miles into a thirty mile ride. Luckily, I still had a safety pin attached to my Camelbak from a recent local race; it fit perfectly. Better than the original pin, I think.

What Have You Fixed?
So this brings us to the contest, wherein you can win yourself a  waterproof, totally excellent Banjo Brothers Commuter Backpack: describe a field repair you have made. I’ll choose a winner at random from all the good entries (i.e., a comment that says, “Pick me! Pick me!” guarantees you will not be picked, ironically).

Good luck; I’m sure you’ll win.

My Dream Date With Lance Armstrong

11.26.2006 | 10:31 pm

Several Very Helpful Fat Cyclist Readers (VHFCRs, as I like to think of you) recently forwarded me an interesting tidbit of information: Lance Armstrong intends to race the Leadville 100 next year. Says Armstrong at the opening of his eponymous fitness center in Austin, TX (and no, this is not Fake News):

“The other bit of a challenge I want to do is a bit crazy. It’s a mountain bike race in August held in Colorado called the Leadville 100. It’s about an 8 to 9 hour mountain bike race, mostly on single track that very few people do and even fewer finish.”

Upon reading this, I of course had a complex series of thoughts, including:

  1. “Oh boy! I’m going to meet Lance Armstrong!”
  2. “I’d better make sure I’m wearing a LiveStrong band in Leadville that week.”
  3. “I wonder if the race organizers will make him submit an application and wait for the lottery results, just like everyone else. Wouldn’t that be wild if he didn’t get in?”
  4. “If he really trained for it, I wonder what kind of time he’d finish with? Five hours?”
  5. “I wonder who told him it’s mostly single track? There’s no single track whatsoever in the Leadville 100. In fact, there’s hardly any double track. It’s almost all jeep roads.”

Then, suddenly, this pleasant train of thoughts was derailed by the following question:

“What if he’s read everything I’ve written about him?”

Ooh. That could be, um, problematic. Here is the conversation I imagine occurring, as Lance and I meet at the starting line.

Fatty (Fighting through the crowd): Mr. Armstrong! Mr. Armstrong! Would you mind signing my jersey?

Lance (Bored): Sure. What’s your name?

Fatty (Ecstatic): Most people just call me ‘Fatty.’

Lance (Raising one eyebrow): Really? I’m sorry to hear that.

Fatty: Oh, it’s meant affectionately, really. By most people, anyway. You see, I have this blog called Fat Cyclist. (Points at self, wearing the freshly-minted “Fat Cyclist” jersey I have — in this fantasy, anyway — designed and created).

Lance: So you’re proud of your weight problem?

Fatty: No, but it makes for good comedy.

Lance (Recognition dawning): “Hey. Wait a second. You’re the dork who’s always attacking me with fake news pieces on your stupid jokey blog, aren’t you?

Fatty (Worried): Um, I’m not sure what you mean. I’m a really big fan!

Lance: So you’re not the guy who wrote that fake press release about Phil Liggett getting fired because he let a full minute elapse without mentioning my name?

Fatty (Astounded): You mean you saw that piece?

Lance (Eyes glowing red): So you admit you are that guy. And yes, I saw it. Around 400 people forwarded it to me, usually with one of those stupid “I thought you’d get a chuckle out of this” messages, and a smiley face afterward, as if to say it was just a joke. Well, I’ll have you know that Phil wasn’t fired. We just gave him an appropriately stern warning and docked his pay.

Fatty (Sweating profusely): Heh heh. Well, um, ha ha. Well, you know, I was just kidding around. I didn’t really mean it.

Lance: Right. And that’s why you followed up with that “Lance Armstrong Drinking Game = Certain Death” story.

Fatty (Grasping at straws): Well, for what it’s worth, I actually fudged the math in your favor. I divided the 162 mentions of your name over the course of the full three hours of coverage, instead of subtracting out the commercials. If I’d have divided the 162 mentions by the 132 minutes of actual coverage time, it turns out that OLN actually mentioned your name every 48 seconds. You’ve got to admit, that’s pretty darn often. And besides, it’s not like I never do anything but slam you. Remember that fake news conference I wrote saying you had decided to race the rest of the 2005 TdF with one hand tied behind your back?

Lance: Yeah, I remember it, but that’s not exactly so much singing my praises as dismissing the validity of my competition, is it?

Fatty (Scanning for likely escape routes): I was hoping you wouldn’t bring up that particular point.

Lance: I’ll bet. And I’ll bet you were hoping I wouldn’t bring up the thing you wrote about Sheryl and me breaking up. Or about me being a bored househusband who’s forced out of retirement because my family and neighbors are tired of seeing me around. Or your suggestions for what ought to happen in my movie.

Fatty (Dumbfounded): You knew about all of those?

Lance: I’m Lance Armstrong. I know everything.

Fatty (Hesitant): So, um, are you going to sign my jersey? Please?

Lance (Rolling eyes): Yes,  I’ll sign your jersey. But only because you’re wearing what looks like 100 “LiveStrong” bands. You shameless suckup.

Fatty: Gee! Thanks, mister! Can I ask you a couple of questions for my blog?

Lance: Do you promise to not make stuff up about me anymore?

Fatty: Absolutely.

Lance: OK, go ahead.

Fatty: Do you realize that every contender in this race today is hoping and praying that you’re just here to goof off, so they can finish ahead of you and tell their friends, children, and every other person they meet for the rest of their lives about the day they beat Lance Armstrong?

Lance: Yes. Tell your friend Kenny I wish him the best of luck.

Fatty: Thank you. I will. Next question: Was it your idea to rename this race the “Lanceville 100?”

Lance: No comment.

Fatty: OK, next question. Do you have the ability — as is widely rumored — to shoot laser beams out of your eyes, flattening the tires of competitors?

Lance: No comment.

Fatty: Sheesh. Care to comment on the speculation that you are able to increase  or decrease gravity in highly localized areas?

Lance: How’d you find out about th…I mean, no comment.

Fatty: OK, I see how it is. Last question, then. Do you really think it was necessary to bring Bob Roll and Al Trautwig along to commentate this race?

Lance: It’s in their contract.

Fatty: Sorry, I couldn’t hear you very clearly over the PA system. Al seems to be saying “Lance Armstrong” over and over. Is that how he warms up his voice?

Lance: No, that’s his whole job.

Fatty: Thanks very much for your time, Lance.

Lance: You’re welcome. Now go to the back of the pack. I’m through with you.

Endurance Dessert-Making

11.22.2006 | 11:48 am

I don’t know how to cook many things. If, for example, you were to ask me to make Chicken Cordon Bleu, I wouldn’t know what ingredients to buy. I wouldn’t even know which part of the chicken to use.

That said, I am famous for making the few things I know how to make extremely well. Better than anyone else in the whole world, in fact.

Here are the things I am the very best in the world at making:

  1. Mashed potatoes. Yes, I know a lot of you also think you make the best mashed potatoes in the world. Which might be true if I didn’t have an actual certificate stating that I make the best mashed potatoes in the world.
  2. The best cake in the world: Actually, I’m no better at making this than anyone else. This cake is superlative in its own right.
  3. Chili: I have an honest-to-goodness, bona-fide secret ingredient I use in my chili. Nobody has ever identified it, but everyone agrees that my chili is better than everyone else’s. Oh, also I sometimes make fry bread to go with the chili. I have received several marriage proposals based solely on my fry bread and chili.
  4. Hamburgers: There is nothing secret or fancy about the way I make hamburgers. I just use top-quality beef, add more worcestershire sauce than most people think you should (hint: you’ve used enough when it actually changes the color of the burger), knead, and grill over charcoal. The reason my burgers are the best in the world, evidently, is because I am apparently the last person in the world to grill with charcoal. I’ll tell you what, though: when gas-grillers eat my burgers, they see (however briefly) the error of their ways.
  5. Kitchen Sink Quiche: I call it “Kitchen Sink Quiche” because I put so much stuff into it, there’s hardly any room for the eggs: cheese, peppers, bacon, grilled chicken, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, avocado, and anything else that strikes my fancy in the produce aisle. And yes, I’ve heard the “real men don’t eat quiche” line. To which I respond, “By all means, feel free to not to have any.” But everyone tries a bite, and then they apologize. Kitchen Sink Quiche is best with Cholula hot sauce.
  6. Banana Cream Parfait: This is the most difficult thing I make, and it’s the subject of my post today: endurance dessert-making.

Endurance Dessert Making
I make the Banana Cream Parfait exactly twice per year: for Thanksgiving, and for Christmas. And while a good reason to make it so rarely would be because it’s fattening beyond belief, the real reason is because it’s an incredibly laborious process. Ie, it’s a pain in the butt.

But it’s so worth it.

I’m now going to share with you my recipe for making the Banana Cream Parfait, but I think it’s worth making a few observations first:

  1. You will have to stand at the stove, stirring continuously, for a full hour.
  2. Even after spending all this time stirring, you are not done with the dessert. In fact, you need to count on spending about two hours to make this dessert. And I don’t mean two hours 90 minutes of which you’re letting something bake in the oven. I mean two hours of constant work.
  3. Because this is so much work to make, the recipe is big. Big enough to make some for yourself, for your family, and for your neighbors.
  4. Once you have made this for your friends and family, be prepared for them to demand you make it again. You will then need to — as I have — declare that it is an annual tradition, and that you will make it for them again next year.
  5. I expect that I have now frightened most of you away from making this dessert. That’s OK.
  6. Don’t you dare make substitutions to this recipe. When I say “whole milk,” I mean it. When I say “Butter,” I mean it. And if you think you can just substitute pudding from a mix for the cream filling, you and I no longer have anything to talk about, and I never want to see your face again.

I feel quite strongly about my Banana Cream Parfait.

Let’s begin.

2.5 cup sugar
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons salt
3 quarts whole milk
16 egg yolks, beaten
8 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup vanilla

12 bananas
1 quart whipping cream
2 boxes Nilla Wafers

The Long, Arduous Process
First of all, you need to plan on spending an hour up front making the filling, and then another hour 2-3 hours later actually assembling the parfait. And then the parfait is not going to be ready to eat for another 3 hours. And it’s going to be at its best about 24 hours after you make it. So plan ahead.

Let’s start with the filling.

In a big ol’ saucepan — I use my pressure cooker pan — mix your sugar, cornstarch, and salt together. Slowly stir in the first few cups of milk, until you’re certain there are no lumps of cornstarch. You can then pour in the rest of the milk, stirring as you go.

Now, get ready to stand for a while, because you need to stir this mixture continuously over medium heat until it comes to a boil. And that’s going to be about 15-20 minutes. Or more. During this time, here’s what you should not do:

  1. Stop stirring for a minute, because what could go wrong? Here’s what could go wrong: the bottom of the pan will get scalded milk all over it, and you’ll wind up with gross chewy burned flecks of milk in your parfait.
  2. Turn up the heat, to speed up the process. If you go above medium heat, your mixture will indeed boil sooner. And the result will be a nice sweet, grainy, thin gruel that never sets up, instead of the smoothest, most perfect cream filling that has ever been created. This is an endurance race, Bub. If you try to treat it like a sprint, you’ll be sorry.

Once the mixture has thickened and come to a boil, keep stirring for another minute, then remove from the heat and keep stirring another minute longer (even though it’s off the heat, the milk can still stick to the bottom of the pan).

OK, time to add the egg yolks. If at all possible, have a second person available to help you with this part, because this is tricky.

Your egg yolks should be in a mixing bowl big enough to hold at least half the milk mixture. S-l-o-w-l-y pour a little of the milk mixture into the beaten egg yolks, while briskly whipping those egg yolks. The idea here is to do this slowly and a little bit at a time, so you don’t wind up cooking those egg yolks all at once. ‘Cuz really, who wants scrambled eggs in their cream filling?

Once you’ve slowly stirred in a couple cups of the milk mixture, you can speed up just a bit. Keep pouring the milk mixture into the egg mixture (stirring the whole time) until you’ve mixed half of it in.

And now, you’ve got to reverse the flow. Slowly pour the egg mixture back into the milk mixture in the saucepan. It should now be a lovely yellow color.

And hey, guess what! You’re finished!

Just kidding. You’re not even close.

Put the saucepan back on medium heat, and keep stirring, ’til it comes to a boil again. And yes, it’s going to be another 15 minutes or so. Once you’ve got a boil, stir for another minute, and then take the saucepan off the heat.

Now you’re ready to add the butter and vanilla. Toss them in (but not from a great height, because you might discover that boiling hot pudding splashed on your face, well, stings. Not that I’d personally know anything about that).

Stir the butter and vanilla in until the butter is melted and both are blended in.

Dip a spoon in so you can taste what you’ve made. Blow on the filling until you feel a little bit ridiculous, then blow on it some more, because you would be amazed at how hot this stuff is, and how much heat it retains.

When you do finally taste it, your eyes should roll back into your head and you should involuntarily let out a low moan. If you don’t, you didn’t make it right.

Now let this filling cool down for a couple hours.

Layer Upon Layer
Once the cream filling has cooled down enough that you can sneak a spoonful without burning your mouth at all, you’re ready to start assembling the parfait.

There’ll be a skin on the filling by now. Peel it off and eat it. It’s delicious.

Whip the whipping cream to nice soft peaks. I find that adding a little sugar makes the whipped cream hold its shape a little better.

Now, in as many large, deep bowls as it takes, do the following:

  1. Spread a layer of filling.
  2. Put down a layer of Nilla Wafers.
  3. Spread a layer of whipped cream.
  4. Put down a layer of banana slices.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 until the bowl is full. The last layer should always be whipped cream. And be sure the last layer is not bananas, because they’ll look all brown and gross if they’re exposed to the air for long.

You may wonder if the order of the layers is important. It is. I’ve thought it through. Don’t mess with it.

Before Serving
You should refrigerate this dessert for at least a couple hours before serving it; it’d definitely best cold.

And — if you can manage to wait — this is one dessert that actually gets better as it sits in the fridge with the flavors blending. It’s at its very best 24 hours after you finish making it.

And, finally, prepare yourself for some rather embarassing displays of affection. The Banana Cream Parfait tends to bring that sort of behavior out.

Happy Thanksgiving!

50 Gift Ideas for Cyclists

11.20.2006 | 2:32 pm

Last year, I made the case that if you want to get your favorite cyclist a present, you should forget being creative and buy her/him the stuff s/he’s always having to buy anyway.

I still think that’s a good idea. I don’t think you can go wrong with buying a cyclist any of the following:

  1. Tubes: Find out what kind of tubes the cyclist uses, and buy a bunch of them. It’s really nice to have a stash of tubes sitting in the garage whenever you need one. This isn’t all that great of an idea if your cyclist friend has switched to tubeless.
  2. Genuine Innovations’ Microflate: An inexpensive, sturdy, tiny, easy-to-use threaded CO2 (or propane, as it turns out) cartridge valve. I really don’t understand why anyone would use anything else.
  3. CO2 and Big Air! canisters: Make sure that the canisters you buy are compatible with the valve your friend uses.
  4. Sports food / Sports Drink / Gel: If you know what they eat, drink, or ingest (I have to say “ingest” when talking about gels, because neither “eat” nor “drink” is the correct word), buy them a bunch of it. Be careful you know the correct brand and flavors, though. As an innovative twist on this theme, maybe try giving them some Matisse & Jacks Bake-at-Home Energy Bar Mix. They work as well as store-bought bars, are easy to make, and taste an order of magnitude better. For now, you get free shipping if you buy five or more boxes, which seems like a good number to give as a gift.
  5. Helmet: This is something many cyclists replace too rarely. Be sure to get the right size.
  6. Messenger Bag: Everyone needs a messenger bag. My good friends at Banjo Brothers make great ones for an excellent price
  7. Entry fee and commitment for support at a race: If your cyclist races, this is a very nice gift indeed
  8. Smartwool Socks: Several pair of the same kind, so that as the cyclist wears them out, they’ve still got matching socks.
  9. Lube: Be sure to get the kind your cyclist has settled on. It’s nice to have a year’s supply of lube sitting in the garage, just like it’s nice to have a year’s supply of tubes in there.
  10. Shoe cleats: Do you know what kind of pedals your cyclist uses? Buy a new pair of cleats for those shoes. Most cyclists go through a couple pair of these per year, so they’re nice to have.
  11. A Floor Pump: When getting started with cycling, most cyclists pick out a cheap floor pump. Then they regret it. But while those cheap floor pumps never quite break — allowing cyclists to discard them in good conscience — they never really work great, either. Go to your local bike store and ask the mechanic what pump they recommend for someone who uses a pump every day (road cyclists in particular pump their tires up before practically every ride), and you’ll give a surprising, exciting gift. I am not kidding. Cyclists love a great floor pump.

Gifts for the Whole Family
Generally, biking gifts benefit just one person. But they don’t have to be that way. How about:

  1. A Tandem: Show the rest of your family what’s so great about biking (one at a time, anyway). A tandem will be my next bike purchase, so I can take my boys out riding with me.
  2. A Trailer: Got little kids? I guarantee they will like being pulled in a trailer. And nothing in the world succeeds in calming an angry toddler like a ride in the trailer. Burley is a good brand.

Reader Suggestions
Last week, I asked you for your suggestions, as part of the Vicious Cycles Jersey contest. More than 70 of you replied, which makes me think that you guys liked that jersey as much as I do. Of course, if you want to read the full list of comments, just click here. Realizing, however, that most of you will be reading today’s entry to get ideas for what to buy for your cycling friends, I’ve condensed the list into items I think would be a good gift for any cyclist.

  1. Phil riding in New Zealand: My recently found discovery are the snappy cycling t-shirts on Men’s and women’s! Brilliant stuff. (Note from Fatty: I think “The Deluxe” is a beautiful jersey. I would love one for my birthday (since they’re not available ‘til March). Size Large.
  2. Weean: It has to be some of that fine Cinelli cork ribbon. They’re pleasingly retro whilst remaining sufficiently tech for the geek within. And there’s so many colours to choose from!
  3. theLurker: What I really want is permission from the TOH to take off on a cycle tour.
  4. vertigo: I want a donation to Worldbike (…in my name of course so that I can reap the tax benefits.
  5. Born4Lycra: I’d like a tool kit. Not a basic one to carry around on rides for emergency or perform regular basic maintenance. I want one of those kits full of tools you might use once or twice a year. The ones you can never quite justify going out to buy because you will hardly, if ever use it and there is always something more boring but necessary to spend your readies on. The same can be said for one of those bike mechanic stands. Yep a serious bike tool kit would be a great surprise. The next problem would then be knowing how and when to use them, but first things first.
  6. Tim D: Brookes Team Pro leather saddle. I have two of these, one on the tandem and one on my On-One Pompino. I’ve had one for 14 years and one for 10. They are shaped to me (or possibly I have been shaped to them) and are the most comfy saddles I have. I have done thousands of miles on these saddles and will doubtless get thousands more. I would want someone to break it in for me first though.
  7. Eufemiano Fuentes: Oury Mountain Grips. Old school cush. Great on a rigid bike. Come lock on or traditional. In many colors to match your outfit that day or just go with cash Black.
  8. sans auto: Right now, the best thing I have is my Bike Planet lights ( The rear has 7 LEDs and runs on 2 AAA batteries. I’ve only had to replace the batteries once in the last three months of commuting. This light recently broke off my bike when I hit the biggest pothole in UT county, but with a quick email to the Co., they’re sending replacement parts. Actually, the light still works, but it is now held on by duct tape. The same day my rear light broke off, but still worked, my headlight died for no particular reason (Thus I hit a huge pothole). I replaced it with Bike Planet 5 LED that is brighter than the other two lights that have died on me in the last two months. As an extra bonus 25% of all the companies profits go to bike advocacy.
  9. Brian C: Swobo wool hat. Keeps my giant head very warm.
  10. dkirkavitch: I love my Smartwool zip T wool jersey. I’m wearing it right now after my commute to work. Warm, not sweaty, no smell. I commute 20 miles every day. I usually wash it once a week and no one is the wiser. With polyester, I’d kill off everything in my wake. Now, if only they made them with the pockets in back….
  11. Brett D: The best Christmas biking gift is a good set of shorts/bibs (depending on preference). The most important connection between you and your bike seems to always be neglected with tattered seams, sewn up rips, and chamois that is far past it’s prime anymore. All I want for Christmas is a set of 10 panel Pearl Izumi’s to replace my ragged, road-rashed shorts.
  12. Rick Sunderlage (not his real name): A great stocking stuffer would be a packet of “hall passes.” If you have to ask what a hall pass is, I don’t like you. And for those of you who have not discovered the joy of night riding (MTB), the NiteRider Flight light set up is not a bad gift.
  13. Roberto: I love my Selle Italia Novus Ferrari saddle. For the first time bought in 1996, I rode about 10 years or 40000 kilometers on it.
  14. RevBudGreen: I really like the SpaceMan Flask Holster:
  15. Ben: I love my Garmin 305 and all the ridiculous amounts of data that can be obtained from it and pored over for hours. All electrical toys are good but the ones where you can dump the data onto your computer rule. (Note from Fatty: I love the Garmin 305, too)
  16. Chris H: A bicycle work stand is the perfect Xmas present. Buying a work stand for yourself is very difficult. You can always get by without one, and buying one is admitting that you are growing too old to bend over and work on your bike while it is on the floor. However having one makes it a delight to keep all your bikes in perfect working order. A Park PCS-10 would do nicely.
  17. Al Maviva: The Fi Zik Arione is the bestestest saddle ever. Lesser saddles pale next to its… Fi Zik-ness. It’s really, really, really good. Until you’ve done a bunch of 100-140 mile rides, you just don’t appreciate how good this saddle is. It just disappears under you. As for gifts – knee warmers. Skull caps. Headbands. Chamois cream. A date with one of the girls who models for the Colorado Cyclist catalog.
  18. Andrew: A renewal of a NORBA, USA Cycling racing license, or IMBA membership (or new license or membership). That way whoever is getting you the membership can feel like their money is going towards an organization which helps cyclists. Additionally if the cyclists likes to race they won’t have to shell out their own cash to race. Another idea is if your cyclist is a racer, see if there are any pictures floating around from races or epic rides they’ve done. Order the prints, get Kenny to snaz them up, and get them framed.
  19. Mike: At the moment I’m loving my new Parentini long sleeve cycling top. I bought it very cheaply on ebay and it is probably the best top I’ve ever had. Very warm and comfortable.
  20. DeeperSouth: I felt a twinge of embarrassment when I bought it, and to be honest, I still feel like a bit of a dork when I wear it, particularly on mountain bike rides, but I love my Assos intermediateEvo jersey, which looks just like this:, even though I don’t. Yes, I know, I know. But it has a wind blocking panel that wicks sweat brilliantly – no other “breathable” windproof membrane in my cupboard works as well. It copes with a wide range of temperatures, it fits perfectly, it has clever reflective aluminium foil looking stuff woven in to blind oncoming cars, and it has useful zippered pocket. (Note from Fatty: Hah! Someone who admits to wearing Assos!)
  21. JET(not a nickname): A jar of chamois cream. I hardly ever use the stuff, but it is nice when you get some unexpected rubs during a 70+mile/day.
  22. Lisa B: My SmartWool beanie. Warm head=warm body, keeps the sweat out of my eyes (not that girls sweat, of course), fits under my helmet, and doesn’t get nasty stenchy like the pads in my helmet. And I got it at Sierra Trading Post – cheap! Everyone should have one.
  23. Desert Rat: I love these shirts: Especially the “Hurl” and The “Blood Donor” designs. Great stuff for giving and receiving!
  24. GregP: My Patagonia O2 Velocity shell – very light, very packable, always makes me feel warm & cozy when donned at the coldest part of every winter MTB ride: the end of the sweaty climb & beginning of the windy downhill.
  25. MTB W: A trainer is a primo gift, particularly for the winter.
  26. Walter: Craft Pro Cool Mesh baselayer — I was a big skeptic, but someone on my PMC team convinced me to try it, and now I’m a convert: kept me comfy and cool despite heat and humidity all summer long. Doesn’t pill (or feel like it’s going to pill) like the older Craft Pro stuff.
  27. listless Crab: For a stocking stuffer… There is simply no better DVD than ‘Hell on Wheels.’
  28. FliesOnly: A truing stand. Not some high tech, professional grade model, but rather a modest price stand (Minoura Pro Truing Stand @ $69.95 for example) that your average Joe can afford. Speaking from experience, I loath trying to true my wheels by spinning them while they’re still on my bike and seeing what the rim does relative to the brake pad. A nice, inexpensive (but halfway decent) truing stand would make a perfect gift for any biker.
  29. Heffalump: A hitch mounted bike rack so you don’t have to spend all that time trying to adjust the rack so as to scratch the least amount of paint. (Note from Fatty: I’m very happy with the Raxter rack I bought a couple months ago.
  30. Stan: The Patagonia camelback-like pack: sleek, simple and extremely functional. Add in an MSR bladder and it is water filter friendly. The hip belt pockets hold lots of Smarties or a flybox.
  31. Susan: What to get for the woman cyclist in your life? An anatomic saddle, a really good sports bra, and that orange Smartwool jersey that matches the trim on my scoot.
  32. dawn: Stocking stuffer – trail mix that I would not normally buy, say from the organic food store or a specialty mix only available during the holidays. I love trying new stuff, but hate when it tastes horrible and I feel like I’ve wasted my money. The same could be said for new brands of energy bars and gels.
  33. Taocat: My IMBA membership – a great organization that, in spite of going global, has retained it’s grassroots feel. My bike club got a $500 grant for trailwork and took advantage of the deal on a B.O.B. trailer to haul our tools AND we got a visit from the Trail-Care Crew: very cool. My wife and I also took advantage of the Subaru at dealer cost when it was time to buy a new car.
  34. Monica: I love my kevlar-lined tires. It’s great not to have to worry about swerving to avoid broken bits-o’-glass left outside the party/frat houses on the way out of Mad-town, or the junk that might be on country roads. These tires are great for confidence–sure, I can ride through that! (Note from Fatty: I’ve had great success with Specialized Armadillos. Bombproof.)
  35. SYJ: I really love my REI Armwarmers. That’s right folks, turn any jerey into a long sleeved model. Perfect for those fall days when the ride starts out chilly, but warms, or when your flat warmup roads point uphill. Easily stowable in a jersey pocket, or ride with them bunched around your wrists if you wanna look P-R-O.
  36. greg: A velcro chain stay protector! Cheap, tough, dampens chain slap, and protects your frame. They’re under $20 too.
  37. Miguel: All I want for Christmas is two biking friends. Biking friends are the best in the world. I want a pair of guys who are motivated, driven and yet not so ascetic that they cannot have fun every now and again. These guys must be able to do the following:
  • a) Ride a road bike. Well.
    b) One has to be able to climb at least as well as I do and the other needs to be a sprinter or TT-type guy. That way I can work on both while riding with them.
    c) Live near me so that we can ride together without much hassle.
    d) Need to be able to mountain bike. If they could be about the same ability as me (or a little better) that would be great. Actually, make one of them really good and the other the same ability as me. That way we can compliment Mr. X while Mr. Y and I figure out how we are going to do the things that X did without even sweating.
    e) Enjoy hanging out on the weekends, even if we are not riding.

And the Winner Is…
Congratulations to Sophia, who—shameless begging aside—still managed to be random enough to be the winner of the highly-coveted Vicious Cycles Jersey. I love that Sophia proclaims that she’s a vegetarian, but is all excited about wearing a meat-centric jersey. Here’s Sophia’s comment:

Of course there are many bike-related things that I love. I love my bike (although I’d probably love a new and improved bike even more), I love spin class, and I love my new long-sleeve jersey that makes it comfortable to bike outside as it gets colder.

Then there are those things that I’m sure I would love if I had them. I’m now seriously craving an IPOD, probably influenced by Dug and FC’s writings, and pretty much every other biker I know. I now separate music into what I would want to listen to while biking in anticipation of when I finally own one.

Shameless begging section: I’m also sure I would love that vicious cycles jersey. I like the colors, I like the cow sleeves, and I wear a small or medium. Perfect! And I’m a vegetarian, so it would be wonderfully ironic for me to be advertising meat! Please, please, please!

Sophia, email me your address and I’ll ask the Vicious Cycles guys to send the Jersey your way.

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