Team Fatty Jerseys, Devo, and Jeff’s Bloggies Report

03.17.2009 | 7:39 am

200903170625.jpgHey, I don’t mean to panic you or anything, but today’s the last day to pre-order your Team Fatty gear. And now that I am officially the Two-Time Best Sports Blogger In The Whole Freaking World, I think you’re going to want to associate yourself with me.

I mean, just think about how cool you will sound when the following conversation occurs:

Random Stranger (RS): Why are you wearing a shirt that proclaims that you’re fat?

You: It’s not a “shirt.” It’s a jersey.

RS: OK, then why are you wearing a jersey that proclaims that you’re fat?

You: Because I’m helping Team Fatty raise money to fight cancer.

RS: Oh. What’s Team Fatty?

You: It’s a LiveStrong Challenge team started by a guy named Fatty.

RS: Why would a guy with a name like “Fatty” not change his name, much less put it on shirts?

See what I mean? Almost painfully cool.

And just in case you don’t know, we’re donating 40% of the gross on Team Fatty jerseys and bundles to the Lance Armstrong Foundation (more details here). In the week we’ve been doing this, we’ve raised around $9,000.00 to go to the Team Fatty LiveStrong Challenge with these jerseys.

Which is not half bad.

To order jerseys, click one of the below links. (All jerseys $75)

To order Team Fatty Bundles (which in addition to raising money to fight cancer also give you a really good deal), click one of the below links.

One last thing on this pre-order: We’re not going to order a whole bunch of extras, so we’ll almost certainly sell completely out of any extras as soon as they arrive. So if you want one and haven’t ordered one, your best shot is to order one now.

A Few Words About Fixies and Devo

I have been a fan of Devo since I was a Sophomore in High School. And not just a casual fan, either. I have all their albums. My iPod’s “Ride” playlist has more Devo in it than any other group (just in case you’re wondering, Social Distortion is a close second, and Oingo Boingo is a close third).

My phone’s ringtone is the opening riff from Girl U Want.

So as you might imagine, I’m more than just casually interested in the Devo Bike Auction currently going on. Check out what they’re auctioning:


Yes, Devo — along with Trek, Club Devo, and Mellow Johnnys — are auctioning off this one-of-a-kind Devo fixie, with proceeds going to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Cool bike: check. Devo: check. Fighting cancer: check. This bike is a perfect storm of stuff I love. I’m definitely going to put in a serious bid on this. Feel free to try to outbid me here (and look for some more pictures of this bike further down this post).

Jeff’s Report from the Bloggies

Yesterday, my friend Jeff happened to be at SXSWi for work, which put him in an excellent position to accept my Bloggie for me. Here’s his essay-in-photos-style report.

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Welcome to Texas: Fire Ants and Beer! Not quite the welcome “Bud’s Drive-Through Beer Barn” presented Matt Carter and me on a trip to Dallas (slogan: “Open that for the road?”) years ago.

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And here we are at SXSWi, where the three days of sessions and trade show is simply fluffy window dressing for the core draw: the weblog awards. I’m here, in my Fat Cyclist jersey, anxious to pick up his award and less-than-anxious to give the speech I have been provided.

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I settle myself near the lovely and charming Pioneer Woman, the lovely and charming sister of PW, the chunky and charming 9-month-old nephew of PW, and our new friend MsSingleMama. Honey, guys in bike jerseys attract lovely and charming people into their aura. The lycra shorts, you were right, dear, would have been too much. But I digress. The ceremony proceeds, ably IRCed and twittered by many. In a shocking turn of events, most of the crowd is actually paying attention. Much clapping transpires as PW wins two awards (and later the grand prize).

I give a shortened version of the prepared speech, focusing on the first paragraph and the LiveStrong stuff. I then wrap it up, since my proxy thank-you speech is approximately one million billion times longer than anyone else’s was. I picked out a beautiful shot glass (um, yeah, not giant ball-o-precious metal) for Fatty and for sibling Pistons and Parakeets (I always get that confused — thank Andreesen for bookmarks). After PW’s triumphant final win, I join the other winners or proxies on stage for ceremonial shots of the handmade vodka PW won. I was the only one who demurred and stuck with the proffered Red Bull shot.

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I then returned to the job I was supposed to be doing at the time: manning the booth, where we featured the world’s fastest server, a nifty electric drag bike built around a dual-server. If you are geeky enough to care about this, go check out the site, or come visit Once I finished there I …

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Had a celebratory lunch on Elden’s behalf at the Iron Works BBQ adjacent to the convention center. No need to eat again until Wednesday.

Proceeded to the holy land, or at least the highly-well-respected land of Mellow Johnny’s.

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To fortify myself upon entry, I bought a diet coke from the friendly barista at Juan Pelota Cafe, perused the artwork, and just wandered around and caressed the merchandise.

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Beautiful bikes on display. Yellow jerseys from TdF wins by Mr. LiveStrong. And I bought a couple of t-shirts for me, one for my friend the Aussie co-founder of, and — THANKS, MJ guys, they wer kind enough to give me one to bring to Fatty. I was going to charge him for it. Maybe I still will. I know from long experience he doesn’t read a thing I write. It’s always “blah blah blah even my internal monologue is more amusing than Jeff’s carefully crafted prose so I don’t even have to read it … I will just wait until the end and state a sarcastic, agreeing supposition that invalidates everything that went before.” Not that I’m bitter. Am I digressing? Sorry.

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In movies, when the Holy Grail is seen, the Path to Freedom is found, or the Comic Misunderstanding is resolved, music plays as if it were the voice of angels singing. In MJ’s, when I saw the LiveStrong DEVO bike, angels in the form of “THAT’S GOOD (BOOM), THAT’S GOOD (BOOM)” sang.

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Look at this exceptional craft work (not kraftwerk, that’s a completely different matter altogether).

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Nice rear view: you know you want it. So if a problem comes along, you must whip it. Devo’s taking the same approach to cancer: join in the LiveStrong auction for this devolutionary, custom built ride. Use your freedom of choice. Turn away those gates of steel. It’s just the bike, it’s just the bike, the bike you want.

Thanks, Elden, for letting me accept on your behalf. Your trophy with only a little leftover Red Bull smear will be on its way to you soon. Use it in good health and stuff. And if you’re not nice to me I’ll repeat the pirate jokes they used in the gala award ceremony. (just for future reference: pirate jokes make any event a gala event.)


I See No Point In Waiting to Know Whether I’ve Won Before Accepting the Bloggie Award for Best Sports Blog

03.16.2009 | 2:00 am

A Note from Fatty: Why don’t you help a few Friends of Fatty get free blogger entries into the Breck Epic? Click here and then vote for Neil Miner, Team Dicky (aka Rich Dillen), and Jen Hanks. It costs you nothing to vote, and they’ll appreciate it.

Update: I won! I won I won I won I won!

Thanks everyone. Seriously. And thanks especially to Jeff for going up there and actually reading at least a little bit of the speech. I would never have done that for him.

Update 2: MY SISTER JODI WON TOO! Best Kept Secret. I do not apologize for writing that in all caps.

Today (Monday) is the day the 2009 Bloggie winners are announced. And while I have no idea of whether I have won (Best Sports Blog) or not, I am utterly convinced that I ought to be the winner.

And, luckily, Jeff Hadfield — who has been a good friend of mine for right around 25 years now — will be at the convention where they’re announcing winners and, presumably, handing out eight-foot-tall trophies made of solid platinum.

I have asked Jeff to give the following speech if I win. And, if I don’t win, I have asked him to get up, battle his way to the front, and — using the megaphone which I have supplied him — give the speech anyway.

Hey, when you’ve been friends for 25 years, you get to ask for some pretty big favors.

The Speech

Thank you. Thank you, thanks. You’re too kind. No, please, sit down.

[Wait for applause to finally die down. This may take a few minutes.]

Again, thank you.

This is not the first Bloggie the Fat Cyclist — or “Fatty,” as he likes to be called, for some reason which has never been satisfactorily explained — has won. And, provided that he can continue to get The Pioneer Woman to link to him from time to time, and as long as bribery and extortion are not specifically prohibited as methods to procure votes, it will not be his last.

[Wait for applause and appreciative laughter to subside. Make slight bow to Pioneer Woman.]

Fatty would first of all like to thank everyone who voted for him. Further, he would like to do this individually, and in person. It may take a while. Please be patient.

He’d also like to thank everyone who’s joined and is working on fundraising with Team Fatty for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Together, Team Fatty has raised nearly $140,000 toward fighting cancer so far this year. Which is not bad for a blog consisting mostly of fake news, fake open letters, and semi-true stories about an obscure sport.

And now, I believe I shall begin to drink.

[Take long tug from bottle concealed in brown paper bag. Shudder.]

Next, Fatty wants to thank his advertisers for…advertising.

[Take a drink. Put the bottle down as if to begin speaking, then instead to drink again.]

Fatty feels this would be an exceptional time to thank God for inventing the avocado. He has spent some time trying to imagine a more delicious and perfect food, and cannot. Although cashews come pretty close, and Nutella’s right there in the mix.

But Fatty isn’t thanking God for Nutella. The thanks for Nutella go to Ferrero. Thanks, Ferrero!

[Drink again. Begin speaking louder.]

Fatty would also like to thank those who nominated him for Best Sports Blog. At the same time, Fatty would like to apologize for blogging about Sports very rarely. Furthermore, Fatty would like to concede that cycling, at least the way he does it, can barely be called a sport at all.

[Drink again. Grab the podium for support.]

As long as he is apologizing, Fatty would like to apologize on behalf of cyclists everywhere for wearing tight black lycra shorts. While Fatty does not think he bears any particular responsibility for this general transgression, he does understand the anger and frustration these shorts cause, and feels that someone ought to apologize.

[Drink. Fall down. Use podium to climb back up into standing position. Begin yelling into the microphone (or megaphone) as if your voice were not being amplified.]

None of what I just said should be in any way construed as Fatty giving up this Bloggie. It’s his. You can’t have it. Go get your own.

[Drink, fall down, and go to sleep.]

Rocky, The Karmic Black Hole

03.13.2009 | 3:00 am

When you go on an endurance ride, you’ve got to choose your partners carefully. You’ve got to have similar endurance and strength, sure, but that’s not really what I mean. You’ve got to pick people you are not going to get sick of. If you don’t like knock-knock jokes, don’t go riding with a guy famous for his knock-knock joke-telling prowess. If you don’t like complainers, don’t go riding with a guy famous for finding fault with everything.

If you don’t like someone paying attention to every little thing and eventually writing a story where you’re the punchline, maybe don’t go riding with me.rocky1.jpg

Amazingly, my brother-in-law, Rocky, is one of those guys I can ride with all day. He’s interesting. He’s smart. He’s a good rider. He’s curiously devoid of annoying habits.

Above all, though, Rocky is a good guy to ride with because he has such remarkably bad luck that you know — know — something interesting is going to happen when you go riding with him. I’m not just talking about a tendency to have occasional mishaps. No, indeed. I am talking about a special gift for bad luck. The Bad Luck Continuum warps and shifts, just so it can find Rocky.

If you were fated to have bad luck today — your horoscope, fortune cookie, and priest all told you so — ride with Rocky. You’ll be just fine.

Kokopelli: Round 1

When Rocky and I first tried riding the Kokopelli Trail — a 142-mile desert trail connecting Moab, UT up to Mack, CO — neither of us had any endurance experience, so I guess we deserved anything that happened to us.

Within the first hour, we had missed a turn on Sand Flats road. We didn’t figure this out for about another 45 minutes, by which time we figured — wrongly — it would be better to continue on Sand Flats road until it connected up with the La Sals Mountain road.

Riding on a flat, road in deep sand is harder than a hard climb. We were both cooked by the time we got to the paved road, at which point we still had a long additional climb ahead of us.

And it was summer. I’d guess it was about 90 degrees.

Rocky was running out of water fast, because his superpower is to sweat faster than he can drink, but he didn’t complain. That’s not his way.

We kept going, and I didn’t really pay attention to the fact that Rocky was slowing down. Or that his speech was starting to slur. Or that he no longer was raising his head to look around. I was too busy having the best day of my life. I was discovering I loved long rides. I was discovering that the view from Beaver Mesa into Fisher Valley was impossibly beautiful. I was discovering that there was nothing I would rather do in the world than mountain bike in the wilderness.

Hey, where’d Rocky go?

To my credit, I gave Rocky half of what water I still had when he ran out. To my shame, I gave him the Apple-flavored Cytomax, which was just a flawed concept in sports drinks. So no extra good karma points for me, I guess.

Rocky got progressively worse as we rode toward Fisher Valley. By the time we finally got into the valley, he was no longer fully lucid. He couldn’t ride his bike anymore, and could only barely walk it. His head lolled.

This is, to this day, the benchmark I have for bonked-ness. Yes, Rocky is the gold standard by which all other bonks must be measured. For example, if you were very, very bonked, you might say, “Oh, I was pretty bad off. You could say I was at about a .82 on the Rocky Bonk Scale.” I have never ever ever seen someone as cooked as Rocky was.

Just bad luck, really.

Kokopelli, Round 2

The next year, we tried the Kokopelli again. This time, we had no trouble finding the turn we had missed the previous year, and the first day went swimmingly. Rocky, Bob, and I rode together in the lead group (quite a few people joined us this second year, in spite of how the first year went) and made it to camp without any problems. I think all three of us would agree it was about as perfect a day as could be had on a mountain bike.

Of course, we were all starved when we got to camp at Dewey Bridge. My dad was acting as support, and had everything all ready to go, including a massive spread of food my sister Kellene had put together for us and sent along.

I ate my share of the chicken enchiladas — and your share, too — but the salad looked a little . . . I dunno . . . wilted. I skipped it.

Rocky had three helpings.

He spent the night barfing, ‘til there was nothing left to barf.

Then, just to underscore his point, he spent the rest of the night convulsing in dry heaves.

I, on the other hand, slept better than I have ever slept while camping.

To my amazement, in the morning Rocky said he would continue on. And he really was something to behold. He was like the little engine that could. He’d ride for five minutes, stop, put a foot down, and heave. Then he’d continue on.

Then, just after passing the Westwater ranger station, Rocky sat down. He could no longer ride. He made a call, got a ride, and the rest of us continued on.

Man, that Rocky. He has some bad luck.

Kokopelli, Round 3

The next year, we tried again. This year, though, it rained. The whole day. Sand Flats road showed us that there was considerable clay under that sand, and jammed up our bikes. Then we froze riding down the La Sal road. Beaver Mesa was a soupy swamp. I finally made the no-go call just before we dropped into Fisher Valley, where we could easily have been trapped in muck without the benefit of a support vehicle.

Too bad about the rain for Rocky, especially, since he seemed stronger and better prepared for a long ride than he ever had.

Kokopelli Round 4

The next year, Rocky declined to do the by-now annual Kokopelli trail ride, saying it was cursed.

We completed it without incident.

Leadville, Round 1

I’ve gone on and on in this blog about my experiences with the Leadville 100, but Rocky’s are perhaps more dramatic.

Rocky and I tried the Leadville 100 for the first time the same year. We trained the same, and we talked about the ride constantly. We had agreed that we would ride together if we could, but wouldn’t make a big deal out of it, because we have different strengths — I climbed fast, he descended fast. If we each held up for each other, we’d be slower than either of us would be alone.

And so, after the first climb, I expected to see Rocky catch me on the first descent. But he didn’t. And in fact, I didn’t see him until we crossed paths on the Columbine climb.

Rocky looked cooked. It was that can’t-drink-as-fast-as-I-sweat superpower, coming out in force.

Dug, Brad, and I all finished the race with times pretty close to what we had targeted, which is surprising, since none of us had done the race before. Then we waited at the finish line, expecting each rider to be Rocky.

And we waited.

And we waited some more.

Then Rocky tapped me on the shoulder from behind and said, “Hey, guys.”

Evidently, at the final aid station — after he had ridden 75 miles that day — Rocky was so pale and dehydrated that the course official yanked him off the course, put him in an ambulance, and sent him off to the hospital, where they loaded him up with two bags of glucose and sent him on his way.

I tell you, Rocky has some bad luck.

Leadville, Round 2

That next year, Rocky came back to Leadville with a new Camelbak: the HAWG. It holds 200 ounces of water, which is way overkill for a race that has aid stations no further apart than every ten miles.

But Rocky was making a point: this year, he would not be dehydrated.

This was not the only new equipment Rocky brought to the table. He also had a bright yellow riser handlebar.

Dug noticed it immediately. “Where’d you get that Taiwanese piece of crap?” he asked. Dug’s gruff, yet curiously unloveable.

Rocky replied, but none of us heard him. We were all looking askance now at this strange-looking handlebar. Well, it’d be fine, right?

I contend that the handlebar would in fact have been fine if either of the following were true:

  • Dug had not singled it out for ridicule.
  • Anybody but Rocky were using it.

It almost seems beside the point to say that at mile 85 — yes, with only 15 miles left in the race, after all of the really hard climbs were behind him, Rocky’s handlebar snapped in half as he was descending the only singletrack — and there’s only ¼ mile of it — in the entire course.

Okay, can we all now agree that this is not just random chance? That Rocky, my super-nice brother-in-law, has somehow angered an evil, ancient spirit?

Rocky, I hate to tell you this, because you’re really and truly a great guy, but…you are a Karmic Black Hole.

An Open Letter to Rockstar Games

03.12.2009 | 11:18 am

Dear Rockstar Video Games,

I recently read in Bike Biz about a rumor that you are considering creating a mountain biking video game. Initially, I was very excited by the thought of this. I love the idea of being able to sit on my couch and pretend to go mountain biking. This would save me from hours and hours of the inconvenience I currently have to endure by actually getting on my bike and going riding for real.

But then I noticed that this Bike Biz story is tied to Steve Romaniuk, a Mongoose-sponsored freerider known for jumps, speed, and big drops.

Frankly, Rockstar, I just don’t understand why you would want to create a video game based on that kind of riding. Who wants an adrenaline-fueled, physics-defying, air-launching, speed-rushing video game? It’s a recipe for disaster.

Instead, I would like to propose a different video game:

Middle-Aged Cross-Country Mountain Bike Enthusiast

I have given the idea for this game some thought, and upon reviewing my ideas below, you’ll agree this is by far the superior game idea.

The Premise

You are a paunchy middle-aged man (or woman — your choice) who loves biking more than just about anything in the world, but you need to balance your passion for riding with job, family, and community responsibilities. You must also take into account your budget, your trick knee, and the fact that you’re not getting any younger.

The Objectives

The objectives of Middle-Aged Cross-Country Mountain Bike Enthusiast (MACXMoBE) are threefold:

  • Have fun
  • Lose enough weight to squeeze into the jerseys you bought last year without embarrassing yourself
  • Finish in the top third of the Master’s category at a local race
  • Don’t injure yourself, because you’ve got more than yourself to consider


Playing MACXMoBE is as intense as it is realistic. You’ll actually feel like a real middle-aged man as you thrill to the folllowing:

  • Climb technical pitches at 2.5mph: You’re climbing a technical pitch on dusty singletrack. Your heart rate is pegged. Your back wheel is slipping. Hikers are passing you. Can you stay on your saddle, or will you have to put a foot down and push the rest of the way?
  • Choose the safe line: You’re on a technically-challenging, steep descent, riddled with jumps, ledges, roots, and rocks. Can you safely avoid all of them, thereby ensuring that your limbs and brain are all intact and usable for when you go back to work next Monday?
  • Convince your significant other that you deserve to buy a new bike: You have only four mountain bikes. Your friends have, on average, five. And you’ve been wanting to try out this 29″ thing for some time now. Convince your significant other that this is a worthwhile purchase, that you can afford this bike, that this bike is really, seriously the last one you’re going to want for a very, very long time, and that this bike is somehow different than the other bikes.
  • Choose whether it’s more important to go to your 5-yr-old’s soccer game than go out on the ride everyone’s been talking about for weeks. And then either watch a 90-minute non-interactive montage of kids chasing a ball around a field, or start the next level with your Guilt MeterTM at maximum.
  • Assess and try to correct the sharp pain you get in the front of your knee when you climb. Your knee hurts like crazy when you’re climbing. Should you move your saddle up? Down? Forward or backward? Or maybe it’s your crank length! Or you’re mashing too hard! Or it’s quite possibly unrelated to cycling at all! Speculate endlessly and fiddle constantly, looking for a sweet spot that may or may not exist.
  • Try to keep up with younger riders: Somehow you’ve wound up on a rider ten years your junior? Can you keep up on the climb? How about on the downhill? Is it worth it to find out?
  • Evangelize the cycling lifestyle to skeptical neighbors: Your neighbor has asked a few times about all the bikes in your garage, so now you’re going to convince him to come on a ride with you. Choose the correct combination of lies and he’ll join you, which earns you twenty Brownie PointsTM for being neighborly (which can assist greatly the next time you attempt the “Convince your significant other that you deserve to buy a new bike” level).

Boss Levels

As you complete various levels and progress in difficulty, you will be forced to prove your commitment to the game by attempting these challenging Boss levels.

  • Field Repair: You taco a wheel in the middle of nowhere. It starts to hail. Oh, and there’s lighning, too. And it’s dark. Fix the wheel and get home before you catch pneumonia.
  • Endurance Race: A riding buddy has convinced you to do a 100-mile race. See if you can sit and play this game for 10 hours. Or maybe 14.
  • Figure out what that strange clicking noise is: You’re just riding along, but there’s a clicking sound coming from either your rear wheel, your frame, your chain, or your bottom bracket. It’s hard to tell which. Diagnose the problem, then take your bike into the local bike store and try to explain the sound and your best guess as to what the issue is to the mechanic.
  • Arrange a Group Ride With Other MACXMoBE Players: Quite possibly the most difficult boss level of all, you’re put in charge of finding a day and time when you and all your middle-aged friends — each of which also has a job and family — can ride together for two hours. Good luck!

Rockstar, I am confident you can recognize a winner when you see it. Please feel free to consult with me further about additional ideas for this exciting new game (and followups, like “Cyclocross Racer!”). I look forward to sharing in the enormous sales and profits MACXMoBE is sure to bring.

Kind Regards,

The Fat Cyclist

The Hot Black Jersey: Myth or Fact?

03.11.2009 | 1:15 pm

Yesterday, I unveiled the Team Fatty jersey. And there was much rejoicing.Untitled-1.jpg

Among the rejoicers, however, were a number of rabble-rousers, each of which was rousing the same particular rabblet (“rabblet is the singular of “rabble”):

Black jerseys are too hot.

Now, I very nearly started compiling a list of helpful suggestions to ameliorate the “black is hot” problem. This list would have included (but not been limited to) the following:

  • Turn the jersey inside out. Voila! It’s white! Also, I have no idea how to put the accent mark on the “a” in “voila.”
  • Wear a really big, chrome helmet. Then always ride at noon, when the sun is directly overhead and will reflect off your highly-polished helmet, which incidentally acts as an umbrella for the rest of your body.
  • Move to Alaska. Hey, it worked for Jill! Except for the frostbite, of course.
  • Move to Scandinavia. Really, this is basically the same suggestion as moving to Alaska, except with better chocolate and bread.
  • Ride at Night. But not on the road. Fat Cyclist jersey at night on dirt = awesome. Fat Cyclist jersey at night on pavement = strictly forbidden.

But then I started thinking. And it occurred to me that, sure, a black jersey might be a little warmer than a pure white jersey. But white jerseys have their own problems. Anyone who’s ever seen a large, sweaty, hairy man in a white jersey knows what I am talking about, and I believe will confirm that it’s less attractive than it sounds. And it doesn’t even sound all that attractive to begin with.

And then I started questioning the easy assumption: that a black jersey is going to be meaningfully more warm to wear than other colorful jerseys. For example, would a Team Fatty jersey be hotter than this jersey?


Well, that depends. If, by “hotter,” you mean “sexier,” then I think the answer is an unequivocal yes: the Team Fatty jersey will make you look much, much hotter than a jersey with a frog pole-dancing on a seatpost.

But if you mean “warmer, by temperature,” then I’m not so sure.

Let’s Ask The Internet, Because It’s Always Right

The Straight Dope (not a site about heterosexual drug users) makes some interesting points, based on actual science. First, if it’s cold and there’s no wind — which pretty well describes the opposite of the conditions one experiences when riding a bike on a hot day — black is indeed warmer.

But when it’s warm and there’s wind (or you’re in motion)?

With even a modest wind (anything above 3 m/s, or about 7 m.p.h.) fluffed white plumage exhibit the lowest net heat loss. This explains the large number of arctic animals that are fluffy and white. It’s not just camouflage.

At high temperatures, as I say, white is best at not transmitting solar/ambient heat to the skin when windspeed is zero (only barely better when fluffed). However, with an increase in windspeed (again anything above 3 m/s), fluffed black plumage is the best at reducing the amount of heat transmitted to the skin. Flattened black plumage is the worst in terms of heat gain no matter what the windspeed.

So yes, they’re talking about birds here. But if I understand correctly (and I always do), if you’re in motion and you’re sweating and you’re wearing wicking material, that black you’re wearing is efficiently conducting heat away from your body.

More efficiently than any other color, in fact. Which, according to this article, explains why polar bears are white (no, it’s not just for camoflauge), and why “desert-dwelling nomadic people such as the Tuaregs wear loose-fitting black clothing.”

Experiment Time

Here’s the thing, though: that Straight Dope piece makes sense to me anecdotally, because I’ve worn the black Fat Cyclist jersey on hot days without feeling unusual heat, and I always wear black biking shorts and haven’t ever thought to myself, “Hey, the parts of my legs covered by my shorts are a lot hotter than the rest of me.”

But still, it does feel counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

So I thought to myself, “I wish someone would conduct some sort of experiment to see whether the Fat Cyclist jersey does in fact make you hotter. And by “hotter,” I of course mean “higher in temperature,” because the fact that it makes you look hotter — as in sexier — is not even up for debate.

Where are the Mythbusters when you need them?

OK, that’s kind of a stupid question (yes, there is such a thing), because of course the Mythbusters don’t change their location based on whether I need them or not.

Stupid Mythbusters.

So I decided to do the experiment myself. But the thing is, this isn’t an easy experiment to conduct. I mean, how am I supposed to:

  • Factor out the difference in material between two jerseys? If one of the jerseys is made of burlap, it’s going to be warmer no matter what.
  • Factor out the difference between test subjects? I can’t have the same person do the tests on different days or even different times, because outside conditions can vary considerably. But finding two people who are similar enough that I can expect nearly identical results is not going to be easy.
  • Measure temperature on the subjects? Should I measure skin temperature? Core temperature? Both?

But then I realized: I am in a really excellent position to conduct this experiment. Here’s why:


Yep, I have identical twins. They’re within a quarter inch in height of each other and within two ounces in weight. And — most importantly — they think anything I want to do is awesome right now. Yeah, I know that won’t last forever. I’m enjoying it right now, though.

And how about the jerseys? Well, that’s easy:


One of the twins will wear a jersey inside out. Magically, it becomes white! And hilariously embarrassing when captured for posterity in photograph albums!

So anyway, here’s the experiment, which I will conduct this Saturday, which is supposed to be warm:

  1. I start by measuring their internal and skin temperature.
  2. We go outside during the warmest part of the day and ride bikes, jump on the trampoline, play tag, and otherwise generally stay very active for half an hour.
  3. I measure their internal and skin temperature again.

I will report the findings, however they turn out.

Suggestions and Predictions?

I’d be interested to hear any suggestions on making this experiment valid. Especially if you have suggestions on how to accurately measure skin temperature. And if you have a pretty good idea of how this will turn out, I’ll be interested to hear your prediction.

Fat Cyclist: It’s not just comedy anymore. We’re downright educational.

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