An Open Letter to Bryan Smith, Director of the Garmin-Chipotle Argyle Club

01.12.2009 | 1:29 am

Dear Mr. Smith,

I have recently become aware of Team Garmin-Chipotle’s intriguing Argyle Club, wherein for the low, low cost of $995 I can get all of the following:

  • Team kit, a t-shirt, and a baseball hat
  • Tickets to the team launch
  • Some sponsor tchotchkes
  • Shop employee-level discounts on a pair of shoes and some bike clothes
  • Not-quite-as-good-as-shop-employee-level discounts on a bike, a helmet, and glasses
  • Super-secret insider race tactics straight from Jon Vaughters
  • All the Chipotle burritos I can eat for a (freakin’) year!

Now Bryan (can I call you Bryan? Great!), I think you’re on to something here, but as the most awesomely popular Sports Blogger in the Whole World, I think you need to make a few changes if you ever want to get anyone to sign up. For your convenience, I have numbered my ideas, although this numbering scheme should not be interpreted as a ranking of importance, nor of an order of implementation.

Because they’re all really important, and they should all be implemented right now.

#1: Rethink that Chipotle Offer

First, let’s address the main reason I will not join the Argyle Club: the fact that I would have access to a free Chipotle burrito every day for a year.

Why don’t I want this benefit? Because I would use it. Every day. For a year.

You see, my office happens to be one block from a Chipotle, and I love the place (Chipotle, not my office). So it would be no problem for me to go there for lunch every day. Which means the following would happen:

  1. Financial Problems for You: Before June ended, I would have eaten more than $1000 worth of burritos. If the “free” includes the guacamole upgrade, I’d have eaten $1000 worth before the end of May.
  2. Weight Gain Problems for Me: Since Chipotle burritos — the way I like them — come out to be just under 1400 calories with 60 grams of fat, I’d almost certainly gain 208 pounds by the end of the year, which would mean I’d have to buy all new clothes at best, and would probably spend some time in the hospital at worst. Either way, I’d be coming to you to reimburse me for these expenses, since I clearly should not be held responsible for my own actions.

To tell the truth, though, I find myself considering buying three of these club memberships for the family (I’m the only one in the family who can eat an entire Chipotle burrito, and even then I’m just doing it to show off). That $3000 up front buys three burritos every day for a year, and three burritos is easily enough to feed everyone in my family for the entire day. Since my family’s food budget is currently around $1000 / month, this Argyle club membership could pay for itself by the end of Q1.

Perhaps you should consider marketing the Argyle Club that way.

#2: Add More High-Value Items to the Membership

Apart from the never-ending (never-ending for a year, I mean) fountain of burritos, Bryan, there’s not a lot in your Club Argyle membership kit that really grabs me. Apart from the team kit, it’s mostly just discounts.

That’s an expensive coupon book, Bryan.

What you need is more free stuff. I have some suggestions:

A free tattoo: Cyclists love to show their dedication to the sport, their teams, and their favorite consumer products with tattoos. And since anyone joining the Argyle Club is clearly sold on team Garmin-Chipotle, you should give them a coupon for a free argyle tattoo.

I happen to know that my friend Kenny is still on the hunt for a good tattoo; maybe this would fill the bill. Here’s what I’ve got in mind:


Admit it: this is the most awesome tattoo idea ever.

And if your team ever disbands or if you — heaven forbid — ever abandon the argyle conceit, this tattoo still gets Kenny about 80% of the way toward becoming either a superhero or professional wrestler.

An afternoon with Jonathan Vaughters as an image consultant200901112339.jpg : I have to admit that until he surfaced as the director/CEO of Garmin-Chipotle, my primary mental image of Jon Vaughters was of when he had to bail out of the TdF because he got stung in the eye by a wasp, his eye swelled shut, and the race officials wouldn’t let him have a cortisone shot so he could see again.

That just sucked.

If something like that happened to me, I am not certain that I would ever get over it.

Anyway, imagine my surprise to see that he’s gone from looking like he’s just gotten punched in the face to this:


There’s no other way to describe it, Bryan. Jon Vaughters looks dapper.

OK, there probably are other ways to describe it. For example, I could describe him as “looking like a member of Haircut 100.” I probably won’t, though.

But my point is that Jon’s got a look together, whereas every article of clothing I own I purchased either from Twin Six or REI.

No, that is not an exaggeration. Sure, I’m always comfortable, but I also always look like I’m going camping very soon.

If I could get an afternoon of Jon helping me buy clothes, refactoring my sideburns, and maybe working with me on some more urbane eyewear, I would get right in line for the Argyle Club.

A surprise drug test: While pro cyclists almost certainly consider it an intrusion into their lives to get an out-of-competition drug test, the rest of us dream about having somebody — anybody — care enough about our unremarkable race results enough to make us pee in a cup.

So, as a perk for the Argyle Club, how about having the Agency for Cycling Ethics show up at some random time and demand a complete blood workup. I promise that I will find a way to let all my friends know about the event, and will furthermore do my best to act miffed, as if it were an insult to my honor and dignity, rather than the most awesome thing that has ever happened to me.

#3: Rethink the “Race Day ‘Insider Info’ Thing

One of the benefits you offer to Argyle Club members is “exclusive info on team tactics and race day updates from Jonathan Vaughters.” Are you sure you want to do that? Well, OK, but I’m just going to say this once: you may want to look into the background info for all the people who buy the membership.

You know, just to make sure none of them are fronting for Johan Bruyneel.

#4: More Money-Making Opportunities

Bryan, the Argyle Club idea is great, but if you really want to make money with this idea, you need to have different levels of membership, with accompanying increased benefits. For example:

  • Argyle Club Basic: Everything you currently have in the membership, plus my helpful additions.
  • Argyle Club Bronze: Everything in Basic, but this time the race tactics info you get emailed are for real and can be used to win considerable sums of money at
  • Argyle Club Silver ($2500): Everything in Basic and Bronze, plus you get to ride in the Race Director’s car during one of the races.
  • Argyle Club Gold ($5000): Everything in Basic, Bronze, and Silver, plus you get to yell “Venga venga venga!” over and over, as much as you want, into the race radio.
  • Argyle Club Platinum ($25000): Everything in the above levels, plus you get the Guacamole upgrade in your daily Chipotle burrito, at no additional charge.

I hope these suggestions are helpful to you, Bryan. I look forward to seeing them implemented, and look forward to the Platinum-level membership you are almost certain to offer me, no charge, as a sign of your gratitude for my efforts on your behalf.

Kind Regards,

The Fat Cyclist

PS: Beast Mom, thanks for pointing me toward the Argyle Club.


  1. Comment by Saso | 01.12.2009 | 1:48 am

    Additional tip: Garmin should provide the club members with free GPS easily navigating them to the nearest Chipotle restaurant in the area.

  2. Comment by buckythedonkey | 01.12.2009 | 3:23 am

    I just can’t help it, but the words “Chipotle” and “Argyle” in the same sentence conjures up the image of a Scots gamekeeper, resplendent in tweed and Argyle, tucking into a haggis burrito. Hold the guacamole and you’re onto a winner.

  3. Comment by Anonymous | 01.12.2009 | 5:16 am

    Great post, this one has to go straight onto the top posts section up with you open letter to Assos.

  4. Comment by Big Boned | 01.12.2009 | 5:16 am

    Classic Fatty! It’s early here on the east coast, but I’m heading out for a jog and some guacamole!
    Big Boned

  5. Comment by Mike Roadie | 01.12.2009 | 6:00 am

    I received that email from Team GC and I was shocked. Really, who would fork over $995 for that? I was so shocked, that I missed the free burrito offer. Unfortunately, my 18 year old son could eat two of those and not gain an ounce; it would put the food budget way out of kilter.


  6. Comment by Don | 01.12.2009 | 6:33 am

    I want to first congratulate you for using the word “tchotchkes” in a sentence. I thought I was the only person who uses it anymore. Further, I would like to congratulate you for the “Venga, venga, venga” comment. C’mon (ooh, no pun intended) it actually made me laugh so hard I took a spit take of water at my screen (can I recover damages should it short out, shortly?).
    The Chipotle, alone, is worth it!

  7. Comment by Jamieson | 01.12.2009 | 6:48 am

    Great letter!

    Too bad that the nearest Chipotle is 40 miles away, which makes the free burrito not work out so well.

  8. Comment by Jeff | 01.12.2009 | 7:01 am

    Mmm…free burritos…

    What? Was there anything else in this post?

  9. Comment by Weiland | 01.12.2009 | 7:26 am

    The random doping control is excellent, but what happens if I too suffer a wasp sting and need a shot of cortisone, will I be banned from Chipotle for 2 years if I fail the control? I want to twitter that the anti-doping control has showed up at my house.

  10. Comment by cheapie | 01.12.2009 | 7:50 am

    wow. you’d be just like jared on the subway diet. except the opposite.

  11. Comment by FliesOnly | 01.12.2009 | 8:09 am

    Whenever I see the heading “An Open Letter to…”, I get giddy with excitement. Great post, Fatty.

    I am a bit curious, however. Not having a Chipotle franchise anywhere near me (and by that, I mean within 1000 miles), I have no basis of comparison to know what I’m missing. So let me ask you (since you are apparently and expert on these matters)…how does Chipotle compare to Qdoba?

  12. Comment by Jeff (another Jeff) | 01.12.2009 | 9:09 am

    No Chipotle’s anywhere near me- do they overnight them if you join? If so- count me in.

  13. Comment by Julie | 01.12.2009 | 9:16 am

    FliesOnly –

    Chipotle and Qdoba are very similar, at least to me. I do know people who emphatically prefer one over the other but I like ‘em both. Qdoba has more variety, Chipotle is pretty much burrito or burrito in a bol (their spelling not mine).

    However, chipotle guacamoe rocks in my opinion.

  14. Comment by Kathleen | 01.12.2009 | 9:37 am

    Oh dear, *another* club to join…I’m just so busy these days. Not.

    Living right next door to the SF Mission District I have the world of fabulous burritos at my beck and call…have never stepped foot into a Chipotle.

  15. Comment by Jenni Laurita | 01.12.2009 | 10:06 am

    Yes, you definitely need to work in a Twitter account into your suggestions. For all that dough I think it’s a worthy addition.

  16. Comment by KanyonKris | 01.12.2009 | 10:17 am

    Kenny, I apologize in advance if I snicker then next time I see you. It’s not you, it’s me and the recalled mental image of you with a pastel argyle tattoo on your face. I blame Elden, am I wrong here?

    Elden, it’s obvious you’ve missed your calling in marketing / promotions.

  17. Comment by System6 | 01.12.2009 | 10:17 am

    I’d throw in another $250 if they’d offer a year’s visits to Smoothie King for something proportionally calorie-intensive to wash down that tortilla torpedo.

  18. Comment by leroy | 01.12.2009 | 10:19 am

    I’ve never been to a Chipotle even though I live two blocks from one.

    Would I have to show up in the argyle racing kit to claim the free burrito?

    That’s not a problem. I wear a full kit when walking the dog anyway.

    You can never be too prepared for a break away. And the family dog is fast … and tricky.

  19. Comment by Jared | 01.12.2009 | 10:23 am

    And now you can even order burritos on your iPhone!


  20. Comment by GenghisKhan | 01.12.2009 | 10:43 am

    Maybe you should forward this along to Rock Racing. They could do something similar–and include one of those nifty weather telling rocks (you know Rock Racing! Ha!) to help on kit selection for rides. I figure at their kit prices and such, that they should be able to do it for a measly $13,131 dollars. Plus, of course, a significant portion of your diginity and self-respect! ;o)

  21. Comment by kenny | 01.12.2009 | 10:51 am

    Elden, You’re now fair game for the sping moab poster.

  22. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 01.12.2009 | 11:23 am

    What if I want to yell “Allez”?

  23. Comment by oilcanracer | 01.12.2009 | 12:07 pm

    yes i too could eat $1000.00 worth of burritos a month.

    what where they thinking?

  24. Comment by LidsB2 | 01.12.2009 | 12:14 pm


    I am eternally grateful for your informative post. I must join the Argyle Club immediately. The secret race tactics will be invaluable, and I am unable contain my giddiness in anticipation of the arrival of my authentic team kit. But, there is the issue of the fee… Do not fear — please check out my Argyle Club fee fundraising site at Since I have a few minutes to wait for the funds to roll in, I’m out the door to procure a delightful, low-fat, low-cal, barbacoa burrito with black beans and guacamole. Giddyup.


  25. Comment by Walt Roscello | 01.12.2009 | 12:43 pm


    I’ve not considerd sideburns for refactoring up till now. Could you specify what current functionality you will be preserving? And do you have a source for a good pattern library?

  26. Comment by Clydesteve | 01.12.2009 | 2:10 pm

    mmmmmmmmmmm – Guacamole!

  27. Comment by USAFANARC | 01.12.2009 | 2:30 pm

    What’s really scarey is that the entire time I was reading this, I was doing the math in my head, figuring out if the free burritos are worth the $995.

    I have a Chipotle near work and another near my house. Hence, I’m a Chipotle addict. At least twice a week, I’m getting my fix.

    So, at roughly $6 per burrito, that would be about 165 burritos in a year to reach the membership fee of $995. That works out to be 3.2 burritos per week. Therefore, if I ate 4 burritos in a week, I’d make a profit of about $250. Since we eat 21 meals per week, that’s only 20% of meals that would have to be consumed at Chipotle instead of my current 10%. I think I’m up for the challenge.

  28. Comment by USAFANARC | 01.12.2009 | 2:33 pm

    They do consider one year to be from date of membership, right? Because if it’s calendar year, then my math is all screwed up and I might have to eat 5 per week to make up for the 12 lost days of January. Damn.

  29. Comment by USAFANARC | 01.12.2009 | 2:35 pm

    Anyone want to buy a Garmin-Slipstream team kit for cheap?

  30. Comment by rexinsea | 01.12.2009 | 3:29 pm

    Wow I really had no idea how to spell tchotchkes. I’m always stunned at what I learn at this site. Thanks

  31. Comment by bubbaseadog | 01.12.2009 | 3:50 pm

    what do simple folks do they eat burritos and ride bicycles cause its good exercise and good eating.i got the garmin 705 but it doesnt show me where the nearest chipolte is it does however point me to taco bell. win susan

  32. Comment by Di | 01.12.2009 | 3:58 pm

    I am totally for the burrito-a-day idea. :-D I love burritos. Yes, I know that’s a problem, but I really want the burrito.

  33. Comment by Tinker | 01.12.2009 | 4:53 pm

    How does the burrito w/ guacamole affect tail pipe emissions, while riding in bike races? Might that make the tactical advice useless? And the drug testing Positive?

    I imagine you might want or need a replacement Brooks model 67, after a year of burritos (don’t forget the guacamole).

  34. Comment by Philly Jen | 01.12.2009 | 7:54 pm

    Burritos are all fine and well, but they really should have thrown in a few “study dates” (to, er, brush up on anatomy) with the team physiologist, Dr. Allen Lim. For that, I would definitely fork over the big bucks.

    Be still, my quivering gastrocnemius…

  35. Comment by 4get2remember | 01.12.2009 | 9:41 pm

    Ohmigolly I almost threw up from laughing so hard. Thank you for this post!

  36. Comment by Dobovedo | 01.12.2009 | 9:53 pm


  37. Comment by Lucky Cyclist | 01.12.2009 | 9:54 pm

    Shouldn’t the guy pimping this club know how to spell havoc?(Giro’s discount on the “havic”helmet and glasses)

  38. Comment by joliver3 | 01.12.2009 | 10:20 pm

    Um, don’t you need to have some hair in order to have sideburns to refactor? I’m just sayin’…..

    I had the same thought when I got the Argyle Club invitation email — hugely overpriced, until I saw the burrito offer. This could be the club of truly fat cyclists. I thought there was something about being invited to ride with the team at some point as well.

    Lucky Cyclist, the Giro sunglasses really are called “Havik” — supposedly a word in one of the Scandinavian languages meaning “eagle” or some such.

  39. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 01.12.2009 | 10:36 pm

    Ah yes, “the Guacamole upgrade”. A marketing ploy bound to suck many a poor soul in.

  40. Comment by Ingrid | 01.13.2009 | 2:14 am

    Can we exchange ‘foreign’ words please? ‘Havik’ means hawk in Dutch. What on earth are ‘tchotchkes’?

    Love this blog by the way even though I do no bike (other than for grocery shopping but then again I live in the Netherlands….)

  41. Comment by buckythedonkey | 01.13.2009 | 4:49 am

  42. Comment by Charisa | 01.13.2009 | 10:43 am

    Venga! Venga! Venga!

  43. Comment by Kt | 01.13.2009 | 8:05 pm

    Gives new meaning to the phrase Nacho Libre.

    Allez! :)

  44. Comment by Darren | 01.14.2009 | 9:12 am

    Great stuff right up there with BikeSnob!

  45. Comment by Scott | 01.14.2009 | 2:13 pm


    David Clinger already tried the tattoo to the face and it didn’t get him to far. No team would pick him up and when they did it din’t last long.


  46. Comment by leon | 01.15.2009 | 9:31 am

    Refactored sideburns on a bald head would look mighty strange don’t you think?

    Classic Fatty!


  47. Comment by ChefJT | 01.15.2009 | 8:56 pm

    $995 for an argyle club membership or $750 for the tweed Rapha cycling jacket (possibly from the Vaughters collection)…………

    Decisions, decisions, decisions…

  48. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Rock Racing Clarifies “Here to Stay” Slogan | 01.16.2009 | 10:50 am

    [...] that it would be adopting a fundraising model similar to Garmin-Chipotle’s very successful Argyle Club [...]

  49. Comment by BasilJJ | 01.16.2009 | 10:19 pm

    If you install this iPhone app, you could increase your Burrito intake by not even having to wait in line:

  50. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Occasionally, A Single Image Tells The Whole Story | 02.2.2009 | 11:45 pm

    [...] my letter to Bryan Smith had an unintended — but very welcome — outcome. Look what I just got in the [...]

  51. Comment by Beast Mom | 02.10.2009 | 2:01 am

    “a surprise drug test”


    Fun that you got the free burrito card. Just saw that pic on your more recent post. Yes, I’ve been away and am now catching up. Awesome about Susan’s bracelets. I wore mine yesterday again. Never fails to get compliments. Please give her my best and tell her she’s one talented lady. :)


  52. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Three Axioms | 11.23.2009 | 11:27 am

    [...] this year, I poked fun at Team Slipstream-Garmin here. They responded by…becoming an incredibly generous partner with Team Fatty in our fight [...]

  53. Pingback by Three Axioms | Dyna Fat Loss | 11.24.2009 | 8:00 pm

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  54. Comment by Mikel | 04.14.2011 | 2:27 am

    M9UVKL I’m not easily ipmressed. . . but that’s impressing me! :)

  55. Comment by xzelcy | 04.22.2011 | 10:02 pm

    x7S4b8 liemkfyenise


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