Maiden Voyage

10.24.2007 | 8:05 am

What is it about the first time you ride a bike? You notice everything, thinking constantly about how it feels, how it’s different from your old bike, how it’s the same, how it climbs, how it descends.

Looking for confirmation that, yes, this was the right bike.

Well, that’s what I was going through yesterday as I rode my brand-new Waltworks Custom Stock — a collaboration between WaltWorks and Twin Six.

Check it out (image pops to larger version):


I went with the “Custom Stock Complete,” with a few modifications — I moved my XTR cranks, Chris King Pretty and Strong headset, carbon fork, and SLR saddle over from the Weapon of Choice.

Oh, and one other modification: I put on the On-One Mary bar sent to me by one of the B7 contestants (whoever you are, thank you. Somehow, I lost your name and email. because I’m a loser). More about the Mary bar in a moment.

It’s a very sexy bike. As in, the sexiest bike I have ever owned. WaltWorks makes a great frame, and Twin Six went with a steel-grey and black color scheme that just looks stealthy cool.

Brad is Cool
So Brad and I got together for a lunch ride yesterday. Brad already rides a WaltWorks, so I showed up with a spare WaltWorks jersey for him. Which meant that we had this whole matching jersey thing going on, which is ordinarily best to avoid. But this was a special occasion, so what the heck.

“Did you bring a camera?” Brad asked. I pretty much always have my camera with me when I ride nowadays, so I said yes.

“Let me have it,” Brad said, and went on to say he was going to take a bunch of pictures of me riding today. “It’s not every day you have a first ride on a bike like this,” Brad said.

And so, for the duration of the ride, Brad would in turn shoot ahead to get photos of me coming up the trail, then take pictures as I went by. From time to time, he would ride side-by-side with me, risking a crash for action photos.

Let’s take a look at what he got (click any image to see a larger version in a new window).

Here I’m rowing up a steep hairpin turn. I’ve only been on the bike for twenty minutes, but I’ve already decided I love the feel of the bike. Steel feels good, the geometry feels natural, and the bike fits great.

It took exactly one climb for me to decide I like the Mary bars for out-of-the-saddle climbing. The position of the grips puts your hands in a comfortable position with great leverage.

What new bike camera shoot would be complete without a posed photo? Say, what does that water bottle say?

Oh. Well, that makes sense. So far, everyone who has seen this bottle wants one. Naturally, Twin Six sells them.

Brad and his self-painted WaltWorks. Creamsicle orange. Sassy.

I’m not totally comfortable with the Mary bars on the downhill yet.


Brad takes a self-portrait while riding his bike. Don’t try this at home, kids.

I didn’t clean this one. Brad says it’s good to have a “humility shot” as part of the series. Fair enough.

Two Declarations
After my first ride yesterday, I hereby declare the following:

  • I really, really like this bike. I need to put a longer stem on (i.e., I should’ve put on the one that the Twin Six guys sent me instead of the shorter one) to compensate for the sweep of the Mary bar, but otherwise this bike is already dialed. I can tell that Fall Moab is going to be a great success.
  • Brad’s Photo Shoot Idea is Genius. The next time I ride with someone who’s just got a new bike and is taking it out for the first time, I’m going to make sure I bring my camera and get lotsa pictures. Cuz it’s very cool to have these.


8 Halloween Costumes for Cyclists

10.23.2007 | 5:30 am

A Note from Fatty: Congratulations to KatieA978, who had a story truly worthy enough of the Laser Beams of Death:

I might have used it on the idiot young man who once reached out of his car (passenger) and grabbed my seat whilst I was going up a hill out of the saddle. Luckily I had figured the car was going to do SOMETHING stupid, cause you could hear them coming a mile off. I don’t like gravel rash, and I’ve managed to avoid it most times, but I got it that day, and almost went under the wheel of their car.

Do the Laser Beams of Death come with turbo boosters so I could have caught up to them?? And who is that stupid / drunk at 10am in the morning??!!

Ignorance is irritating, and stupidity is sad, but ignorance + stupidity + evilness of this calibre doesn’t simply justify the Laser Beams of Death, it requires them.

Katie, email me your address and t-shirt size, and I’ll get you your very own Fat Cyclist T-Shirt (yes, even though I’ll have to cough up the postage to send it to Australia).

Another Note from Fatty: Halloween’s coming, which is the chocolatiest holiday of all. In my BikeRadar story today, I give you eight very handy costume ideas. You can read on for a preview of the story, or you can click here to read the whole thing.  By the way, BikeRadar’s comments section is working properly now, so feel free to post your own cycling Halloween costume idea.

8 Halloween Costume Ideas for Cyclists
As a cyclist, you are much, much better equipped for Halloween than the average person. Why? Because you already wear outrageous costumes on a daily basis.

Think about it. Even though you are a (presumably) sane adult, you wear a shirt that would look much more at home on a superhero. You wear shorts that are much, much too tight, as if you were on your way to lead a jazzercize class. You wear a hat that belongs on an alien.

And, to top the whole look off, you wear what sound and look like tap-dancing shoes.

It’s no wonder, then, that cyclists tend to be pretty lazy about dressing up for Halloween parties. Instead of putting time and money into it, you just show up in the outfit you rode to the party in. Hey, why not? A little sweat completes the effect, right?

What you don’t realize, though, is that all your friends, family and co-workers are rolling their eyes at your lack of imagination. “There goes Tim,” they say, “pretending again that his cycling outfit is a Halloween costume.”

It doesn’t have to be that way, my friend.

By spending just a few extra minutes, you can alter your cycling outfit for the evening, making it so you’re not just “a cyclist” at the party, but a very particular sort of cyclist. Simply follow these easy instructions.

Doping Cyclist: Dress up in full pro kit. Use a marker to draw needle tracks up and down one arm. Tie a length of surgical tubing above one elbow and leave a syringe sticking out of your vein. Wheel around an IV tower for the duration of the party. Stuff your jersey pockets with bottles of drugs. When anyone asks what / who you are, respond that you are a professional cyclist. When they ask what all the needles and drugs are for, say you have no idea what they’re talking about. No matter what, do not admit you have any drug-related items on hand.

Click here to continue reading 8 Halloween Costumes for Cyclists at BikeRadar.

Free T-Shirt Monday: Laser Beams of Death

10.22.2007 | 8:22 am

A few days ago I went on a nice lunch ride on the Fillmore. I rode along Wasatch Boulevard, a wide rolling road with a good shoulder, bike lanes for part of the road, and terrific views. A perfect I’ve-got-one-hour ride I can do right from my work parking lot.

Then, as I was returning to my office parking lot, it happened. A car passed me on the left in order to take the right fork in the road: A classic right hook. I jammed on the brakes and managed to not collide with the car.

Furious, I yelled at the top of my lungs at the driver…who I’m pretty sure did not hear me. Or if she did, did not care.

This, I thought, would have been an excellent opportunity for me to use my Laser Beams of Death.

Or would it?

Rules for Using the Laser Beams of Death
Years ago — after my first near-miss with an oblivious car — I developed a hypothetical weapon, along with a hypothetical limitation.

The weapon, of course, is the Laser Beams of Death. Originally, this weapon was a handlebar-mounted laser cannon that – for reasons that remain unclear — causes any target it strikes to explode in fiery and painful death.

My hypothetical Laser Beams of Death technology has evolved, however, to the point where I now can shoot the beams right from my eyes, triggered by a simple mental command.

The two limitations, however, are significant and unfortunately insurmountable:

  • The Laser Beams of Death only work when I’m riding my bike. Not in a car, not in a boring meeting. Only on the bike.
  • One can use the Laser Beams of Death only once in a lifetime.

I suppose these limitations are a good thing, because they prevent me from indiscriminately blowing stuff up. Since I can only use my Laser Beams of Death once, my target must be truly deserving.

So, with that in mind, would driver of the car who nearly right-hooked me have been the one? Would she have died in the fiery flame of my laser-induced vengeance?

Nah, I think I’d hold on. I have a suspicion I’m going to be angrier at someone else at some point. And when that happens, I don’t want to find myself in the embarrassing position of being totally Laser Beams of Death-less. 

Your Laser Beams of Death
So: if you were equipped with my Laser Beams of Death (and their unfortunate limitations), would you have used them by now? And if so, on whom? And if not, what are you saving them for?

My favorite response gets a Twin Six Fat Cyclist T-Shirt.

I await your response with glee. 

Stranger in a Strange Bike Shop

10.17.2007 | 8:42 pm

As you are no doubt aware, I am a famous and beloved figure in the cycling community. I am regarded as both insightful and witty. Knowledgeable and self-deprecating. Gruff yet tender. Well-known yet easily accessible. And very, very prolific.

In short, I am the cyclist everyone remembers Bob Roll as being, back before he was primarily known for babysitting Al Trautwig through the Tour de France (and — hilariously! — mispronouncing the name of the race, in the name of never ever ever burying a very old hatchet).

As such, I am comfortable in practically any bike-related situation. I am happy to join a group ride even if I don’t know anyone; I know  I will either hang and find someone with something interesting to say or I will get dropped and turn on my iPod.

I am comfortable meeting strangers on the road and trail. After all, we’re doing the exact same thing at the same place at the same time, so we must have other stuff in common.

I am comfortable giving directions to cyclists, both on the road and off, though I am generally quite certain that my directions are wrong. I figure that even though I am probably giving people directions to a place other than where they want to go, once they arrive at the place to which I have directed them, they will be glad of the journey. Plus, there’s relatively little chance I’ll ever run into them.

I am not, however, comfortable going into a bike shop where nobody knows who I am. I hate going into foreign shops. And by “foreign shops,” I don’t mean “shops in a foreign land,” I mean “any shop besides the one where I don’t have to tell them how to set up my brakes or what height to set my saddle, because they already know.”

I have my reasons.

Establishing Credibility Without Coming Off As A Vain, Boring Turd
When I walk into a bike shop, I don’t really need much. I just want to be revered as the famous and beloved cycling personality that I am. Would it be too much, for example, for the senior staff to drop whatever they’re doing — which, yes, includes helping other customers — and come attend to my needs? (That question was rhetorical. You shouldn’t feel compelled to answer it.)

Also, a comfy chair and a backrub while I wait for my bike would be nice. And I wouldn’t mind it if someone would come up and revere me a little bit. You know, ask for an autograph, beg me to tell some of my favorite biking stories, that kind of thing.

Instead, for some reason, I think I give off a strange “I don’t know anything at all about bikes” vibe to bike shop employees. Maybe it’s my gut. Maybe it’s the Dockers. Maybe it’s the male pattern baldness (yes, I shave my head, but you can still tell I have male pattern baldness). But they always act like I don’t know anything about bikes.

When I moved to Washington a few years back, for example, there was a bike shop about a mile away from my home. I came in, figuring this was destined to be my home away from home.

Instead, when I said I wanted some advice on a good lube for riding in Washington, they gave me a look that was specially designed to make me feel like I was retarded.

Of course, I wanted to explain that I actually know quite a bit about bikes. That I’ve been riding for years and years and years. I am not just a guy who casually and occasionally rides, either. I ride all the time. I talk about bikes all the time. I’m the guy in the neighborhood everyone asks their bike questions to. I’m the bike shops favorite kind of customer.

And I would have liked to explain this to them. But I just couldn’t find an opening. For some reason, it’s not easy to go into a bike shop and announce, “Hi, I’m a really experienced cyclist, so please accept me into the pack. You may, in fact, want to treat me as the alpha male.”

So I’m working on a couple introductions to make it clear that I’m really into cycling the next time I go into a strange bike shop. Tell me what you think:

  • The Casually Hardcore Opening: “Hi, how’s it going?” (Wait for response.) “Oh, good. Hey, I was thinking of doing an easy century today, and wanted to know if you had any route suggestions.” (Wait for response.) “Oh, I’m sorry, I wasn’t clear. I meant an easy mountain bike century. You know, something with no more than 14,000 feet of climbing.”
  • The Know-it-All Opening: “Hey, how’s it going?” (wait for response, but don’t appear to pay attention.) “I see — without needing to walk around or glance at any of the price tags — that most of your bikes here are in the $400 to $1200 range. Is that what your customers tend to want? (Don’t wait for a response.) Where do they go to get their second bike, when they fall in love with riding and want something nicer than what you’ve got here?
  • The Put-Them-on-the-Defensive Opening: “Hey, this is a cute shop. You got anyone here who isn’t just doing this as his summer job?”

Some of these are still a work in progress. 

Frequent Buyer Discount, Or Lack Thereof
When I go into my LBS, I know that I’m going to get the best deal possible. Better than the best deal possible, even. If that’s possible. Which, I guess, it is not.


Here, nearly word-for-word, is the conversation I had with Racer when it was time to settle up and pay for my new Fillmore. I’m not saying what the actual numbers were, because I have a feeling Racer’s wife would not approve.

Racer: “That will be $XXX.00.”

Me: “What?”

Racer: “OK, I’ll drop it by $50.00″

Me: “That’s not what I meant. I don’t mind if you make a little bit of profit when you sell me a bike, Racer.”

Racer: “Whatever.”

Me: “Charge me $100 above that price. That’s the lowest I’d feel good about paying.”

Racer: “I’ll add $25.”

Me: “$75.”

Racer: “I’ll add $50, but that’s my final offer.”

Me: “This has been a very weird transaction.”

I don’t expect this kind of discount from anywhere but my local bike shop, but I’m pretty sure that non-local bike shops (NLBS) make up for the discounts they give to their friends by overcharging interloper customers.

Last week, I’m pretty sure I paid $8.00 for a tube, for example. 

I Feel Old
I realize that bike shops tend to hire younger people. They work for cheap, and they don’t have to feed a family. But I swear that when I go into most bike shops, they are staffed by teenagers exclusively. Looking for a light setup for the Kokopelli Trail Race last year, I went into a shop near where I work and — I swear I am not making this up — the kid in the shop tried to get me to buy a couple of commuter lights.

He simply didn’t have a point of reference for any kind of riding that didn’t involve mad skillz on the halfpipe while wearing Vans and a BMX helmet.

I realize that I am 41. But please, bike shop owners who have never met me, have the courtesy to do the following:

  • Have someone at the shop who is older than 20. Otherwise, I feel like I’ve somehow managed to stumble upon a boy scout troop.
  • Forbid all your employees from ever calling anyone “sir.” I don’t know anyone who likes to be called “sir.” I understand the military is considering no longer using the word “sir.”
  • Tell your employees that not everyone over 40 will necessarily want a hybrid, cruiser, or recumbent.

The Solution
Of course, I wouldn’t gripe and gripe and gripe if I didn’t have a solution. What I’d like to propose is a universal LBS members card. This is not something you could apply for, but when an LBS owner / manager feels you have become a truly loyal customer, he (I’d say “or she,” but I’ve so far never met a female LBS owner. Are there any, or are women too smart for that?) could issue you this card in a super-secret ceremony involving things like taking oaths, reciting slogans, and swearing to obey the law of the pack.

Then, whenever you’re at an NLBS, you could just show your card, therefore avoiding the posturing and hint-dropping. The card, in effect, would say, “This guy rides. Treat him / her like one of your own.” And then the NLBS employees could relax, joke around with you, call you by your first name, and give you the good buddy discount.

Oh, also, there would be a super-secret-bonus version of the card that tells the NLBS that the carrier is a much-beloved cycling celebrity, and that, as such, a comfy chair and backrub may be in order.

How to Get Rid of Unwanted Fitness

10.16.2007 | 8:56 pm

An Extra-Special Note from Fatty: After writing yesterday’s piece about Oscar Pereiro, I came across the following picture, released by Pereiro’s team:

That’s real nice, Oscar. But you’re not the only one with a copy of Photoshop. It seems to me that you need second- and third-place winners, too. Let me help you out:

Wow. Kellene is getting some serious air. You know, I’ll bet Kellene woulda won the whole thing if she hadn’t gifted Pereiro a three-day head start. Hey, she wanted to see the sights, you know? And let’s all give props to the frog. After all, it’s not often you see a frog on the TdF podium.

Another (Self-Promoting) Note from Fatty: My latest article for is now online. As always, here’s a preview, but you may as well click here to jump to the article and read the whole thing. Oh, and comment the hell out of it, wouldja?

How to Get Rid of Unwanted Fitness
Like me, I’m sure you’ve worked hard through the Winter, Spring, and Summer getting yourself in peak physical condition. Whether you’ve been working toward excelling at racing, touring, or just want to be able to ride as much as you like, you’ve been true to your goals. You’ve dieted right, trained smart, and now you’re in great condition.

Which leads up to a very important question: now that it’s mid-Autumn, how can you lose this fitness as quickly as possible? After all, you can’t claim drastic gains at the beginning of the year if you don’t start working on your stunning fitness reversal right this instant.

Obviously, you’ve got important questions on your mind. Questions like, how can you gain back that weight? How can you lose the definition in your legs? How can you completely reverse the gains you’ve made in your aerobic capacity? And how can you do all this in the shortest time possible?

I’m here to help. Just follow these three simple techniques.

Click here to go to and read the rest of the article.

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