What I'm Doing During My Time Off (Warning: Navel Gazing Ahead)

Hi, Fatty here. Yeah, I know I said I wasn’t going to do any writing for a while, but I am perfectly comfortable with the idea of breaking promises.

When I decided to take my first extended break since I started this blog, the reason I gave was that I was (disproportionately) grumpy at what seemed to me an increase in commenting snark aimed in my direction.

But that was really only a small part of why I wanted a break. The bigger reason was that I had — for the first time since I’ve started writing this blog — run out of ideas. I’d sit down to write, and have nothing to say about biking.

That freaked me out.

The biggest reason I felt I needed a break, though, was that I felt like “Fat Cyclist” was at a sort of crossroads. I saw four choices.

  • Keep on keeping on. Do I keep doing what I’ve been doing for 18 months (write something funny about biking every weekday, more-or-less), pretty much forever? That didn’t sound appealing.
  • Good night, everybody. Do I shut the blog down, and focus my writing efforts on writing a book or for print magazines? Well, I like the idea of writing a book and writing for magazines, but I don’t really think writing “Fat Cyclist” and pursuing other writing efforts are really mutually exclusive.
  • Cool it. Do I go to a “once a week” model, posting every Monday? Nah. That’s lazy, and you’d all fall out of the habit of visiting here.
  • Counterintuitive option. What if — instead of doing the same thing, or not doing anything at all, or doing less, I really ramped up “Fat Cyclist” into something bigger?

The more I thought about it, the more I decided I liked the idea of turning Fat Cyclist into more than a blog.

FatCyclist.com Now Under Construction
So, for the past few days, I’ve been spending a moment here and there to write down ideas and install software for www.fatcyclist.com. Here’s what I’m thinking the site will have.

  • The blog. That’ll be on the home page. I’m happy to say that my “idea list” (a Word doc I keep with a bullet list of things I want to write about on my blog) now has a nice buffer of 15 items. So the writer’s fatigue thing should be over.
  • Comments. I know a lot of you readers don’t currently comment because it’s difficult to sign up with Microsoft’s Live Passport. I’ve (for now) set up my blog at www.fatcyclist.com to not require registration. Just type and post. If spam or abuse gets to be a problem, I’ll rethink that later.
  • Fatty’s Forum. I’d like to be able to have ongoing conversations with you guys, and the comments zone is kind of a weak way to do that, so I’ve got a forum at www.fatcyclist.com/forum. Please register and post something there, because it’s currently entirely empty.
  • Epic Rides Library. Long before I ever did the “Fat Cyclist” blog, I maintained a little website called “Epic Rides,” where anyone who wanted could contribute stories about long, difficult bike rides they had taken. I loved writing and reading those stories, so I’m going to make that part of the Fat Cyclist site, too. Start thinking about (and writing) your stories.
  • Training / Weight Loss Bets and Competitions: One way I’ve been able to force myself to stay on track with diets and training is by having a bet or competition with other people. I think that’s probably the case with others. So I’m planning on having an area on the site where you can either compete with me or with other Fat Cyclist readers to see who meets their goals.
  • Stuff to Sell. I’m thinking of selling T-Shirts, stickers, jerseys, and other stuff like that. I haven’t actually started getting any of that produced, yet, though. Soon.
  • Ads-for-Schwag: I’d like to put some ads on my site. Not to get money, mind you (though I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to money). I’d like to do barter-style advertising, where small companies can advertise on my site in exchange for giving me stuff which I can then give away as competition prizes.

I’m just getting started, but the site’s now live. Leave a comment and tell me what you think of this idea.

Oh, and I’m no longer feeling fragile, so feel free to be honest.

0 comments

  1. Derek

    It’s about time you moved on to something bigger and better than spaces. I really think you could build yourself quite the little community here…

    Off to switch the URL for your RSS feed in my newsreader.

  2. Eufemiano Fuentes

    I like the idea of advertising on your site for no money, just bartering. I am sure I can come up with some training ‘ideas’ for you that will suffice this bartering requirement.
    By the By, I would really like to get my hands on some of that Jack Mormon Militia blood. That there is some good blood.

  3. BotchedExperiment

    I like it the site, but I’m afraid the forum is only going to provide documentation for the amount of time I waste on your site. I’m absolutely sure I don’t want to know.

    P.S. So did you find any lint?

  4. UltraRob

    I think you have some great ideas and when MSN went to Spaces they made it more difficult to post. I like your logo. Hey, I’m not against advertising for money. I spend more than my share on cycling gear and if I can get companies to pay me to advertise so I can buy more or attempt RAAM again I’m all for it as long as they’re good companies.

  5. Zuke

    Hey Fatty,

    Glad you’re not quitting but actually going for something bigger and better than MSN Spaces. Plus, your URL is a heckuva lot easier to remember now!

    I think it’s a good idea for you to do some advertising for swag, etc. I’d also be willing to kick in a small annual subscription fee to post comments, if that would keep the spammers out of your comment section. Just an idea…

  6. pedalgeek

    Congrats! It almost brings a tear to my eye to see our little cyclist grow up and strike out on his own. I look forward to the new format and the opportunity to purchase some “Fat Cyclist” gear. As a completely unqualified fashion guru…may I suggest a different design than the one used in the PMC?

  7. Boz

    Now that your unchained by (limited) Spaces, things should really move forward. I can’t wait to see all the directions you are going to take us in the FC universe. Congrats.

  8. joe

    very nice – good move on moving off of Spaces.
    If you’re worried about comment spam, be sure to install the Askimet WordPress plugin, if you haven’t already. It will take care of it all for you.
    http://codex.wordpress.org/Akismet
    Or if you have to, just install a captcha, but i would stay away from forcing registration.

  9. AMG in Texas

    Fatty,
    Great job on the new website! But what is with the Barney colors??? Do you wear purple sock like Donny Osmond? (Wasnt’ he also from Utah???)

    Put me down for some Fat Cyclist Jerseys!!! Need to have the right stuff so that people will now laugh at me with some understanding of the current weight issue:-0

    Too bad I worked so hard to configure myspaces to put my logo image on my comments just to have this site not even have that option!

    Keep on riding

  10. Stephanie

    I’m so glad you haven’t given up. I’ve been visiting your site on my daily lunch breaks since the tour in 05. I can’t fathom not having something to read anymore!!! Thanks for going on with it!!!

  11. BIg Mike In Oz

    Apparently all the cool people are commenting over here now. I was wondering why me and my cokebottle glasses and poindexter pocket protector were so lonely over at the old site. Now I know. And thanks for inviting me over guys.

  12. BotchedExperiment

    MIKe, we were waiting to get the party started until you got here. Even Al’s back, so we’re ready to roll. I certainly hope fatty is feeling thick skinned. . .

  13. KatieA

    Awesome!

    So this means that eventually, I too can get a Fat Cyclist riding shirt for my little old self? You’ll whole teams of us riding about…

    Welcome back Fatty!
    (Not that I didn’t appreciate the other contributors on your site for the last little bit…)

  14. Jill

    Great site! I can’t wait to buy a logo T-shirt. But I have to ask about your archives. You’re not going to shut down your MSN spaces site entirely, right? If so, what about your How (Not) Too section? Priceless stuff. It should still be available to the world.

  15. bradley

    I can see I’m not the only one who didn’t like spaces. This is much cleaner and faster. Now I can waste, I mean use, my time reading rather than waiting for pages to load. The only problem I’ve had is getting from the forums here. Did I just not find the link? Oh, yeah, are you going to port all the fake news and such over here?

  16. Argentius

    Welcome!

    I’ve had to restrain myself from bitching about the spaces thing every time I’ve gone on there, and their new comments system just sucks.

    I guess you can do it now that you don’t work for Msoft!

    This will be much better.

    Just keep it bloggin’.

  17. JET(not a nickname)

    FC-This site looks awesome! Much better than the whole spaces gig. I look forward to wasting just as much of my time on the new set up as I did with the old. I am also looking forward to the apparel if and when it comes around. Thanks for coming back!

  18. Uncadan8

    Yay! Now I can read Fatty again at work! They actually blocked Spaces because of “Personals/Dating.” I hadn’t been aware that anyone had actually hooked up on Spaces before. Strange.

  19. Seph

    I look forward to your musings (as always) and to the new forum. Your contributors are some of the best. Clearly this is one of the outstanding sites for cycling and the forum will replace some others in my favorites list.

  20. Steven Hanley

    Hey neat I can comment on this site (no spaces registration on the other one), I am a daily reader and just wish I were able to write such entertaining stories myself rather than continually write about broken equipment or similar stuff. (just another Australian cyclist I guess)

    Though it seems Fatty is not the only source of amusing posts, that post the other day from Jeff S about a hard bunch ride was great, so as part of the new fat cyclist initiative you should continue to solicit stories from readers.

  21. hmspain

    My first posting! 🙂 So glad I can lend a voice of support to your latest efforts! Start riding your road bike, you will get all sorts of inspiration!

  22. Clay

    Pretty cool! Your very own website.

    I’m interested in having you help me make my commute home shorter. That’s not to say that I need to ride less, but it’s 26 miles from my toolbox to my doorstep and even if I set a good pace I still need an hour and 45 minutes to make the trip on my P.O.S. 1982 Fuji.

    So how can you help? I’m glad you asked. I have a small business I’m trying to get started. I do video editing, tape to dvd conversions, and other such related things. The more business I can get, the closer I can get to reaching my goal of telling my service manager at the EVIL new car dealership I work at to take a flying… well, you get the idea.

    Anyway, you mentioned something about having small business ads here in exchange for prizes, so I just wondered where to sign up?

  23. Lins - Australia

    …and the pople rejoiced.

    By the way the handlebars on your logo are very Australian: shaped just like a boomerang.

  24. Al Maviva

    I hadn’t been aware that anyone had actually hooked up on Spaces before.

    Yeah, UncaDan, it’s true. NBC Dateline uses “spaces” as the host for its child predator stings, so it’s packed with child botherers and fake 13 year olds. There are also a lot of guys who ride recumbents blogging over there. So it’s pretty unsavory company all around, if you ask me.

  25. Born4Lycra

    Way to go.
    Really looking forward to being part of it with you and the other Fc’ers. Mind you I was just getting used to my space etc. including my rather stunning photo.
    FC is back big time – Woohoo

  26. Uncadan8

    Whew! Thanks for the info, Al. And welcome back to the blogosphere, although I guess this isn’t technically a blog anymore. I was really starting to miss your input and wit. Not that I want to hook up or anything…uh…signing off now.

  27. Lissee

    Fatty,

    Will you be selling some gym shirts for those of us who want to wear your shirt to the gym? (Don’t necessarily need cycling gear when using the elliptical trainer … indside …)

    Oh, if you do make shirts, make sure you include a stylish fit for those of us women out here. lol

    Thanks!
    Lissee

  28. BotchedExperiment

    Uncadan & Al – Pedaphiles, recumbant riders, and triathletes. Spaces is one wicked place.

    Botched

    P.S. I’d give anything if Fatty could get that Dr. Laemler guy to post again. . .

    P.P.S. I think Fatty should start things off over here by re-posting his “all time greatest hits” with the original comments.

  29. Boz

    Ditto Botched. BTW, how come all recumbant riders look the same ? And why do triathaletes look tortured ? I don’t see them climbing the Alps, so what’s their excuse? No comment on the pedaphiles. Don’t know any.

  30. Ben

    Boz, I can explain the tortured triathlete thing. With the forward seating position and the aerobars you end up sitting on an area that isn’t too well evolved for sitting on. And yes, I know this from bitter experience.

    Fatty, nice site!

  31. Al Maviva

    how come all recumbant riders look the same

    Because you have to get a license to own a recumbent. Prerequisites for the license include being an engineer or college prof, bearded, aged 40-65, and capable of smoking a pipe while riding. Preference is given to ‘bent riders who are willing to mount either a laptop or large PDA on the handlebars of their bike, and navigate while riding with GPS while blogging on MySpaces and emailing their underage girlfriends via wireless nodes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

    Quote from an unnamed RAAM competitor when asked when and if recumbant riders would achieve acceptance in the bicycling community:

    “When you consider the strides blacks made toward tolerance and acceptance in the civil rights era, and that gays and lesbians have made in recent decades, recumbents should be able to achieve acceptance in 40 or 50 years or so.”

    I keeeed, I keeeed.

  32. Sharon

    I hope those cool archived columns on the side of your website will not be eliminated. That was when I fell in love with your wit…

  33. spin echo

    ditto to all the comments above — have lurked for a long time and really get a kick out of your website and all the comments from your crew of buddies.

  34. Co

    Allelujah, you’re off MSN! Long-time reader of yours, but refuse to give one byte to MSN. Happy to see that your (functional!) site is up!
    Co

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