Fatty’s Inferno, Part II: Limbo

03.29.2011 | 1:13 pm

A Note from Fatty: This is the second part of a multi-part entry. I say “multi-part” because right now I actually have no idea how many parts it will wind up being. Anyways, today’s post will make a lot more sense if you read yesterday’s post Click here to read Fatty’s Inferno, Part I.

“Choose a road,” The Cyclist said.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“That depends on the road you choose.”

“Well,” I replied, trying to be reasonable, “generally I choose a road based on where I want to go.”

“That,” said The Cyclist, “is total nonsense. As a cyclist, you have ridden countless miles and have, almost without exception, wound up exactly where you started. Like all cyclists, you choose the road for the experience the road brings you, not because you have a destination in mind.”

“OK, fine,” I said, wondering if The Cyclist was always going to be so annoyingly cryptic. “I choose whatever road is the best for riding.”

Frankly, I expected The Cyclist to knock the choice back into my court with some kind of mumbo-jumbo like “One man’s best is another’s bane” or something like that, so I did a mental double-take when he instead merely said, “Excellent. Let’s ride,” and smoothly transitioned from his stock-still trackstand (such was my dream that, until this point, I did not until that moment realize The Cyclist had been trackstanding the whole time we were talking) to a razor-straight riding line.

I got on my bike and pursued.

First Circle

I rode hard, trying to catch The Cyclist, and eventually managed to grab his wheel. Catching my breath, I looked down at the way he pedaled.

He was turning perfect circles. Not nearly perfect. Perfect. Somehow I knew.

“Hey,” I objected, “I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that it’s physiologically impossible to turn actual perfect circles.”

“For you, it is. And so it is for these riders, too.”

All at once, I noticed other riders, at which point I could not understand how I had missed them before.

They were riding side-by-side, talking and laughing. Riding — some easily, some not so easily — and enjoying the day and each other’s company.

The sun had come out, partially. It was light outside, but with little glare, and the sun was in nobody’s eyes. The temperature was an ideal 70 degrees fahrenheit.

“Well,” I thought to myself, “this is a really nice day for a ride.”

“It’s always this nice,” said The Cyclist. “The sun is always directly overhead here, so it cannot get in your eyes, but there’s always just enough cloud cover that there’s no glare. There’s also always just the slightest hint of a tailwind.”

“Is this guy always monitoring my thoughts?” I wondered.

“Yes,” replied The Cyclist. “However, I only reply to the ones worth replying to. Which you’ll probably find is a lot less often than you’d hope.”

“Speaking of thoughts,” continued The Cyclist, “It surprises me greatly that you have not yet considered the road surface.”

He was right. I hadn’t. Honestly, though, I think I can be forgiven for not thinking about the road ’til that moment, because there was nothing to think about. No road vibration. No cracks. No potholes. No crumbling shoulder. Just perfect, smooth, virgin tarmac.”

“This is amazing,” I said. “This is the most incredible pavement I have ever seen, much less ridden on.”

“And you shall never ride its equal again. This place has the best riding surface in the entire universe.”

“But I’m confused,” I said, with a confused look on my face. “You told me before that I was in hell, and then you take me on a place I’d gladly ride in for eternity. I can see there are long flats, curvy roads, challenging climbs, and fun descents. The road’s perfect and so is the weather. Everyone looks incredibly happy. How can you possibly call this ‘hell’?”

The Cyclist raised a gloved hand and pointed a finger at a passing group of cyclists. “Look at their bikes.”

He was right. Their bikes — and, come to think of it, the bikes ridden by everyone I had seen on this road — weren’t exactly awful, but they were far from great. Entry level steel bikes, some aluminum, a lot of hybrids. No carbon anywhere. No high-end components, either. No bike, in fact, that cost more than $699.

“So that’s what makes this place hell?” I asked. “Riding a bike that’s just OK, instead of incredible? ‘Cuz these people don’t look all that tormented. They seem to be having fun, in fact.”

“But,” said The Cyclist, “they have never ridden an extraordinary bike, and so an adequate one seems just fine to them. They have never fussed over the quality of a high-end chamois, so any pair of riding shorts seems comfortable. They haven’t ridden on enough roads in their lifetime to realize that they are now riding on the most perfect riding surface imaginable.”

“So,” concluded my guide, they’re having fun, all right,” said The Cyclist. “In fact, this place isn’t even hell for the people who are here. They’re very happy. Maybe they even think they’re in heaven. The point is, these are the cyclists who don’t know any better.”

“So this is some kind of Limbo?” I asked. “A place where cyclists who just rode for fun go, and their punishment is that they never realize how good they’ve got it, while never knowing that if they had a better bike, eternity could be that much better?”

“That’s part of it,” said The Cyclist. “More importantly, though, I take every really hardcore cyclist for a spin on this road before taking them to their final destination, just to rub their noses in it a little.”

[To be continued in Fatty's Inferno, Part III]


  1. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Fatty’s Inferno, Part I: Prologue | 03.29.2011 | 1:14 pm

    [...] Start Planning for the 100 Miles of Nowhere Fatty’s Inferno, Part II: Limbo [...]

  2. Comment by Grizzly Adam | 03.29.2011 | 1:23 pm

    I like it. I’m not sure where you are going with it, but I have an idea. At least, I know where I’d go with it.

  3. Comment by NatMc | 03.29.2011 | 1:29 pm

    AHHHHHHH! I can’t wait till tomorrooooooowwwwwww!!!!!.

  4. Comment by Erik | 03.29.2011 | 1:34 pm

    Next you’re gonna tell us The Cyclist is a transmogrification of Lemond Landis and Contador

  5. Comment by George | 03.29.2011 | 1:39 pm

    Is Captin Pete going to show up looking for a new crew?

  6. Comment by Anonymous | 03.29.2011 | 1:56 pm

    i’m wondering if it’s the best riding surface in the known universe or some alternate parallel system.

  7. Comment by bikemike | 03.29.2011 | 1:57 pm

    yes, i live in a universe where i comment and don’t post my name.

  8. Comment by OldManUtah | 03.29.2011 | 2:08 pm

    Ominous! Be careful Fatty!

  9. Comment by mtb w | 03.29.2011 | 2:12 pm

    OK, you’ve got me interested. Reel me in.

  10. Comment by Clydesteve | 03.29.2011 | 2:19 pm

    Wait! Stop! You are NOT going to posit a hell where I have to paceline with triathletes are you? Or go down steep hills on a fixie without brakes? Or climb hills into a headwind with a ‘bent? Or, or, a hell with no chocolate or Tilamook Wild Cherry ice cream?

    Will we need to know the velocity of unladen swallows?

  11. Comment by Allison Plantation FL | 03.29.2011 | 2:52 pm

    I’m hooked!!!

  12. Comment by CBJ | 03.29.2011 | 2:59 pm

    African or European…?

  13. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 03.29.2011 | 3:10 pm

    Well….no brides today, but I think the ‘pingback’ at the top is our newest clue:[...] Start Planning for the 100 Miles of Nowhere Fatty’s Inferno, Part II: Limbo [...] Seven roads leading exactly nowhere! “Perfect riding surface”, “…always a tailwind.” He on his trainer, or his rollers. Now what’s the movie he’s watching? It’s not Leverage.

  14. Comment by Debi | 03.29.2011 | 3:53 pm

    The suspense is killing me.

    BTW, It’s obvious the twins inherited some their writing skills from their Dad. Can’t wait for Part III.

  15. Comment by Hautacam | 03.29.2011 | 4:00 pm

    You mean there are bikes that cost more than $699?


    A person would have to be nuts to spend that kind of money on a bike.


  16. Comment by JB | 03.29.2011 | 4:05 pm

    I am sensing a morality play coming on in part three.
    Hope so! We’ll all see..

  17. Comment by paulscarlett | 03.29.2011 | 5:20 pm

    greatest thread ever, in the history of threads …. EVER!
    Please post again now, I can’t wait till tomorrow

  18. Comment by Less Fat Mike Again | 03.29.2011 | 6:35 pm

    I’m still laughing. I read it to my wife, and she didn’t get it. That made me laugh even harder. Looking forward to Part III.

  19. Comment by Ian | 03.29.2011 | 7:38 pm

    Great creative writing.

    I’m struggling with the inference that you need an expensive bike with high end components and carbon for maximum cycling enjoyment. Cycling is supposed to be an accessible-to-everyone activity.

    Then I remember how much I loved riding my Anthem last weekend. I’d love to say it isn’t so… but it seems to be. The only happy ones are the ones that don’t know. And THAT is bliss.

  20. Comment by Mnrunnergirl | 03.29.2011 | 9:37 pm

    If I spent over $699, you’re sayin’ I’ve got a chance?

  21. Comment by Squirrelhead | 03.29.2011 | 10:05 pm

    Tease! Now I won’t be able to sleep.

  22. Comment by maclejend | 03.29.2011 | 10:33 pm

    Sublime writing.

    Loving how facts simply materialise in ‘dream-time’,
    & The Cyclist is omnipotent.
    Dreading the impending cruel joke he has alluded to.

    Bring it on… I’m game to read further – provided your nightmare doesn’t become mine.

  23. Comment by Born 4 Lycra | 03.30.2011 | 5:22 am

    Should have posted this yesterday but a seven road intersection puts you smack in the middle of Mallala South Australia, 70 km or so north of Adelaide.

  24. Comment by Annoying Know-It-All | 03.30.2011 | 7:47 am

    Every cyclist pedals perfect circles, unless they have oval or squared chainrings. ;)

    I see endless possibilities in this new genre. Don Qui-cyclist, Moby Bike, Tale of Two Cyclists . . .

  25. Comment by hopdevil | 03.30.2011 | 9:15 am

    The $699 high end is over priced, in fact all bikes here should cost $666.

  26. Comment by Dan in Sac | 03.30.2011 | 10:29 am

    I know, I know, I know…. You realize your iPod only plays Kenny G…. like my cubicle neighbor’s stereo. Welcome to my hell.

  27. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Fatty’s Inferno, Part III: Sloth, Etc. | 03.30.2011 | 10:42 am

    [...] « Fatty’s Inferno, Part II: Limbo [...]

  28. Comment by Eric L | 03.30.2011 | 12:08 pm

    The Cyclist is kind of like Michael Lämmler.

    Your luxury body will not help you here…

    I wish your twins were illustrating this.

  29. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Fatty’s Inferno, Part V: True Cyclists’ Hell…and Heaven | 04.1.2011 | 10:51 am

    [...] Part II: Limbo [...]

  30. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Fatty’s Inferno, Part IV: Third and Fourth Circles | 04.1.2011 | 12:31 pm

    [...] Part II: Limbo [...]


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.