Pssst. Don’t Tell Anyone.

04.9.2015 | 6:22 am

Hey, Fatty here.

I’m in Austin this week, doing work things, working as workers work when they’re at work. As proof of this, I offer a photo of the colossal, inseparable wad of  keys (2), key fobs (2), key rings (3) and pieces of garbage (1) the Hertz company makes me carry around as punishment for having rented one of their cars:

FullSizeRender 1

I do not show this as a sly way to ask for your pity. No, wait. Actually I do.

(Pssst. Hey you. Stick around for a minute. I’m going to try to bore the rest of the readers away to another page, so it’ll be just you and me.)

So. Anyway. With me being in Austin, and my bikes being in Utah, there’s not a lot for me to write about today. 

So maybe you should just head on over to Red Kite Prayer or Bike Snob NYC or something. I like those sites. In fact, I think I’ll go read them right now. You should too.

Kind Regards,
Signature new

OK, is everyone else gone? You’re the only one who stuck around?


I’m going to tell you something, and it’s really important you don’t tell anyone else. (But first, I’m going to quit using these “whisper italics.”)

Early this week, I launched what I consider to be the most ambitious fundraising contest I’ve ever launched. Your choice of the best version (S-Works) of any Specialized frame — arguably, in many cases, the best in their class. Your choice of the best wheels and cockpit in the world — anything from ENVE. Your choice of the incredible SRAM drivetrains and brakes.

And a fitting and vacation — Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, or Utah — to get used to this amazing bike you’ve won.

Basically, I asked myself, “What would completely make people’s heads spin around, forcing them to have no choice but to sign up for this contest? What would be so compelling they wouldn’t be able to help but buy all kinds of gear and make a contribution to WBR to boot, just so they’d have a chance at winning?” And then I asked people and companies to help me build that contest. And they did. 

And here’s the good news for you, and you alone (since you’re the only person reading this): so far, the WBR contributions and Team Fatty Gear purchase numbers have been…moderate.

I’m not saying they’ve been bad, mind you. Hey, $7K+ worth of contributions in the first 48 hours of a contest is something most fundraisers would be happy to boast about.

Of course, most fundraisers aren’t showing off a prize that would retail at $15 – $20K (depending on what bike and wheels you choose, as well as where you travel and where you’re flying from). 

But see, that’s a good thing. For you. And for you alone. Because I have this idea, which I’m going to drop into whisper italics for, just so nobody overhears:

Buy the gear you want and / or make a donation, and then don’t tell anyone about it. 

And I won’t tell anyone, either.

Because right now, considering the hugeness of the prize and the relative moderate number of purchases and contributions made, this is quite possibly the best bet you’ll ever get on winning a mindbendingly incredible prize. 

Not to mention you’ll for sure make a big difference, thanks to the work you’re helping WBR do.

Not to mention the handmade Italian cycling gear you’ll be looking (and riding) so dashing in.

You’ll be doing something good for the world, wearing a really great-looking jersey, and…just maybe…getting the most outrageously perfect-for-you bike you can literally imagine.

Just keep it to yourself, OK? We wouldn’t want to wind up having this thing go big.


  1. Comment by Brian in VA | 04.9.2015 | 7:18 am

    Hertz comment appreciated, sir. I never have a big enough pocket to put them in!

    I’m going to order clothing and a bike for WBR tonight. Can’t wait to meet you when I win!

    All the best,
    Brian in VA

  2. Comment by MattC | 04.9.2015 | 7:45 am

    I’ve always LOVED (sarcasm) the ginormous mound of keys you are forced to carry w/ rentals these days. And then go for a bike ride, and put that mound in your jersey pocket (or camelback). I locked that wad of keys in my rental a few years back (they were in my camelback, and said camel was still in the vehicle when I closed the trunk).

    Of course I IMMEDIETLY recognized my dilemma as I was looking for my camelback. Thankfully I had left the windows cracked, and was actually able to find a stick long enough to go from the passenger side window crack to tap the unlock button on the drivers side (as cars are driving by…boy did I look like a criminal!). And when I DID finally get the doors unlocked, as I opened the drivers door the alarm went off, so I quickly hit the trunk unlock button, CLOSED the drivers door to run back to the trunk…and the smart vehicle immediately LOCKED everything again knowing it was being broken into (alarm still going off).

    Of course I had tossed the stick into the brush after hitting the button, so I had to go into the brush and find it, then juke that unlock button AGAIN, this time leaving the drivers door open until I got the trunk open to get my camel and the keys and silence the stupid alarm.

    Needless to say my ride was less than exceptional after all that stress. Anyway, I’m hoping after reading all this you’ve completely forgotten to go donate…so that WNEN I do buy a bike I’ll have much better odds of winning. Good strategy Fatty!

  3. Comment by Clydesteve | 04.9.2015 | 8:11 am

    What stress, Matt? I take wire cutters (my travel often includes tools) and cut the wad loose. I have never been given enough flack at the key return to discourage me! I do try to put them back together with a zip tie.

    I wouldn’t have thought that wire cutters would make it past TSA. – FC

  4. Comment by Abby | 04.9.2015 | 8:22 am

    Marketplace on NPR did a story on this key conundrum and got a pretty sorry answer “We share cars between branches, and since we have more than one key set, each car comes with two sets, we just want to have both sets together when we sell the car,” Ian McGrath, who works behind the counter at an Enterprise Rent-A-Car

  5. Comment by leroy | 04.9.2015 | 8:40 am

    Well this is a coincidence.

    Just this morning my dog whispered that he had a great deal on a certified genuine faux Rolex just for me.

    And now this.

    I am so on a roll!

    Of course, my dog has my credit card and the odds in Mr. FC’s contest may be about to change exponentially.

    On the bright side, if my dog gets his own jersey, he won’t borrow mine and cut a hole for his tail. I mean at least there’s a chance he won’t.

  6. Comment by Libby | 04.9.2015 | 9:20 am

    National seems to always give me one key. I’d rather not have the auto-locks thing because I tend to lock my keys inside way too often with a plain Jane car! I’m in Seattle right now & instead of renting a car I rented a bike (shoutout to The Bicycle Repair Shop) & have throughly enjoyed riding here…much easier even with the steep hills…to get around. Of course I have all day while hubs works & we have a ride to the airport so don’t have to balance a suitcase on the rack. Must save some ‘Mercan money to donate. Or bite the exchange on the credit card. Biting the credit card exchange sounds better so I can spend more here. Especially with such great odds right now.

  7. Comment by AKChick | 04.9.2015 | 9:59 am

    OH MY GOSH! I just realized that I worked OT over the past two weeks and payday is tomorrow so I can afford to get shorts. I really wanted the hoody, but splurged on the jersey (before the contest was announced) and I still want it but my husband is going to shoot me (not literally) if I have a hoody, jersey and shorts show up.

    Question – is the chamois in the shorts super cushy padding or a minimal padding? I have gone from cushy to wearing tri shorts so prefer less padding. :) If the padding is on the leaner side, I’m going to be the proud owner of a pair of shorts to go with my spiffy new jersey.

    PS I hate the dang double key fob, two key thing too. What a royal pain. Gonna have to remember the snips in the luggage next time.

    PSS Hey Leroy’s dog, while you have the credit card, can you buy me a hoody? :)

  8. Comment by Travis | 04.9.2015 | 10:03 am

    You came to Austin and don’t have a bike to ride? Dude. That is an epic fail. If you want to ride hit me up and I’ll get you all set up.

  9. Comment by MattC | 04.9.2015 | 10:10 am

    @ Clydesteve…I always have tools when on travel (bike tools of course) which includes flush-cutters and tie wraps. I did cut the “colossal, inseparable wad of keys” loose once, and took a load of heat when I returned the car (my company rents w/ Avis). Haven’t done that since as I feel too guilty.

    And did I mention that the “brush” where I found the long stick (twice) had poison oak in it? I figured that part out 2 days later.

    The “stress” was knowing that I was currently about 250 miles from where I rented the car, my keys (and wallet/cell phone) are locked in the car in my camel, and I’m about 30 miles from my hotel w/ just my Mt bike, AND it’s just a few hours from sunset. Getting into the car (w/out damaging it) was a MUST. When I FINALLY got my camel out I just wanted to sit and breath slowly…as I was in quite a bind there for a while there.

    And Leroy, I just pray my dogs never chat w/ your dog. I’d be wiped out when the truckload of cow-knees/chew-toys arrives at our for delivery (they just LOVE those things!) If I EVER see paw-prints on the keyboard, I think I’m doomed.

  10. Comment by Doug (Way Upstate) | 04.9.2015 | 11:02 am

    Elden, Just confirming that donation page you linked credits Team Thompson correct?

    Yes, all proceeds raised — both from gear and donations — during the fundraiser for this bike and trip will go to the Team Thompson page. I’m super stoked to have the Thompsons as teammates. – FC

  11. Comment by Jason | 04.9.2015 | 11:26 am

    Dude, Austin has bike share. Get out and ride and keep it weird.

  12. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 04.9.2015 | 11:49 am

    I *HATE* the rental car key fiasco. It would be a lie to say that we started a folding bike company (fBIKE Direct) so that we could use bikes instead of rental cars, but that won’t stop me from saying it.

    Back in 2010, I did a trail ride out in the desert just south of Phoenix. I wanted to separate the keys and leave one with a friend, but didn’t think to clip the cable. So, I stuck the whole set into my saddle bag. Which I forgot to zip shut. The desert is a big place.

    You can read more here:

  13. Comment by Roadrash | 04.9.2015 | 11:51 am

    Next time you’re in Austin, give @Silvercar rentals a try. Cool rental co. that is trying to disrupt the big boys. they rent Audis with an Uber like mobile app. No counters, great experience.

  14. Comment by Miles Archer | 04.9.2015 | 1:14 pm

    +1 for wirecutters. I’ve done that before.

    I think i’ll through some zipties in my bag – that’s a good suggestion.

  15. Comment by old guy who likes to ride | 04.9.2015 | 1:26 pm

    I thought you kept the Orca in Austin?

    I did, but needed to bring it back to Utah. – FC

  16. Comment by pmiranda | 04.9.2015 | 1:31 pm

    You know, if you drop by any of the local bike shops and tell them you’re a beloved cycling blogger I’m sure they’ll rent you a bike.

  17. Comment by Guttersnipe | 04.9.2015 | 11:41 pm

    The checkout process seems to have a number of forms that aren’t secure. Any chance of fixing that?

    Don’t worry, once you get past basic information, you’re taken to a secure site. You’re safe. – FC

  18. Comment by J | 04.10.2015 | 6:05 am

    You mean that if I still worked at the Austin Hertz, I could have had a chance to meet the honorable Elden? Bummer! Sorry about the keys, they are supposed to keep them together for when they resell the car. Sorry if your car has spots on it as well, they never liked to spend money on their carwash. If you want a dull place to work with a lack of advancement, pick the Rental Car industry. If you want a dull place to work with a lack of advancement, but a chance to see Elden: Pick Hertz in Austin!

  19. Comment by PeterAK | 04.10.2015 | 4:18 pm

    I e-mailed DNA about sizing and exchange policy with no response… And no info on their web site. Twin Six stuff didn’t work for my body, but their customer service is great so no problem. Don’t know about DNA and don’t want to buy the kit unless I know I am going to be able to wear it. Can you comment, FC?

    I’ve pinged DNA to look into your email. FWIW, I’m going to be over-ordering extras in most sizes so if you get something that doesn’t fit, DNA will take care of an exchange. It’s important to me and them that you get gear you love. – FC

  20. Comment by RTU Results Portal | 04.11.2015 | 7:00 pm

    whisper italics.
    Nice saying.Happy Austin Visit.

  21. Comment by Guttersnipe | 04.12.2015 | 6:30 am

    Thanks for the reassurance re lack of https (of course you can never have too much https)

  22. Comment by david | 04.12.2015 | 11:56 pm

    I think, I suppose to be ready.

  23. Comment by sem rgpv results | 04.13.2015 | 12:26 am

    I’m going to buy clothing and a bike for tonight. Can’t wait to meet you when I win!

    All the best

  24. Comment by Dave from KY | 04.13.2015 | 12:45 pm

    Keys. Another reason to ride a bike.

  25. Comment by GregC | 04.13.2015 | 2:06 pm

    I would never do this (maybe or maybe not), but you might consider visiting a local Home Depot and try out their wire-cutters on your rental car key cable. Just sayin it could be an option.

  26. Comment by davidh-Marin,ca | 04.13.2015 | 10:12 pm

    Those ‘Chapek’ brothers are very ‘creative’. Though is it a good thing to have ‘creative’ types shooting rockets into space?

  27. Comment by MattC | 04.14.2015 | 10:10 am

    Oh, I’m SURE nobody has EVER walked thru a Home Depot and USED a tool that they weren’t going to buy…simply would NEVER happen! (uhm, well, MAYBE just borrow a tape measure for in-store measuring, then put it back on the shelf…THAT might have happened a time or 2).

    @ davidh…”shooting” isn’t really a good word to use around spacecraft and rockets…(I have nothing to do w/ the rocket…we just work w/ some of the spacecraft).

    However, talking about “shooting”, I’m considering carrying a firearm for mt biking around here (had another cow incident this past Saturday on my mtb ride). Stupid cows…(well…bulls actually are the problem). Lots of attitude for sure. And pretty scary up close.

  28. Comment by davidh-Marin,ca | 04.14.2015 | 11:08 am

    MattC. it’s ’springtime’ and here comes this two wheeled ‘bull’ huffin’ and puffin’ through their crib. Of course they’re going to ’seek you out’. Get a copy of ‘Flowers for Ferdinand’ from Grandpa Gregg and read to them next time.

  29. Comment by MattC | 04.14.2015 | 12:41 pm

    davidh…I think I’ll carry a copy of “the Jungle” instead…start telling the bull about beef processing plants. While I eat some beef-jerkey and a double-cheeseburger. It’s not like he can get much angrier than he already is.

  30. Comment by GregC | 04.14.2015 | 1:26 pm

    Cant we all just get along (as the bull was trampling Matts bike)? And shooting rockets into space brings a different image- we launch rockets.


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