Some Days, It Is Good to Be the Fat Cyclist

05.8.2009 | 9:23 am

Yesterday’s post left me cooked. Going from righteous indignation to worry to bafflement to relief was just too much of a rollercoaster ride for me.

Today, I think, I need to write something that is pure and simple. Something good. Something about which, if at all possible, I can full-on gloat.


Let’s see.

Oh, I’ve got it.

Remember when I wrote that open letter to Specialized, complaining about how fast their mountain bike shoes fell apart for me? Well, toward the end of that post, I said:

I’ve been riding for fifteen years, and the shoe is the one piece of equipment I don’t feel like I’ve ever been perfectly happy with. I’d love to have a bike shoe that changes that. If you think you’ve got that bike shoe, email me.

And you know what? Specialized e-mailed me. In fact, they e-mailed me right away. And then they sent these:


Yes, I am the proud owner of a new set of Specialized BG Pro Carbon MTB shoes. And you know what? They look great, instantly felt comfortable (as I have mentioned, the Specialized Body Geometry fit has always been a strong point with their gloves and shoes), and the product manager told me I talked with said they’ve really been working on their material and construction quality. So I have high hopes for these.

And these shoes are mine to keep — not just test — so I guarantee you I will be checking in from time to time with how these are holding up.

Oh, but that’s not all they sent. Noting that the Specialized BG Ridge gloves I like so much are actually from a season or two ago, Specialized sent me their latest version of the glove:


Specialized points out that for this year, the palm padding isn’t as thick, which is true, and also an excellent call. Especially when riding a singlespeed, the thinner pad feels great, while still doing its job.

Something that is also new with this glove that I love is that it doesn’t have any kind of wristband. The glove just ends at your hand. Although it has a perfectly-placed little tab — look at the “bg” logo in the photo above — that makes it very easy to pull these gloves on.

I tell you: you never notice how restrictive a glove’s wristband is until it’s not there anymore. Losing the band was a huge improvement.

These are, seriously, the best gloves I’ve ever had. I wear them for both road and mountain biking.

The Real Surprise

I kinda sorta expected Specialized to get in touch with me. But I didn’t know if anyone else would. Based on the wild enthusiasm shown for Sidi shoes in the comments of my shoe rant, however, I was pretty excited when Sidi did in fact contact me.

Sidi talked with me for about forty-five minutes about what I wanted from a shoe, how shoes fit, and the kind of riding I like to do, and then sent me these:


Sidi Dominator 5s. In Mega width, thankyouverymuch. I’m pretty certain these are the second most beautiful shoes I have ever owned. And, so far, they fit comfortably — though the real test will be once I’ve broken them in and taken them out for a five-hour ride.

“But Fatty,” I hear you ask, “If these are the second most beautiful shoes you have ever owned, what — pray tell — are the very most beautiful shoes you have owned?”

Oh, well, that’s an easy question. See, Sidi sent me two pairs of shoes:


That’s right, I’ve got a pair of Dragon 2 Carbon SRSs. These shoes adjust to fit in a near-infinite number of ways, including how they fit your heels. They came with replaceable toe-guards, so I don’t destroy the shoes when hike-a-biking.

And they smell just like the inside of a brand new Ferrari. Or at least they did when I first got them. I haven’t checked again since taking them out.

Of course, how beautiful they are is not really the most important thing to me, since soon these shoes — even the Dragons — will be permanently covered in dust and mud. Expect to hear more about how each of these shoes fit and hold together over the long term.

Meanwhile, let’s summarize my mountain biking shoe situation as it stands today:


I told you I was going to gloat, didn’t I?

PS: I managed to lose all but the first 8 or so of the comments to this post. Some nights, it is not good to be the Fat Cyclist.

PPS: For those of you who are curious about how I managed to lose all those comments (>50), here’s what happened. Late Friday night I spent about 45 minutes trying to find a way to be able to watch the Giro, without success. It occurred to me that I was kind of like a junkie trying to get find someone to get me a fix, making increasingly desperate calls to get hooked up. So I started writing a post using that premise, then decided it was a one-line joke, not worth a whole post. So I went to delete the in-progress post. But — remember, this is late at night — I clicked the wrong post (ie, the shoe post) in my blog editing tool (Ecto, for those of you who care) without noticing it was the wrong post. pressed Delete, and answered Yes to the question “Delete both online and local versions?” without thinking about why it would ask me to delete the online version of something I hadn’t yet put online. And so then it was gone, comments and everything. Luckily I had an instance of a browser up with my blog entry and a few comments still showing. Using copy and paste, I replicated the post and those comments, and then promised myself I would never post or delete that late at night again.


  1. Comment by JAT in Seattle | 05.8.2009 | 11:29 pm

    Just outrageous!

    All these free shoes must make your tax return kind of complicated though. That’s what I’m telling myself to keep from tearing up.

  2. Comment by Jamieson | 05.8.2009 | 11:30 pm

    It’s good to be the king!

    I guess as long as you can sell a review to a bicycling magazine you can write off the gift of the shoes as part of your job.

    It is great to see that the companies are watching and that you have become a market influencer.

  3. Comment by Weiland | 05.8.2009 | 11:31 pm

    Yeah you’re gloat is showing

  4. Comment by Clydesteve | 05.8.2009 | 11:31 pm

    yes you did. and i thought one pair of shoes would have been a sufficient gloat.

    i cannot believe you got two pairs of SIDIs, including MEGA width.

    i search through nashbar and performance for an offbrand of crap that comes in wide that i can afford. in vain. PI used to make an $80 shoe i could get for $50 or $60 on sale that were wide enough, but the newest versions are narrow enough for an italian gigalo.

    the envy is eating me up from the tips of my blistered dogs to the top of my balding head. it must be great to be a pitiful full-time professional blogger.

    where is Dr. Lammler – i need a whiney shoulder to cry on.

  5. Comment by tibiker | 05.8.2009 | 11:32 pm

    you’re welcome

  6. Comment by Clydesteve | 05.8.2009 | 11:32 pm

    Oh, BTW i take a 10EEEE

  7. Comment by tibiker | 05.8.2009 | 11:33 pm

    I hook you up and no mention? Ingrate. That’s gonna cost you extra lashings whilst you are on my trail building crew.

  8. Comment by Brandy | 05.8.2009 | 11:34 pm

    AWESOME-NESS!! I like the idea of that replaceable toe cover. I will be interested to see how it holds up.

    Ride safe,

  9. Comment by Orbea Girl | 05.9.2009 | 1:39 am

    Gloat away, you deserve it.

  10. Comment by buckythedonkey | 05.9.2009 | 1:53 am

    I’m looking forward to your upcoming revelation that Sidi have also provided for your road-going needs…

    Well deserved!


  11. Comment by km | 05.9.2009 | 8:26 am

    Lose my comments will you???!!! Allow me to retort. As I said, I’m insanely jealous and say to you “You Suck” but that’s only with the greatest feelings of respect tainted with blinding envy. Wow, three pairs of shoes and a pair of gloves?!! You’re going to love your SIDI’s, my favorite pair of shoes had been SIDI Dominators, (they lasted three full years in my racing days of training and racing before finally getting torn) if SIDI is ever looking for a test case I wear a sz 11. Your gloat is well earned! ENJOY!

  12. Comment by Gary | 05.9.2009 | 8:29 am

    I have a pair of Specialized mountain and a pair of Specialized Road shoes that have both been great for over five years. I used to be a SIDI fan but once my feet stopped being teenager feet the only thing my SIDIS are good for is mowing the lawn.
    Nice that your voice was heard enough to get your self a bunch of shoes that you like though

  13. Comment by Russell | 05.9.2009 | 8:35 am

    Hey Shimano! Shimano! Are you out there. My MTB shoes have a hole in them and sometimes my toes get numb because the fit is not exactly right because I have a 8 1/2 triple E foot size (duck feet some would say, as wide as they are long). I have tried some Pearl Izumi shoes (Yo! Pearl Izumi! Do you hear that!) that so far seem to beholding up pretty good, but I still have the toe problem because of my funny foot size. To get a good fit in the width, I have to buy a shoe size larger. I would love to try something that might fit a little better. Please feel free to post a comment at

  14. Comment by Mike | 05.9.2009 | 10:12 am

    Always good to hear that the business is willing to let an average guy catch a break and put their product test independent of influence.

    I just started riding Specialized mtb shoes, and can say I’m fairly happy (after <100 miles) with fit.

  15. Comment by Hamish A | 05.9.2009 | 11:27 am

    Shoes & Gloves are all well and good but we’re all* waiting to hear about the Superfly!

    * maybe not all, but I am, so pretty please?

    WIN Susan!

  16. Comment by Lissee (formerly known as Bitter) | 05.9.2009 | 11:37 am


    That’s all I have to say.

    Oh, and yeah, I like today’s post much better than yesterday’s much more in line with what I love about your blog. :)

    (oh, and I _am_ glad that everything was resolved yesterday.)

  17. Comment by John H. | 05.9.2009 | 12:43 pm

    And I had such a good comment yesterday, dang it Elden! :-)

  18. Comment by RedheadedStepChild | 05.9.2009 | 1:13 pm

    I have to second the glove love. I just got a set as an impulse buy, and they are fantastic!

  19. Comment by rantwick | 05.9.2009 | 1:56 pm

    “lost” the comments? Methinks Fatty was just purging my “Imelda” crack. Shoe addiction can’t be hidden, Fatty, or swept under the rug of computer user error.

  20. Comment by Dave H | 05.9.2009 | 4:22 pm

    Sidi doesn’t mess around when it comes to their business. Of all the reps I ever dealt with, they were the most professional — and generally cool dudes.

    My prediction is that you’ll fall in love with the Dominators and never ever look back.

  21. Comment by Jennifer | 05.9.2009 | 9:28 pm

    Nice work with the shoes!

    I love Specialized BG road gloves. I might have to try a pair of those Ridge gloves.

  22. Comment by RedheadedStepChilld | 05.10.2009 | 1:25 pm

    Jennifer- DO it. I’m pretty sure I’m going to snag another pair. It’s pretty rare that I can’t wear gloves 2 days in a row – but I don’t like using my old gloves. I was really happy with my old gloves before I got the ridge gloves too.

  23. Comment by Chubby Super Biker | 05.10.2009 | 9:32 pm

    Seriously, rock on fatty. I’m green, for reasons obvious, but hot damn.. who in their right mind would turn that down???

    p.s. I’ve GOT to order some of those gloves, I want some full-fingers with less than a lot but more than no padding

  24. Comment by Marla | 05.11.2009 | 8:21 am

    I love the BG gloves. And I’ve been a big fan of Specialized helmets for 15 years. The only helmet that I’ve worn that fits my egg shaped head:))

  25. Comment by Shiny Flu | 05.11.2009 | 9:32 am

    It’s good to be fatty. Nice gloat :)

  26. Comment by Katie | 05.11.2009 | 10:25 am

    This is mostly unrelated, except that I suspect being Fat Cyclist you could probably win a free Madsen Bucket Bike, given the fact that one winner is the person who directs the most traffic to their web site. Boy would THAT make a great post. Details:

    PS – I’m not connected with these people at all, and I don’t own one of their bikes. You and your blog just came to mind when I saw the terms of their contest.

  27. Comment by Demonic1 | 05.11.2009 | 12:12 pm

    I’m going with the “you suck” comment because I’m so jealous of the new Sidis. that’s over $550 in shoes right there….making minimum wage a person would have to work 71 hours to get those….an not pay any taxes.

    dang it feels good to be a gangster huh?

    bet they look sweet next to the Singlefly!

  28. Comment by Paul | 05.12.2009 | 1:05 pm

    Sidi Dominator 5s are my favorite off-road shoe. That’s what I’m racing cross with this year.

    Had a chance at some Dragons for cheap…didn’t get them, and I should have!


  29. Comment by Bruce Bebow | 05.14.2009 | 10:02 pm

    It sure would be nice if Specialized gave you a coupon code for a $5 discount on their BG RIDGE GLOVE on their website. I know I would give them a try.


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