An Open Letter to Oakley

03.25.2008 | 6:00 am

A Note From Fatty: Yes, I really am sending this letter to Oakley today.

Dear Oakley,

First, I’d like to introduce myself, even though you have no doubt already heard of me (because I am the Award-Winning author of the Best Sports Blog in the World). I am Elden Nelson, the owner, primary contributor, and CSO (Chief Strategy Officer) of, an extremely popular and intelligent road and mountain biking blog dedicated to making lots of fart jokes.

I am also a big fan of Oakley.

Specifically, I have owned and worn the same pair of Oakley Racing Jackets — outfitted with my prescription — since 2002. Or maybe it was 2001.

Let’s just say I wore them before Hincapie did, and leave it at that.

Here I am, wearing them at the end of last year’s Leadville 100.


Until I had these Racing Jackets, Oakley, I have never kept any pair of glasses — prescription or not — for more than 18 months. But these things have stood up to everything.

Including, I should point out, at least one spectacular face plant. Here I am, half a moment before impact (click to see a larger version of the image and you’ll be able to tell that I am in fact wearing those Racing Jackets).


These have been fantastic glasses, Oakley. I get great peripheral vision from them, they’re comfortable, they’re durable, and they don’t fog.

But I’ve got a problem. They’re old, and they’re starting to show it. Take a look:


It’s not just the wear and tear, though, Oakley. It’s the whole look. It’s like I’ve had the same haircut for six years (or it would be, if I had any hair). People are starting to point fingers at me and laugh behind my back in my blog’s comments section.

I’m worried, in short, that my Racing Jackets just aren’t very cool anymore.

The Real Problem
I wouldn’t waste your time, Oakley, if this were just about me. I would either just continue to wear the glasses I have, content in my well-established nerdliness, or I would suck it up and buy a new, different pair of glasses.

But this isn’t just about me. Far from it.

Oakley, I would like to introduce you to my good friend Kenny.


Kenny is everything about biking that I wish I were. Fast. Skilled. Sponsored.

And he’s good looking, too. Every time I post a picture of Kenny on my site, my traffic goes way up.

Yep, Kenny is one handsome man.

Or, I should say, he used to be. Check out Kenny with his new glasses.


You may think this is a joke, Oakley, but it is not. These are Kenny’s actual new mountain biking glasses. I cannot decide which of the following these make him most resemble:

  • A high school wood shop teacher
  • A kid who’s about to have his lunch money stolen
  • Someone who’s on his way to a Squash tournament

Regardless, you will have to agree with me that the impulse to wrap a piece of electrical tape around the bridge of the glasses is practically irresistible.

What I’m Asking For
Oakley, I would love to sing your praises for another five years. And all it’s going to take for you to get me — the world’s greatest sports blogger — to do this is to comp me two pair of your new LiveStrong Radar Path glasses (one pair set up for my prescription, one pair set up for Kenny’s).

Oakley Radar Path

Consider the good you’d be doing, Oakley. For yourself, you’d be getting fantastic exposure and publicity, which I know is otherwise a huge problem for your company.

For me, you’d be keeping me in Oakleys, and reducing my outdated nerd quotient by 18% (estimated).

And for Kenny, you’d be rescuing him a life of looking like Fred Garvin.

Thank you for your consideration,

Elden “Fatty” Nelson / Winner of the 2008 Bloggies Award for Best Sports Blog in the Whole World


Nature Can Be So Cruel

03.24.2008 | 8:06 am

I am an easygoing guy. A live-and-let-live type. I find the good in others and often donate to worthy charities.

But right now, I am full of righteous indignation. The deserving target of my withering anger? Mother Nature.

The reason is simple. She knew — oh, she knew all right — that today I’d be swamped with work. She knew that tomorrow would be no better. She knew that I’d be so freaking buried for a couple days that I wouldn’t see daylight ’til Wednesday.

And so what did she do? I’ll tell you what she did. She kicked off Spring here. Big time. It’s about 68 degrees right now, and by afternoon it’ll be in the 70’s.

There is no better temperature for riding, and no stronger draw to a cyclist than a beautiful Spring day after a long, cold, dark winter.

But there is no possible way for me today. And she’s rubbing my face in it.

I have just one question, Mother Nature: Why? Why are you torturing me this way? What have I done to you to warrant this merciless torturing?

OK, the above is technically three questions, but I consider the second question to be just an amplification of the first, and the third to be a rhetorical flourish more than an actual question. So it’s still just one question.

And I’d like an answer, Ms. Nature. Preferably in the form of a sudden cloudying up, followed by snow flurries and strong gusts of cold wind. That would go a long way toward making me feel better about being cooped up today.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Mountain Bikers Should Have Dogs

03.20.2008 | 8:17 pm

Somehow, at some point, I stopped worrying about separating my private life from this blog. Mostly, this is because I am lazy. It was too much work to remember to not talk specifically about my real name, my wife’s name, where I work, or where I live.

In short, I am as open with my identity to pretty much the same extent as Bike Snob NYC is guarded with his.

And yet, there is one member of my family I believe I have never mentioned.

The cat.


Everyone, meet the Nelson family cat. Her name is Kisa. "Kisa," by the way, is Finnish for "cat." Kisa is a resentful cat. Ostensibly belonging to my 12-year-old son, this cat (which I have nicknamed "El Gato Stupido") does not like anyone in the family except Susan. Kisa follows Susan everywhere, earning an occasional angry swat on the nose from me when she nearly trips Susan up. (It’s not cute to trip someone walking with a broken hip. Plus I really like to swat the cat on the nose.)

This cat is as large as a raccoon, with similar coloring, while exhibiting the playfulness one expects from a cat nine times her age (i.e., 27).

If I Had My Druthers
I bring up the cat mostly to point out that I consider this cat a perfect example of what a mountain biker doesn’t want in a pet.

Mountain bikers should have dogs. And dogs, clearly, should have mountain bikers.

The only reason we don’t have a dog is because Susan has explained to me that if I were to get a puppy (and I would definitely want to start with a puppy, so I could raise it in the ways of mountain biking), she would be the one taking care of it day in and day out, while I’m away at work. This is a fair point and I do not dispute it, and so we do not have a dog.


Even though it’s kind of a shame and should maybe even be a crime that a guy who loves mountain biking and owns a truck doesn’t have a dog, too.

Good Dogs
The reason I want a dog is because I’ve been mountain biking with friends who bring their dogs along. Provided the dogs have learned the cardinal rule — yield to descending bikes — dogs are invariably the most popular member of the riding group.

Seriously, it’s a privilege to have the dog choose you to hang with, even for part of the ride. It makes you feel like there’s something inherently good about yourself. In reality, of course, it could be nothing more than that the dog finds your stench intriguing or figures you look like the type to share your water bottle. Doesn’t matter. The dog doesn’t offer an explanation, and you don’t ask.

A long time ago, the first guy I ever went mountain biking with — Stuart — had a terrific dog for riding. Her name was Daisy. She ran back and forth during the climb, policing the group, and then made a game of staying out front as long as she could on the downhill.

But when you got close and wanted her to get out of the way, all you had to do was hiss at her: "Tsss tsss tsss." She’d find a way to yield, immediately.

I know so little about dogs that I don’t even know what kind of dog it was. Short tail, short hair, blunt nose." A really good dog.

What I Would Want In A Dog
I actually hadn’t thought about getting a dog in quite some time until a couple weeks, as we were driving to Disneyland. We split the drive into two days so we could spend the night at Susan’s mom’s.

Susan’s mom has a very good dog. She’s not sure of the breed, except that it’s half St. Bernard. I would wager that the other half is Yellow Lab, since the dog — his name is "Pal," a good name for a dog — looks like the largest, most barrel-chested Yellow Lab you’ve ever seen.

I was thinking that Pal would be a good mountain biking dog, until I thought about the fact that I like to climb. I’m not sure Pal’s built like a climber. On the other hand, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a dog really have to work to keep up with a mountain bike on the climbs. So maybe a big dog would be just fine.

The fact is, I don’t really know what are the most important qualities a dog needs to have to be a good mountain biking companion. The list that occurs to me sounds kind of like a bizarre "personals" ad:

  • Must tolerate heat well
  • Must be able to last for a three hour ride
  • Must be social (I don’t want it threatening other riders or other dogs)
  • Must have short hair (I am not going to take the time to brush out brambles from long hair after rides)
  • Must be able to handle the climbs

What kind of dog is that? I don’t know, really. Maybe it’s a Lab. I’ve always liked how friendly they are. Maybe it’s a German Shepherd. Maybe it’s an Australian Shepherd (I watched an Australian Shepherd competition once and was astounded at how capable they are).

What’s the best kind of dog for mountain bikers? I’m guessing some of you have strong, informed opinions on this.

Why We REALLY Ride

03.19.2008 | 10:01 pm

FatkyleI always like it when readers send photos of themselves wearing the Fat Cyclist jersey.

But I think I like this one most of all.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a photo and caption in the "Why We Ride" section of the latest issue of Road Bike Action magazine.

What an awesome reason. What an excellent setting!

I confess, I just tried to think of a better reason to ride, and I can’t.

In fact, I hereby defy anyone to offer a better reason.

I’d offer a T-shirt for the best reason, but I think I’ve hit my giveaway limit for a while.

Thanks, Kyle, for scanning and sending this in!

An Open Letter to the Management of “Mellow Johnny’s” Bike Shop

03.19.2008 | 6:06 am

A Note from Fatty: I’ve got a new article in BikeRadar today. You can read a snippet below, or click here to read the whole thing.

Dear Mr. Mellow Johnny,

I am writing to complain about an experience I recently had when I visited your store, shopping for a bike. I have no complaints about the decor or cleanliness of the store itself; it seemed quite pleasant.

My complaint has to do with the service I received.

As soon as I arrived, I saw one of your employees and approached him. "I’m looking for a bike, Lance," I said. I knew his name was Lance, by the way, because his name tag said so.

Well, I don’t mind saying that Lance looked me up and down with the coolest, most appraising look I have ever seen. "What kind of bike?" he asked, after an uncomfortable silence.

"I hear good things about the Specialized brand," I replied. "And I’d like to get something really nice, so I have as much as $450 to spend."

You will be as shocked as I was, Mr. Johnny, to find that this Lance character turned around without saying another word and walked away.

The nerve!

Click here to continue reading "A complaint to Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop" over at

PS: Both Susan and I were amazed at the huge number of nice comments to yesterday’s post. Thanks to all of you who have been — and continue to — pray, meditate, think good thoughts, and otherwise show kindness.

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