The Argument for Recklessness

07.30.2010 | 8:18 am

A few weeks ago, Chuck Ibis was in town as part of the Ibis Demo World Tour. It seemed like a good time for us to finally get together and do something we had talked about for — literally — years: go on a mountain bike ride together.

Yeah, considering that I’ve been friends with Chuck for years and years (Ibis has been a huge supporter of Team Fatty’s fight against cancer) and have been an Ibis junkie pretty much since I’ve started riding (I’ve owned a Steel Mojo, a Bow-Ti, a Ti Mojo, a Silk Ti, and a Silk Carbon), it’s strange that we’ve never gotten together for a ride ’til now.

OK, maybe it’s not all that strange, but that’s the conceit I’m kicking off with, so let me have it, OK? Sheesh.

And when people visit here, looking to see what my backyard riding is like, I always — whether they want to go road or mountain — take them up American Fork Canyon. For one thing, it’s genuinely one of my backyard mountain bike rides.

For the other thing, it generally makes people incredibly jealous of where I live.

And Now for Something Completely Different

Ricky M and I met the Ibis guys up at the Timpooneke trailhead, the Ibis guys driving a van that looked just as suited for covert surveillance as for holding a whole buncha high-end bikes:

(Kirk Telaneus on the left, Chuck on the right)

Both Ricky and I have been riding hardtails — usually rigid SS — lately, so Chuck and Kirk said we needed to switch things up: Mojo SLs for both of us — plush full suspension and gears galore.

Here’s Ricky supervising as Chuck sets up Ricky’s bike.


Hey, it’s not every day you get a Mountain Bike Hall of Famer to be your own personal mechanic.

I should note at this point that if you ever consider converting your Fat Cyclist jersey into a sleeveless, you may want to consult Ricky on how to do it so that it looks like your bibshorts look like a bra strap. Nice look, Ricky.

Oh, and here’s Chuck, setting his shock pressure to 10,000psi.


The Hills are Alive

There’s nothing quite as lovely as being acclimated to riding at 7000 – 8000 feet and then taking a Californian out for a ride. It does wonders for your ego. Kirk and Chuck didn’t have any difficulty hanging with Ricky and me, but they did call attention to the fact that they were feeling it a lot more than when they rode at home.

And also, they expressed appreciation for the fact that AF Canyon is just an incredible place to go riding:

(Chuck, wondering how in the world the Matterhorn got relocated to Utah)

(Kirk and Chuck, doing synchronized posing. Look for it in the 2012 games in London.)

(Chuck and me, showing off the Mojo SL and some beautiful scenery. Yes, he’s really that much taller than me.)

Different is Good

I’m convinced that the best way to appreciate the capability of a full suspension bike is to ride a fully rigid bike for a couple years, then hop onto aforementioned full suspension bike.

Because Ricky and I were just grinning and laughing as we bombed the downhill portions of the ride. Just letting the bike go, hitting stuff you’d normally avoid. Letting the suspension do the work.

After flying down Joy in what felt like record time, I turned to Ricky and said, “You know, I am not having any trouble at all picturing a Mojo in my stable.”

“I was just thinking the same thing,” Ricky replied.

Which is undeniable proof of two things:

  1. The Ibis Mojo is a terrific mountain bike, and riding one makes you want one.
  2. I will never ever be satisfied with the number of bikes I own.


As the ride went on, Ricky and I were more and more confident on our Mojos, taking more aggressive lines and letting the suspension do its job.

We were, perhaps, getting a little reckless. But we didn’t crash. Not even once.

And then, finally, we got to the final downhill. For this one, I knew I should take it more cautiously, because the trail is full of loose rocks, mixed in with plenty of embedded ones. And you never know which rocks are going to slide out of your way, and which are going to stay put.

I picked my way carefully and cautiously. Not exactly mincing, but not aggressive.

So of course I crashed. Good and hard. Taking most of it on my right knee. Here’s my bloodied up knee, artfully framed by the Mojo…erm…frame:


Not Ironic

As I rode — all the wind out of my sails now — back toward the trailhead, I thought about it: how ironic that I’d be just fine when riding aggressively, but crash once I got cautious.

And then I reconsidered. Maybe — probably — it wasn’t ironic at all. In fact, it was probably downright causal. Sure, I’ve had crashes when riding hard, but I have a suspicion that I’ve had just as many — maybe more — when riding overcautiously.

And I can’t even count how many times I’ve had a second crash during a ride because I’d become hypertentative following my first crash.

The problem, for me, is that this lesson is only easy for me to learn — and I’ve learned it several times — in my head. I know that riding tentatively just makes you more likely to crash, but when I’m nervous of a trail, I just can’t seem to convince my body to stay loose. Nor can I seem to convince my hands to stay off the brakes.

Which explains why I have scars on top of scars on top of scars on my knees, I guess.

PS: I still want a Mojo.

PPS: If you’re a Utah local and you’d like to try a Mojo SL, Mojo HD, Tranny or a Hakkalügi out, Chuck and Kirk are going to be in Park City this Sunday, with a whole buncha bikes for your demo-ing pleasure. See below (click the image for larger version) for details of where and when.



  1. Comment by Mark Kynaston | 07.30.2010 | 8:27 am

    That Bike looks fabulous and beautiful, your bloody knee less so


  2. Comment by Kyle F. | 07.30.2010 | 8:41 am

    I have a Mojo SL. I won it from this dude that has some goofy bike blog and he was raffling one off. I forget his name, but he’s very famous and endearing.
    As much as I love my Moots YBB ( I know, I know. A Moots and an Ibis? Hey! I donated and I won. Stop your crying) it’s been ridden a total of 2 times this year. Fatty-When are we going to get together to do our ride?

  3. Comment by roan | 07.30.2010 | 8:44 am

    Nice pics. Nice rides, the bikes & location.
    But really Fatty did you have to wear your body armor under your jersey ?

  4. Comment by 3d brian | 07.30.2010 | 8:56 am

    So which trail were you on when you crashed?

    I actually don’t know the proper name for that one, but it’s the trail that comes down from the Alpine Loop summit toward Pine Hollow / Salamander Flats. – FC

  5. Comment by skippi | 07.30.2010 | 9:13 am

    At torino the “Canada House” had a huge photo on the wall claiming it was a mountain from the Canadian Rockies, well someone pooped because there was a few tell tales which confirmed the photo was taken in Switzerland of a peak near Zermatt! No prizes for guessing it’s name.
    Looks like not only is the skiing good in your backyard but the trails also.

    SPONSORS needed to take me to the 3rd Grand Tour(Vuelta) of the year then onto Geelong for the Worlds,anybody interested in helping “Physically challenged sport ” email you will get a great deal for your investment.

  6. Comment by Chris Cowan | 07.30.2010 | 9:22 am

    I own and Ibis Mojo SL too and I can attest to the awesomeness of this bike. Last week I was in Green River Wyoming hitting some of the local trails. I took a few drops/jumps and my derailleur decided it getting tired of riding for the day and twisted itself into a wade of stupid. I was a few miles out from my car and the only real option I had was to single speed the Mojo back to the car. I chopped down the chain with my bare hands and setup the gearing to 32/17 and started to… um… finish my ride back to the car.

    I know what you are thinking “Full Suspension Single Speed? That’s totally impossible!” The Mojo kept it’s Mojo and performed as it I finally took an evil monkey off it’s back. It was free!

    When I laid down the power to climb up the hills it responded faithfully! At the top of the hill I thought, “I bet the suspension is going to be horrible coming down!” Boy was I wrong, it bombed faithfully like it always had before. I can now say without trepidation that this is one of the best bikes ever made (in my professional opinion).

    Plus Chuck is a super cool guy and he wouldn’t build anything less then awesome!

  7. Comment by MattC | 07.30.2010 | 9:42 am

    Let me get this straight: you’ve owned a “Steel Mojo, a Bow-Ti, a Ti Mojo, a Silk Ti, and a Silk Carbon” and you ride a feakin’ rigid SS? Those are ‘dream’ bikes! Fatty…you’re killing me! And where are they (all those awesome bikes) now? If you say in your garage, I’m coming up to Utah to help you clean your garage! I have a wagon..I can fit at least 2…I’m just sayin. No fair having more bikes than you can ride in a week! (if you have any bikes you haven’t ridden in 2 months of decent weather, then you don’t need them anymore and should just let someone adopt them who will love and care for them!)

    I don’t believe it’s your tenative riding that makes you crash. It’s your bike greed that is the bringer of the big bad crashing karma…your knees will remain forever be bloody until you unleash most of your stable to loving new homes.

    The Silk Carbon replaced the Silk Ti. The other bikes I’ve sold. I seriously regret selling the Ti Mojo. In fact, I think that’s the ONLY bike I have ever seriously regretted selling. – FC

  8. Comment by mark | 07.30.2010 | 9:54 am

    A Mojo would be nice. But what I really want is one of those pink, wool Hampsten jerseys. Very cool.

    Yeah, I would love having one of those, as well! – FC

  9. Comment by mark | 07.30.2010 | 9:55 am

    BTW, isn’t it always your right knee? As I recall, when I crashed you last year in Millcreek, it was also your right knee that bore the brunt.

    I had never noticed this before, but you’re absolutely right. My right knee is WAY more scarred than my left. – FC

  10. Comment by Alon | 07.30.2010 | 9:58 am

    I don’t know, these pics look awfully posed. Been getting photo advise from Kellene lately?

  11. Comment by zeeeter | 07.30.2010 | 10:49 am

    Well look at it this way. If you did that much damage to your knee riding tentatively, think what you might have done to the bike had you been riding “assertively”!!

    On a side note, I nearly put a smiley face at the end of that, but since Lance’s ad I’m super-sensitive about such things!

  12. Comment by Tom | 07.30.2010 | 11:03 am

    Since I made the switch to clipless pedals, I’ve found that slow-speed is a far greater enemy than allowing my bike to “have its head”.

    Maybe it’s just that I don’t react instinctively enough, and so not quickly enough, when I’m taking a flop, but this particular type of crash was more rare when my feet were unfettered.

  13. Comment by redheadedstepchild | 07.30.2010 | 11:49 am

    Totally off topic, but I REALLY like Chuck’s glasses. What are they??

    They’re Oakleys. – FC

  14. Comment by AngieG | 07.30.2010 | 11:52 am

    I think Chuck should have you come out to Cali and do the SoNoMas MTB race with him in August.

    August 29th is the date. 50K MTB race around Lake Sonoma with 8000′ for elevation gain. Bike Monkey puts on awesome events so be prepared for a tough course, but lots of fun!!!

    You can consider it your recovery ride from Leadville!!

  15. Comment by Dan O | 07.30.2010 | 11:55 am

    I’m loving my steel Sonoma.
    I’ll have it in Austin again this year.

  16. Comment by Anthony | 07.30.2010 | 12:28 pm


    I think once I sell my motorcycle I am going to build up a 2er SS, should I go suspension front or fully rigid with a Niner Carbon Fork?

  17. Comment by Anthony | 07.30.2010 | 12:28 pm

    should say 29er

  18. Comment by Derron | 07.30.2010 | 1:03 pm


    I know I’m not Fatty, but I do have a Niner Carbon Fork and wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone I meet. Unless your riding in rock gardens day in and day out, it is near unbeatable, and the lightness and coolness factors far outweigh the negatives. Ride on!

    I’ve built up my FattyFly (Superfly SS) with a Niner Carbon fork and can second that recommendation. – FC

  19. Comment by Fuzzy | 07.30.2010 | 1:14 pm


    One other lesson you MUST have learned as you mangle your knees and elbows-

    Chicks dig scars!


    Luv ‘n Stuff
    Fuzzy from the UK

  20. Comment by Erik | 07.30.2010 | 1:53 pm

    So now Fatty has awesome abs to go with awesome quads.

    I am not fit to wear my Team Fatty kit

  21. Comment by Mrs. Coach | 07.30.2010 | 2:52 pm

    So they were generous enough to share their bikes, but you couldn’t even pass them some FC skins?

  22. Comment by Eric L | 07.30.2010 | 2:57 pm

    I’ll second that emotion on Chuck’s jersey. I have too many jerseys and new Fatty gear on pre-order, but I WANT one of those.

    Fatty, I’d like to see a chart of all your cycling injuries like this one of western legend Tom Mix.


  23. Comment by Wes Tanner | 07.30.2010 | 7:59 pm


    I think it was early July the Ibis tour truck was at Popperton Park Salt Lake City, Ut.

    As I decended from Bob Sled and came into the parking lot their was Ibis Tour Truck and a tent next to my vehicle. I gave a quick look over and saw all the new Fancy rides- I did not want to drool to hard so I told the Tour Crew thanks for being at a local favorite spot. A guy said he had “local knowledge” that must have been the working’s of fatty. The same gentalmen ask me if I wanted to demo and I told him I was to fat, he exclaimed “we have the new HD MoJo”. I have know idea how I walked away from a generous offer. Fatty, I was 250 to start the season and now I’m 252. I ride Dry Gulch to Bob Sled 3 days out of the week. Is that enough seat time and what advice do you have on nutrition for Clydesdale riders?

  24. Comment by bradk | 07.30.2010 | 9:42 pm

    You know who is dumb and not reckless? Me. I passed up a chance to ride an HD in AF with SN, EN, RM and KT. I have no idea what important thing I had to do that morning but I will forever remember what I missed out on.

  25. Comment by evil3 | 07.31.2010 | 12:02 am

    lol what a test ride, and really just the fact with who you are riding with is enough to get us jealous (for that manner we also have to factor in the fact that you got to ride with Lance Armstrong and team radio shack and what not).

    Yeah riding slow is bad as the bike is less stable then when it is going fast. Sure going fast might hurt more if you fall, but if you know the “secret” then you will never crash. (but really the wheels due act like a gyro and want to keep the bike upright instead of falling to the ground).

  26. Comment by Dan O | 07.31.2010 | 12:43 am

    I’m a big Ibis fan, so a fun post to read. My current rides are a Silk Carbon and a ‘97 Hakkalugi. I also had a vintage Trials Comp that I recently sold off.

    I was oh so close to buying a Bow-Ti back in the day, but didn’t go for it. I dug the Szabo model at the time as well. In the ’80s I really lusted after the Mountain Trials deal with the 24″ / 26″ wheel combo. Yeah, Ibis is cool and I was glad to see ‘em back in action.

    The new Mojo is sweet – if I had the dough, would score one ASAP.

  27. Comment by SkiMoab | 07.31.2010 | 2:39 am

    Was that really this morning? Four of us rode the Joy loop from the Cascade parking lot starting around 7am, too bad we didn’t bump into you but what a gorgeous morning for a ride.

  28. Comment by Sir Peanuts | 07.31.2010 | 9:14 pm

    You know, less than a year into my mountain biking adventure i was in the Pisgah mountains riding farrrr above my head when a guy i was chatting with out our unofficial official unofficial Pisgah gathering said something enlightening.

    “If I wake up in the morning and want to do something on a bike, and I don’t have the kind of bike I need, then i don’t have enough bikes”.

    I think that this piece of wisdom applies here.

  29. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 08.1.2010 | 2:06 am

    What super duper fun day – minus the crash of course!

  30. Comment by ricky | 08.1.2010 | 11:49 pm

    That was the single greatest ride of my life. Well, it ranks right up there anyway. Chuck and Kirk, thanks for letting us show you around. More thanks for letting me experience the super smooth Ibis Mojo SL—loved it! I forgot why we ride hardtails. Fatty?

  31. Comment by Planner | 08.2.2010 | 1:24 pm

    Fatty – Just endo’d on downhill at Crested Butte – too nervous, hit rocks, cracked helmet in half, bruise at groin that looks like a relief map of Mars, skin torn off right knee and deep shoulder bruise. Should’a kept my fingers off the front brake!

  32. Comment by Kathy McElhaney | 08.2.2010 | 1:37 pm

    I’ve owned my bike less than 2 months and have the scraped/purple knee to prove it! And yes, I crashed going VERY slow.

  33. Comment by Greg @ Greg Rides Trails | 08.6.2010 | 4:26 pm

    Very cool dude, sounds like a great ride with some awesome people!


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