The Ultimate Cyclist Vacation Club

03.9.2007 | 8:44 am

This is either the best idea I have ever had, or a completely idiotic, impossible fantasy. Maybe it has elements of both. I’ll let you decide.

First, though, the backstory.

I used to subscribe to pretty much every bike magazine out there (sometime soon, I should go into why I don’t anymore, but not right now). In particular, I looked forward to reading Mike Ferrentino, Zapata Espinoza and Captain Dondo’s descriptions of their biking adventures.

Then, as I rode my local trails, it occurred to me that if one of those high-falutin’ bike adventure journalists ever bothered to show up in my backyard, I could show them trails every bit as awesome as the exotic locations they traveled to. In my mind, I started putting together what I considered the ultimate five-day biking trip to Utah.

It would make for a spectacular five-day biking trip, I promise you.

Evolution of an Idea
As I’ve become less and less starstruck by biking journalists and more interested in just having fun with people I like, the idea of the Ultimate Five-Day Bike Trip in Utah has morphed. I’d still like to put together such a vacation, but it occurs to me now: there are other people in the world who love biking just like I do, and know their local trails and roads just as well as I know mine, and would enjoy showing them off to a few people just as much as I would.

And that’s where the idea of the Ultimate Cyclist Vacation Club (UCVC) came from. And here’s how it would work

Self-Selecting Cliques
Practically anybody at all could join the UCVC. The only prerequisites would be that you’d have to be a cyclist, and you’d have to be willing to be a host at some point (I’ll explain what the host does in a moment).

Being a member of the UVCV doesn’t mean anything, though, until you’ve joined a clique. UVCV members surf around the lounge area of the virtual club, joining conversations, talking about what kind of riding you do, what kind of people you like to ride with, and what your very favorite local trails are.

Eventually, you’ll find a group of people who love the same kind of biking as you. They invite you to join their biking clique.

A clique can have no more than seven people in it. This rule is as absolute as it is arbitrary.

Like-Minded Cyclists + Local Knowledge = Dream Vacation
From here, the UVCV is pretty simple. Each clique would determine for themselves how often they have these vacations, and how many days those vacations last. Each clique member takes turns being a host: putting together an awesome biking vacation for their clique in your home area. When you’re host, you’re responsible for choosing what trails people will ride, where people will stay, picking them up at the airport, arranging with a bike shop to take care of any gear needs travelers will have, where to eat…pretty much everything. You’re Mr. Rork, and your hometown is Fantasy Island.

And, naturally, when it’s someone else’s turn to be the host, you should expect them to put together every bit as nice of a vacation for you as you did for them.

And Then You Ride
Once everyone arrives, you get to show off your hometown trails and/or roads. Show them the absolute cream of your crop — the stuff only locals know about. The stuff that makes you absolutely positively certain that your hometown is the best place in the world to ride. Your mission is make your clique seriously consider moving to where you live, just on the strength of the quality of your trails.

So, what would I look for in a UVCV clique, and what would I be able to offer as a host? Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Type of rider: I like riding road and mountain. On a vacation, I think I’d rather weight my riding toward more mountain, but maybe that’s just because I’ve never been on the ultimate road ride. I like rides that last all day. and I like technical riding, but not so technical that I need to be a trials phenom.
  • Rider personality: I like cheerful people. I do not like complainers, unless things are obviously going really badly, in which case I do not like cheerful people. I like sarcastic people, unless sarcasm is the only arrow you’ve got in your comedy quiver. I do not like bossy people, but expect people to appreciate my innate leadership qualities. I do not like it when people make fun of how I always get lost.
  • Where I’d like to ride: I’d like other members of my clique to represent places that are mostly close by — at this time in my life, a trip to Italy or Australia just isn’t likely. So, I’d be looking for AZ, NM, CO, WY, and ID riders for my clique. From what I hear, there’s tons of great riding in each of these states, and I could get to them easily.
  • What I’d have to offer as host: I would show off Tibble Fork (the Best Place in the World, which includes incredible views, difficult climbing, and two kinds of exquisite descents), Hog’s Hollow (ending in a natural waterslide), the Gauntlet (an epic 80-mile road ride with 9000 feet of climbing), then off to Southern Utah for Gooseberry and Little Creek Mesa. There are innumerable great burrito / fish taco places in the area. And the Marriott here costs about as little as a Super 8 in most metro cities. This week would wipe you (and me) out, but you’d love every single ride.

I Have No Idea Whether I’m Serious About This
Is this a good idea? Or is it completely stupid and/or impossible for some reason that hasn’t occurred to me? If it is a good idea, what would your UVCV ad look like? 

PS: Enough out-of-United-States-ers have said they want to be in the Dave Nice Raffle that I’m going to try to include them. So, here’s how things will work if you’re out of the U.S. and win a prize that has to be shipped. When you get notification that you won, you can do any of the following:

  1. Have me give it to some other random raffle ticket holder.
  2. Have me send it to someone in the U.S. you know.
  3. Have me send it to you, but you pay the shipping.

PPS: A huge “thanks” to all the companies that have put up prizes and to everyone who has donated. So far, we’ve raised $940 for Dave. That’s pretty awesome. I’m sure all you non-US-ers are now going to sign up for the raffle so we can break $1000, right?

PPPS: This Monday, watch for a very special edition of this blog, where I either tearfully accept my Bloggie Award, or make a snarky concession speech, depending on whether I win. 


  1. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 03.9.2007 | 9:01 am

    I think Utah would have to have a 6 or 7 day Ultimate whatever, becuase I’d love to show people Bartlett wash and Gold Bar Rim.

    We’d also have to break up into socioeconomic status. Me, Caloi, and Sans would have to do a “cheapo guerilla hitch-hike PB&J camping ultimate cylcing vacation.”

    For me, the ULTIMATE Ultimate Cycling Vacation would involve either Austrailia or Scotland/UK.

    This reminds me of something I’ve been thinking about for several years, and that is holding a “traning camp”. Sometime in mid/late spring, every day for like a week, “campers” would get together for big, brutal rides. Of course you stay at your own house and go to work a bit, but we meed every day at like 2:00 and ride the gauntlet, and the next day Tibble, then grove to tibble, then a Utah Lake century, maybe a stage of the Tour of Utah, etc. Try to put together like 5-6 days of big riding with a mix of mtn and road. Obviously it would have to be late enough in the year that the high trails are open, but early enough to really boost our riding for the big races.

  2. Comment by Norm | 03.9.2007 | 9:05 am

    “I like cheerful people. I do not like complainers, unless things are obviously going really badly, in which case I do not like cheerful people. I like sarcastic people, unless sarcasm is the only arrow you’ve got in your comedy quiver. I do not like bossy people, but expect people to appreciate my innate leadership qualities. I do not like it when people make fun of how I always get lost.”

    Doesn’t this pretty much guarantee you’ll be riding solo?

  3. Comment by dug | 03.9.2007 | 9:08 am

    i think cliques should have 6 people. six is the number.

  4. Comment by dug | 03.9.2007 | 9:14 am

    first, it’s mr “roarke.” what’s the matter with you?

    second, it would be impossible to show anybody “hog’s hollow” unless you were in fillmore, where they actually have a “hog’s hollow.” you make me want to boil my own head.

    third, can i be in your clique? i promise to be sarcastic, but to shake it up, i’ll tell at least once, the dirtiest joke in the world.

  5. Comment by LanterneRouge | 03.9.2007 | 9:41 am

    The people in my clique would like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. They would not be into yoga and would have half a brain. That’s not too ghey, is it?

  6. Comment by Chris | 03.9.2007 | 9:50 am

    OK LanterneRouge I almost want to join your clique just because of that lovely song reference. You’ll at least be funny.

    Botched: When does training camp open?

  7. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 03.9.2007 | 9:54 am

    Oh great, now Superlage will never be able to ride Grove again:

  8. Comment by Boz | 03.9.2007 | 9:58 am

    I wouldn’t be in any clique that would have me as a member. Guess I’ll just ride alone.

  9. Comment by Anonymous | 03.9.2007 | 10:26 am

    Me too.

  10. Comment by KeepYerBag | 03.9.2007 | 10:49 am

    Yoga? I always thought he was saying “yogurt” which I could never figure out because I thought someone who liked pina coladas would probably like yogurt too since they’re both creamy overall but with a hint of tartness, at least I think that’s the case because although I’m a big fan of yogurt I haven’t tasted a pina colada–at least not the ones with burbon or whatever they put in them and oh, look, it’s the UPS man. . .my meds finally came so maybe I can get some work done now.

    What were we talking about??

  11. Comment by Boz | 03.9.2007 | 11:12 am

    KYB – hope you don’t have many sharp objects nearby. Pina Colada – rum, Mint Julip – bourbon, Martini – just about anything these days. As Red Green sez, hang in there, we’re all in this together.

    What were we talking about??

  12. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 03.9.2007 | 11:13 am

    Great idea FC, so you’d better not tell Bob…I mean it!

    The only problem is if you have seven in a clique, and do 5-7 rides in each clique member’s back yard that would be at least 35 vacation days per year. If there were less rides then that area would probably not even be worth visiting. Even if you were in the middle ground with a minimum 3-4 spectacular rides you’re still at 21 days.

    So unless you live in Europe or are unemployed, that ain’t gonna fly. Or if you’re a teacher I guess. Alright so there are a few exceptions. I just hate that I only have 10 vacation days a year. Fooey.

  13. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 03.9.2007 | 11:14 am

    Pretty impressive math skills eh!

  14. Comment by msk | 03.9.2007 | 11:41 am

    while i really do wish you all the best in your quest for a bloggie award i have a feeling that the “snarky concession speech” may be funnier

    just like the oscars could we also have a head shot of your reaction as you find out one way or the other

    good luck


  15. Comment by Phil | 03.9.2007 | 11:52 am

    The only problem with the idea, is I’d love to join a clique that hosts biking in utah, copper canyon, and other points west. But I think those people would be very disappointed when it’s my turn to see our mid-atlantic “trails”.

  16. Comment by Den | 03.9.2007 | 12:02 pm

    Hmmm, I wonder who would get excited about riding a ‘trail’ along a river that once caught fire? Of couse you folks in Utah probably have a greater elevation change in your driveway then we do here in northeast Ohio. Oh sure, we have ‘hills’. But I’m pretty certain they are pretty laughable in comparison.

    How about I be the UCVC ride evaluater? I could rate each vacation to see “Who has the Best”. After all, the chest thumping over ‘who’s the best’ is bound to start happening. May as well let me decide. I’m very impartial, and can’t be bribed…

    Well, I could be bribed, but I’m very, very expensive…

  17. Comment by the weak link | 03.9.2007 | 12:04 pm

    I agree with dug. The proper number of a clique is 6. This way you force no one to be the “swing vote”, Sandra Day O’Conner in lycra, firing snot rockets and farting, if you get my drift. Disputes would require a supermajority to settle.

    There is a surprising phenominon about bike cliques that I’ve noticed. I formed a local one called the “Harmless Old Timers, Babes And Beginners Excursion Service”. It was designed for people who get winded riding about 200 yards and who have gone on record requesting rope tows be installed on any hill with greater than a 3% grade.

    Turns out that everyone wants to join. We get a heavy infiltration of hammerheads. This not right. Even hammerheads like to ride with losers. It makes them feel cool. They can clean us without getting out of their granny gear.

    We may have to restrict membership to folks who only wear tennis shoes to ride. And no lycra. Lycra is for sissies.

  18. Comment by Den | 03.9.2007 | 12:19 pm

    Hmm, the HOTBABES riding club does sound pretty inviting…

  19. Comment by TimK | 03.9.2007 | 1:00 pm

    Phil, what are you calling mid-Atlantic trails that you consider disappointing?! We have trails here in Virginia and North Carolina that are beautiful. Ever been to Tsali in western NC? Or maybe Brevard, NC. Even here in Richmond, Virginia we have some beautiful trails – we host the XTerra races here in summer! Check out this great map with photos (click on the target icons for details)

    Awesome trails in a biggish East Coast small town with a great medical school! We have some great road biking too. Unfortunately there are a few automobillies that don’t like us on the road – but that happens everywhere in the US.

    When you say mid-Atlantic, you must be talking about coastal.

    Oh, my clique would have to be a cheapsters one too. I thought when I saw this post it was just going to be a big “PARTY AT FATTY’S!” post. No such luck.

  20. Comment by TimK | 03.9.2007 | 1:04 pm

    Oh, I forgot that there are tri-phobes on here. If you look at our Richmond trail, just ignore that bit about swimming and running.

  21. Pingback by Run, Run, Run, Run, Run, Cycle, Cycle Too » Fatty’s got a great idea… | 03.9.2007 | 1:21 pm

    [...] Once in a while, a great idea comes up, and today’s is courtesy of Fat Cyclist: Like-Minded Cyclists + Local Knowledge = Dream VacationFrom here, the UVCV is pretty simple. Each clique would determine for themselves how often they have these vacations, and how many days those vacations last. Each clique member takes turns being a host: putting together an awesome biking vacation for their clique in your home area. When you’re host, you’re responsible for choosing what trails people will ride, where people will stay, picking them up at the airport, arranging with a bike shop to take care of any gear needs travelers will have, where to eat…pretty much everything. You’re Mr. Rork, and your hometown is Fantasy Island. [...]

  22. Comment by TimK | 03.9.2007 | 1:41 pm

    I’ll let my FC jersey be my temporary UCVC badge, but I think if you are going to push this idea that you need to make UCVC stickers or luggage tags, maybe a T-shirt, so that when folks are traveling they can say, “Hey, there’s a UCVC member. I think I will chat him up and see if he’s interested in our trail.”

    I think it would be good not just for the “vacation idea”, but for the longer business trip. If you come to Richmond on business, I’ll see if I can’t find a loaner bike and we can ride trails instead of bikes in hotels. Oh, that was an accidental rhyme. A jingle for the club!
    Ride trails,
    Instead of bikes in hotels!

  23. Comment by Kurt | 03.9.2007 | 1:45 pm

    Fabulous idea! I’ll guide the Colorado Springs area.

  24. Comment by fatty | 03.9.2007 | 1:51 pm

    mrs coach – the way i was figuring it, a clique gets together once a year. so you only have to host every 7 (or 6 if you’re in dug’s clique) years.

  25. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 03.9.2007 | 3:08 pm

    I underestimated you. You really do have it all figured out don’t you?

  26. Comment by Bob | 03.9.2007 | 4:10 pm

    1. The Clique thing sounds stupid. It should just be an event that rimes with “gays.” Like St. George Days or Tibble Daze. You should just say, “Hey, I’m hosting Provo Days for the week of blah to blah.

    Here’s the schedule:
    Thursday: Grove
    Friday: Hog’s Hollow
    Saturday: Tibble
    Sunday: Frank / Awards banquet

    2. You can’t combine Utah county and Gooseberry. What’s the matter with you?

    3. Here’s the schedule for Seattle Ways:

    Friday: Crop circles, Tapeworm, etc.
    Saturday: Tiger Mountain – Iverson, Preston
    Sunday: Gooseberry Mesa, Little Creek, Tibble Fork

  27. Comment by Al Maviva | 03.9.2007 | 6:39 pm

    Phil, WTF is up with you, Bro? I guess you must have missed out on the Frederick watershed, the pump track that is Rosaryville, and Patapsco, which is a regular stop for a number of world class MTB’ers. (Nevermind the Ellicott City Brewing Co.’s $5 lunch special, which comes with a beer).


    My Mid Atlantic Epic Road Vacation for my clique is

    Day 1 – All the climbs on the Civil War Century, (the first 50 miles of uphill) followed by a ride back to D.C. via Poolesville, culminating in a bunch sprint up MacArthur Blvd or the Clara Barton Parkway, mimicking a couple of the better local club rides. About 125 miles of joy. You may want to bring a triple or a compact crank, unless your name is Gaul. Finish with a steak at The Palm.

    Day 2 – An easy 125 or so gently rolling miles from Severna Park down to Solomon’s Island. If it’s summer, we’ll stop at the Tiki Bar for fruity umbrella drinks, get popped for DWI on the way out of town, then wobble back up along the Chesapeake, taking in the nice views. Dinner at Obricki’s crab house in Bal’mer.

    Day 3 – Rest the legs in the morning. Do the Hains Point lunchtime ride, aka the 24-7-365 crit. Make the visitors do leadout, before the local pros, Cat I generalists, Cat III sprinters, and that girl who rides for Ford burst by. The tall skinny dude who can hammer with the police escort? That’s mayor Fenty. The guy who looks just like him with a pretty decent sprint? That’s his brother, a Cat III. The rule is easy down the front stretch (~22) then hammer down the back stretch (~35 on a good day), then sprint 300 yards starting at the second to the last sign before turning right. Slow down at the last sign or you’ll get killed by Cherry Blossom traffic. Winner earns bragging rights for one half lap, roughly 3 minutes. Try to avoid the frequent crashes, the ducks, and the tourists. Hot dog lunch at Ben’s Chili Bowl, a landmark hotdog stand where the leaders of the civil rights movement met and where Thurgood Marshall formulated the Brown v. Board of Education case litigation strategy. Follow it up with a leisurely afternoon trying to follow D.C. bike messengers (some of whom are pro racers) through traffic.

    Day 4 – hope you brought the mountain bike. If you’re on the single speed, hope you’re damned strong. A day long thrash at Patapsco State Park, with some cross country, some long breaks in the rock gardens. You know how to boogie down a steep hill bouncing off trees to get the flow going? You’ll learn. Lunch at Ellicott City Brewing Co.

    Day 5 – The Saturday Morning 9:00 AM Ride. Are you fast? Or faster? The fast group usually does about 50-60 rolling to hilly miles, often at around 25+. The slow group – formed by Darwinian selection – is a second peloton just a little slower. If that’s too much for you, the 7:00 AM ride features a lot of older guys with families who like to get their ride in and get home with enough time to do some chores, spend some time with the kids, and get defibrilated. It isn’t significantly slower, it’s just you won’t feel as bad getting dropped by people your own age. Catch a champagne brunch at one of the local strip clubs, or maybe check into the cardiac care center at George Washington U. Hospital Center. Good enough for Ron Reagan when he was shot, good enough for you when you got dropped like a bad habit.

    Day 6 – Skyline Drive out in the Blueridge Parkway, and surrounding area. There are a couple climbs that take an hour or so, views to die for, houses you couldn’t afford if you hit the lottery, and temperature changes bad enough to cause frostbite at the top, heatstroke at the bottom. Ride back from Skyline via Warrenton, climb up past ____ _____, one of the undisclosed locations operated by a federal agency which can’t be named here, a place that also features a road climb with 25% grades, catch the W&OD trail back into D.C., stopping for lunch at one of the brewpubs located conveniently close to the trail, or maybe at Georgia Browns if you’ve never had a $50 plate of fried chicken, red eye gravy and Okra.

    Day 7 – rest. Even God didn’t roll for seven straight days.

  28. Comment by Born 4 Lycra | 03.9.2007 | 8:20 pm

    The whole idea has some merit and may even get off the ground. But I am not sure it caters The forming of a click is an idea but i assume these UVCV days don’t include families.
    Hey weak link – “it’s all about the ride ………and the lycra”!

  29. Comment by Born 4 Lycra | 03.9.2007 | 11:56 pm

    What that should have said
    The whole idea has some merit and may even get off the ground. But I am not sure it caters for families.
    Hey weak link – “it’s all about the ride ………and the lycra”!

  30. Comment by Ian | 03.10.2007 | 9:08 am

    I’m in. Rossland BC is the self proclaimed Mt. Bike Capital of Canada. I want to try Utah again. This could work.

  31. Comment by Jennifer | 03.10.2007 | 7:50 pm

    If you really get a Mid Atlantic clique going, I live 5 miles from Douthat State Park, the best mtn biking in Va, 8 miles from the allegheny trail, 20 from the greenbriar trail and a mere 7 miles from a Cat 1, heart exploding climb of the now defunct Tour DuPont. I have never gone on a road ride in which I don’t hit at least 35 mph at least once, including my ride to and from work. A stage of the Tour of Virginia ends here April 25th in fact. I think my vacation would be the climbing vacation for the east coasters :)

  32. Comment by Jill | 03.10.2007 | 8:10 pm

    Speaking of the Ultimate Cyclist Vacation … when’s RAWROD this year?

  33. Comment by fatty | 03.11.2007 | 7:33 am

    jill – it’s april 28. email me and i’ll forward you on to kenny, who runs this show. you’d for sure be welcome.

  34. Comment by axel | 03.11.2007 | 2:59 pm

    today i find out that the bloggies are handed out in austin. not sure if fatty is attending and in town, but this could have been a fine trial run of the concept.
    Around here we have to offer:
    Hill country road biking – head west from Austin past suburbia and you will find perfect quiet county roads with lots of ups and downs – lots of vertical feet in many small helpings – plus the wildflowers are just starting.
    Hill country mountain biking – very technical, lots of ups and downs, either in the limited public areas, pay-to-ride ranches, or illegally on private property.
    Or go east where both the road and mountain biking is mellower.
    And then we have the Lance Armstrong/US Postal sites: the pothole that did in Ekimov, the place where Lance and Kevin L. got attacked by a guy in a pickup, Lances favorite restaurant (which is also the place Jenna Bush got busted for underage drinking).
    Then again I don’t know if I meet the personality profile – that and I have to work…
    So Fatty, if you are in town, rent a bike from Bicycle Sports Shop at Lamar and Barton Springs, put it in your rental car and drive to the Emma Long Motorcycle Trail (there are never any Motorcycles there)…actually no, it is raining, so just go to Chuy’s for TexMex and a few beers.

  35. Comment by cookiedough | 03.11.2007 | 7:47 pm

    Well, the ultimate mountain biking vacation already has a start in Arizona – just a little south of you folks, and it’s next weekend – check it out here, and plan for next year. Oh yeah, there are many cliques of 7, sometimes multiples on the same ride, sometimes fractions of 7 on the same ride

  36. Comment by rooster | 03.11.2007 | 7:52 pm

    Ive used the warm showers list to get local knowledge when touring from area to area ( Depending on the hosts effort level either just to gain information or sometimes organise a ride. Always works out great, my best travel experiences for sure. Great thinking fatty hope it works out, its always great to be a tourist in your own backyard as well!

  37. Comment by Phil | 03.12.2007 | 6:39 am

    Tim and Al, no doubt there are some beautiful trails I love to ride around the area (being Maryland/Delaware/New Jersey, not North Carolina…the appalachian/smokey mountains start to offer a little more challenge), but I just feel like for someone with Utah’s trails, this would be snore city… have you seen the videos of Fatty and gang doing rock hopping and careening near the edge of a 5,000 foot drop? I’m not sure how the 500 foot ascent in Patapsco can compare ;).

  38. Comment by LMouse | 03.12.2007 | 5:45 pm

    Okay, Sweeties, who wants to come out here and ride with the Old Bat?



    (sound of chirping crickets)

    Yeah, I thought as much.

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  40. Comment by gerry | 01.25.2010 | 7:02 am

    Love the cycling tournament. it’s fun


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