And Now for Something Completely Different

09.24.2008 | 12:04 am

On the way to the Interbike Outdoor Demo today, Kenny and I had a strategy session on how we would determine what kinds of experiences we would seek out. Before long, we narrowed the approaches that interested us to two:

  1. Find and ride the best-of-breed versions of what we already enjoy riding. In both our cases, that meant we could spend the day finding and riding top-notch 29" hardtails. In fact, we probably could have spent the day doing nothing but riding and comparing fully rigid 29" singlespeeds. Yes, Interbike is so diverse that that niche could easily have occupied us for the whole day.
  2. Find and ride stuff that we normally don’t ride at all. Since both Kenny and I already ride top-of-the-line fully rigid 29" singlespeeds, what if we spent the day exploring and riding stuff that was completely different?

Both of these options were good ones, but we agreed that it’d be fun to explore the wild and wacky side of the world of cycling.

I think it was a good call. Here’s some of what we did, in the order we did it.

All-Mountain Touring: The Salsa Fargo
The first booth we stopped at was Salsa. Kenny, in a rare moment of weakness, wanted to immediately abandon the "let’s ride stuff we don’t usually ride" plan, and picked out the Selma — their 29" scandium / carbon SS bike — I just left it up to the guys in the booth.

"Give me something interesting," I said. And they gave me the Fargo, a 29" mountain bike, set up to be fully rigid with drop bars, with eyelets in place for racks and panniers-a-plenty. The idea behind this bike is comfortable multi-day outings, on-road and off.


I thought it would feel ridiculous and awkward to ride.

I was wrong.

On the short mountain bike course at the expo — mostly singletrack — I comfortably switched between riding in the drops (when climbing or braking) and on the hoods (when on wide, open terrain).

A few minutes on this bike and I found myself wondering what kind of big adventures this bike would be suitable for.

Get Bent
As Kenny and I walked by the Rans booth, Kenny said, "We should try out riding recumbents."

I laughed and we kept walking.

Then I stopped and said, "Yeah, we should."

And so we did. Kenny started on a real-life recumbent, which he nearly wrecked when he tried to execute a simple U-turn.


Apart from the strangeness of whacking his knees against the handlebars, and the disconcerting nature of having the front wheel roughly thirty feet in front of him, Kenny said that his least favorite part of riding this bike was the miles and miles of chain required, and the way it slaps around constantly.

I’m not sure Kenny’s ready to convert.

As for me, I got a low-to-the ground tricycle-style recumbent.


Unlike the two-wheeled ‘bent, this trike took no time at all to get used to. Steering is intuitive, and balance doesn’t enter into it.

But I had to ask myself: "Why?" Why would I ride this bike? It’s slower than a conventional road bike. It’s heavier. It’s vastly more complicated. The only compelling reason I could think of was if you found a ‘bent more comfortable.

The thing is, though, I’m very comfortable on regular bikes. I can go all day — literally — seated on a Selle Italia SLR. A hammock’s a little overkill.

I’m not saying I’d never buy and ride a ‘bent, but that day is not upon me yet. Nor upon Kenny, I’m pretty sure.

Still, it was fun to try one out and get contemptuous looks from people on regular bikes as I struggled up a gentle climb.

Oh, and I noticed that during my fifteen minutes of riding a ‘bent, I grew a full beard.

Gary Fisher Roscoe
What is the opposite of a fully-rigid 29" singlespeed? Well, probably a downhiller, but I just couldn’t bring myself to try one of those, because of my snobby belief that nobody should be allowed to ride anything downhill that they didn’t first ride uphill.

So the bike furthest from my personal point in the mountain biking universe may well be the new Gary Fisher Roscoe: a 26"-wheeled, 6"-front-and-back, geartastic bike.

But Travis Ott — Gary Fisher Bike Brand Manager — told me I ought to ride one. He said I’d have fun.

And he was totally right.

The Roscoe encourages you to plow through stuff. To run over stuff. To drop off stuff. To ride your bike as if you have recently attended the Monster Truck School of mountain biking.

And so I did.

Kenny got a nice sequence of me ignoring lines and plowing straight ahead:




Please feel free to note the goofy grin in that last picture. And also please note that I later turned around and rode up the same pitch. This bike takes big hits, but it’s also light enough that you can climb back up afterward (or beforeward, depending on where you start your ride).

This last one’s not easy for me to talk about, because I am somewhat conflicted about my reaction to one of the bikes Kenny and I tried out.

You see, we tried out a couple of electric-assist bikes from iZip…and I’m a little bit ashamed to admit that we both had a ball.

Here’s me, laughing out loud, my shirt billowing full of air as I easily hit 35mph, as I blast by road cyclists — as if they were standing still — on my cruiser-looking bike:


And riding uphill is just as hilarious. La-di-da as you casually pedal 20mph up the steep gradient.

These bikes look horrible and obviously have cheap components to keep people not used to how much a good bike costs from going into sticker shock.

But they’re fun. And I can’t help but think, "Maybe I could get my boys to come biking with me if I got one of these."

Hot and Tired
That’s just a sampling. There was other wacky stuff we rode, and I’ll be talking about them — and showing photos — soon.

Though it’s quite probable that I will destroy the video of me riding the bike you pedal like a stairstepper. Some things are best left unseen.


  1. Comment by Nick | 09.24.2008 | 12:15 am

    It sounds like you guys are having a rough time at Interbike. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  2. Comment by je | 09.24.2008 | 12:15 am

    Next year, I am soooo there.

  3. Comment by Mark | 09.24.2008 | 12:34 am

    While you are out having fun, some of us are trying to work.

    (that’s my toes in the picture)

  4. Pingback by And Now for Something Completely Different | Randomblog blog | 09.24.2008 | 1:00 am

    [...] And Now for Something Completely Different Posted by admin on September 24, 2008 random On the way to the Interbike Outdoor Demo today, Kenny and I had a strategy session on how we would determine what kinds of experiences we would seek out. Before long, we narrowed the approaches that interested us to two: [...]

  5. Comment by Bjorn 4 Lycra | 09.24.2008 | 3:23 am

    Looks like this interbike thing is a lot of fun.
    Also pleased to advise that Lance starts his comeback in little old Adelaide South Australia in mid January. I would guess that he still has lots to announce later today but it has been confirmed he is riding in the Tour Down Under. BRILLIANT!

  6. Comment by Shiny Flu | 09.24.2008 | 4:15 am


    hehehehehehehehehehehe. made my day.

  7. Comment by mary | 09.24.2008 | 4:31 am

    I think you should try on and wear some women’s cycling clothes..give us your female readers some insight as well as keep with your theme of trying out things you would not normally do

  8. Comment by Kristen | 09.24.2008 | 4:37 am

    love it!

  9. Comment by Mike Roadie | 09.24.2008 | 5:25 am

    Sweet time!!

    I think you “grew” a Grateful Dead t-shirt on the ‘bent, too!

    Keep the stuff coming!!!


  10. Comment by mamafitz | 09.24.2008 | 5:39 am

    I wanna come out and play, too!


  11. Comment by Jeff | 09.24.2008 | 6:12 am

    Now I want to go to Interbike!

    I didn’t see an orange flag stick on the back of your ‘bent, fatty. Isn’t that dangerous? Actually, isn’t it a little dangerous to be riding a ‘bent at a bike convention at all?

  12. Comment by roadrash | 09.24.2008 | 6:45 am

    Never thought we would see ya’ll on ‘bents. Not sure if it was a realistic test drive. You were missing the gray beards and athletic tube socks.

  13. Comment by Rob | 09.24.2008 | 6:52 am

    I’ve always loved Interbike coverage. But now you guys have really raised the bar. Keep up the good work, and you of course need to make this an annual event!!

    The 09 jersey looks great. Can’t wait for that to arrive!!

    Have fun, boys!!

    WIN Susan!!

  14. Comment by Flatman | 09.24.2008 | 7:10 am

    Good stuff so far…keep it up!!!

  15. Comment by Timrey | 09.24.2008 | 7:31 am

    I believe the comment about growing a beard while test riding a bent. I grew a mustache once while test driving a Corvette.

  16. Comment by Lowrydr | 09.24.2008 | 7:40 am

    Well you were already dressed to ride a “Bent” what with the baggy shorts, black tube socks and a camp shirt. So admit it you really liked the rolling lawn chair.

  17. Comment by Alexia | 09.24.2008 | 8:00 am

    Seems like ‘bents would a whole lotta extra work, but I’d like to try one sometime — how fun! And I’ve already got lots of Grateful Dead shirts ;-)

  18. Comment by BurkeInTheOzarks | 09.24.2008 | 8:15 am

    It looks like you guys are making the best of your time there. I look forward to your next installment.

    Timrey, you were spot-on with the Corvette comment!

  19. Comment by Mike | 09.24.2008 | 8:18 am

    So how much did the DH bike weigh? I hear they’re pretty beefy.

  20. Comment by nathan vandenbroek | 09.24.2008 | 8:39 am

    umm not to nit pick….. isn’t that fully rigid 29er with drop bars called a cyclocross bike?

  21. Comment by db | 09.24.2008 | 9:01 am

    Nathan, if you want to throw that Fargo on your shoulder and run over obstacles, be my guest, but it doesn’t look like it would be comfortable.

    It’s basically a 29er MTB with drop bars and rack/bottle mounts for extended touring. From the looks of it, it can roll over stuff that a CX bike couldn’t…

    Wouldn’t that be a great bike for stuff like the White Rim trail?

  22. Comment by Daddystyle | 09.24.2008 | 9:04 am

    Glad your havin fun. Sure a massive selection of bikes.

    I am waiting for a comment on the LINE UP for the bus to get out there then the crowded smelly ride back or did you drive out to the playground [who's name I forget.] in your ultimate Mtn bike transporter the Ridgeline.

    All the best to Susan and the clan.

  23. Comment by VA Biker | 09.24.2008 | 9:13 am

    Man, that looks like a lot of fun! (Sighs with envy.)

    WIN Susan!

  24. Comment by Russell | 09.24.2008 | 9:17 am

    That’s simply not fair….

  25. Comment by PissedOffCil | 09.24.2008 | 9:24 am

    Hey it seems you have gone completely out of your mind trying a recumbent but you have finally found the enlightment of a six inches AM rig. So I guess you’re ready to drop the rigid SS and have a real bike now…

    Hehe nice report and have fun!

  26. Comment by PissedOffCil | 09.24.2008 | 9:29 am

    db is right about the FArgo not looking too appropriate for cross expecially that it has 6 bottle mounts. Damn, if you need to load 6 bottles can’t you just get a camelback? Let’s be hoenst here, nobody likes reaching for a bottle under the down tube and I wouldn’t even try to reach the ones on the forks while riding.

    Camelback + 2 bottles if you’re heading in a really remote area, not 6 bottles…

  27. Comment by KanyonKris | 09.24.2008 | 9:35 am

    Bravo for talking a ride on the wild side.

    I hope you took advantage of that $399 Interbike deal on the Roscoe.

    Fatty, you big tease, you better post the video of you “riding” the stairstepper bike or you can expect an angry mob with torches showing up at your house.

  28. Comment by Don | 09.24.2008 | 10:04 am

    … still jealous …

  29. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.24.2008 | 10:21 am

    The izip looks preposterous, but i understand the fun.

    The ‘bents just look preposterous. But I laughed out oud at your beard comment. Sometimes there is just nothing funnier than a stereotype.

    What kind of tires di the Fargo have, Fatty? CX?

  30. Comment by kentucky joe | 09.24.2008 | 10:48 am

    so we can assume you did not enter or win the Tour de Lake Mead?? Will you be among those in the Cross Vegas – Cyclo-Cross Races? Or, will we be treated to a cameo at the Urban Legend Fashion & Art Show, presented by Momentum Magazine? I can’t wait for additional posts…great stuff!

  31. Comment by Kathleen | 09.24.2008 | 10:56 am

    love the grins! like kids in a candy store :-)

  32. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 09.24.2008 | 11:01 am

    I’m going to ride a recumbent at RAWROD ‘09.

    No, make that a recumbent trike. An electric assist recumbent trike.

  33. Comment by dug | 09.24.2008 | 11:02 am

    both of you will have to undergo quarantine and de-lousing when you get home to get the “recumbent” tailings off

  34. Comment by KJ | 09.24.2008 | 11:19 am

    Please don’t forget that you also have roadies as readers. Thanks.

  35. Comment by FWCPC | 09.24.2008 | 11:56 am

    “ shirt billowing full of air as I easily hit 35mph, as I blast by road cyclists..”

    Fatty, are you sure that you shirt is billowing because it is full of air or is it full of belly?

  36. Comment by greg | 09.24.2008 | 12:26 pm

    I keep waiting for someone at interbike to roll out the first production ready SS FS mountain bike.


  37. Comment by Garrett | 09.24.2008 | 12:47 pm

    Did your beard just happen to be orange also?

  38. Comment by Mr. Flynn | 09.24.2008 | 1:05 pm

    That Fargo looks sweet. That is the bike that appeals most to me of the bikes listed. Awesome. I miss interbike.

  39. Comment by bvono | 09.24.2008 | 2:00 pm

    I want pics of the stair-stepper…sounds terrible to ride!

  40. Comment by bee$ | 09.24.2008 | 2:19 pm

    I love the review so far. I have been laughing out loud at this stuff. I really like the actual gear reviews. thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    p.s the stair stepper bike idea has been around for a while. it is a bit of local cycling history here in rochester ny. they have a pair of the originals hanging in my local bike shop.

  41. Comment by Aaron | 09.24.2008 | 6:12 pm

    “Oh, and I noticed that during my fifteen minutes of riding a ‘bent, I grew a full beard.”

    Hahahahahahaha. Now THAT’S funny!!!

  42. Comment by leon | 09.24.2008 | 9:23 pm

    What?? no Mountain Unicycle? i’m so disappointed.
    and so green with envy.

    Win Susan!

  43. Comment by Jeff | 09.24.2008 | 10:11 pm

    I’m so confused, I road my bent to work today while wearing my Fat Cyclist 08 jersey.
    I was cracking up about the comment about growing a beard, too late I’ve had one since 1979.
    Don’t have too much fun at Interbike.

    Win Susan!

  44. Comment by Walt Roscello | 09.25.2008 | 9:25 am


    It sounds like you’re finding that all bikes are wonderful – there’s no need to try to convert someone riding a different type of bike when there are still people riding no bikes at all.

    You’d appreciate the recumbent more if you had back troubles. Though I’m definitely not complaining given what you and Susan are going through. If Susan were a cyclist, I think you would have gotten her a recumbent trike long ago.

    I might have to try and snag one of the ‘09 jerseys when the extras go on sale – I like it even more than the ‘08 I already have.

  45. Pingback by It’s Just A Ride » Blog Archive » Bleh. | 10.2.2008 | 3:27 pm

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