Hey, Wanna See Something Cool?

07.8.2011 | 10:59 am

One of my favorite parts of writing this blog is that every year, I get to work with the guys at Twin Six to design the annual FatCyclist.com / Team Fatty gear. Here’s an idea of how it works:

  1. They ask me if I have any ideas about general direction for the design.
  2. I say things like, “Well, I think it should look really good, and there should be orange. Oh, and also stripes!”
  3. They send me over several designs based on my very lucid and cogent feedback.
  4. I look at all the designs and start feeling very sad that I can’t just use all of them.
  5. I forward the designs off to the core team and ask their opinions.
  6. I discard the design the core team selects as their favorite, because the core team has no design sense at all.
  7. I tell Twin Six things like, “I like option A, with this part from option B, and that part from option C.”
  8. Twin Six starts weeping softly, because the stuff I like wouldn’t work together in a jersey, at all.
  9. Twin Six sends me a revised version of one of the designs, making changes that are not what I asked for, but somehow capture what I really wanted.
  10. I weep with joy, because once again Twin Six has created the most awesome jersey design I could ever hope for.

And so, after this rigorous and highly-scientific process, I’m happy to show you what the 2012 Fat Cyclist / Team Fatty jersey will look like.

Here’s the front:


And here’s the back:

T6_2011Fatty_B .jpg

What I Love About This Jersey

Every year, I love the Fat Cyclist jersey Twin Six comes up with; they somehow manage to turn my incoherent hand-waving into exactly what I want. In this case, what I really wanted was a very clean, old-school, classic design.

I also wanted a design that didn’t have different colors for men and women. I wanted the pink “Fight Like Susan” collar band, and the “Win” symbol to be in pink on everyone’s jersey.

So this year, while there will be both women’s and men’s cuts for the Fat Cyclist jersey, we’re all going to be wearing the same colors. That makes me happy.

And more than anything else, what I love about this jersey is that it raises a bunch of money for the fight against cancer. Specifically, 50% of all profits from this jersey go to the fight against cancer. (The other 50% gets split between keeping Twin Six in business and sending my oldest son to college.)

There’s More Coming Soon

Of course, Fat Cyclist gear is more than just jerseys. To go with the jersey, there’s going to be:

  • Bib Shorts (mens / womens)
  • Long Sleeve Jersey(mens / womens)
  • Wind jacket (unisex)
  • Wind vest (unisex)
  • Socks (unisex)
  • Hoodies (mens / womens)
  • Track jacket (unisex)
  • Tech T (unisex)
  • Bottles (unisex – ha!)

I’ll be showing you the designs for all these other items this Tuesday.

When You Can Order And When You’ll Get Your Stuff

As with every year, I’d like you to pre-order any gear you want. That way I don’t have to be smart about how much of everything (and how much of each gender and size for each item) to order.

The pre-order starts this Tuesday, July 12 at Midnight (CT), and will go through Tuesday, July 19 at 5:00pm (CT). [Update: originally I said "January where I should have said "July." My brain is old.]

I’ll have lots of details in Tuesday’s post with links and stuff.

Team Fatty is Doing Some Cool New Stuff in 2012

I know it seems like I live by the seat of my pants, but I’m actually talking with some folks about some very interesting and exciting new things Team Fatty can do next year. So this might be an extra-good year to buy a jersey. Nudge nudge, say no more, say no more.

OK, I gotta go pack. The Hammer and I fly to Davis for the LiveStrong Challenge in one hour. Yikes.


Guest Post: What It’s Like To Win and Build A Custom Bike

07.7.2011 | 11:51 am

A Note from Fatty: A lot of you donate frequently and generously in the contests I have where I give away bikes. All too often, though, once the winner has gotten word they’ve won a bike, that’s the end of the story. Well, Yann — the winner of a custom-built Sycip bike in in one of last year’s contests — is going to correct that problem right here, right now.

I won!!!

On June 28 of last year, Fatty notified me by email that I had won a custom fitted Sycip bike for my fundraising efforts for the San Jose Livestrong challenge. I had raised $2300 at the time. I immediately called him to confirm I had gotten the email and to find out what the next steps were in terms of starting the process of getting the bike.

One big question was unanswered: “what should I get, a road bike or a cruiser?” The rest of the day at work was not very productive as I kept going back to the Sycip web site and looking at the different pictures of the bikes that had been built. I already had a nice 2004 Trek 5200 road bike that I truly enjoyed riding. Also, I kept thinking “what would I do with 2 road bikes?” But at the same time, I didn’t really see myself riding a cruiser bike.

I called my girlfriend to tell her the good news, she was thrilled for me and said I deserved it for all the fundraising I had done in support of our friend Lisa, her husband Lloyd and her dad. I was more determined than ever to raise more money for the cause.

The reason for joining team fatty

At the time, Lisa was undergoing chemo treatment after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Her dad was undergoing treatment for leukemia. Lloyd, who in a strange twist of fate, is an oncologist, was diagnosed with a disc problem (not cancer) that was causing him to experience numbness and tingling in his neck, shoulders, arms and hands. Lloyd is a good friend that I have ridden with numerous times. This meant no riding for him until he underwent surgery to fix the discs. He couldn’t undergo the surgery until Lisa was out of the woods with her chemo and her dad was better since he needed to help take care of them.

I’m an idiot

After a very sleepless night agonizing over what to choose, I decided to go for the road bike. I figured I would get more use out of it. I emailed Elden, Jeremy at Sycip and Dustin at Shimano notifying them of my decision. A week later I hadn’t heard from anyone, so I emailed them again.

To my embarrassment, Elden told me about Dustin’s fiancĂ© passing away after battling cancer for a couple of years. Dustin contacted me as well letting me know that he was dealing with some personal stuff.

The fitting

A month or so went by, I contacted Jeremy at Sycip to find out what was next. Unfortunately, he was buried deep in preparations for Interbike and wouldn’t have time to do anything until after the show. In October we arranged for me to come up to his shop for a fitting.

He showed me around the shop where there were numerous bikes in various states of build and assembly. There were also numerous types of completed bikes throughout the shop. Jeremy and I went through the process of measuring my old bike and transferring the measurements to a bike fitting machine. We tweaked some settings here and there to make the bike fit me perfectly.

At the end, one crucial decision had to be made: “what color to paint the frame?” while Jeremy took a phone call, I pondered the question and walked around the shop. Then I saw it, there on a stand, was a partially assembled, metallic-grey-with-orange-Sycip lettering, bike. As Jeremy got off the phone, I walked him back to the partially assembled bike and pointed it out: “I want that color combo, that looks really nice”. With that I thanked Jeremy for his time and I left the shop more excited than when I was when I got there.

I got home that afternoon and kept thinking about the color of the bike. I thought it needed something more. I did a mock up of the frame in Autodesk Inventor, a 3d mechanical design program I used to work on. I placed the Sycip logo on it. I thought the Fat Cyclist logo should also go on as well as Shimano and Livestrong logos. After playing around with the logo placements, I sent the mock ups to Jeremy, Elden and Dustin for approval. The frame was then sent to be powder coated at Spectrum Powderworks.


The delivery

On a Friday in February, Dustin emailed to tell me the bike had been shipped and that I should expect the bike to arrive at my house the following Tuesday. I of course decided to work from home that day as I didn’t want to miss the UPS truck showing up and not being able to deliver the bike.

By late evening, it arrived. I pulled it out of the box with pure excitement. It was mostly put together, wrapped in bubble wrap. As I stripped off the bubble wrap, the frame color looked great, I inspected every part of it and admired the craftsmanship of the bike, the beautiful, barely-perceptible welds, the Sycip logo on the rear dropouts, the Fat Cyclist logo on the seat tube, the Livestrong logo on the top tube and the Shimano logo on the chain stay and fork. I almost missed the Fight Like Susan words on the inside of the fork. I was ecstatic, I had a beautiful new bike.




The first ride

The first ride was unfortunately not to be had till a few weeks later due to bad weather. I took it out on a short 20 mile loop by my house with a friend of mine who complimented me on the beautiful bike.


After a few more rides on it, I felt like I was climbing stronger and riding faster than before, even my riding friends were noticing. Below is part of an email I sent to Elden, Dustin and Jeremy thanking them.

“I have gotten lots of compliments from my riding friends on how beautiful the frame looks in the chosen color and with the logos. Of course they are super jealous of the full Dura-Ace group and carbon tubeless wheels. Btw, I swear I feel a difference in the acceleration with these wheels compared to my 1 year old Bontrager Race X Lite wheels on my 7 year old Trek 5200. I think I could out-sprint the best of the Tour de France sprinters now with these new wheels (just kidding). I’d probably have to lose 40 lbs to get 1/10 of their acceleration. “

To which Dustin replied: “the wheels are awesome and faster!

Then Jeremy: “I think it’s the frame that makes you go faster. Not the wheels. “

Lastly Elden: “I think it’s the FatCyclist logo that makes you faster.”

Finally me: “It’s a combination of the three actually. Add the Fat Cyclist jersey and I can beat anyone. It’s my secret weapon

Unfortunately, the bike only has about 500 miles on it now. We’ve had some bad weather around here. 82 of those were ridden in the rain for the 100 miles of Nowhere ride on June 4th.

That’s me on the left.


Thank You!!!

Finally, to all who donated to my Livestrong page, I thank you. And of course, thank you to Elden for putting the contest together, Dustin for donating the parts and bike and Jeremy for the beautifully crafted bike. I thoroughly enjoy riding this bike every single time.

Looking forward to l meeting you all in Davis for the Livestrong Challenge in July on my Sycip.


PS: My friend Lisa is now fully recovered. Her husband, Lloyd had his surgery around Christmas 2010. Unfortunately, Lisa’s dad passed away last year. My dad is currently undergoing radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Doctors expect a full recovery.

Horrible Things Are Happening Beneath My Helmet

07.5.2011 | 12:24 pm

This is a photo of me, wearing a helmet:


There are several notable things about this helmet. First, it seems to have taken its design cues from a bowling ball; it even has finger holes so — if you are so inclined and sufficiently strong — you can roll me down the alley. Sure, it would be humiliating for me, but hilariously so.

Next, this helmet is so heavy that, even though I am trying to hide it with a sardonic half-smirk, my head is lolling to one side.

Ventilation’s a problem, too. Specifically, there is none. No, wait, that’s not exactly true. There are those two holes, which set me up for a really awesome sunburn pattern on my forehead:


Looks like I’ve just recently filed my horns off or something.

OK, now here I am, wearing a different helmet:


Obviously, I don’t have the same ventilation issues with this helmet. I mean, you can pretty much see my whole head in this photo. And while such a helmet will definitely leave an interesting pattern on my head, it’s sufficiently complex that I won’t even bother trying to Photoshop it.

Also, this helmet weighs a lot less. In fact, when I wear it, I think my head weighs the same as it would if I still had hair. There’s no easy way to verify this fact of course, because the weight of hair varies quite a lot from person to person, what with different lengths, coarseness, thickness, and population density of hair.

Let’s just say this helmet weighs less than my hair did when I was going through my Bon Jovi phase, and move on, because this really has nothing to do with the point I wanted to make in this post, which is this: highly-ventilated helmets have a very, very serious problem, especially for those of us of the bald / balding persuasion:


Oh the Horror

I could simply describe, in clinical detail and with very exacting precision, from a non-involved third-person point of view, the trauma I have suffered due to insects flying into my helmet vents.

That would not, alas, convey the raw, freakish grossness of the bug-in-helmet experience.

Thus, what follows is a verbatim inner monologue I have conducted on a ride, shortly before and then during a typical bug-helmet encounter. All in italics, of course, because that way you can tell that the whole thing happened in my head.

Wow, that was a hard climb. I wonder if I beat my record. Oh. Nope. Oh well, I think I’ll just call it a “nice, easy climb” when I blog about it later, then.

OK, I’m picking up speed now. I bet I’m going 45 miles per hour by now. Should I risk taking a look at my bike computer to see how fast I’m going? I wonder how many cyclists have crashed because they were looking at their bike computer instead of where they were going? That would be an interesting statistic, especially if there were a way to compare reported wrecks due to looking at bike computers Vs. wrecks due to looking at bike computers where the rider claimed it was due to something else. I’ll bet there’s a blog post there somewhere.

I’m going to look.

What? Only 35 miles per hour? Seems like faster. I should write a blog post on how bike computers tend to under-report speed as you approach the speed of light / sound / Summer Equinox.


What was that? Did a bat just hit me in the helmet? Maybe a bird? OK, maybe it was a Japanese beetle. Well, it felt like a Japanese beetle.

Oh no. It’s still on my head. I can feel it crawling around on my head.

A wasp. I’ll bet anything it was a wasp. It’s going to sting me and the pain is going to be so intense and sudden that I’m going to wreck.

And then my head is going to swell up so big that the EMTs won’t be able to remove the helmet from my head.

OK, it hasn’t stung me. Not yet, anyway.

Oh great. Now it’s walking around. This killer wasp is walking around on my head and it’s looking for the most painful place imaginable to sting me.

No sting yet. Still walking around. I’d almost it rather go ahead and sting me already and get it over with.

I didn’t mean that, wasp. Please know that I didn’t mean that. I don’t want to get stung.

But why is it still walking around? Is it moving in some kind of freakish dance? Is the evil killer wasp on my head doing some kind of mate-attracting dance on my head? Fantastic, now my head’s a singles’ bar for wasps. Or whatever they are.

Maybe it’s not going to sting me. It’s been on my head long enough that I don’t think it’s going to sting me. So why is it still there? Is my head a comfortable place for bugs to hang out? Has it decided to take up residence? Is it about to lay eggs?

No. No no no no nonononono. That’s too awful to contemplate. I will now drive that thought completely out of my head. I will think of something else. That thought is gone.

It’s not gone.

The freakish little insect on my head is — at this moment — burying eggs right in my skull. Like in Alien, but smaller.

Wait a second. I don’t feel the insect anymore. It’s gone. I don’t know when it left, but it’s not there. What a relief.

Ow! What was that?

I have so much to say, but only two thumbs to say it with

07.5.2011 | 8:53 am

I have so much to say, but only two thumbs to say it with

Originally uploaded by Fat Cyclist.

Look how happy I am in the below photo. That’s because in that photo I’m about 40 miles into a 76-mile mountain bike ride.

And not–as I am now–dealing with the fact that Comcast service is currently totally out right now.

Which means I have no Internet, no TV, no landline phone.

So this entry is coming to you courtesy of my thumbs on my mobile phone.

As you might expect, it will be somewhat brief.

First, Team Fatty has swept the awards for the Davis LiveStrong Challenge. Huzzah! And a big "Thanks!" to everyone who raised money and / or donated in this contest.

I will choose winners for the 2 bikes and the Ride for the Roses Trip…as soon as I have Internet access on my computer again. Grrrrr.

Next, I have had an awesome, rideful long weekend. I have observations to make and stories to tell.

Also, I seem to have managed to agree to be the title sponsor for a race coming up in a couple weekends. I will talk about that soon, too.

For now, though, I believe I shall treat this Internet outage as a sign that I should go on a ride. I suggest that you, too, go on a ride. If anyone asks you why you’re riding during working hours, just tell them, "Fatty’s Internet connection is out; it’s a sign that I should go on a ride."

I’ll back you up on it.

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