What I Did During The Holidays

01.3.2010 | 9:44 pm

I have just returned from what can be reasonably and honestly called a whirlwind vacation in New York, flying out the day after Christmas, and returning New Year’s day.

I did not go alone.

I took my four kids. And The Runner. And two of her kids (hereafter known as The Swimmer and The IT Guy). And we met two of my sisters — Lori and Jodi, both of whom live in Brooklyn — and their families there. Bringing the crew to 15.

As I may have mentioned, I was not alone.

201001031352.jpgIn just under a week, we saw Wicked on Broadway, ate NY-style pizza in NY (a few times), had bagels for breakfast, eating them in a Brooklyn city park, rode the carousel in Central Park, went for a run in the bitter cold around Prospect Park in Brooklyn, went on another run over the Manhattan Bridge, through China Town, and back over the Brooklyn Bridge, saw the Tim Burton exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, rode the Staten Island Ferry at night to see the skyline and the Statue of Liberty, bought new wardrobes for the twins, saw the Cirque du Soleil, ate brunch at Bubby’s in the DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass, I think) neighborhood, saw Mary Poppins on Broadway, fought through an incredible sea of humanity in Times Square the night before New Years’ eve (hence convincing us not to come back on the actual New Years’ Eve), ate at Smiler’s, checked out Lori’s art studio, went to the Sony Wonderlab, and saw New Years’ fireworks from the roof of a Brooklyn apartment building.

That, by the way, is not an exhaustive list. Though by the time we flew home we were definitely exhausted.

We also, for example, rode the subway — a lot. To entertain ourselves on the ride, we sometimes had face-making contests.


Uh, yeah. I won.

Some of us — The Runner and her kids, my boys and me — also saw the Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.

From left to right: The Runner, The Phantom, The Swimmer, The IT Guy.

It is a matter of some dispute between The Runner and me as to how much time I spent sleeping during The Phantom. I maintain that during the scene where the heroine sings in the graveyard I got the main point of the song — that she was sad — pretty quickly, and just nodded off for a moment.

The Runner asserts there is no way I can know for sure how long I was asleep and that it certainly seemed like more than “a moment” to her.

Let’s just say that I fell asleep for a short period of time during what was The Runner’s very favorite part of the entire trip, and leave it at that, shall we?


The Most Important Part of the Trip

While I often — okay, very often — like to point out my status as a very important and beloved cycling comedy megablogger, I have to admit that there is another cycling comedy blogger who has, somehow, reached what was previously thought unattainable: mega-superstar status.

Bike Snob NYC.

What you may not know is that he and I are actually the same person.

No, wait. That rumor’s not true, although I hereby grant you permission to spread it around as if it were.

Actually, BSNYC (as his close friends call him) and I met at a bar in Brooklyn, where we talked for a good long time.

Unfortunately, I cannot for the life of me remember what it was we talked about. Between his extremely heavy Armenian accent and the fact that he speaks in nothing but heroic couplets, I was seriously distracted.

Doing my best to break through the language and linguistic barrier, I took notes. General topics of conversation included:

  • How awesome we each are (very).
  • Racing the Leadville 100 (he’s interested in giving it a try someday).
  • Travel time to get to really excellent singletrack (me: four minutes; him: 90+ minutes).
  • Whether we should trade blogs for a month and see if anyone notices (we’re both pretty sure they would).
  • His Bicycling magazine column (he sends them a thirty page draft each month, they publish the first three paragraphs).
  • His forthcoming book (to be printed on vellum in a cursive script).
  • Whether the letters “K” and “Q” have any unique purpose in the English language (he became quite agitated on this point and demanded I reduce my usage of Q by 30%).
  • Which is more delicious: chocolate or cheese (I went with chocolate, he went with cheese).
  • A comparison of our editorial processes (we both pretty much write whatever is in our respective heads and then publish the first draft).

Fortunately, I did get a couple of pictures. Here’s the first:


That (smallish) falling piano missed us by inches. Boy, I can tell you the bar owner was embarrassed!

So we took another picture. This time we were luckier with the photo:


So now you know why — until now — Bike Snob has protected his anonymity: he’s the Phantom of the Opera!

Yeah, it surprised me, too. Took me several minutes before I got so I could look away from his mask, and people kept coming up to him, asking him to sign stuff. Whereas during our entire time together, no more than six or eight people asked me for my autograph. It was incredibly disappointing, especially considering I had brought along 25 glossy eight-by-tens for that purpose.

And you know what? Not even he could satisfactorily explain why that girl in the graveyard was so sad.

Though to be fair, I maybe kinda dozed off when he tried. Just for a moment.


  1. Comment by trekjocky | 01.3.2010 | 11:50 pm

    Wow…… sounds like a great trip with some decent decompression mixed in with some stress. A happy and productive new year to you and your families.

    (wow really first? guess we will see……)

  2. Comment by Russell | 01.3.2010 | 11:53 pm

    Awesome as always.

  3. Comment by Sasha | 01.3.2010 | 11:53 pm

    Yay! Welcome back! I missed your columns! Glad you had such a busy and productive vacation. :) Though, it now wounds like you need a vacation from your vacation. Happy New Year!

  4. Comment by Sasha | 01.3.2010 | 11:54 pm

    Oops. I obviously can’t spell. That should be “sounds” not “wounds.” Sigh. I’m an idiot.

  5. Comment by Tommy F | 01.4.2010 | 12:25 am

    What? No riding in traffic tales? Oh well, I guess it really was a vacation then.

    I’m in for the Philly version of Team Fatty 2010. Anyone else from Georgia?

  6. Comment by jenjen | 01.4.2010 | 1:06 am

    Happy New Year Elden! I am glad you had a nice trip!


  7. Comment by bobbie | 01.4.2010 | 1:43 am

    I’m so glad you a such a wonderful, well-deserved vacation!!!

  8. Comment by Niall @ Brisvegas | 01.4.2010 | 2:06 am

    Welcome back. I have used up nearly half my data allowance checking to see if you had posted a new blog! Glad you had a good time. Only been to NYC once (for two days on a work trip) but would love to see some of the things you saw. And you have given us some very vital clues to the identity of BSNYC, these being:

    1. He is married.
    2. He likes wearing black.
    3. He likes drinking great beers at Bar Great Harry in Brooklyn.
    4. He wears a mask.

  9. Comment by Saso | 01.4.2010 | 2:25 am

    All the best in 2010!

  10. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 01.4.2010 | 2:58 am

    BSNYC is The Stig
    BSNYC is Wilson

  11. Comment by Shannon | 01.4.2010 | 4:12 am

    Looking forward to reading more adventures in 2010! Happy New Year.

  12. Comment by biqemiqe | 01.4.2010 | 6:13 am

    very happy new year stuff

  13. Comment by Uphillbattle | 01.4.2010 | 6:39 am

    I fell asleep during phantom as well! The husband took me to NYC for an anniversary weekend and I feel SOUNDLY asleep during Phantom, woke up when the house lights came on!

  14. Comment by jr | 01.4.2010 | 6:42 am

    what?!?!? bike snob is MARRIED!!!!! am i the only person to notice this!??!! this changes things, etc.

  15. Comment by Bruce Bebow | 01.4.2010 | 6:51 am

    Kick-butt vacation. We missed you, though.

  16. Comment by Noodle | 01.4.2010 | 7:22 am

    Bubbys! I love that place. Worth the squealing tots for the Bloody Marys and snappy bacon. Glad you got your money’s worth in Gotham. (And by money’s worth, I mean saw stuff. Because you probably got ripped off somewhere)

    btw, I heard via bike shop floor talk that BSNY is considering revealing his true identity. Is this true? I hope not…

    He has said elsewhere that he’ll be doing book signings when his book comes out, so I don’t see how he could keep his identity secret after that. – FC

  17. Comment by Niall @ Brisvegas | 01.4.2010 | 7:28 am

    Comment by jr | 01.4.2010 | 6:42 am
    what?!?!? bike snob is MARRIED!!!!! am i the only person to notice this!??!!

    Err…no…see my comment at 2.06a (6 before yours).

    Pretty sure that info was already available. BTW, I met his wife, too. – FC

  18. Comment by Harry | 01.4.2010 | 7:28 am

    Hey Fatty,

    Love you, man. Been talking with a lot of techie types recently and there’s a growing trend to ditch RSS feeds and follow blogs via Twitter. Any chance we’ll be able to follow you there soon?

    Sure, I can do that. – FC

  19. Comment by Big Shorty | 01.4.2010 | 7:39 am

    Awesome vacation….but the world needs to know. What was the gift for The Runner that had the awsome wrapping job? I still say it was a Snapper rider with a bagger attachment.

    Orbea Orca (in orange) with Dura Ace and PRO componentry. Our road bikes are very matchy-matchy. – FC

  20. Comment by Amy in Edmond | 01.4.2010 | 7:50 am

    I feel your pain. I fell asleep while watching Phantom of the Opera in London about 14 years ago. We went to see it the day we got there. Jet lag was a killer.

  21. Comment by Sara | 01.4.2010 | 7:51 am

    Also noticed 1 almost empty glass in front of BSNY, but 3 completely empty ones in from of Fatty? Good times! Glad you’re back!

  22. Comment by Kalli @ Fit and Forty Something | 01.4.2010 | 7:58 am

    Wow what a great trip and Welcome back!

  23. Comment by cece | 01.4.2010 | 8:00 am

    Missed you! Glad you’re back ! As a NYEr living in Albuquerque, I am happy you had a blast in the Big Apple!

  24. Comment by DC | 01.4.2010 | 8:17 am

    Is Photo shop one of the greatest comedic inventions ever? The piano was funny, to blur it as if it was falling- Comic genius!

  25. Comment by Jess | 01.4.2010 | 8:27 am

    Glad you had a great trip! The sister of my closest friend has a prominent role in that very production of Phantom… I won’t tell you which part… ha! :)

    To be fair, I’d likely fall asleep also. Drama is really not my thing.

  26. Comment by Stephanie | 01.4.2010 | 9:55 am

    Happy New Year Fatty! Glad you had great vaca in NYC! Glad you are back :)

  27. Comment by skippy | 01.4.2010 | 9:58 am

    following you on twitter, but got hit by RT of @dallagliocycle who i directed to follow you. he is making a fundraising trip in Feb rome-edinbourgh, visit his tweets.Produced several blogs on http://www.parrabuddy.blogspot.com whilst you were on holiday which i hope your family and friends enjoy.www.ridelikecrazy.com could use your expertise on 17 jan, have a look and see if any of your following live in adelaide. better still ask your radio shack buddies to represent you there!the fund raising is for Cancer related causes which fits in with your focus group!

    good to see you back to add color to the day!


    nybs not in the same league , but nice to see you give him a visit.

  28. Comment by Jason | 01.4.2010 | 10:00 am

    There was a New York Times article on BSNYC that mentioned his marital status.. and the fact that he likes margaritas.

  29. Comment by DPCowboy | 01.4.2010 | 10:00 am

    Falling asleep at The Phantom was a turning point in my (first) marriage. It happened at the beginning of the second act and happened again during the third act. She was NOT happy with me, and I believe that little catnap probably caused more harm than good, eventually.
    Sounds like a nice trip…especially drinks with the bike snob!

  30. Comment by Road Divit | 01.4.2010 | 10:51 am

    Yes you are correct cheese and chocolate are great together. There is a place in Rudolf Wisconsin that sells cheese fudge. No jokes either, the main ingrediant in there fudge is cheddar cheese. Awesome

  31. Comment by Barbara | 01.4.2010 | 11:15 am

    Not only were there 3 empty glasses in front of His Fatness, but they were all DIFFERENT (one of them quite “girly”)! What were you drinking???

    Glad you had a great time! AND glad you’re back!

  32. Comment by Dr. Lammler | 01.4.2010 | 11:29 am

    Very impressive.

    So, what did you do the second day?

  33. Comment by Chris Carlson | 01.4.2010 | 11:31 am

    You two are brothers from other mothers! I love reading both of your blogs!

  34. Comment by Barb Douglas | 01.4.2010 | 12:18 pm

    Awesome vacation. I’m with The Runner- Phantom is my favorite Broadway show and could no way fall asleep!!!
    Happy New Year!

    PS Jealous of her orange Orbea!

  35. Comment by kingsbridgedr | 01.4.2010 | 12:33 pm

    Fatty!! I not sure about that face!! It’s going to give me nightmare’s for sure! Keep up the great work!

  36. Comment by Philly Jen | 01.4.2010 | 12:34 pm

    I smell a TV theme song:

    “…and that’s the way we all became the Fatty Bunch!”

    But Snobby is not wearing the ever-popular Fat Cyclist Lounging Smock. This requires rectification.

  37. Comment by Bolter03 | 01.4.2010 | 12:36 pm

    As one who is also asthetically challenged in the good looks department, I feel i can speak with authority that the guy in the picture on the subway is one ugly dude! LOL. You might be able to ride away the pot belly but nothing is going to help that face!

  38. Comment by Lisa | 01.4.2010 | 12:41 pm

    Don’t worry about falling asleep during Phantom, I did the same thing when I saw it 12 years ago – oh but wait, I was pregnant with twins at the time. :D

  39. Comment by MrsTeamPhillips | 01.4.2010 | 12:52 pm

    There is a widely held belief here in Team Phillips that you and BSNYC are related, at least by marriage. And of course we don’t actually care if it’s true or not…

  40. Comment by Boz | 01.4.2010 | 12:53 pm

    I’ve alway picture BSNYC to look kinda like Andy Dick, not like the Phantom. Weird.

  41. Comment by Boz | 01.4.2010 | 12:53 pm


  42. Comment by Alyson | 01.4.2010 | 1:01 pm

    Elden, so glad you are back!! Bike Snob looks a lot thinner in his column photo – are you sure he didnt send an BSNYC impersonator to your meeting?.

    No worries though, he is not even half as entertaining as you are!!

  43. Comment by AngieG | 01.4.2010 | 1:02 pm

    FC, So glad you enjoyed the holiday. WE missed you, can you tell! :-)

    Went on my first long MTB this weekend with several folks from my cycling club. It was an awesome ride, 53 miles, lots of mud, brutal climbs, killer descents. Now I have a much better understanding of why you love it so much!!

  44. Comment by Kathleen Lisson | 01.4.2010 | 1:28 pm

    Details, details! How amazingly fun were your runs with your Alpha Female in New York City? There is no better way to see the city.

  45. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 01.4.2010 | 1:40 pm

    That’s a serious jam-packed and fun-filled adventure! Love it!

  46. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 01.4.2010 | 2:30 pm

    Ha ha ha! If I had been there, I would have asked for an autographed 8×10. Sounds like a heck of a trip!

  47. Comment by LIsa | 01.4.2010 | 2:39 pm

    Welcome back Fatty and family and new spiritual extended family,

    So happy you had a great vacation. You deserved. Hope the new year continues to bring you great joy.

    Elated that you will be tweeting your blog links as you post them. I’ve become a total Twitter aficionado and it rocks.

    For anyone not already attached by the hip to Twitter, here is a great article about why it is here to stay, appropriately titled as such:

    Why Twitter Will Endure – NYTimes.com http://bit.ly/8d5khx

    It’s a great article and extolls the benefit of even just using Twitter to follow thought leaders and rock stars of the blogosphere like Fatty.

  48. Comment by LIsa | 01.4.2010 | 2:40 pm

    ps. You deserved…”it”. (the vacation that is). Left the “it” out above. Have been typing too fast these days….

  49. Comment by Marlys | 01.4.2010 | 2:57 pm

    WOW! Did you, the Runner and assorted group pack a lot in over the holidays! Looks like you had an awesome time. All of you deserved it but “your throngs of followers” missed you. Welcome back.


  50. Comment by Heidi | 01.4.2010 | 4:12 pm

    Ah, a wonderful beginning to bright, shiny new year…

  51. Comment by Lissee (formerly known as Bitter) | 01.4.2010 | 4:23 pm

    The question is, what pie did you have at Bubby’s? I’m partial to their cherry, myself. :)

  52. Comment by Joel P. | 01.4.2010 | 5:29 pm

    The subway picture looks like Stanley Tucci reprising Jack Nicholson’s role as the Joker in another Batman sequel. Very Scary. Anyway welcome back, the holiday season was great but would have been better with some new Fat Cyclist to read.

  53. Comment by ChefJT | 01.4.2010 | 7:36 pm

    Great to hear from you again. Glad to hear you enjoyed my old (sort of) home town (I grew up in North Jersey, about 20 miles west of the City).

    I too, received a new set of wheels for Christmas. My first-ever mountain bike, and it, too was a Fisher…no, not a singlefly, but a really sharp Hoo Koo E Koo, aluminum hardtail. Took my first ride on singletrack this weekend and screamed like a schoolboy! I can’t believe I waited until I was 50 to try this!!

    FYI, the new ride is sporting a small orange Fatty sticker from T6 and on the top tube I added the WIN teardrop someone gave me when we rode in Philly.

    Take care!

  54. Comment by Keith G. | 01.4.2010 | 8:12 pm

    Wow–I am so relieved to be in good company in the “we fell asleep during ‘Phantom’” group. Thanks for sharing.

  55. Comment by Kelly Martinson | 01.4.2010 | 9:35 pm

    I slept through MOST of Les Mis, so remind the Runner that it could have been worse.

  56. Comment by Razor | 01.4.2010 | 10:43 pm

    Mrs Razor got the message after I slept through most of two musicals early in our marriage. Almost nodded off in Mama Mia a few years ago, just to reinforce the concept for her.

    Now that we have kids I have another excuse to stay home and watch sport rather than tag along.

  57. Comment by Mike Roadie | 01.5.2010 | 2:43 am


    Glad you are back.


  58. Comment by Born 4 Lycra | 01.5.2010 | 2:43 am

    Skippy not sure if I understand your post properly but I am in Adelaide and am doing the RidelikeCrazy on Jan 17. I think a couple of other members of Team Fatty are also involved.
    In its second year Ride like Crazy is named after Mick “Crazy” Koerner a local policeman cyclist/athlete and all round good guy who was diagnosed in Oct 2008 with an inoperable brain tumour and given just a few weeks to live. His mates in the force devised a group ride to raise funds for his family and last year it was held on the same day as stage 4 of the TDU following the same route. The group ride just multiplied and in a very short time there were over 600 of us riders (most of whom beat the peloton) and 200 volunteers. Crazy beat the crap out of Cancer for about 14 months before he left us in November. This year the ride is in his honour but is raising funds for the local Womens and Childrens Hospital and the Neurological Research Foundation both very active in the fight against Cancer. They were hoping for 1000 riders but I think they may well have smashed that figure. Adelaide is just a great place to be.

  59. Comment by Flatman | 01.5.2010 | 6:39 am

    Phantom joins Evita (die already) as a sleeper show but the best sleeping show: Cats, what is that all about ??

    Happy New Year

  60. Comment by Philly Jen | 01.5.2010 | 7:50 am

    And now: Who’s gonna be the 100th Fatty for Philly 2010?


  61. Comment by Hat | 01.5.2010 | 8:36 am

    BSNYC looks just like I pictured him.

  62. Comment by Beast Mom | 01.5.2010 | 11:47 pm

    I think you could’ve crammed in just a little more on your trip. :)

    The answer is CHEESE by the way.


  63. Comment by Bandit | 01.6.2010 | 3:08 pm

    real NY pizza and bagels. I am jealous.

  64. Comment by trytrytri | 01.7.2010 | 5:40 pm

    There are two kinds of people in the world: Phantom People and Les Miz People. If you like stories about despondent whiners who can’t find a girlfriend unless they kidnap her…you are a Phantom Person. If you enjoy tales about the classic struggle between Mercy and Justice, you are a Les Miz Person.

  65. Comment by Dobovedo | 01.7.2010 | 10:37 pm

    I only like Les Miz because without it the South Park Movie wouldn’t have been as good.

  66. Comment by Elena Wascura | 01.11.2010 | 4:49 pm

    Hello I want to share with you what I did for Breast Cancer back in October. I am a 20 yr. Breast Cancer Survivor.
    I rode my bike from St. Augustine, Florida to Miami, Florida (358miles) in 6 days and raised $20,000.
    Lets talk

    Click on this link


  67. Comment by mikeweb | 01.21.2010 | 9:15 am

    I love BGH, especially since I live about 5 doors away from it (I consider it an extension of my living room, really).

  68. Comment by DBR | 01.28.2010 | 4:07 pm

    hey fatty!
    I’m from SLC and was in NYC the EXACT same time as you! neat! we did really similar stuff too, except I got to drop into NYC Velo and Continuum Cycles and test-ride some brakeless fixed-gears on NYC streets in my winter boots. That was fun :)

  69. Comment by Dr. Al Sears | 11.29.2010 | 3:14 pm

    When you exercise at an aerobic intensity – or in your fat-burning zone – your body uses oxygen to burn calories. It trains your heart, lungs and muscles to work at a certain level. But it does nothing to improve their conditioning or help you melt off that excess fat. – Dr. Al Sears


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