A Note from Fatty: I’m really pleased to have my good friend Kenny advertising on my site. Rather than doing an ad-for-schwag, however, Kenny’s offering 20% off to everyone who reads my blog. That’s an awesome deal. And let me point out that Kenny is not just a great rider; his photo lab turns out the very highest-quality photos I have ever seen. Yes, your pictures are actually going to look better if you have Kenny print them than if you go with some megadeveloper. No matter where you live (as long as you’re in the US, that is), I definitely recommend having Kenny print your photos. Plus, if you do, he’ll have enough money to race more often. And that would be good.

Last weekend, I did something truly altruistic. Something which, I daresay, proves that I am a genuinely good human being. It is, I suspect, one of the top three things I’ll use to make my case to St. Peter (or whoever it turns out to be) at the pearly gates.

Specifically, last weekend I let my Dad have a pair of my Smartwool socks on permanent loan.

You see, my Dad’s in the hospital right now, recovering from prostate cancer surgery. So I drove down to Grand Junction to spend the weekend with him (I also brought one of my mountain bikes — the Rig — so I could go riding with my sister, but that’s beside the point).

While I’m sitting with my Dad, he mentions that his feet have been cold ever since he got to the hospital, and that he hates the socks the hospital provides: the polyesther just feels gross.

I sympathize, observing that my feet are nice and warm, because once the weather turns cold, I wear my calf-length Smartwool socks full-time, whether I’m biking, working, snowshoeing, at church, or lounging at home.

My Dad — who in all other ways is a much superior outdoorsman to me — has never worn Smartwool socks. He therefore believes these socks will be scratchy and uncomfortable.

“Nay,” I reply, sagely. “These socks are the most comfortable socks in the world.” And then — even though I brought only two pair with me for the weekend, I go down to my car and get a pair of Smartwool socks.

Those of you who are familiar with Smartwool socks know what a sacrifice that was. But I did it anyway, because — as I believe I’ve made clear — I am a good and generous human being, not to mention the best son that has ever lived.

Of course, within a few minutes my dad is comfortable. Or at least his feet are, anyway.

Smartwool for Biking
During the Summer, I can’t think of a better sock to wear than the ubiquitous DeFeet Aireator socks. The light mesh breathes nicely, they last a reasonable period of time — they usually make it through a couple seasons before i wear a hole in the big toe — and, as near as I can tell, they’re free. I have never purchased a pair of Aireator socks, but have dozens from different bike shops, races, events, and other promotions.

I do not make any effort match these socks when I ride. As far as I’m concerned, the “Carnac” sock I got free with a pair of shoes I bought years ago goes nicely with the lone “Cascade Creampuff” sock I’m able to find.

But once Autumn begins, it’s Smartwool, all the way. My feet stay warm when it’s cold, without getting hot when I luck into a nice day. They’re an order of magnitude better than any other cold-weather sock for cycling.

So, the questions are: what length of Smartwool socks should one wear, and what color(s)? Well, you might expect the answer to be, “whatever you like,” but that answer would be wrong. The correct answers are:

  • Color: Any dark color, but choose carefully. Once you make your choice, you should stick with it forever. That way, as you lose the occasional sock, you’re not left with an orphan. Instead, you now have a spare. Huzzah! For myself, I chose dark green, but I sometimes wish I would have gone with black, because black goes better with non-biking clothes. Which is important to me, because I am all about fashion.
  • Length: Calf-length. Nothing feels so nice as a pair of socks that stay up, and the calf-length Smartwool socks definitely stay up. And they do it without cutting into your legs. And you know what really looks dapper? Dark, calf-length socks on a cyclist who’s wearing shorts, as demonstrated below:

 Nice socks! 

PS: This has been an uncompensated endorsement. Though I wouldn’t mind some compensation, should it come my way. (Attention Smartwool people who are no doubt curious why you’re suddenly getting a lot of hits from the domain: I wear size Large, and would like Adrenaline Lt Crew, Larch Green).

PPS: Family and friends: Christmas is coming, and some Smartwool socks would make an excellent and affordable gift.

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