Guest Post: How I got Someone to Ride, by Mary T

05.24.2012 | 1:06 am

201205171302.jpgMy riding story begins about 3 years ago.

After having our 6th child, I knew that I needed something else to do with my body (my husband had granted me my “bonus” baby after agreeing on 5, so we were done with having children).

He bought me a hybrid bike and I started riding whenever I could. On Sunday afternoons, I would take my bike and just go for several hours ALL BY MYSELF. I’m a stay-at-home mom, so alone time doesn’t happen much.

One Sunday I noticed a young guy riding not far in front of me. I made up my mind to catch him. After I passed him, he came up and started talking to me. He was a super friendly, super young (early twenties), a triathlete and lifeguard at Clearwater Beach.

We rode together for about 5 or 6 miles until we went in different directions. I rode home and proceeded to tell my husband that I just had a wonderful ride and made a new friend.

After hearing about my new friend, my wonderful husband decided to start riding. I had been nagging him to exercise for years. I just needed a young, male lifeguard to give him a little nudge.

Last August, my husband and I completed our first Ironman (Louisville, KY). Ironically, that lifeguard competed in the same one–and yes, I have thanked him for being the motivation that my husband needed to start working out.

PS from Fatty: Don’t forget, the contest to win a trip and a bike, all while fighting cancer, is still on. Click here for info on the trip, then click here for information on the bikes, and click here to donate. Thanks!


Guest Post: My “Why I Started Riding” Story, by Angela P

05.23.2012 | 12:02 am

When I was 20, I wore a little gold bicycle charm on a thin gold chain for a year straight. But I would never even think about wearing one of those gold Italian horns (like some of my friends were wearing). Those are so, well, Italian. I may be Italian, and I did receive a couple cornicellos in my day, but I’m just not that Italian. Actually, I did wear one amulet for a little bit (shhh). But it made me so uncomfortable.

Anyway, that little gold bike charm represented the one thing in my life at the time that I felt was important enough to wear around my neck…like one might display a bumper sticker when they want others to know something special about themselves. Really, who cares what you like, think, or honor award your child received? I believe we all go through it though.

That bike charm was kept in safe keeping for a long time after I grew out of wearing the “hey look what I love” around my neck. It’s been preserved in my many different jewelry boxes and residences over the last 25 years. I can’t exactly find it today, but I know it is here somewhere. I think.

I finally settled down on Cape Cod in Massachusetts about six and a half years ago knowing it would be a great playground for all that I loved to do; bicycling still being one of those things. I did add a couple interests to my more mature, less demanding love triangle though: kayaking and walking my dogs!

Soon after the purchase of my one and only “home,” thanks to the confident nudges from my dear and loving partner of 15 years (and experienced home owner), there was much more to be done than romancing on the island playground. Wow, did I learn a lot about roofs, furnaces, plumbing, heating, windows, yard work and cooking!

We didn’t have the time, money or quite frankly, the acquired taste for the local eateries anyway. No little dive Italian restaurants or vintage diners with amazing food for dirt-cheap here! Besides, we were just too tired to leave the house most of the time. And, ya gotta get up pretty early to water that garden.

Okay so like a few years later, I remembered I still had my very first Fuji mountain bike from 1987 tucked away in the basement and so wanted to have an affair with it. But, my very loyal and thoughtful partner recently (and proudly) bought me a new hybrid bicycle when she got hers as a Cape Cod “resident” celebration/treat. It was a really nice gesture and great for a slow, comfortable and casual ride together on a long, or short, sandy trail.

However, soon afterward I secretly had the mountain bike tuned up and rode it when no one was looking. T’was a little harder than I remember. Not so comfortable either. Bummer. Cape Cod National Seashore Trail here I (we) come. Oh my, what nice scenery…great company and lots of fun too.

us-1.jpgMy partner was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer just a few months after we got our new house, home, life, and bikes. We battled real hard for a few years, five to be exact. Surgeries, mastectomies, oophorectomy, unpronounceable prescriptions (for me anyway), treatments, steroids, chemotherapy (BIG guns/Red Devil), the whole nine yards. S’all good. You know what I mean.

We were finally getting back on track and ready to celebrate that big five year mark when WHAM! stage four with metastasis to bone, liver, and lungs.


It’s been a year and a half more and we have continued to be real troopers…. to put it ever so lightly. My partner had to leave her job as a surgical technician and try to collect Social Security Disability Insurance and I was wondering how the hell I would get us through this incredibly difficult journey.

Then it came to me. I took the last $400 out of my savings and decided to go clipless (actually meaning bike pedals with clips for those of you non-bikers). I searched Craigslist and finally bought a new old Trek “road bike.” Something I always wanted to do but was too scared to try. Not like me to be scared. But a lot had changed.

As of today, I’ve been a member of the Cape Cod Cycling Club for one whole month. It really is beautiful here. And some of the roads are pretty decent. Sure wish I could find that gold charm. Just to know I really did hold onto it for this long. Or, throw it into the ocean and make a wish. Either way, bicycling is saving my life.

I would definitely throw it in the ocean… and make a wish.

PS from Fatty: Don’t forget, the contest to win a trip and a bike, all while fighting cancer, is still on. Click here for info on the trip, then click here for information on the bikes, and click here to donate. Thanks!

Guest Post: New Love, by Nick Lindsey

05.22.2012 | 12:43 am

It was the fall of 2006, and I had somehow wandered my way back to Ft. Collins, Colorado and my good old standby job as a bike mechanic at Recycled Cycles. After working odd jobs throughout most of the western United States for the past few years, I was uncomfortably bike-less. I’d been forced to borrow bikes from friends and family, and it was high time I started pedaling my own two-wheeled machine.

When a co-worker suddenly left for the winter to pursue the life of a ski bum, he gave me the bike he’d salvaged from the “graveyard” out back. A beautiful, old, lugged, steel frame 10 speed. Pretty beat up, a little rusted out, and a touch too small, but I was completely thrilled with it!

I stripped it down, degreased everything, repacked the bearings, and tuned it all up. Here’s the finished product:


That thing was rolling smooth and looking clean! After putting the finishing touches on it in my kitchen one evening, I strapped my helmet on, hopped aboard my new bike, and flew across town to Maria’s house, fueled by the joy of pedaling my very own rig!

* * * * *

This was shaping up to be a pretty big fall: not only had I just built up my own bike, but much more importantly, I had recently begun dating Maria. She’s an opera singer, and the first time I heard her sing (it was also the first time I’d ever heard opera) was the first time I realized what mountains sound like: a beautiful sound that fills every inch of space, no matter how small or how huge, resonating from a single source. A lone voicebox speaking the soul the only way it knows how.

The night I pedaled to her house was a night of all-around shock. Her family was shocked that I had actually pedaled the six miles across town and was happily planning on pedaling the six miles back home at the end of the night, and I was shocked that they were so shocked. It was a mini cultural collision as they repeatedly and genuinely expressed concern and offered to drive me home, while I tried to express the fact that I really, truly prefer to travel this way.

Maria summed the whole thing up when she explained that she had always just assumed, for whatever reason, that when people get their driver’s license they just sort of stop riding bikes. She had always loved bikes as a kid, but as soon as she hit 16, this love just fizzled out. Not consciously or intentionally, but simply because this was the assumed norm. The second she told me this, my brain started spinning through ideas and plans quicker than the two wheels that had carried me to her house earlier that evening.

* * * * *

It was late Saturday night and snowing. The Christmas rush was on and we had been cranking out new bike builds all day long. Christmas in a bike shop is a unique phenomenon: it’s freezing, icy, and snowy, yet there are as many people buying bikes as there are in the spring and summer.

I was one of the last people in the shop, and I had just finished polishing off and de-rusting the front fender. I bolted it to the fork and put the front wheel back on (the rim of which had also been recently de-rusted and polished). I stood back and examined my 20 hours of late night scrubbing, cleaning, rebuilding, overhauling, polishing, and steel-wooling. The rusted out piece of work-a 1975 Schwinn Suburban-I had dragged out of the snow-engulfed graveyard two weeks earlier now stood before me a resurrected creature. There’s nothing about this bike that would necessarily make it a particularly special or desirable bike, but in my eyes, this machine was a thing of absolute beauty.


Early Christmas morning, I drove the bike to Maria’s house. In complete stealth mode, I carried it to the porch and positioned it right in front of the door. Tilted the handlebars so they and the front wheel flirtatiously smiled up at whoever opened the door first. Then I left.

A few hours later, Maria called with all the excitement and surprise in her voice I’d been hoping for. She loved the bike and had already pedaled it around the block! She was thrilled, and I was relieved-the first round of gift-giving can be an intimidating thing to a clumsy lover like me, but she loved the bike, now it was up to me to keep things rolling.

* * * * *

Since discovering the beauty of bicycles, and realizing the incredible fact that people really do pedal well beyond the early years of trikes and big wheels, Maria has fallen in love with life as a bike commuter. We ended up getting married in 2007, and since then, we’ve pedaled our bikes together in everything from midnight San Francisco rainstorms to burning Santa Fe desert summers. Old railroad tracks in southeast Idaho and heart-breakingly beautiful evenings in Denver, Colorado.

The best part of all is that she is now a two-wheeled missionary herself, spreading the gospel of the bicycle wherever she rolls.


Maria, on the right, and her best friend, Sarah, out for a ride.

by Nick Lindsey

PS from Fatty: Don’t forget, the contest to win a trip and a bike, all while fighting cancer, is still on. Click here for info on the trip, then click here for information on the bikes, and click here to donate. Thanks!

Guest Post from Daniel Weise: Why I Started Riding

05.21.2012 | 5:04 am

For me it was a very basic reason, for my health. In the fall of 2009 I weighed close to 500 lbs. I had no idea my weight had climbed so high, but there it was. There was a weight loss competition at work which I joined and proceeded to lose almost 60 lbs. over the next 6 months.

It felt good. I was simply watching what I ate, but it didn’t seem like enough, I had to get active. I was still 430 lbs, and there was no way I was going to run. The truth was even walking from the car to the door would find me short of breath. Then I found Fatty’s blog and I thought to myself, that’s it!

I remembered the freedom riding in my youth had afforded me201205171210.jpg and figured I could have fun and get healthy and lose weight all at the same time.

Now my dilemma was that I didn’t have a bike. Sure there had been an old one sitting in the garage several years and several moves ago, but that was long gone.

I had thought about getting a road bike, but thought that with my weight that probably wasn’t a good idea.

I decided to go with a name we all trusted from our youth – Schwinn. I found a deal on a Landmark Cruiser and got it.

I was excited when it arrived and couldn’t wait to assemble it and get riding. That’s when reality set in yet again – I was very out of shape and could barely ride 3 miles on my new bike before I was spent, but the funny thing was, I didn’t mind it because I enjoyed riding! It brought back all those feelings of freedom from my youth.


I’ve stuck with it, often getting up at 4:00 am to get in rides and am loving it. Six months after starting to ride again I actually completed a Sprint Triathlon here in Las Vegas!

Thank you Fatty, you were the inspiration that got me back on the bike after a 20+ year hiatus.

PS from Fatty: Don’t forget, the contest to win a trip and a bike, all while fighting cancer, is still on. Click here for info on the trip, then click here for information on the bikes, and click here to donate. Thanks!

How About A Dream BIKE to Go Along With Your Dream TRIP?

05.16.2012 | 8:14 pm

In yesterday’s post, I told you about the contest I’m starting to raise money for LiveStrong: a trip to Utah, where I’d take you on some awesome riding. Road or mountain biking, your choice.

I also told you that before going on this riding binge, I’d have you professionally fitted by the good folks at SLC Bicycle for the bike you’d be riding.

What I didn’t tell you, however, was that the bike you’d be getting fitted for would be your bike. And I don’t mean that you are going to have to fly your old and busted bike out here to ride.


I mean that when you get here, you’re going to be riding on a brand newIbis bike of your choosing, outfitted to the nines and beyond with ultra high-zoot Shimano components: Dura-Ace (if you pick a road bike) or XTR (if you pick a mountain bike).

Yeah, really.

And here’s the thing. There are a ton of different kinds of riders, with a ton of different riding styles. And the rides you choose to go on when you are out here — road, mountain, or something with a bit of both — should have the right kind of bike.

So you get to choose what bike you want from Ibis.

And when you get here, it’ll be built and ready to go by the gurus at SLC Bicycle, who will make it fit you so great that you’ll wonder whether this bike was made with dark magicks.

So let’s recap in brief what you win, because I suspect that you may have a short attention span:

  • An awesome couple days (with me) of riding in an awesome place in Utah
  • On your brand new Ibis bike
  • With super high-end Shimano components
  • All built and professionally fitted for you at SLC Bicycle.

In other words, I am giving away the Cyclist Fantasy Vacation. Of course, to win it, you’ve got to help me raise money for the fight against cancer by donating to my LiveStrong Challenge page (or getting others to donate to your own Team Fatty LiveStrong Challenge page).

So that’s the short version. Now let’s get specific.

What You Can Win

Check Part I of this contest description for information about how we’ll choose places to ride, how we’ll get you on a plane, stuff you to the gills with bratwurst, and so forth and so on.

Today, we’re talking about the hardware you can win.

Here are the choices you have, bike-wise:

Silk SL

The Ibis Silk SL is the Ibis go-fast, weigh-nearly-nothing, drop-dead-sexy road machine. Just look at it:


Oh mercy. That looks as elegant as it does fast as it does sexy.

You have lots of color choices, too, which should give you something to consider when you make your choice.

You should know: I have one of these, built up as my single-speed road bike. It weighs less than thirteen pounds. I have to tether it to the bike rack to keep it from wafting about in ambient air currents in the garage.

Mojo SL

I remember the dark days. When the first iteration of Ibis disappeared, and I thought I’d never see another brand-new Ibis bike again.

Those were bad times.

And then I heard Chuck Ibis was back, and there was going to be a new Mojo.

And then I saw that new Mojo. And it was good. And then came the Mojo SL, and it wasn’t good. It was spectrafantacular:


Ibis was back. No, it was more than back. It was backity-back, with a side order of back. With extra fry sauce and a hint of lime.

This is about as close to being a perfect mountain bike as you can get without having other bike companies complain that you cheated on the exam.

Plus it’s made of carbon, making it freaky-light. So if money’s tight, you could make a diamond out of your Mojo SL [Note: I do not think this would actually work and do not recommend you try].


Full suspension not your thing? Maybe you travel around and want to bring your bike with you? Or maybe you want to set up a mountain bike singlespeed?

Then the Ibis Tranny is the bike for you:


Thanks to its “slot machine” adjustable length chain stay, the Tranny breaks down small for packing, or tensions up easy for single speeding. Or just rides awesome if you want a light, strong carbon hard tail for mountain biking.


Pronounced “Hock a loogey,” the name of this bike is reason enough to own one, just so you can say “Ibis Hakkalugi” whenever you feel like it.


But that’s not the only reason you might want this bike. No, far from it. Race it in cyclocross. Or ride it on single track and gravel roads and the pavement. Turn your commute into an adventure with this bike.

What’s Going On That Bike of Yours

So you’ve got yourself an almost unendurably beautiful Ibis frame. Now what? Well, you outfit it with the sweetest components on planet earth, that’s what.

If you’re setting up a road (Silk SL) or cross (Hakkalugi) machine, Shimano is going to hook you up with Dura-Ace 7900 components, across the board. Along with PRO carbon stem and bars.

You are going to be luxuriating in the smoothest, most wonderful drivetrain you could ever imagine, my friend.

As for wheels, you’ll have your choice of Dura-Ace wheel sets: WH-7900-C24-CL, WH-7900-C50-CL, or WH-7900-C35-CL.

And if you choose a bike that’s more at home on the dirt, Shimano will set you up with XTR M980 components. You want to know something about XTR, simple and direct? There’s nothing better. It’s wonderful.

What’s awesome about Ibis, Shimano, and SLC Bicycle

I’m a lucky person. I get to meet a lot of very cool, interesting people. And sometimes, I get to meet cool, interesting people who are also just genuinely great people.

That’s how it is with the friends I have at Shimano, Ibis, and SLC Bike.

None of these companies have any particular affiliation with LiveStrong. None of the companies have any evidence that their helping me out raises their profile or sells more stuff.

But these companies have helped me. Time after time. Willingly. Cheerfully. They don’t make me beg.

They just do the right thing. No, let’s be more specific: they both do the kind thing.

Plus, they make (or build, sell, and maintain) top-notch bike stuff.

Keep that in mind when you go shopping, OK?

Here’s Whatcha Gotta Do

Let’s wrap this up now with a quick recap (i.e., a copy-paste) of the instructions on how you enter this contest to win this mind-boggling clutch of prizes:

For every $5.00 you donate at my LiveStrong Davis Challenge page, you’ll get a row on my magically deluxe spreadsheet.

The more you donate, the more rows you get on the spreadsheet.

Once the contest ends (on June 22 at midnight, MST), I’ll randomly (using, natch) choose a row on that spreadsheet. Then I’ll contact you.

[A note for my international friends: I only have so much money. If you win the contest, it's your responsibility to get to the U.S., and I'll fly you the rest of the way, OK?]

And what if you’re already a member of Team Fatty and are raising money for your own LiveStrong Challenge? Well, just keep on raising money — and maybe donate some more into your own account — because the money you’ve raised as part of Team Fatty counts toward your entry in this contest, too.

So, please donate. You might just win an awesome trip, and an awesome bike — custom-fitted to you — to ride during that trip.

PS: See, I told you this would be a prize worth waiting for!

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