Early Morning Group Ride

08.2.2008 | 1:00 pm

This time of year, sleeping in seems like a woeful waste of a morning. The only time of day when it’s both light and cool outside is from about 6:00am to 9:30am. This is, without a doubt, the best time of day to get out on a ride.

So, at 6:30 on a recent morning, the Core Team(tm) gathered at my house.

But we didn’t go on a ride.

Instead, they were there to build a ramp in the garage so Susan’s new scooter (which we’d be getting later in the day, thanks to a surprisingly streamlined health insurance process and cooperative professionals in the doctor’s office, the medical supplies store, and the insurance company) would be able to easily get in and out of the house.

We started with my garage looking like this:


Bry, on the right, builds houses for a living, and is also an incredibly strong cyclist. His only real failing is that he’s also a triathlete. Nobody’s perfect. Anyway, Bry brought the wood, the tools, and the expertise. Without him, we’d all still be arguing about where and how to make the first cut.

I would like to point out here that the fact that my garage was this tidy and ready for us to build the ramp is one of my crowning lifetime achievements. I so regret not having gotten a "before" picture of the garage. Moving everything was no small feat, especially when you take into account that my right arm is currently no good for lifting anything heavier than 15 pounds.

Bob also showed up, which is not a minor thing when you consider he lives in Seattle.


Or rather, I should say that Bob lives in his Seattle, while Bob’s hair lives in both Seattle and two adjacent suburbs.

BradCarboRocket entrepeneur and manager of the very cool Salt Lake City Bicycle Company — brought breakfast: hot bread, stuffed with sausage.


I have a question: Brad clearly doesn’t eat any better than I do. He eats more than I do, and he eats heavier food than I do. So how come he looks like a pro cyclist, and I look like…well…a fat cyclist?

Kenny came too, and got to work immediately.


Oh, now that’s just not fair. Here’s a different picture of Kenny:


I know, it looks like he’s just standing around, but he’s actually measuring something there. Don’t you love the way the camera flash lights up the sawdust in the air? Looks like it’s snowing in that photo.

And, last but not least, Dug came too.


In this photo, Dug’s supervising while Kenny shows Brad how to cut off his thumb with a mitre saw. Turns out it’s surprisingly easy!

Quick Work
Bry was the contractor who finished our basement at this house, and he did it incredibly fast — and well. Every time I see him work, I wish I were a more manly man. Bry rushed around, measuring, cutting, and giving orders, multitasking like a madman. Except for the "mad" part of "madman," because Bry was neither mad-as-in-angry nor mad-as-in-insane. He was just really fast and in charge.

And the ramp went up fast. Really fast.


Check it out. Even I’m doing some work. I guarantee that if this ramp fails, it will be right at the point where I was working. 


Kenny with a nail gun scares me.


To keep the grade of the ramp as gradual as possible, We made it go along the back wall of the entire three bays of the garage. Susan should be able to go down it without feeling like she’s dropping into a halfpipe.


We figured if the ramp could take the combined weight of Bob and his hair, it could take anything.

By 11:00am, we were done.

Test Run
Before I move on to the next part of the story, I want to say thanks to everyone who offered help and guidance on picking out a scooter. Especially Rusty Church — a Fat Cyclist reader who owns a medical supply store in Arizona. Last year, when Susan was having her hip replaced, Rusty gave us a brand new wheelchair. He offered to help us with a good deal on a scooter now, too, but in the end it turns out that if I want to get insurance to pay 80% of the cost of the scooter (and believe me, I do), I needed to buy one of a specific set of scooters from one of a specific set of local vendors.

So, with the ramp in place, Susan and I picked up the scooter that afternoon. Here she is, rolling it down for the first time:


And then, back up:


For those of you who are curious, once she gets to the bottom of the ramp she makes a left and then rolls down an aisle I made between shelves in the third garage bay:


Sure, it looks a mess, but it’s plenty wide.  

So Who’s Going to Pay for This Thing?
As I increasingly often do, I need to give a big "Thanks" to you Fat Cyclist readers. The donations you made paid for the wood, and covered my 20% of the scooter. My out-of-pocket on this was $0.00.

So: Thanks.

Susan and I have done some practice cruises around the neighborhood. It’s easy for her to use, the scooter goes as fast as she likes, and it gets up and down sidewalk ridges, driveways, and around our neighborhood’s hilly streets with no problem.

In other words, Susan’s got a big chunk of her independence back, and she loves it.


So, once again: thank you.

PS: Anyone need a small air conditioner? As I was organizing the garage last weekend, I ran across the portable air conditioner (stands alone, has a hose that empties heat out the window) we bought for our house back when we lived in Washington. It (the AC, not the house or the state) should still work fine, but we don’t use it anymore. With this summer being as hot as it is, I imagine there’s someone local who could make use of it. Email me if you need it, then come pick it up. No charge — when the world is being as generous to us as it is lately, I’d feel like a turd if I charged for this. UPDATE: The portable AC unit is now spoken for.


  1. Comment by Karen | 08.2.2008 | 1:30 pm

    That is so very cool! I’m glad for you two. Susan enjoy all of that fresh air you’ll get putting around on your scooter! Yaaaaaaaay!

  2. Comment by Katie | 08.2.2008 | 1:37 pm

    Wow, that looks like a fun project and must be much nicer for Susan, congratulations.

    WIN Susan

  3. Comment by Barb | 08.2.2008 | 1:49 pm

    You go, Girl.

  4. Comment by judi | 08.2.2008 | 1:49 pm

    YAY for Susan and her new scooter and the new ramp! Fatty, you are truley blessed to have such good friends in your life, that’s what I always tell sorelegs (Puddin’).

    Anyways, I really enjoyed this post. Your posts make me laugh, or cry. Today’s post made me laugh.

    But WTF kind of shoes is Kenny wearing? Checkered Vans? They look funny.

  5. Comment by tim | 08.2.2008 | 2:29 pm

    that is one testosterone fueled garage there boys…..great job!!!! but make sure it’s stained and varnished by next week.

  6. Comment by Jeff | 08.2.2008 | 2:57 pm

    I was getting worried about things when you hadn’t posted for a while, guess you were busy with this.

    Does Bob have a permit for that hair?

  7. Comment by Susan | 08.2.2008 | 3:00 pm

    Always amazed by the friendships you have there, Fatty. Love and support like that will get you through anything. Susan looks like she’ll be a speed demon on that thing in no time. Yeah!! Win Susan!

  8. Comment by ann | 08.2.2008 | 3:17 pm

    All you men in that enclosed space, with power tools…an awesome yet awesomely frightful thought. Garth himself spoke about his friends in low places. Extraordinary eloquence in the most mundane realm. Good job, good luck, good writing, good riding.

  9. Comment by NW | 08.2.2008 | 3:18 pm

    Yay! That’s a beautiful smile on Susan’s face! You have such great friends, Fatty, but I don’t have to tell you that. :)

    WIN SUSAN!!!

  10. Comment by Philly Jen | 08.2.2008 | 3:23 pm

    Nice job ramping up! I’m impressed by the carpentry, even more impressed by the frighteningly spotless garage, and blown away by Susan’s good cheer.

    It’s not the nail gun or the Vans, but the bazooka that seems to be growing out of Kenny’s hip pocket that concerns me…

    WIN Susan! Ciao Bella!

  11. Comment by Lori | 08.2.2008 | 3:34 pm

    Here’s to great friends and to Susan being more mobile!!


  12. Comment by Robb | 08.2.2008 | 3:45 pm

    yay, Susan’s got wheels!

  13. Comment by dug | 08.2.2008 | 3:56 pm

    don’t sell yourself short, you’re a tremendous turd.

  14. Comment by fatty | 08.2.2008 | 4:05 pm

    hey, nice job on entering your URL, dug. between that and your shoe choice today, i’m becoming concerned about your mental well-being.

  15. Comment by Kathleen | 08.2.2008 | 4:11 pm

    I’m a big fan of Bob’s hair! And Susan’s smile lights up the room. Thanks for sharing the experience…a very good day!

    WIN Susan!

  16. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 08.2.2008 | 4:29 pm

    I hope you didn’t throw away those valuable building materials I’ve been storing in your garage!

  17. Comment by Corey | 08.2.2008 | 4:42 pm

    It’s great to see our jersey pre-order dollars at work. Go Susan!

    You could also use the ramp to practice your downhill skills…or is it too steep? ;)

  18. Comment by TomE | 08.2.2008 | 4:51 pm

    I have to agree with Judi…what the hell is up with Kenny’s shoes???? Did he pick those up at a Thrift Store…or better yet, maybe he found them when he was rummaging through your garage Fatty?!?!?!?!

  19. Comment by Mike Roadie | 08.2.2008 | 5:00 pm

    “Kenny with a nailgun scares me”…….yeah, what about you with that drill????

    Great work, guys…..so happy that Susan gets some freedom…..



  20. Comment by ~Mad(elyn) in Alabama | 08.2.2008 | 5:01 pm

    Folks are just downright gracious, aren’t they?

  21. Comment by Lizzylou | 08.2.2008 | 5:02 pm

    When I saw the words “Test Run” I was afraid you were trying it out with bikes first (which could have been bad what with that wall at the bottom.

    Other thing I noticed… Kenny has a great sock tan, while Fatty’s glove tan is quite impressive.

    Enjoy the ramp Susan!

  22. Comment by Bluenoser | 08.2.2008 | 5:32 pm

    It’s always great to get together to build something for an excellent cause. I once lead a crew to frame up a house in a day for Habitat for Humanity. What a great feeling at the end of the day and I’m sure your Core Crew felt the same way.


  23. Comment by strbuk | 08.2.2008 | 5:48 pm

    Independence is EVERYTHING!!!!! Good for you Susan, you keep it up girlfriend!! And you “boys” whi built the thing, God bless you all!


  24. Comment by Ty | 08.2.2008 | 6:35 pm

    Wow, what a great group of friends you have! Great job on the ramp. Glad Susan has some independence back!


  25. Comment by Office Supply | 08.2.2008 | 8:22 pm

    Sandy Hogan never expected to see a bear, let alone slam into one, on her morning bicycle ride. Office Supply

  26. Comment by Lifesgreat | 08.2.2008 | 8:57 pm

    I want hair like Bob’s.

    Spiffy scooter! Now Susan can pace your group rides, kind of like that Olympic cycling event where the riders are paced by a motorbike and then take off.

    Nice job on the ramp, too.

  27. Comment by Clydesteve | 08.2.2008 | 9:02 pm

    Nice job, guys. WIN!, Susan – glad you have some more freedom.

    Is is just me, or does it seem that Kenny is under unusual scrutiny by the gals that frequent this site?


  28. Comment by Don | 08.2.2008 | 9:40 pm

    I pounded a nail in something once! Yea me!
    Looks good guys.
    WIN! Susan! Love and Prayers from Cleveland.

  29. Comment by Yukirin Boy | 08.2.2008 | 10:36 pm

    Way to go Guys and
    way to go Susan.
    How long before the testosterone in the garage gets back under WADA safe levels?

  30. Comment by MOM | 08.2.2008 | 11:21 pm

    Proud of you all that you allowed for space for her to turn around at the end of the ramp. Had me worried for a minute or two.

  31. Comment by Carolyn | 08.3.2008 | 7:18 am

    Fatty, you and Susan really do have the greatest friends.

  32. Comment by Jaime O. | 08.3.2008 | 7:59 am

    Susan knew that someday her loving husband would finally clean out that #$%#$^%^ garage.

    Seriously though, how fun! Fatty is the only guy I *know that isn’t on a sitcom that has a huge bunch of great man friends. You should put on some roller blades and let Susan pull you around.

    *Note to self: We don’t actually know Fatty, we read his blog. Every day.

  33. Comment by Hamish A | 08.3.2008 | 12:00 pm

    Awesome job guys – I know who to call when I need the drop-in ramp for my pump track!

    Susans smile says it all in that last photo. Elden – you (and your friends) Rock (and yes, that is a deliberate Capital ‘R’).

    WIN SUSAN!!!! Enjoy the new wheels!

  34. Comment by blinddrew | 08.3.2008 | 12:10 pm

    i used to have hair a bit like bob’s, now i can’t even manage hair like fatty’s!


  35. Comment by Swedoz | 08.3.2008 | 2:51 pm

    Fantastic: entry, friends, ramp, wife. Wow, you must be some amazing guy.

  36. Comment by Jodi | 08.3.2008 | 3:05 pm

    I saw the “before” garage.

    I am amazed, really and truly at the first picture.

    Nice job!!

  37. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 08.3.2008 | 3:21 pm

    I thought Bob would have left for Beijing before now.

    There’s no way he’s growing that hair for the fun of it. He must be entering it in some new event at the Olympics, probably a genetically modified category for otherwise debilitating growth deformaties.

    Either that or he’s looking for a fall back spot in case he doesn’t make the sock/sandal team.

  38. Comment by Jennifer | 08.3.2008 | 6:04 pm

    Fabulous ramp! And Susan, your smile is radiant-enjoy your new wheels!

  39. Comment by KT | 08.3.2008 | 7:17 pm

    Wow, that’s pretty cool!

    Yay, Susan! I’m glad you got your new scooter, and now you can run around the neighborhood terrorizing- er– visiting everyone.

    Nice hair, Bob; does it wave fantastically in the wind, too?

    Not, you know, independent of the air currents. that would be weird.

  40. Comment by victoria | 08.3.2008 | 10:41 pm

    Are those shoes OSHA-approved?

    Nice job on the ramp– Go Susan!

  41. Comment by adam | 08.4.2008 | 4:26 am

    Great job, and looking good Susan, but FC, Where’s the bikes? a huge great garage and not one bike, or even wheel in view!! uh, unless theiy’re in the spare bedroom, right?…

  42. Comment by FliesOnly | 08.4.2008 | 6:02 am

    I can only imagine how grateful you must feel to have the kind of friends you do, Fatty.

  43. Comment by cyclostu | 08.4.2008 | 7:55 am

    I like Bob’s hair. I wished there would have been a Fabio-like photo with him, a sunset in the background and his hair blowing gloriously in the wind. Does that make me gay? …Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    And good job on the ramp. Win Susan!

  44. Comment by regina | 08.4.2008 | 8:01 am

    Hooray SUSAN!!! (I like hooray so well, it makes such a joyful sound when shouted.) Welldone men, I applaud you, and Bob’s hair, both very impressive. I think the look in Kenny’s eyes when he holds the nail gun is the truly scary part.
    WIN SUSAN!!!

  45. Comment by Donald | 08.4.2008 | 8:36 am

    What a great support group! You can see Susan’s joy in her smile. Glad to see it all come together so quickly.

  46. Comment by M2 | 08.4.2008 | 9:43 am

    Great work guys!

    WIN Susan!

  47. Comment by TW | 08.4.2008 | 2:29 pm

    Nice job guys. I am impressed with the skills of such a good looking bunch of men!
    But Kenny – get out more – that sock tan has to go!

  48. Comment by JB | 08.4.2008 | 4:16 pm

    I really enjoyed the smile on Susan’s face! C’mon Fatty, you slacker, paint the walls in your garage!!!
    That drywall tape decor is so un-HGTV!

  49. Comment by Bitter (formerly known as Lissee) | 08.7.2008 | 9:09 pm

    Happy Day! :)


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