2010 Gary Fisher Ride Camp: This Time We Ride

09.14.2009 | 6:48 am

There are many good things about being The Fat Cyclist. Chief among these, of course, is being able to introduce myself by name (“Hi, I’m Elden Nelson”), and then follow it up with my nickname (“But please, feel free to call me ‘Fatty.’”). It catches people off-guard, making it much easier for me to ask them to loan me money.

Last weekend, I told lots of cycling celebrities — some of them very nearly as famous as I — to call me Fatty.

For example, I am now good friends with US National champs Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Heather Irmiger, not to mention MTB Hall-o-Famer Travis Brown. Check us out:


The four of us walked around like that — arm and arm, all smiles, with me snugly between (husband and wife) Jeremy and Heather — for hours.

When we were riding together, I made a case — at some length, and in exciting detail — for why Jeremy and Heather should ride a tandem at the Leadville 100 next year. Yes, I really did. Here I am, recapping, just in case my points were not entirely clear the first three times I made them (Gary’s in the background left of the below photo, clearly wishing he could join the conversation):


They said they would take the idea under advisement. (And no, I have no idea what the guy in the blue jersey (an editor from Bicycling) is doing in this photo.)

After our time together, they were very sad to see me go. We exchanged numbers. I was certainly surprised to find that all three of them had the area code 555!

I also got to meet Jesse, who did the artwork for the bikes and jerseys — the very best-looking designs Fisher has ever produced, in my award-winning opinion — you’ll see in all the pictures below. I


Knowing that he might be there, I made certain to wear my Bare Knuckle Brigade jersey. And to suck my gut in so hard that my neck bulged.

Jesse, by the way, has a 2010 Superfly Singlespeed built up at 16.5 pounds. That’s the same weight as a nice light road bike, folks. ‘Course, to do this, he put on super skinny tires, which I rolled my eyes at. And then he crushed the singletrack — including all the rough rocky stuff — the whole time.

But I’m still going to use really fat tires.

Oh, by the way, you know who the rider in the background in that picture is? Gary Fisher.

SuperFly 100 Impressions

Of course, the real reason I was there was to get a picture of me getting headlocked by Gary Fisher (mission accomplished within the first 15 minutes, by the way), but I was also there to see and ride really nice bikes at other peoples’ expense.

Oh, you have no idea how wonderful it feels to be able to say that. I believe I will say it again: I was riding really nice bikes at other peoples’ expense.

I’d say it a third time, but I’m afraid you might begin to suspect I am gloating.

The first bike I took out was the new full-suspension version of the Superfly: The Superfly 100.


It took about fifteen minutes of riding for me to feel comfortable on this bike, during which I shoulder-kissed a tree and did an unintentional nose-wheelie into a boulder. I claim that the reason I was riding like it was a game of pinball is that I was unused to the complexity of gears and suspension. After all, I’ve been riding rigid single most of the year; this felt a little foreign to me.

The truth is, though, I think I was a little over-amped. (Caffeine is your friend, until it’s not.)

Once I had been on the bike a few minutes, though, I started liking it. A lot. With the front end locked out I got comfortable with climbing fairly quickly. No, it’s doesn’t feel as direct as a hardtail, but it does feel good — you can still feel the trail characteristics beneath you; they’re just muted.

And downhilling is a lot of fun with this bike. If you’re used to — and like — the Fisher geometry, this bike feels very comfortable descending. Like a Paragon or a Superfly, but you can hit bigger stuff.

I love my hardtails, but this bike does make me think about suspension.

And the trails were OK, I suppose.


This is my friend Gary Fisher, riding past me. He jokingly punched me in the throat as he went by. Ha ha! Good one, Gary!

RumbleFish Impressions

While the Superfly 100 feels like a full-suspension bike made for people who love hardtails, the RumbleFish feels…big.


At around 28 pounds and with like eight feet of suspension, you don’t so much ride it up a mountain as you do manage it. I felt too high up on this bike, both when climbing and descending. I found myself shifting often, compensating at every change in gradient for the sluggish feel of the bike.

Now, there are people who will love this bike — I can imagine that my brother in law Rocky would love this bike, for example, because he loves to huck himself down steep boulder fields and 10′ drops.

But that’s not the way I ride. The RumbleFish is for someone else.

Superfly SS

I believe I’ve weighed in sufficiently on the Superfly Singlespeed. I think my feelings about this bike may even be somewhat clear.

So really, I just wanted to show you what the 2010 “now you too can own one” version looks like, and show you that I’ve touched one in real life.

I love the paint scheme for this bike — they’ve moved away from the “carbon weave” look altogether, and it’s about time.


Instead, the colors are matte — not too different from a powder coat look. It looks great.

That’s Mountain Flyer’s Brien Riepe, by the way, ogling my ride. You can check out his impressions of the new Gary Fisher stuff here.

The Superfly Singlespeed will be available as a frame / fork only, which — to me — is just about perfect: I love obsessing over every component when I build a new bike.

However, I hope that once the Switchblade 2 — the G2-corrected carbon fork replacing the current Switchblade — comes out later this year, they’ll make that an option on the frame / fork purchase. Because a lot of us ride rigid.

And this is one sexy-looking fork (pre-production version shown here on Jesse’s bike):


Yeah, I just said a mountain bike fork is sexy. What of it?

And now, let’s finish with one last shot of the top tube, customized especially for me.




  1. Comment by Big Boned | 09.14.2009 | 7:02 am

    Thank GOD! A picture of another fabulous bike someone is no doubtedly giving you, this time without that GEORGEOUS tree to distract me. I wonder what kind of tree that is…SNAP! Almost got distracted!
    That is a nice bike, but it begs the question: do you have any room left in the garage for such baubles at this point?

    In spite of much insinuating, hinting, and begging, I’m afraid no bikes were given to me. That decal peels off easily. However, I do have the option to buy, and there’s always room for one more bike in the garage, especially if I get rid of some of the kids’ junk…. – FC

  2. Comment by leon | 09.14.2009 | 7:04 am

    man that was some serious bike porn!

  3. Comment by Jeff | 09.14.2009 | 7:16 am

    Oh man, I just got done telling my wife that I wouldn’t be buying any bikes for a couple years…

  4. Comment by Rantwick | 09.14.2009 | 7:19 am

    Gaaah. Gaaaah. I couldn’t agree more about frame/fork only offerings. When you’re looking at bikes that nice, you gotta know a good many buyers will want control over every last component. It’s rally nice to see yourself enjoying cycling’s stratosphere. Enjoy it, man… as if you needed to be told.

  5. Comment by Mikeonhisbike | 09.14.2009 | 7:23 am

    “I was also there to see and ride really nice bikes at other peoples’ expense.” That sounds like one heck of a day. Next time you need a personal assistant at one of these events let me know.

  6. Comment by lifein360 | 09.14.2009 | 7:28 am

    Is it me or are those bikes huge? They look massive! Of course I want one now. grrrr

    29ers looked big to me when I first saw them. Now 26ers look tiny. It all depends on what you’re used to. – FC

  7. Comment by Linda | 09.14.2009 | 7:53 am

    Yeah, the bikes were nice, but the best shot was the picture of Elden and Jesse because Elden’s quads stole the shot.

  8. Comment by MOCougFan | 09.14.2009 | 7:54 am

    I am speechless. That is cool looking. Having your name on a GF bike must have been cool. The Rumblefish would be cool for some of the rides I see Curiak and company doing.

  9. Comment by km | 09.14.2009 | 7:55 am


  10. Comment by Stephanie | 09.14.2009 | 7:55 am

    Sexy is the perfect word for the fork!

  11. Comment by VT_Rob | 09.14.2009 | 8:16 am

    That looks like so much fun. A true bike geeks dream. Thanks for the reports!

    I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that there are NO 26″ HiFi’s!!

  12. Comment by NoTrail | 09.14.2009 | 8:21 am

    Looks like a great time. However, your ‘headtube’ in that last shot looks suspiciously like a top tube to me … hmm. :)

    D’oh! Thanks for the catch. Fixing now…. – FC

  13. Comment by Frank | 09.14.2009 | 8:26 am

    I’m really tempted now to try mountain biking. I used to ride a hybrid (kind-of hard tail with fat tires) in my early years but never really left the pavement. Of course these bikes are out of my price range…

    Did Gary give you guys a shrinking potion or are these bikes really that big? BTW the landscape looks breathtaking. I really have to visit this part of the country one of these days.

  14. Comment by Spiff | 09.14.2009 | 8:33 am

    Is there any fork that wouldn’t look tiny/spindly/frail attached to the massive headtube/toptube/downtube junction on the Singlefly?

  15. Comment by Chris | 09.14.2009 | 8:42 am

    I LOVED this post. You’re funny.

    “The four of us walked around like that — arm and arm, all smiles, with me snugly between (husband and wife) Jeremy and Heather — for hours.” — Best part, along with all the Gary Fisher, new BFF, comments.

  16. Comment by Onan the Barbarian | 09.14.2009 | 8:47 am

    Alas, I think those bikes would be WAY too big for my rather shortish inseam so I’m going to have to pass on these.

    Yeah, that’s what I’ll go with.

    /I have seriously short legs, yet weigh a ton.

  17. Comment by Brandon S. | 09.14.2009 | 8:52 am

    How much travel did the Rumblefish have? And did you get to take home your custom SS?

  18. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.14.2009 | 8:59 am

    I love the industrial-look fork – verrry sexy.

    Glad you & Jeremy could agree to both pose with fully flexed quads. It would have looked unbalanced if only one of you flexed.

  19. Comment by Maik | 09.14.2009 | 9:19 am

    I got to the pic with the customized top tube, and my reaction was, “NO WAY! That HAS to be photoshopped!”

    That’s probably the reaction you were gunning for, huh?

  20. Comment by Rick S. | 09.14.2009 | 9:29 am

    There is now way that was just a casual group ride. It was a race right? Did you put Jesse into the red zone?

  21. Comment by Jenni Laurita | 09.14.2009 | 9:29 am

    Fatty, seriously, you’ve become two dimensional. I’m beginning to suspect you’re standing behind that skinny tree during the bike shoots.

  22. Comment by mikE | 09.14.2009 | 9:39 am

    Ha Ha, a fat man calling a fork sexy… what’s next, a cop eating a donut?

  23. Comment by Tag | 09.14.2009 | 10:05 am

    You know if you were nicer to Gary – he probably feel the need to suckerpunch you all the time.

    Just Sayin…

  24. Comment by KanyonKris | 09.14.2009 | 10:44 am

    This event is like non-cyclists going to Vegas.

    Sweet bikes.

  25. Comment by Haven (used to be Kt) | 09.14.2009 | 11:48 am

    That shot of you with the bike in the field makes it look like you shrank. Is that bike really that incredibly huge, or are you really that short?

    (I could take a picture of my 7-year old niece holding my bike and get the same effect.)

    Oh, and are you wearing MANPRIS in that picture???

    Seriously, though: sounds like you had a lot of fun. Did Gary make it his mission to get into every one of your pictures?

  26. Comment by SurlyCommuter | 09.14.2009 | 11:57 am

    Very cool Fatty – however you are still looking decidedly unfat! BTW, my cousin just moved to SLC as a direct result of me pointing him to your blog – he was planning on riding Tibble Fork this next week when he gets back from Spokane. Keep up the great work!

  27. Comment by jb | 09.14.2009 | 12:37 pm

    Folks, forget about the bikes for a moment and enjoy the writing qua writing — it’s superb!

    Elden, you’re a humorist of the first magnitude.

    You’re like a velocipedic Mark Twain, a Terry Southern with monster quads, a Hunter Thompson with Luna bars and Big Wheels.

  28. Comment by Mike Roadie | 09.14.2009 | 1:46 pm

    I was looking through all those pictures…….do you have a friend named Gary????


  29. Comment by 100poundsago | 09.14.2009 | 2:31 pm

    For some reason thinking of you 4 walking around arm in arm the theme song for Laverne and Shirley plays through my head? Odd.

  30. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 09.14.2009 | 2:36 pm

    Love the visual of the four of you walking around arm in arm for hours…makes me smile.

  31. Comment by Yvette | 09.14.2009 | 2:48 pm

    I’m not the only one noticing that Fatty’s looking kinda hot, am I?

  32. Comment by Rose | 09.14.2009 | 2:51 pm

    >> This is my friend Gary Fisher, riding past me. He jokingly punched me in the throat as he went by. Ha ha! Good one, Gary! <<

    Bwahahahahah! Can’t stop laughing!

  33. Comment by sarah | 09.14.2009 | 2:56 pm

    yeah! thanks for the update, fatty!

  34. Comment by Jeff Sebolt | 09.14.2009 | 3:26 pm


    The kids would be perfectly fine with a few sticks and a refrigerator box. Get that bike.

  35. Comment by Big Boned | 09.14.2009 | 3:42 pm

    If Gary didn’t let you keep that after customizing it for you, YOU should be the one doing the punching in the throat!

  36. Comment by smoen | 09.14.2009 | 5:24 pm

    congrats on being on the front page of twinsix.com

  37. Comment by Joel P. | 09.14.2009 | 7:03 pm

    I’m a little concerned about your friendship with Gary Fisher. First a noogie, then a throat punch. If you two become closer friends then what’s next, a blast with a Tazer, maybe the Vulcan nerve pinch?
    Joel P.

  38. Comment by Rachel | 09.14.2009 | 7:16 pm

    that looks like a horrible time. i bet you hated every minute of it. ;o)

  39. Comment by cheapie | 09.14.2009 | 7:58 pm

    woohoo! i have the same shirt as travis brown.

    btw, i’ve seen jhk race here in michigan in the iceman cometh race. just unbelievable.

    (i raced as well. can i claim that i’ve raced with him? hmmmmm…)

  40. Comment by Renee | 09.14.2009 | 8:58 pm

    mmmmm…. good looking men AND good looking bikes…..

  41. Comment by Charisa | 09.14.2009 | 9:46 pm

    Wow nice

  42. Comment by Dan O | 09.14.2009 | 9:51 pm

    Fun read. The Gary Fisher throat punch comment – best thing I’ve read all day.

  43. Comment by Bob | 09.15.2009 | 7:44 am

    The Superfly SS looks nice but I think I would go for the “with pedals” option. I suppose the really hardcore guys just get spindles surgically attached to the sides of their feet.

    I think the guy in the blue jersey is mentally pre-riding the course.

  44. Comment by Saso | 09.15.2009 | 8:21 am

    Well I am just jealous.

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