Fatty’s Book Club 1.0: Fat Tire Flyer

01.8.2015 | 9:57 pm

NewImageYou can tell when someone is in love. And I’m not talking about first-blush, first-kiss, first-sight love here. I’m talking about a long term relationship. One that has stood the test of time.

You can tell when someone has been in love long enough to have history, kids and grandkids, and a lot of stories. 

You have to respect that kind of love.

And that is the kind of love that shines through in Charlie Kelly’s Fat Tire Flyer: Repack and the Birth of Mountain Biking.

This is the history of the first days of mountain biking, told by Charlie Kelly, one of the guys who was right there for it from day one. 

And Fat Tire Flyer will be the first book we read and discuss in the new, monthly “Fatty’s Book Club.”

There’s no membership dues or anything like that. You just need to get, read, and talk about the cycling book I’m going to choose each month or so.

Getting the Book

This idea of an online cycling book club is something I’ve been tossing around for a long time. With the huge number of really great cycling books that have come out recently, I’ve decided to make it happen. 

First of all, you’re going to need the book. I talked with VeloPress, the publisher of Fat Tire Flyer, and asked them to give us a deal on this book. They’ve generously offered to give you 25% off if you buy Fat Tire Flyer together with Rusch To Glory from the VeloPress site, using the REPACKFATTY discount code (this code good only from now ’til January 19).

[As an aside, I highly recommend Rusch to Glory, and have already done a chat with the author about it, which you can watch here.]

Reading the Book

Once you’ve got the book, you ought to read it. And maybe read it with an eye toward talking about it. 

And plan on doing your reading at home (or wherever you keep books), because this is a hefty, hardbound book. It’s the size of a coffee-table book, really, and maybe even looks a little bit intimidating, with how big and heavy it is (3.6 pounds, according to my bathroom scale).

But don’t be intimidated by it. It’s got a lot of pictures—definitely one of the things I’m enjoying about it—and it reads very easily. Plus, about 20% of the book’s 260+ pages is appendix and index. 

So you’ll get through it.

Talking About the Book

On Tuesday, February 10, at 11:00am PT / 2:00pm ET, we’re going to get together online and talk about this book, just like in a real-world book club.

And I’m really pleased to announce that the author, Charlie Kelly, will be joining us for this conversation. I’ll have questions for him, and I’ll hope you will too. 

I’ll have details in the near-ish future about how to register and participate. I will be limiting the number of people who will be able to join in live, so you’ll definitely want to get on board early.

If, however, you’re unable to join the call, you won’t be out of luck. I’ll be recording a video of the conversation, which I’ll post on Vimeo. I’ll also be making an audio-only version available as a podcast.

I’m really looking forward to trying this cycling book club idea out. I hope you’ll help me make it a success.

PS: Bonus Homework: Watch Klunkerz, and read my review of it (along with Charlie’s rebuttal to my review) from back in 2009.


Please Hold While I Go To Meetings and Get Things Ready and Stuff

01.8.2015 | 9:20 am

Hi There. I’m out of town doing work stuff for my day job; I haven’t had / won’t have time to do a lot of writing yesterday or today.

However, while held up at an airport yesterday, I did make some progress on getting the first book in the book club lined up—including a sizable discount on the book and an interview / book club chat with the author.

I love when things come together, and things have come together very nicely for this first installment of “Fatty’s Book Club.” 

“Fatty’s Book Club” is a working title, by the way. If you’ve got a better name for it, I’d love to hear it.

So, quick version of how I imagine how the book club will work:

  1. At the beginning of the month (January in this case), I’ll announce a book and, ideally, a discounted way for Fatty’s Book Club members (aka anyone who wants to participate) to get it.
  2. You have about a month to purchase and read the book. During this time, I’ll also be reading the book and will probably post a few thoughts about it as I go.
  3. We’ll get together early in the next month (February in this case), hopefully with the author of the book, and chat about it. We’ll be using GotoWebinar; the tech is pretty solid. You’ll find that a surprisingly large number of people can have a reasonable conversation with this tool (managing large online meetings is kinda one of the things I do for my day job right now), whether you’re using a phone or computer.
  4. I’ll record the conversation and make it available as a Vimeo video and a podcast after the live version is over, for people who can’t join in live.
  5. We announce the next book, and the process repeats.

This is something I’m really excited about. Check back tomorrow for an announcement of the first meeting of Fatty’s Book Club!


Time to Think, and Thinking About Talking

01.6.2015 | 3:38 pm

I want to tell you about the “ride” I had on New Year’s Day, and about an idea I had during that “ride.” Cuz I think it’s a good idea, but it’s only a good idea if enough of you also think it’s a good idea. So I need to know whether you think the idea I think is a good idea is a good idea.

I apologize for the previous sentence, by the way.

New Year’s Ride

My friend Jared Eborn puts together an annual event called the “New Year’s Revolution Run & Ride.” The idea of it is pretty ridiculous: he reserves the Utah Olympic Oval, gives people timing chips, and lets them essentially do a Marathon of Nowhere (95.5 laps to do a marathon) from 8am to 1pm on New Year’s Day.

Off in the corner, he also allows cyclists to come join in the “fun” by riding their trainers or rollers for five hours. The Hammer and I chose this option, mostly because I have been promising Jared I’d come do one of his events for the past five years or so.

So: we set up—The Hammer on her old trainer, me on my rollers (we didn’t want to disassemble our Wahoo Kickr setups we have so nicely arranged in the basement), and we began our five-hour-long ride.

IMG 1044
The Hammer is on the far left in this photo. My rollers are to her left.

I expected it to drag on and on and on. To be a brutal test of my mental endurance. I was therefore astonished to have the time just fly by. 


IMG 1041

Because I was completely absorbed by what I was listening to: The Serial Podcast: twelve well-written and narrated episodes of a journalist’s struggle to find the truth about the guilt or innocence of a man convicted for murder back in 1999.

I know it’s an incredibly popular show and I know that I’m probably the last person in America to have listened to it, but we have not finished it yet (I’m on episode 9, The Hammer is on episode 5), so: no spoilers please.

And this got me thinking about why I enjoyed this podcast so much. Part of it had to do with the mystery, part of it had to do with how it happened in the real world, part of it had to do with the narrator’s fantastic voice. 

And a lot of it had to do with the feeling that I was part of a fantastic conversation. Yes, I know: a one-sided conversation (usually). But still, the narrator’s gift is in sounding like she’s chatting with you.

And the thing is, this isn’t the only podcast I’ve been enjoying lately. I really like Open Mic with Mike Creed, too. His style is different than mine (i.e., he doesn’t shy away from four-letter language at all), but he asks his guests fantastic, disarming questions that are at times hilarious, at other times provocative. Mike has a gift for pulling stories out of people. 

The Idea

So, as I rode (in place), I started thinking, “I need to start a FatCyclist podcast.” By which I do not mean that I should start doing an audio version of my blog. 

No, I mean I want to hear people’s cycling stories. I want to talk about interesting books and movies. And I want, in every instance, for you—my readers—to be a part of it.

For example, let me know what you think of:

  • Book Club: There are a lot of books about cycling coming out nowadays. What if we had a “book of the month” I assigned out to read at the beginning of each month. At the end of the month, we get together online in a big web-style video conference call, and talk about the book—maybe sometimes even with the author. For example, I’d like to talk with Charlie Kelly about Fat Tire Flyer. I’d like to talk with Patrick Brady about Why We Ride. I’d like to talk with Jill Homer about pretty much anything she’s written. I’d like to talk with Kathryn Bertine or Rebecca Rusch about their books. So, is this something you’d participate in?
  • Interviews: I’ve done a number of interviews before, but I feel like the technology for them to happen live and online is just now starting to be reliable enough for me to do without worrying we’re going to lose signal more often than we’re going to have it. Further, I don’t want to just interview pro cyclists. I want to interview bike shop owners. And race promoters. And people who have done interesting and unusual things on their bikes. And just normal people. And for people who join in live, I’d definitely want to give you an opportunity to ask questions.

So, a few final questions:

  1. Do you listen to podcasts? I don’t want to make something that nobody’s going to care about. 
  2. Would you participate in live events? And if so, what day / time combo works well for you?
  3. How often is good? If I did a monthly book club and one or two interviews per month, would that be about right? Or is that more listening than you have time for?
  4. How long is good? Is an hour-long show about right? Half an hour? Fifteen minutes? What’s your threshold for too much? 
  5. What else would you want to talk about? Who else would you want to talk to?


PS: I still don’t want to do any more 5-hour roller rides for a while.

The Weight of Things

01.5.2015 | 1:14 pm

Last night, for dinner, I had lasagna. And chicken fetuccine alfredo. And a really heavily-dressed salad. (I also had two mid-sized broccoli florets.)

Then, for dessert, I had homemade Oreo ice cream on top of homemade brownies.

I am not making even the tiniest bit of this up. 

“But Fatty,” I expect you are asking, “That’s grossly, excessively excessive. Why would you do this?”

A fair question. Which, I have an answer for. 

I did it because, starting today, I am resuming my diet. As such, this was a “last hurrah.” Or it may have been more of a “Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!” when you consider exactly how much I ate.

But there was a strategy to it. And this strategy is important to understand if you really want to get inside my head and grasp exactly how twisted and otherwise messed up my thinking is about weight gain, eating responsibly, and weight loss.

I’ve Been Here Before

First, though, here’s how much I weighed when I weighed myself this morning: 

177.8 pounds.

That is up almost exactly twenty pounds since the racing season. And to be honest, I’m trying to figure out how I ought to feel about this. Should I feel outraged at myself? Yes! Should I feel shame at my lack of discipline? For sure! Should I feel astonished that I somehow manage to pack on so many pounds so quickly after the race season?

No. No, I should not feel even a tiny bit astonished. And if you’ve been following this blog for a year or ten, you shouldn’t feel astonished either. At least not astonished in a surprised kind of a way (though astonished in a repulsed kind of way…well, I’ll give you that).

Mostly, I just feel resigned. This is my pattern: I fight off the weight, I train like a madman and race my brains out, I finish the season, and I keep eating like I’m still racing and riding at full tilt.

So, to be honest, I look at 178 pounds and think, “Hey, that’s actually about five pounds better than most years.”

This Year’s Contest

Last year, I did a big contest with Beeminder where we all worked together on a big weight loss contest. That was fun. But it was also a considerable amount of work. And right now, I’ve got other projects that I need to focus on — managing a big challenge just feels like more work than I’m capable of taking on.

However, I am having a contest. With one person. And it’s worth mentioning now, because I’ll certainly be talking about it again.

First, though, I have to back up a bit.

As you almost certainly know, The Rockwell Relay is my favorite race of the year. As you likely also know, The Hammer and I have had Kenny and Heather as our teammates every year we’ve raced it.

Until this year. This year, they’re going to go to the wedding of two close friends instead. Which means, of course, that The Hammer and I are also going to that wedding. had to find new teammates.


We’re bummed to not be riding with Kenny and Heather, but were very glad to have our friends Cory and Lynette—friends you’ve seen mentioned in this blog before as our teammates this year.

More to the point, I’m very glad to have Cory to compete with in a weight-loss challenge. The rules are:

  1. The challenge begins now and ends May 15, approximately one month before the Rockwell Relay. We both have incentive to hit our goals, because neither of us wants to be the boat anchor in this event. Even more importantly, neither of us wants our very fast and competitive wives to call us out for being fat and slow during this event.
  2. We each selected our weight goals. Mine is 155 pounds (~23 pounds to lose). Cory’s is 180 pounds (45 pounds to lose). 
  3. If one of us succeeds and the other fails, our Rockwell Relay team shall be just the name of the winner’s brand (I.e., “Team Fatty” if I win, or “Team SBR” if he wins).  And all racers will wear the winner’s brand on all daylight legs. 
  4. If we both succeed, we come up with a combination team name, we’ll come up with a name we all can agree upon. I personally am partial to “Team 201,” because that’s our combined age, and I would like the teams we’re crushing to know that our average age is above 50.  Or maybe we could just be “Team Fogey.”

Back to Last Night

So, why’d I eat so much last night, even though I knew it was sabotaging my diet before it even began? 


I did it because it would make my weight artificially high for today’s weigh-in, which would set me up for a big drop over the course of this first week’s weigh-ins. 

Which would, in turn make me feel good about myself and thus give me first good momentum for my diet going forward. 

Yes, that’s right. I ate a lot in order to gain weight in order to lose weight. 

My mind is that twisted.

But it will work. Just watch. By the end of February, I’ll be able to squeeze back into a medium-sized jersey. By April, medium will fit fine. 

And by June, I’ll be ready to race. 

PS: And by next November, I’ll be fat again.

New Year’s Resolutions, or Something Like That

12.30.2014 | 11:18 am

I’ve been thinking about 2015, for a bunch of reasons. This will be the year this blog turns ten, for one thing. It’s the last year I’ll spend entirely in my forties, for another. And The Hammer and I will celebrate our five-year anniversary, for a third. 

This feels like it’s going to be a special year. An important year. And I’ve got a lot of things I want to do. 

So is this a “resolutions” post? Maybe. Kind of. Mostly. But it’s also a teaser post of things I’m thinking about doing. Things that aren’t quite resolutions, and maybe not even quite at the point of being announcements, but they’re on my mind enough that I want to at least annoy you with a vague hint or two.

The Fast Year

I recently posted about working with TrainerRoad to catapult me into a fast early season, with the plan of having momentum into the race season. 

I expect to race a lot this year. Short races. Long races. Time trials. Everything I can get my hands on. 

Furthermore, I plan to train smarter than I have in prior years, and I’ve asked the guys at TrainerRoad to support me in this. They’re on board, and said they’d be OK with doing online chats and answering questions you might have, too, whatever your goals are. 

So while I’d never position myself as someone who is smart about how to train, I’m pairing up with some people who are. For the first time ever, instead of stunt diets and weight loss competitions that don’t stick, I’m hoping to have some actual valuable and useful information on this site. 

Weird, I know.

Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K

I love this blog, so anytime I’ve ever considered stopping it, I’ve reconsidered pretty much immediately.

So this blog will not go away in 2015.

But it will change. In a big way. In an awesome way. In a way that will let me still do what I love doing (writing about whatever bike thing I want to). But moreso. 

If things work out the way I want them to, by the end of 2015 you’ll be wasting more of your time here than ever before.

You’re welcome?

Big and Important Project. Or Projects. Or Something.

I don’t know how many “Best of FatCyclist.com” books this blog will eventually wind up making, but I do know there will be at least one more—the only one that matters, really. This will be the year I tell Susan’s story, by combining the posts I wrote during her sickness with the parts of her story I didn’t write. 

So that’s one book I’m going to commit to finishing this year. 

But I’ve got another one in the works. One that I haven’t told you about. Haven’t told anyone about it, publicly. But there’s some interest in it, and it will require a lot of effort to write, since it will be from scratch. But it could be the book that actually moves me closer to being able to write about bikes full-time.

Sorry to be vague. You’ll hear more about it soon. I hope. 


It’s important to me to do something good with this accidental soapbox. For the past couple years, I’ve focused on World Bicycle Relief and Camp Kesem. And I’m going to continue to focus on these two wonderful charities. I’d also like to help out NICA, which is doing outrageously good work.

But it’s been nagging at me that I have dropped the ball in the fight against cancer. I don’t like that. When it became difficult to tell the LiveStrong story without hearing a lot of pushback, I did the easy thing and stopped telling it. 

I don’t know yet if I’ll go back to raising money for LiveStrong. They’re a good charity and do good work in the fight against cancer. But the Huntsman Cancer Institute is close to home, helps individuals in their fights, and does important research. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What About You?

I have a big year ahead of me. I’m excited for it, and I’m nervous for it. In good ways.

So: what are you excited / nervous for in 2015?

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