How to be Light

06.24.2007 | 9:01 pm

Many people have noticed, lately, that I am an excellent climber. Fast. Focused. Featherweight. Also, I am very, very handsome, but that is the subject for another post on another day.

It is not uncommon, truth be known, for me to receive requests for climbing guidance from professional cyclists, though I am contractually obligated to not mention these cyclists by name. Considering the remarkable sums of money these people are paying me, I am more than happy to respect their need for privacy.

Because I value you, dear reader, above all my (very, very) high-paying clientele — and because I know that the only reason you do not gladly pay a $49.95 monthly subscription to this site is that I do not ask it of you — I shall today offer you the same guidance. At no charge whatsoever.

Today, I shall tell you how to fly up the hills. Today, my friend, you shall be transformed.

The Easy Parts
There are three crucial components to being a magnificent climber. No, of course you cannot expect to be as magnificent as I am, but you can become at least relatively magnificent, and you should be satisfied with that.

The first two parts are simple, but the basics must not be ignored.

First, you must pedal. Some fools believe that they can simply coast uphill, through the medium of offering promissory notes to gravity against future descents. And while I have patented this idea and have built a prototype drivetrain that successfully implements this theory, it is not yet available for production or sale. The reasons are technical, but basically boil down to a problem with the elastic bands breaking.

It is not enough to pedal, though. You must pedal in sine waves. Yes, I know: conventional cycling wisdom would have you pedal circles. But conventional cycling wisdom doesn’t get paid ridiculously large sums of money by the top pro cyclists in the world, now, does it? Consider the motion of a pedal as it goes by you. Is that pedal going in a circle? No. It’s oscillating up and down as the bike moves forward. A sine wave. How will this help you pedal better? It won’t, but it’s still true.

Second, you’ve got to stop braking as you climb. It just slows you down.

How to Be Light
Once you’ve got the basics — do pedal (in sine waves), don’t brake — down, you’re ready for the vital third step in becoming a climbing powerhouse.

You must become light.

Many cycling pundits think they understand this vital technique for being a world-class climber, but they don’t. Not really. All they know are the crude basics: lose weight, ride a light bike. Sure, that’s fine as far as it goes, but the details — how do you lose weight? How do you make your bike light? — are where traditional givers of advice will fail you.

I, dear reader, will not fail you. The following strategies will help you become the climber you have always dreamed of becoming. (Unless, of course, you have been dreaming of becoming as good a climber as I, because that would be laughable. Set your sites on something attainable, you charlatan!)

Techniques for Making Yourself Light
Most cyclists believe they already know how to make themselves light — diet and exercise — and that the only variables are time and willpower.

Nothing, I am happy to say, could be further from the truth.

This is all you need to do:

  • Shave. This has been considered good practice among cyclists for years, but the full extent and reasoning behind shaving has never been fully explained. Shave everything. Head to toe. This includes your eyebrows and eyelashes. No decorative facial hair (this goes for you too, ladies). Not only is hair non-aerodynamic; every single little hair has weight. In fact, don’t just shave. Wax. That way you can get the hair beneath the surface of the skin. Special note to Tinker Juarez: You could be fourteen pounds lighter if you got rid of all that hair.
  • Exfoliate: I’m not talking here about using a mildly abrasive skin cleanser here. I’m prescribing a twenty minute session, top to bottom, with 80 grit sandpaper. Some people might call this torture. I call it the cost of greatness.
  • Avoid Sunscreen: This one’s easy. You know all that sunscreen you rub onto your skin? Yeah, you think it doesn’t weigh anything? Well it does. Stop using it; it’s weighing you down.
  • Fingernails and Toenails: I know, you already trim your fingernails and toenails nice and tight. That’s a good first baby step. Now finish the job. All the way to the cuticles, champ.
  • Liposuction: Some people call this unnecessary surgery with no demonstrable long-term benefit. I call it the shortest route from point Fat to point Fast.
  • Remove unnecessary body parts: Do you know what your tonsils are good for? How about your appendix? Nothing, that’s what. So what are you carrying them around for? And while we’re having this discussion, answer me this: do you really think you’d walk any worse if you removed your pinky toes? And don’t even get me started on the dead weight everyone dangles around by virtue of keeping their earlobes.
  • Remove unnecessary decoration: Got a tattoo? You think that ink doesn’t have mass? Ha.
  • Dehydrate: Many cycling authorities encourage you to stay hydrated if you want to ride well. I’ll let you in on a little secret: they tell you that because they’re coaching someone else they want to beat you. The truth is, water is incredibly heavy. And while I recognize it as a necessary evil (my kidneys sometimes fail when I let my water mass dip below 40%), I’m not going to lug any more up the hill than I have to. You shouldn’t either. I recommend going without fluids for at least 36 hours before a ride of any significance. Then, during the ride, spit. A lot. And don’t drink anything.
  • Bloodletting: This got a bad rap because it was invented back in the medieval ages, but just because something was invented a long time ago doesn’t mean it was a bad idea. I mean, wheels were invented a long time ago too and I don’t see you rushing to eliminate those from your cycling rig.

Techniques for Making Your Bike Light
Many people spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to make their bikes light. I heartily endorse this behavior. In addition to purchasing lighter parts, though, you should also consider making your bike lighter through the medium of removing bike parts. For example:

  • Remove the rear brake: Everyone knows that most of your stopping power is in the front brake. So why incur the expense and weight of that redundant rear brake? A good modern front brake has enough stopping power and then some. You know how much weight you’ll save by getting rid of the rear brake, cabling, and levers? Fourteen pounds, that’s how much. Most people don’t realize how heavy rear brakes are.
  • Remove the bottle cages: Since you aren’t going to be drinking when you ride anymore (see “Dehydrate,” above), you won’t be needing those bottle cages anymore, will you? Nor the bottle cage bolts.
  • Sand the paint job off: I’ve heard that some bike manufacturers put between 2-5 coats of paint on their bikes, and then seal the job with a high-gloss finish. For those manufacturers, I have a question: Do you you also insert lead weights into the tubes? Because you may as well.
  • Never carry a saddlebag: You know, I have ridden hundreds of times without any tools or flat-fixing supplies without ever missing them. In fact, the only time I have ever missed not carrying stuff to do bike field repairs is when my bike breaks or flats. And that’s hardly ever.
  • Never let your sweat drip onto your bike: You’re going to sweat when riding (although if you’ve done your dehydrating properly, you won’t sweat much). Just don’t sweat on your bike. That leaves a salty residue, and salt has mass.
  • Helium: Fill your tires with helium. Fill your bike tubes with helium. Before rides, breathe a helium/oxygen mix, which is 30% lighter than conventional air. I do not understand why so few people understand this.

Techniques for Making Your Clothing Light
Over the centuries, cycle clothing manufacturers have refined their wares to the point where cyclists can be comfortable in the saddle all day.

But being comfortable isn’t the point, is it? Being light is the point. Here is how to customize your bike clothing to get rid of that ungainly bulk:

  • Get rid of the pockets: You’re not carrying anything in your jersey pockets, are you? Of course you’re not, because anything in those pockets is going to weigh something. And since you aren’t using those pockets, you may as well get rid of them.
  • Get rid of the armpit fabric: Cutting a gaping hole in your jersey directly beneath the armpit serves dual purposes. First, it makes the jersey lighter. Second, it has a cooling effect, which is useful since you won’t be sweating much anymore and will be more susceptible to heat stroke.
  • Get rid of the collar: Are you going to wear a tie with that jersey? No? Well then, what’s the collar for? I mean, besides to weigh you down?
  • Shorten your shorts: When you get right down to it, the primary function of the bike short is to hold the chamois in place. So why do they go all the way down onto your thigh, sometimes almost to the knee? Chop them off higher and you’ll get rid of several unsightly tenths of an ounce. And you’ll get a nice tan on more of the tops of your quads.

Final Analysis
Do I expect many cyclists to follow my advice? No, no I do not. And why will most of you snigger and ignore me? Because most of you are not truly committed climbers.

Just you wait, though. In a few short days the Tour de France will be on TV and — as you see cyclists with the healthy glow of freshly sanded skin, the dull gaze of people who have not had a drink in two days, brakeless (and paintless) bikes and sheared short shorts, that not everyone has been laughing off my (very, very) wise (and, frankly, expensive) counsel.

And then you too will do what it takes to be light.


  1. Comment by Sprocketboy | 06.24.2007 | 9:27 pm

    This all seems pretty reasonable to me although I have also found success by reducing the number of spokes in the front wheel. You can also do this yourself by removing one spoke at a time until the wheel collapses and then putting one back. Secondly, we are talking about climbing here which means basically standing–think Lance, Marco, Richard–while going uphill. So ditch that useless seat and seatpost, although it might allow some of the helium to escape from the frame.

    In an issue of TOUR magazine I have there is an article about the lightest usable racing bikes in existence. There is a cult of hobbyists in Germany who enjoty the challenge of going for the 4 kg bike. The winner in this issue had actually removed the paint from a Pinarello to save weight. There is a special place in Hell reserved for him.

  2. Comment by Lins - Aust | 06.24.2007 | 9:37 pm

    “This new learning astounds me. Explain once again how sheep stomaches can be used to prevent earthquakes.” (Monty Python something or other)

  3. Comment by Weean | 06.24.2007 | 11:06 pm

    Uh, I don’t mean to pick holes, but pedals don’t go in sinewaves. I forgotten the name of what they actually do, but I think it’s greek, and begins with an E or a U sound.

    And a quick back of the envelope calculation shows that a 80/20 He/O2 mix would be ~30% of the mass of air, not ~30% lighter (thogh if you’re using O2-rich mixes to maximise your doped bloods enhanced oxygen carrying capacity, you could have it right).

    Hey, I work for the Institute of PHYSICS- I can’t help it! I also can’t help getting reaaly wound up that you HAVEN’T TOLD US WHAT MAKE AND MODEL OF HELMET YOU WERE WEARING!

  4. Comment by Weean | 06.24.2007 | 11:11 pm

    Sorry to be picky, but a back of the envelope calculation shows that a 80/20 mix of He/O2 would be about 30% of the mass of air, ie about 70% lighter. You could have it closer to your given values by using O2-rich air to maximise your illegally doped bloods oxygen-carrying capability.

    I can’t help it if I’m a bit anal- that’s probably why it bothers me so much that you haven’t told us WHICH MAKE AND MODEL OF HELMET you were wearing!!

  5. Comment by John | 06.25.2007 | 12:14 am

    Helmet?!? Do you know how much those things WEIGH!?

  6. Comment by buckythedonkey | 06.25.2007 | 12:25 am

    Balls. You didn’t mention balls.

    My habit being to read the first couple of paragraphs of an FC post before over-reacting, I took your advice and shaved myself from head to foot. That was before I remembered that your blog is humorous (or supposed to be – my kids are now terrified of me). Today I realised a previously unsought ambition: I look like Dr. Manhattan from the Watchmen except that I am pink, as opposed to blue, and I’m not quite so ripped.

    Shaving your balls is quite tricky not to mention hazardous, my choice of razor being a well-stropped cut-throat. The term “riz-raz” from A Clockwork Orange leapt to, and remained at, the forefront of my mind for the duration of the procedure. Maybe I should’ve waxed, as you advised (had I read that far before reaching for the brush-and-blade).

    Happily, my balls really take to a good spalming now which will hopefully reduce my turbulence and yield dividends on those long climbs.

    Thanks FC.

  7. Comment by Yukirin Boy | 06.25.2007 | 1:40 am

    Spalmtastic ! Way ahead of the curve, FC.

  8. Comment by 2liltime | 06.25.2007 | 3:05 am

    Definitely a good idea. I find a good colonic reduces weight also. Although it is hoghly advisable to wait a sufficient amount of time prior to riding but AFTER the colonic.
    Lesson learned.

  9. Comment by MAJ Mike | 06.25.2007 | 3:19 am

    You left out the obligatory vomiting.

  10. Comment by Tim D | 06.25.2007 | 3:36 am

    You don’t need both those kidneys.

  11. Comment by Crash | 06.25.2007 | 3:45 am

    I actually prefer pedalling in cosine waves. I find it more effective. Pedalling in sine waves is so old school.

  12. Comment by bikemike | 06.25.2007 | 3:47 am

    so, pedaling in octagonal paradiddles is really slowing me down?

  13. Comment by Al Maviva | 06.25.2007 | 4:42 am

    Holy crap! Now I know why my climbing is so godawful.

    I’ve been pedaling in tangent waves. I clip in on the bottom, pull up the back of the pedal stroke, and let my foot fly out of the clipless pedals, ascending nearly infinitely straight up, at a slope of {n ∏ | n € Z}. Then I do the same with the other foot. This makes it very hard to climb well. From now on, I shall stick the the sine wave. It will be deucedly hard to adapt my pedals to work in that pattern, but I intend to make it work.

    Ps. Way ahead of you on the other stuff. The only problem I find, however, is that few of my friends want to ride behind a squeaky-voiced, fully-shaved fat guy wearing a slippery silk posing pouch and bleeding from the holes where his finger and toe nails used to be. As a result, the kill themselves to get ahead of me to avoid the scenic, hairless, and expansive view from the back. So your program works, though maybe not in the way you intended. But hey, my bike only weighs 13 pounds, so I got that going for me, which is nice.

  14. Comment by Mike Roadie | 06.25.2007 | 5:14 am

    Sheeps BLADDERS…….not stomachs!

    Cables, decals, LUBE (and thus the dirt attached thereto), one of the pedals, third chainrings, handlebar end plugs–ALL MUST GO!!!!!!

  15. Comment by Craig | 06.25.2007 | 5:29 am

    gotta have speedholes

  16. Comment by Born 4 Lycra | 06.25.2007 | 5:31 am

    Now I’m thinking an adhesive backed chamois the sort you peel off and stick in place technically you would only use it once but who checks on this sort of thing. That gets rid of the need for shorts and the only thing I can think the top does is provide a place to hang the pockets on and their now gone. Perfect the nude fat cyclist!. Now which is more preferable to ride behind Al M or FC? You would still have to wear a helmet for safety reasons – now what was the make and model again?

  17. Comment by BrokenSpokes | 06.25.2007 | 6:22 am

    I think you’re on to something Fatty.

    Ever since I had my gal bladder removed, I have been able to fly up the hills at nearly plentysix miles per hour. Consider the mass contained in a sack that just contains fluid and some stones, and once removed, it really enhances the climbing performance. Get that thing removed and you’re on your way to achieving the climbing greatness of our dear friend Fatty.

    I also knew a guy that had only one lung and he always was the first up the hills. He did some deep free-diving to build the remaining lung to compensate.

  18. Comment by Bob | 06.25.2007 | 6:29 am

    I removed my left testicle, which saved me 15 ounces. The only drawback is that I am fertile only every other month. It’s science, which you obviously don’t understand. I also removed my Performance Ding-a-Lingâ„¢ bell as well as my Castelli tassels. Frankly, I miss the bell when I’m riding in grocery stores, but I find that I can ride just as well without the tassels.

  19. Comment by Max | 06.25.2007 | 6:43 am

    Since we only use about 10% of our brain mass, cut away the top of the skull (damn heavy bone-mass anyway), scoop out the useless 90%, and cover the rest with Press-and-Seal plastic wrap. The average adult brain weighs 3 pounds, so you could remove 2.7 pounds from your rolling weight! The average human skull weighs 8 pounds, removing the skull-cap could drop up to 4 pounds! So with the, now patented, Cyclo-Labotomy you could save up to 6.7 pounds!!!

  20. Comment by Al Maviva | 06.25.2007 | 6:56 am

    The procedure is more common than you might think, Max. Many starlets, most members of Congress*, and David Hasselhof have all had that procedure. So if you are ever on the road and see Jessica, Jessica, Nick, and a couple guys in gray suits on Trek Madones, make way.

    *This is actually a complete lie. The skinnier and arguably more sober of the two senators from Massachusetts rides (Serotta, BTW) and can’t climb very well at all. Famously (around here anyhow) he is too trendy to carry even a flat wallet, necessitating The Call of Shame any time he flats. Pretty weak, no? I can’t speak for how that roadie hammerhead House member from MN or WI does.

  21. Comment by Boz | 06.25.2007 | 7:35 am

    Sleek, hairless guys on bikes in speedo’s – I think they call that a “triathlete”. Gives me the shivers.

  22. Comment by chtrich | 06.25.2007 | 7:37 am

    But Fatty, still I ask the question, What is today’s weight?
    Maybe you could answer that and the helmet question together.

  23. Comment by Bitter (formerly known as Lissee) | 06.25.2007 | 7:38 am

    Oh Fatty! Thanks for another classic. You’re the best!

  24. Comment by mbonkers | 06.25.2007 | 7:53 am

    You know, since my pancreas doesn’t work, I’ve been thinking about ditching it anyway. Now I just need to sharpen my pen knife, find a place to mount a mirror and commence surgery! Do you think ice will work as a local anesthetic?

  25. Comment by KT | 06.25.2007 | 8:39 am

    MBonkers, silly, it’s WHISKEY that works as an anesthetic.

    Alcohol kills germs.

    FC and Al M, I now have scary images in my head that won’t go away. Thanks a lot. Now how am I supposed to work? Ah, wait! Whiskey!

  26. Comment by MAJ Mike | 06.25.2007 | 8:45 am

    I must confess. I have been riding a 6 lb recumbent unicycle to both cut weight and lower wind resistance. It is so recumbent that the only wind resistance I get is from my shins and the space from my nostrils to my forehead as I peek up to see where I am going. Balancing is a real bitch and descending can be scarey as hell, but I am light, light, LIGHT that way…and the eleventeen year olds really dig it.

  27. Comment by Badder | 06.25.2007 | 8:54 am

    I’ve had my shoe cleats surgically implanted onto the bottoms of my feet to reduce the weight of bothersome socks and shoes. This also helps as the blood from my toes can just drip onto the road instead of pooling in my socks.

  28. Comment by Errorista | 06.25.2007 | 9:07 am

    I find I go fast when I attach a motor to my bike. Duh.

  29. Comment by Boz | 06.25.2007 | 9:32 am

    Mbonkers – since you’re dumping the panreas( I assume you are diabetic ), you may as well give the liver the boot, since that’s what makes glucose and is very heavy. While they’re in there, chuck the spleen, apendix, and the gall bladder, too. May as well do Bariatric by-pass surgery too, so as to be a Micheal Rassmussen look-alike w/ less effort. Just stare at you front wheel and crank the pedals. I think I’ll invent some diet EPO, as to have the same effect w/ less weight to haul up the mountains. Fun times.

  30. Comment by eclecticdeb | 06.25.2007 | 10:21 am

    Figures. This valuable bit of info has come a day too late. Yesterday I “climbed” Kings Mtn (pretty big hill in the SF Bay Area) for the first time. Not surprisingly, I was slow. Butt slow. That may have something to do with the size of my butt, but that’s another issue.

  31. Comment by born4felt | 06.25.2007 | 10:31 am


    I was on King’s yesterday too (coming down after riding Old La Honda to 84 and then back up on Tunitas Creek), representing in my FC jersey. I wonder if I saw you? I keep looking out for other FC jerseys but so far, no love.

  32. Comment by Robert | 06.25.2007 | 10:32 am

    Hey there, I enjoyed your article on cutting down on weight and noticed that you were concerned about the extra weight of sunscreen. Ive got a remarkable product that highly reccomend. KINeSYS Performance Sunscreen is an oil and alcohol free spray that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Give it a try, its lightweight but protects heavy duty. Check it out at:
    Best, Rob

  33. Comment by Willie Nelson | 06.25.2007 | 10:34 am

    You only need one eye (depth perception is overated during a climb), no false eyes or patches.

  34. Comment by MAJ Mike | 06.25.2007 | 10:43 am

    …and who ever said you need ALL your layers of skin?

  35. Comment by LanterneRouge | 06.25.2007 | 10:50 am

    I like Willie Nelson’s idea, and on the plus side it fits in with Fatty’s new pirate motif.

  36. Comment by kellene | 06.25.2007 | 10:54 am

    I think I need a visual on this one Elden….please post one of yourself with your new found “lightness”!

  37. Comment by Clydesteve | 06.25.2007 | 10:55 am

    BuckytheDonkey – When you said “Balls”, I thought you were heading one direction [sharp intake of breath], wherein you would need to be renamed:

    Doeythedonkey, or Mareythedonkey, or eweythedonkey, jillythedonkey, or, no, wait, geldingthedonkey!

    Finished reading… [slow, relieved exhale of breath]

  38. Comment by kellene | 06.25.2007 | 10:56 am

    …I am really checking to see if you are as handsome as you say you are! Because clearly, we all know where the good looking genes went in the family!

  39. Comment by Clydesteve | 06.25.2007 | 10:59 am

    A side benefit of the exfoliation and lack of sunscreen would be increased lightness when the terrific sunburn peels.

    Also, be sure to berserk the descents, wash out around a curve, and get serious road rash, which removes additional mass, in preparation for the next hill.

    A continued application of this technique will result in completely overcoming the feeling of tiredness that sometimes slows one down on a hilly course…Try it.

  40. Comment by Clydesteve | 06.25.2007 | 11:04 am

    Even though Bob and Lance both used the same technique, I was actually questioning my determination, until I realized that FC had not even mentioned this.

    The rest of the lightness techniques look fairly reasonable.

  41. Comment by spbarnes | 06.25.2007 | 11:13 am

    Weean, are you thinking of a cycloid? That is the pattern that a
    spot on the tyre makes. Epicycloid? It has been a while.

    Badder, the hot tip on pedal placement has to be pedal spindles
    inserted directly into ankles remnants. Detatch feet for use when
    off the bike. Hell, those size 48s I have been lugging up hills were
    really a problem until I had them removed. Modular construction,
    man. Wave of the future. Next up is the removal of most of the
    fingers in a similar fashion.

    Al M, try tangent waves where n is NOT an integer. Infinitely better.
    Errrrr…finitely better.

    I was going to suggest skipping both the sunscreen and the spalming.
    But I NEVER get it up without some spalming. Up the hills, I mean.
    Reduced turbulence far outweighs the effects of the extra mass.

  42. Comment by Errorista | 06.25.2007 | 11:27 am

    Awwww…..thanks Kellene!!

    I’m glad someone finally said it.

  43. Comment by Al Maviva | 06.25.2007 | 11:47 am

    Okay, thanks SPBarnes. I’ve tried other mathematical approaches, you know. For a while I tried spinning using the Riemann-Lebesgue lemma. I found that as my gears got smaller and smaller, my cadence grew infinitely higher but my movement along the X axis approached zero. In reality, a Cooley-Tukey Algorithm works best for me – break the hill up into small chunks, in an infinitely recursive process of tackling the ever smaller chunks. The only problem is I seem to lose all momentum just inches from the top, it’s like I’m twiddling or something…

    So I don’t like hills much, but if I’m in a flat crit I find I can do alright, and can sometimes compete for a prime. As long as it’s a Fermat prime, anyhow.

  44. Comment by eclecticdeb | 06.25.2007 | 12:45 pm

    born4felt: Wasn’t wearing an FC jersey (waiting for the spiffy pink version to arrive). Wow, OLH and Tunitas! The group I’m riding with is training for the MS Waves To Wine ride in September (San Francisco to Healdsburg). 150 miles over two days, the first day is 80 miles with just a little over 7000 elevation gain. For someone as svelt as Fatty, that’s nothing. But to an aging “curvy” woman, it will be a huge accomplishment. I’m very proud of myself for getting up to the top w/o stopping. Granted, I was in my granny gear most of the way, but hey — whatever it takes…right? Our group did 45 miles on Sunday, with about 3200 climbing — a pretty good day for me.

    Next week it’s Giro di Peninsula.

  45. Comment by Tim D | 06.25.2007 | 12:54 pm

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, climbing is just shifting your weight from one foot to the other. Surely a bit of heft will enhance your climbing experience.

  46. Comment by MAJ Mike | 06.25.2007 | 1:57 pm

    Al, sadly I run into a similar problem as I have developed the habit of climbing asymptotically, so as I approach the top of the hill I continue to get closer to the crest but never quite get over it. This is a result of the relative workload on each leg having reached a state best described as Nash equilibrium.

  47. Comment by A Still-Fat Cyclist | 06.25.2007 | 1:57 pm

    hah. yeah so what if i could stand to lose 40 pounds. what i really need to do is shave off 12 grams from my cranks. does anyone else have a bike made from lighterthanairium? i think not.

    speaking of fatness thats also why i originally started reading this blog. solidarity in fat cycleness. Laughter at another mans follies that i recognized as kind of like my own. Now its just a daily bitter reminder that fatty’s skinny now and im still fat. i however am tall and have an appealling, full head of hair.

    mr fatty, btw i have a request. my little 3 year old recently obtained a toddler batman outfit that’s got wicked cool muscles sort of “built in” to the costume. its sort of like “foam sculpture” — 6 pack abs, very impressive pectorals, etc. im sure you’ve seen the kind of thing i am talking about. anyways could you please (and i am prostrate here begging) make that an option for fc jerseys so that people will stop laughing at me. (once they’ve stopped admiring my luscious, full head of hair that is. and my rich, admirable height. and my many leather bound books.)

    thank you.

  48. Comment by TIMK | 06.25.2007 | 3:17 pm

    Wasn’t there some celebrity gossip going around a while back about Janet Jackson having her bottom most ribs surgically removed to make herself thinner. (Maybe she was envious of all her brother’s surgery?) Is she one of your riding buddies by chance?

    I think that you are wrong here. I think that the heavier you are the more chances you have of flattening anything in front of you, including hills which, would negate the need for climbing.

  49. Comment by Jeremy | 06.25.2007 | 3:47 pm

    Hey brainiacs… is down the dial a little bit. Thanks. Unless of course you can explain the benefits of removing paint to lessen the coefficient of drag…

  50. Comment by miles archer | 06.25.2007 | 4:15 pm

    Really thin aluminum tubes filled with gas worked for Nasa, why not a bike? It’s not like they’re rocket scientists or anything. Hmm. On second thought. Scratch that.

  51. Comment by Yukirin Boy | 06.25.2007 | 4:15 pm

    How about smaller wheels, Not just 26″ but 12″ wheels.
    Surely they and the accompanying tyres would weigh, ooh, a lot less than standard 700C wheels or those new fangled 29s.

    OK, so you’d have to pedal you sine waves or cosine waves somewhat faster but…

  52. Comment by Josh | 06.25.2007 | 4:59 pm

    You may want to start charging us as I think you might have to spend some time in court fending off lawsuits of varying degrees. By the way, I am a mathematician, and the motion in this case wouldn’t be a Sine or even Cosine wave, in fact the motion would closer resemble, ironically enough, a Cycloid. It would not be an exact cycloid as a perfect cycloid is dependant upon both rotary motion (pedal) and horizontal motion (bike travel), this because the rotary motion of pedaling is not in sync with the horizontal motion of the travel of the bike itself due to gear ratios. Only in the case of a fixed gear with a 1-1 ratio of pedal travel to wheel travel would produce a perfect cycloid. I hope you are thoroughly nerded out right now… If not, the basic equation of a cycloid is defined as a parametric equation as follows:

  53. Comment by fatty | 06.25.2007 | 8:12 pm

    josh, until you learn to pedal a sine wave you’ll never be an awesome climber. Cycloid. Pff.

  54. Comment by Josh | 06.25.2007 | 8:14 pm

    Do I win the Nerd Award?

  55. Comment by mark | 06.25.2007 | 9:44 pm

    Fatty, I happen to hold the patent on the sine wave pedal stroke (US Patent #3282925478). I fully intend to pursue every legal recourse available unless you tell us both how much you weigh AND what kind of helmet you were wearing.

    BTW, were you riding down the south side of Suncrest about 9:00 Friday evening? Maybe it was some other guy with the armpits cut out of his jersey and a chamois taped to his bare butt. Whoever it was was descending quite quickly, which someone who is truly light would probably lack the mass to do.

  56. Comment by buckythedonkey | 06.26.2007 | 2:51 am

    Sorry Josh, while your hypothesis has merit, your working is incomplete. To trace a perfect cycloid I believe that you’d have to be riding a fixed-ratio rig with the following properties:

    The ratio of sproket to chainring must be 1:n where:

    d = diameter of rear wheel
    c = crank arm length
    b = beer-related miscalculation factor (b=1 being an error-free calc)
    n = d/2cb

    Er, I think (hic!).

  57. Comment by Josh | 06.26.2007 | 7:21 am

    Oh, no my friend, a 1:1 ratio I believe is favorable for a cycloid. That being One rotation of the crank produces exactly One rotation of the wheel. The actual length of the crank arm is of no matter in this case as we are talking about angular velocity. So long as the angular velocity of the crank arm is consistent with the angular velocity of the wheel, we then would produce a cycloid as previously defined.
    But as Fatty has pointed out, cycloids are superfluous and I must try and learn to peddle a Sine curve…My knees are hurting just thinking about it.

  58. Comment by The Kurgen | 06.26.2007 | 9:32 am

    Easy now, with the removal of a testical call. I am six years in remission after HAVING to part with my right testical. I do find find my pedal stroke is slightly lopsided now. Tell the wife to keep fighting, I will be sending out positive vibes.

  59. Comment by Kathy | 06.26.2007 | 9:43 am

    No doubt about it, Fatty, you are extremely light — between the ears.

  60. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 06.26.2007 | 12:34 pm

    Waxing: I heard Al Maviva started waxing. He lost 15 pounds that day. And now you can tell the difference between him and his mother in the family photos.

    Nails: Don’t trim them with scissors. Bite them. I know it’s counter-productive for the weight loss thing, but you have to look at the big picture. Fingernails are good roughage and who doesn’t need a little more fibre in their diet. Plus, if you eat your own body parts, isn’t that recycling.

    Sunscreen: It’s not just the weight of the sunscreen. When you get out on the trail the sunscreen acts like glue and the dust sticking to the glue triples the already huge weight of the original sunscreen.

    Sweating got mentioned but somehow didn’t rate its own category. I hereby indoctrinate SWEATING into the gallery of weight loss techniques. Or rather NOT sweating. Why? Mostly for the same reasons I gave with sunscreen above. Dirt and dust stick to sweat nearly as well as they stick to sunscreen.

    Now of course these last 2 issues are only of concern to mountain bikers because everyone knows that riding on the road or velodrome attracts no dirt. In fact I suggest that after a road century you simply pull on your business suit and go right out and shake the presidents hand. You can brush your hair if you wish, but since you haven’t been “roughing it” off road there should be no grubbyness to feel selfconscious about.

    There’s a glaring omission in the clothing area also… How can you throw away half your kit and talk about no need for comfort and keep the heaviest part of the cycling outfit – the chamois. Get rid of the chamois. If you want to go fast this helps in several ways. You’re lighter (the whole point of this post), it absorbs sweat thus holding on to weight (if you’re still sweating at this stage) and finally it allows you to sit down while riding.

    On that last point, who’s the fastest bike rider you know? Robbie McEwen? Alessandro Petacchi? Tom Boonen? I don’t want to get into a semantic argument here. The point is these guys are the fastest of the fast and when do they go the fastest? At the end of a race. How do they do it? The don’t sit on the seat. Imagine how much faster they’d be if they never sat down. It will take some work and you’ll bring some new muscle groups into play but it’s worth it in the end.

    And what buckythedonkey said too: balls. Lance Armstrong was 50% faster than everyone else because he had 50% less testicular encumberances when he climbed.

    Josh: I was going to look that up. Thanks for saving me the time. Now I’ll just spend the rest of the evening reading about the cycloid in nature chapter I’ve found in the textbook I’m appraising for school.

  61. Comment by buckythedonkey | 06.26.2007 | 11:26 pm

    Josh, not only does my formula prove your 1:1 theory but it also allows for the likelihood that the radius of the rear wheel will not equal the crank arm length.

    Have a beer, it will all become clear!

  62. Comment by Brian | 06.27.2007 | 8:54 am

    spbarnes is correct. It is impossible to pedal ion a sine wave. The motion ones foot makes (or a point on the pedal) is called a cycloid of revolution and it looks not a whole lot like a sinewave. The actual sinewave represents the height of a point on a circle w/respect to the x-axis as a function of the amount of rotation (theta) required to get to that point, given that the radius is of unit length.

    ‘Nuff math geekery for today. Climb away, and pedal in cycloids. Don’t forget to wax.

  63. Comment by quadzilla | 08.13.2007 | 11:44 am

    Now this is funny! ….but don’t think I won’t be incorporating some of these! haha


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