A “Don’t Forget to Buy a Jersey” Note from Fatty: The 2015 Fat Cyclist gear pre-order is in full swing. But this isn’t just a pre-order. No indeed. This is a full-on awesome way for you to make a huge difference in people’s lives, because 50% of the proceeds of everything in this pre-order is going to World Bicycle Relief.
Yes, that’s right, you’re simultaneously getting some outrageously nice, Italian-made cycling clothes and you’re making it possible for a child in Africa to get to school, get water, and improve her job opportunities.
That’s pretty darned cool.
Click here for details on all the gear, or click here to go right to my gear catalog.
Like I do about thirty thousand times per day, I was checking my phone, deleting email that I had no intention of reading.
This email consists mostly of press releases about Kickstarters for revolutionary bike products, inquiries about advertising on the site, and pitches for “guest posts.”
Almost none of this email, sadly, is offers to give me bicycles for free.
“Almost” being an important key word in the above sentence.
So this email caught my eye:
Like many people, I had in fact entered a contest sponsored by RideBiker Alliance and Cannondale a few weeks ago. But I don’t win drawings. No. I’m the guy who tells other people they win.
So this had to be clever spam. Or some other kind of scam. Right?
Still, there was a phone number, and — after checking to make sure the area code wasn’t to some kind of offshore number where I’d be billed $17.95 per hour — I called, acutely aware for the first time that probably every single person who gets a “you won” email and phone number from me must go through the same set of suspicions.
But it was real. The guy on the other end of the line — who sounded as excited as I always feel when winners call me to find out if this is real — assured me that I had in fact been selected at random to win my choice of a Cannondale Scalpel or FS-I.
I got off the phone and walked into the kitchen, stunned.
“I’m pretty sure,” I said, “that I’ve just won a bike.”
And then I spent the night trying to decide which of these two bikes — the Scalpel 29 Carbon 3 and the F-SI Carbon 2 — I wanted more.
And to be honest, I am still not absolutely positively certain. I’ve given a tentative response, but have another day or two to change my mind. I welcome your suggestions in the comments.
I confess to harboring doubts. Even after the phone call, I thought it was possible that I had been fooled. That I had been tricked into revealing personal information I shouldn’t have and now was about to have my bank account drained. (Our family’s just a little sensitive on this issue because we actually were victims of identity theft on a pretty serious scale just a few months ago.)
But then, yesterday afternoon, friends started forwarding this email to me, along with the note “DID YOU SERIOUSLY JUST WIN A BIKE?”
So yes, it’s officially official. The guy who gives away bikes (I no longer have any idea how many bikes I’ve given away in the lifetime of this blog, but would guess the number is close to 25 or 30) in drawings for good causes…just won a bike, in a drawing, for a good cause.
Karma is awesome.
I’m Keeping It
As you no doubt know, I’m an athlete ambassador for World Bicycle Relief for 2015, and so right now I’m putting pretty much everything I think of through the “how can I use this to help WBR?” filter.
For example, WBR athlete ambassadors get — as a very awesome perk — to pick out a bike to keep. But I’ll be giving that bike away as part of a contest (more about that soon).
So, as you can imagine, upon finding that I was about to get a brand new Cannondale Scalpel or F-SI, I asked myself, “Should I give this away, make it part of a contest?”
And then I remembered: several times, people who have won bikes from me have suggested that they were going to re-contest their prize bikes. And each time, I’ve asked them to please not do that. That when a bike manufacturer gives me a bike to give away, the thing they hopefully get out of that is great publicity from a happy winner.
So — winner’s guilt out of the way — I’m very happy to say that this bike will not be part of a contest. It’s mine. I’m keeping it.
And I’m incredibly stoked to get it and ride it.
One Down, Four to Go
The RideBiker Alliance is a pretty amazing program: get people and companies to work together to support bike clubs across the US. And Cannondale is being very awesome about supporting RideBiker by giving away five bikes with them (mine was just the first!). In fact, they’re giving one away in conjunction with the next four US Cup Pro XC races.
So allow me to recommend you take a moment to learn more about RideBiker, and to enter the contest: Click here.
PS: I seriously am still considering how amazingly surreal this is.
A Note from Fatty: If you just want to get straight to the ordering already, click here.
This is an exciting time to be a Friend of Fatty. For one thing, this is the year I’m actually officially a World Bicycle Relief Ambassador, so 50% of all 2015 FatCyclist.com proceeds are going to World Bicycle Relief. We’re going to put a lot of kids on bikes.
And that matters. Because every bike we buy changes at least a few peoples’ lives. Right away, and in a big way. I’ve seen it. I believe it. And I’m excited to be a part of it.
Which makes this a really great year to go with WBR colors — red, black, and white — for all FatCyclist gear.
This year, I’m also stepping up my FatCyclist gear quality game, having my friends at DNA Cycling bring their top-quality, Italian-made cycling clothing to the Fat Cyclist community.
I spent a lot of time testing out different fabrics and fit, and I think you’re going to agree that this is the best-made gear I’ve ever sent…at prices that are still in line with what I’ve charged before.
Greater Range in Sizes and Patterns
Instead of a single jersey pattern with sizing topped out at XXL, this year I’m offering two different kinds of short sleeved jerseys: a casual, relaxed-fit jersey, and a race-fit jersey. Both are technical, both are well-made. I’m getting one of each, to be honest.
But the race-fit jersey if made to be skin-tight, and it’s incredibly lightweight material. It’s going to be your hot-weather, wicktastic, race-your-brains-out jersey.
Meanwhile, the relaxed-fit jersey is going to be what you love as your go-to ride anywhere, anytime jersey. And to be honest, it doesn’t show off extra pounds quite as explicitly.
Regardless of which you choose, there’s men’s and women’s sizing, and a huge range (XXS – 5XL) of sizes. Check out DNA’s sizing charts for info on what’s going to fit you.
The pre-order for all Fat Cyclist gear starts right now, and ends April 6.
Products will begins shipping at the beginning of June.
Got a question? Post it in the comments and I’ll answer it (if I know the answer). Or email me at email@example.com.
RELAXED FIT Short Sleeve Jersey: $84.95
You don’t want to be vacuum-packed into your jersey? I totally get that. I’m the same way, most days. This jersey has a comfortable, relaxed fit, making it great for long rides and mountain biking, and just as your go-to good looking jersey.
But just because this jersey doesn’t try to be your second skin, don’t think it isn’t a well-made, high-tech jersey. It is. It’s outrageously high-quality fabric, it de-sweatifies you, it’s made in Italy, and it’s sweet as…well…pie. And it comes in both men and women fit. Nice!
- Fabric: Hydro Fit
- Respire Moisture Management
- Ergo Stretch Performance
- Front Comfort Banding
- Relaxed Fit
- Full Hidden Zip
- 3 Full Back Pockets
- Silicon Grippers for Men’s Jersey (ladies jersey does not include silicon gripper)
- Men’s and Ladies Cuts Available
- Audio Port
RACE FIT Short Sleeve Jersey: $99.95
A form-fitting jersey shouldn’t be this comfortable, according to most clothing manufacturers, as well as the laws of physics. And yet, it is comfortable. And it’s ridiculously light. Like, this will almost certainly be your lightest, most comfortable jersey.
You will wear this jersey so often, in fact — and not just when racing, but when training — that your racing buddies will begin to wonder whether you burned all of your other jerseys.
The cut and fabric of this jersey is, in short, the reason I fell in love with DNA Cycling. Both men’s and women’s fit.
- Fabric: Light Weight Air Flow
- Respire Moisture Management
- Front Comfort Banding
- Race Fit
- Full Hidden Zip
- 3 Full Back Pockets
- Audio Port
Race Bib Shorts: $124.95
The chamois matters. Oh yes, it matters so very, very much. And the chamois these bib shorts comes with by default is really good. Seriously, it’s really, really good.
But I upgraded it anyway.
Why? Because while I was testing out different shorts, I went on one ride where I was suddenly certain I was wearing some $400 bibs. “That’s the Cytech Multi D Comp chamois,” the DNA guy told me.
“This is what we’re using,” I said.
“It’s a little more expensive,” the DNA guy said.
“This is what we’re using,” I said. And we are. And you’ll be so glad I made this decision.
These are made in Italy, they fit beautifully, and they feel like they cost about three times as much as they do. And let’s cap this whole thing off with this: both men’s and women’s sizing.
- Fabric: Performance Lycra / Shield
- 4 cm Elastic Compression Technology
- Smart Panel Design
- Suspension Braces
- Radio Pocket
- Cytech Multi-D Comp Chamois
Women’s Shorts: $94.95
Some women don’t want to wear bib shorts. And who am I to argue. These are the same shorts that the DNA women’s pro cycling team wears.
And if they’re good enough for the pros, they’re probably good enough for you.
- Fabric: Poly Merino Tec Blend
- Respire Moisture Management
- Ergo Stretch Performance
- Relaxed Fit
- Chamois: DNA HD Ergonomic Chamois
Thermal Long Sleeve Jersey: $119.95
Here’s something that’s never made sense to me: long-sleeved jerseys that aren’t any thicker than short-sleeved jerseys. This long-sleeved jersey isn’t like that. It’s fleecy. It’s warm. It’s gloriously comfortable: a little bit looser than race cut — so you can fit a base layer underneath — but not so loose that it flaps around and lets the wind in.
If you’ve got cold-weather riding ahead of you this Fall and / or Winter, get one of these. Especially if you have a fat bike, because then you’ll have a Fat Cyclist jersey on as you’re riding your fat bike, and I’m almost certain to RT your selfie. Because how could I not?
- Fabric: Roubaix Thermal Fleece
- Ergo Stretch Performance
- Full Zip
- 3 Full Back Pockets
- Silicon Grip
- Back Reflective Safety Panel
- “Fight Like Susan” Under-Pocket Detail
Arm Warmers: $34.95
I’ve worn some pathetic arm warmers in my time. They look like they ought to keep your arms warm, but instead they just slouch, guiltily, toward your wrists. Which is just as well, because it’s not like they were doing any good on your arms anyway.
These arm warmers, on the other hand, are the same Super Roubaix fleece-lined fabric as the long-sleeve jersey I’m so excited about. And they stay up. And they go really really well with the Fat Cyclist jersey. As well as with pretty much everything else you own (Fashion Tip for Ladies: try them with a strapless gown!).
- Fabric: Super Roubaix
- Silicon Grip
You’ve killed yourself climbing to the summit, and you’re sweating up a storm. Now it’s time to ride the downhill, which means all of that sweat plus wind is going to instantly give you hypothermia. Which sucks quite a bit.
Except you were smart enough to score this vest, which rolls up nice and small, easily fitting in your jersey pocket on the way up…and saving your bacon on the way down.
- Wind & Water Resistant Front
- Hydro Back Fabric
- Silicon Grip
- 3 Back Pockets
- Two Way Zip
- “Fight Like Susan” Under-pocket detail
5” Performance Cycling Socks: $12.95
Of course you can wear these while riding your bike. And you will. But these socks are so snappy that you’ll find yourself wearing them to your place of business. These will, in effect, become your business socks. And you know what that means.
- Double welt top for comfort and fit
- Arch support reduces foot fatigue and increases circulation
- Smooth toe-seam adds comfort
- Mesh instep aids in breathability
- Flat-knit construction for an ultra-lightweight fit
Cycling Cap: $14.95
This is what I wear instead of having hair. But I have it on good authority that you can wear this even if you have hair.
This traditional Italian cycling cap is made in Italy, which makes it a lot more traditional Italian than most traditional Italian cycling caps.
Oh, and it’s 100% cotton, and one size fits most.
It’s cotton. It’s a t-shirt. It has men’s and women’s sizing. Black because black goes with everything, and it’s slimming.
Plus, there’s the undisputable benefit that when you’re wearing a black t-shirt and working on your bike and you get your hands all greasy, you can wipe your hands right on that shirt with absolute impunity.
Team Fatty + The Power of Bicycles. Rock on.
Some days, you won’t be able to wear your Fat Cyclist jersey or Fat Cyclist t-shirt.
On those days, wear your Fat Cyclist hoodie over whatever else you’re wearing.
- Two-tone, marled black yarn
- 8.3-ounce, 60/40 cotton/poly fleece
- Black drawcord and inside trim
- Metal zipper
A Note From Fatty: I know, I said I’d have the full reveal for the 2015 Fat Cyclist gear this week. As it turns out, however, having a full-time job sometimes takes all of my time. All designs are done; I just have to get the online catalog copy written up. Which I will do as I travel to the True Grit Epic (and back) this weekend. So check back first thing, Monday AM. Thanks!
To look at me, you would think I am the very picture of health. I appear robust, possibly excessively so. I am normally gregarious and communicative, happy to exchange pleasantries with friends, family, and strangers alike. More often than not, I sleep soundly and through the night, waking only between five and nineteen times to pee, a number well in line with well-hydrated athletes of a certain age.
I spend eight hours a day at my normal job, during which I put about 2.5 hours of work in, and 5.5 hours of aimless internet surfing. Which I think (based on the fact that you are almost certainly reading this during work hours) you will agree is pretty much normal.
Yes, to witness me on a normal day you would think I am an average man of near-average height and above-average appetite, performing normal activities in a normal way.
And you could not be more wrong. Because I live with and suffer from a dread disease: Starting Line Affective Disorder (SLAD), an ailment all too common amongst cyclists (and other athletes…but I don’t care about them).
The symptoms of SLAD are as terrible as they are pervasive and distressing.
- Overactive Urinary Tract: In a typical day, the typical kidney filters approximately 120 – 150 quarts of blood, producing 1 to 2 quarts of urine. When a cyclist affected by SLAD approaches the starting line of a race (or even a non-racing cycling event), the kidneys will produce this same amount of urine per minute. This means you will begin to feel the need to go to the bathroom…before you finish going to the bathroom.
- Disorientation: Do you belong at the front of the line of the racers, or more toward the back? Perhaps you should work your way toward the middle. Yes, you are a mid-pack racer. No, looking around, the people standing around you are clearly faster-looking than you are. Well, some of them are, anyway. Maybe you should move forward in the line. No, better move back. It’s not like this is going to make any difference in your finishing time in the race anyway. Or maybe it will. Why is everyone starting to look irritated at you?
- Sudden Realization That One Has No Business Whatsoever Being Where One Is: You get the sense you’ve made a massive mistake coming here today. Look at everyone. They all look so calm, like they race every day of their lives. They’re talking about race strategy, about plans and tactics. Meanwhile all you have is a bottle full of Gatorade and a prayer that the course is well-marked, because you have no idea whatsoever where the turns are.
- Accelerated Bowel Activity: Exactly the same as “Overactive Urinary Tract,” except much poopier. And also, more urgent. And harder to conceal, should things go badly. Which they will, very soon, if whoever is currently in the porta-potty doesn’t get a move-on. (Illustration mercifully omitted.)
- Tachycardia: Racing of the heart. You’re anxious, it’s perfectly normal to be anxious. When you’re anxious, your heart races. This is all perfectly normal. Everything’s going to be just fine. No really, it really is. Fine. Just FINE. Unless your heart jumps out of your chest. Which it seems totally hell-bent on doing, by the way. NO REALLY YOU’RE FINE. Are they ever going to start this stupid race?
- Tachy-Talky: The inability to stop talking about the race to anyone in the general vicinity. How much you’ve trained for it. What you’re worried about. What you’re excited about. What the seven different weather apps you just check say about the high temperature and strength / direction of prevailing winds. What your strategy is. How you’ve customized your bike for this race. Detailed descriptions of the insane customizations you’ve seen on others’ bikes. All at 480wpm.
- Hypo-Talky: The near-complete inability to talk at all. If you open your mouth, you might throw up. What’s there to talk about anyway? You can’t pay attention to these chatterboxes; you’re too distracted.
- Sudden Memory Gain: Oh no. The CO2 canister you’re carrying is empty. And you left both your bottles back at the hotel. And you forgot to check your air pressure until right now. And you hate this jersey; the last time you wore it during a race it rubbed your nipples raw. How is it possible that you are remembering all of these things now that it’s too late to do anything about them?
- Amplified Emotional Response: This is the single most beautiful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” you have ever heard in your life. And these people: they’re all good people. They’re just like you: here because they want to give everything they’ve got. Hundreds of people, all gathered to do their best at something — that is so inspiring. Oh, and now you’re tearing up.
- Delusions of Speed: OK, you haven’t really trained as much as you ought to have, leading up to this race. But didn’t someone say that racing is 90% mental? Yeah, someone definitely said that. So if you really put your heart and mind into it, you can have a fast day. Maybe you’ll win, in fact. Why not? Just give everything, and then give a little bit more. And don’t give up. Why would you give up? You’re not a quitter. You’re the guy everyone looks at and says, “That guy is much faster than I expected him to be.”
- Regret: No, that’s not true. You’re not going to be miraculously fast. You’re not going to be fast at all. You’re going to be slow; you’re going to lose. You’re going to be DFL. And you know why you’re going to be DFL? Because you didn’t train hard enough. And because you ate too much. It’s not like you didn’t know this race was coming, either. You knew it was coming and you were a pig anyway. And now you’re about to pay the price, plus interest, in public humiliation. (See “Sudden Realization That One Has No Business Whatsoever Being Where One Is.”
- Irritation: Oh, for pity’s sake. It’s now ten minutes after the hour. If I’d known you were going to start ten minutes late I would have gone to the porta-potty one more time. Just start the race, already.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you may suffer from SLAD. In fact, you almost certainly do. Furthermore, if you don’t think you do, you’re either fooling yourself or just really irritating.
I, for example, suffer from all of these symptoms, from time to time (and most of them every time I race).
But don’t despair. There is a cure.
Actually, I was just kidding. There isn’t a cure.
Well, I guess you could stop going to races. But that’s a stupid excuse for a cure and I choose to dismiss it with a roll of my eyes and a poorly-concealed smirk.
The outlook for a cure is bleak, to be honest. Some say that you can reduce the symptoms by racing more often. That you acclimatize to race starts and eventually build up antibodies that resist SLAD.
As someone who races most every week of the summer and has raced most every week of the summer for several years, I am happy to say that this is complete nonsense.
The only cure for SLAD is the starting gun firing, at which point most SLAD symptoms immediately vanish…to be immediately supplanted by another disease, commonly known as Racer’s Madness.
What to Do If You Are Diagnosed With SLAD
If you suffer from the symptoms of SLAD, you should immediately contact a doctor. Or you could just go ahead and self-diagnose, the way most of us do for most things nowadays.
Once you know you have SLAD, acknowledge it. Embrace it, even. Stop hiding, shamefacedly, from your fellow racers. Stop pretending you’re not freaked out and about to jump out of your skin.
Only if we all learn to embrace our SLAD can we ever hope to move beyond it.
Oh, and also, be sure to get to the venue in plenty of time to make three consecutive trips to the porta potties.
A Note from Fatty: I’m still working on finalizing the design for some of the 2015 Fat Cyclist gear, and also I’ve got a lot of workish stuff to take care of today. And also I think probably a lot of you didn’t see this last Friday or during the weekend.
But here’s a little extra something for those of you who had visited — what the shorts will look like:
And yes, there will be women’s bibs too. And women’s shorts. And women’s jerseys.
And a lot more.
Meanwhile, check the comments; I’ve answered a lot of questions. And if you have additional questions, ask away; I’ll be checking several times today and will be as non-cagey with my answers as I can be.
I’ll have more to show on this next later this week, but a lot of people have been asking about when / whether there’s going to be new FatCyclist.com gear this year.
There is. And (as of this morning), the jersey design is final:
I love this design, and I’m very excited to have the World Bicycle Relief logo on the jersey this year, in honor of The Thompsons and me being WBR Athlete Ambassadors this year.
I’ll have a lot to reveal next week, and may even reveal some very cool surprises (like, for example, the way Dave Thompson and I are cooking up a contest together, with an outrageous grand prize).
For now, though, I’m just going to let you spend some time getting used to the awesomeness of the FatCyclist and WBR logos sharing colors and space on a jersey.
PS: Just in case you’re wondering what the pattern on the bottom part of the jersey is, here’s a detail view:
A “Great Ride, Great Cause” Note from Fatty: As you probably know, I’m a big fan of BikeMonkey. They put on the amazing Levi’s Gran Fondo, as well as Rebecca’s Private Idaho, as well as Boggs.
As you may (or may not) know, I’m also a fan of fundraising for good causes. Especially when those good causes are for good people (which they pretty much always are).
And right now, a good Friend of Fatty — Angie Gibson — is working with BikeMonkey to help raise money for a friend’s medical treatment. By creating an awesome ride: Hermano, a 71.4-mile roadirt adventure in Northern California.
If you can join the ride, do. And if you can’t join the ride, you can still help. Why don’t you kick in a few bucks? Thanks!
The Clipless Pedal Monologues
About twenty years ago — a few scant weeks after I had been persuaded to trade in my rollerblades for a mountain bike — I swapped out my flat pedals for clipless pedals.
I have not stopped conversing about these pedals ever since. Sometimes out loud. Usually in my head. Frequently with (at least) a hint of panic.
And always to myself.
OK, right foot’s in. That wasn’t so hard. Let’s go.
I’m moving. I’m riding with clipless pedals! I think that means I’m an advanced rider now. Except I haven’t found where my left foot needs to go to get it to connect up.
There it is.
No, that wasn’t it after all. I’ll move my left foot forward a little bit. Huh, it won’t slide. Maybe I’m in after all.
Nope, I can lift my foot off the pedal. Not clipped in.
Why are these called “clipless” pedals anyway? Everyone says you “clip in,” so there’s obviously a clip somewhere in this contraption. Their name is the actual opposite of what they are. That doesn’t bode well for their functionality.
I just felt a scrape — metal on metal. I think my cleat must be touching the pedal. Push…down…harder…and….
I’m in! I’m clipped into my clipless pedals!
I just need to remember when I get to that stoplight: twist my heel out. Before I get to the stop. Not up. Out.
Slowing. Twist! Good, my right foot’s out.
And I’m stopped. And…I’m tipping left.
Twist out! No pull up! Pull up! Up! Up! Up! Why won’t my foot come off my pedal!?
Damn it. I needed to twist out. Not pull up. I knew that.
Everyone said that would happen. That it happens to everyone.
But I don’t think it happens to most people so publicly. I’m laying here, on my left side. In the road. At a stoplight.
And my bike is on top of me, in such a way that I cannot twist out of this stupid pedal.
This, I think, must be how an upended turtle must feel.
OK, you’re coming to a stop. You’re stopping. Twist out with all your might.
You did it. You did it. It’s going to be OK. You don’t need to put training wheels on your bike after all.
Shouldn’t there be an upside to these things? So far, they just make me fall over a lot.
Pull up. Pull up. Up. Up up up. Wow, you really do get a lot more power when you pull up. I just need to keep practicing, and soon I’ll have an upstroke that’s automatic.
(Five Minutes Later)
Huh. I seem to have stopped doing an upstroke. When did I do that? Sometime during the past couple minutes, I guess.
Up. Up. Up. Up.
(One Minute Later)
Seriously, I’ve stopped doing the upstroke again?
I just put my foot down, and I didn’t think about it. I just came to a stop, twisted my foot out of the pedal, and put it down and I did it without planning the motion for the previous thirty seconds.
This is a big deal. I think I’m getting the hang of these. Finally.
(Five Minutes Later)
OK, left foot on cleat and push. Nope, didn’t place the foot correctly.
I wonder if I’ll ever just clip in without thinking about it.
Up. Up. Up. Up. You’d think I’d have made the upstroke a habit by now.
OK, push down. Nope, not far enough forward. You’d think that after doing this for ten years I’d know exactly where to put my foot to clip into my pedals, every single time.
Huh. I just realized that I’m pulling up. I have an upstroke habit. And it only took me fourteen years to develop it.
Push in. Nope. Wrong position. I’ll get it on the next rotation. Nope, didn’t get it that time either. There you go.
Well, it’s not like I’ve been trying to learn to clip in right for twenty years or anything.
Except I have.
Whoah, waah woh…
So I guess this is what an upended turtle (still) feels like.
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