So back in April I ran a Kickstarter campaign that, I’m very pleased to say, was successful. Success on Kickstarter is easily measured: Either you hit your funding goal or you don’t. It’s not terribly different from stick-and-ball sports where either you won or lost. Put another way, it’s nothing like bike racing.
The campaign had a two-fold purpose. First, I’ve wanted to collect a number of my posts into a single, collectible, volume for some time. What gave the project its urgency was my need to generate as many greenbacks as possible to make a down payment on the Deuce. Kaiser Permanente recently came up with a number (fundamentally, I believe all medical bills are forged in fiction and then inflicted upon us as fact), a number that is larger than what I paid for my last car. So there’s that.
What occasions this post is that we’ve begun fulfilling some of the pledges associated with the project. The T-shirt design above is yet another meisterwerk by our designer Joe Yule of StageOne Sports. As the graphic designer behind not only our logo and the Roubaix and Suffer T-shirts, but also the entire look of the Garmin-Sharp team, he’s a hard man to schedule time with, but always worth the wait. These shirts are with the printer now and will begin shipping this week. Kickstarter peeps get theirs first, then on to the new orders. You can order the shirt here.
Regarding sizing: If you own another RKP shirt, we’re using the same NextLevel shirts we’ve been using, so the sizing remains consistent. If this is your first time ordering a shirt, the sizing is roughly: Small: 38″ chest; Medium: 40″ chest; Large: 42″ chest; XL: 44″ chest; and XXL: 46″ chest.
The Kickstarter campaign also included a broadside. So what is a broadside you ask? Well, it’s a kind of text poster. They were first used as a means of advertising upcoming events. Think big poster pasted to the side of a building. Gradually their use and purpose evolved. Today they are a way for letterpress printers to celebrate a new volume by a writer. They are almost always the province of poems these days. And rather than being printed on crappy paper and pasted to a wall, they are now executed on high-quality paper and framed. (Unless you’re a broke graduate student and you resort to thumbtacks … no names mentioned.)
I should mention here that both the broadside and the T-shirt are based on my post “There Will Be Chaos.”
As a way to celebrate the publication of my book “Why We Ride” I worked with Norman Clayton of Classic Letterpress to do a run of 200 broadsides. I’ve adapted “There Will Be Chaos,” sculpting it a bit for this usage, and I’ve given it a new title which points to the kind of importance that quote has taken in my life. You might say, it’s not just about the bike.
I’ve already begun shipping the broadsides out to those who pledged for them in the Kickstarter campaign. You, too, can order one of the remaining broadsides here; there’s even an option if you want it signed.
With all due apologies to Frank Zappa, it seemed appropriate to note that what I’m about to announce isn’t exactly new news.
We blew through most of this year’s run of Roubaix shirts in fairly short order, so I did a second run and in an effort to respond to those who have requested non-black T-shirts, we did a run of the Roubaix shirts in gray. We looked at what could be done to try to do this shirt in white, but there was no way to work the graphic that didn’t make it look like a photo negative. So gray it is. This is but one of the terrific designs Joe Yule of StageOne Sports has done for us. Stay tuned for more of his work.
And this first day of the Giro marks the return of the Eddy ’72 T-shirt with the amazing illustration by Bill Cass. It’s back in black and Belgian blue. No apologies to AC/DC will be forthcoming. Or necessary. Just give it a second.
Some months ago I made plans to join my friends for a little ride down in North County San Diego, the SPY Belgian Waffle Ride. SPY’s CEO, Michael Marckx is both someone I’ve been able to count as a friend and a certifiable creative type. I began hearing his vision for the ride a couple of years ago, shortly after he joined the company. He’d spitball ideas at me and I’d drool, if only on the inside.
I needn’t go into the reasons why a few days ago I sent MMX, as he’s known to friends, an email with the subject line, “Regrets.” But I did; pardon me while I use the passive construction and say, it had to be done.
In place of doing the Belgian Waffle Ride, I’ve had a pretty stellar day. I got a ride in, came home and hung out with the Deuce and watched Paris-Roubaix. Once Philip came back from a trip to the park with his mom, he curled up on the couch with me to play games on our iPad as the Deuce napped nearby. A terrific day, full stop.
The thing is, I missed something special today and that’s gnawing at me.
If I may be so bold, the BWR is a case study for everything wrong with bike events. Mind you, I’m not saying that the folks at SPY got it wrong; I’m saying that compared to the BWR, nearly everyone else is getting it wrong.
I gave up doing industrial park criteriums years ago. At a certain point I realized that I needed more out of a bike event than just proving I was faster than some other guy I’d probably enjoy riding with if the entire raison d’être for the event wasn’t predicated on proving who was fastest. And because those events were tucked into the disused weekend corners of communities as if they were an embarrassment to proper athletic endeavors, they seemed a disservice to actually promoting cycling as a sport worthy of watching. Nevermind the real-world challenges of securing a course, industrial parks aren’t so much low-hanging fruit as fallen fruit. Picking ripe fruit is worth the effort.
With the BWR, SPY has created an event meant to reward the fastest, so in that regards it does settle a question that never gets old, while re-imagining just what an experience can be. Thankfully, they dispensed with calling it a gran fondo. While a gran fondo is a special sort of event, and something I love doing, here in the U.S. the term has come to be applied to every century that was having trouble drawing a crowd before. Blech.
Promoters ought to take a close look at these flyers that SPY sent out counting down the days to the event. They are genius because they serve so many purposes. First, they build excitement for the event, and being excited about an event is key to having a special experience. They do the entrants a service because they offer insight into course challenges—a handy thing given the enormity of the undertaking. Finally, they pimp sponsors, something most race promoters devote too little effort to.
Abraham Maslow wrote about the ingredients that go into a peak experience. Anticipation and expectation offset by preparation. With the exception of the guys at Bike Monkey, who put on Levi’s Gran Fondo, I’ve never seen another outfit put half this much effort into ratcheting up excitement for an event in the run-up.
Perhaps there’s no truer measure of their success than the ache I feel for not having been there.
And if my own sense of missing out isn’t enough, I can tell you that several dozen riders from the Southbay drove down for the event. In all my years of riding with my peeps, not another ride has done more to unite to the locals’ ambition (and carpool skills) as the BWR.
The question I’d like to put to event promoters is: Why bother, if your aim isn’t to give everyone who enters a memorable experience? What have you given to anyone who is not the winner? SPY has created something memorable, even in the missing. Hell, they even got local TV coverage the other day. When was the last time a non-big-time bike event managed that?
Perhaps the best way to frame their achievement is with my favorite quote by Teddy Roosevelt: “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure … than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
And here those poor spirits to which I refer are not athletes, but event promoters. I challenge you: Dream large.
Is it completely gauche, in the midst of the Cross Worlds, the Lancepocalypse and all manner of other deeply important events, to pause for the half minute it takes to point you toward some of the wares in the RKP store? Our overhead here in this corner of the cycling omniverse is low but persistent, and the warehouse is full to bursting with products of unparalleled quality and soul-nurturing goodness.
Our Cream of Courage embrocation is just the thing to slather over freshly-shaved legs. It’ll make you the best smelling rider in the paceline. Pete Smith at Mad Alchemy mixed this stuff up just for us, so it’s got a pedigree to go along with its complex herbal bouquet. Think of it as the perfect addition to your pre-ride routine, or an acceptable cologne substitute for last minute cycling dates.
And as long as you’re dressing to impress, why not kit up in the latest RKP bibs and jersey? Nothing says ‘wo/man about town’ quite like a sharp kit, and you’d be hard pressed to find one sharper than this. Designed by Joe Yule of StageOne Sports and made by Panache, we guarantee you’ll be 20% more impressively attractive while wearing it (if not any faster). We have all sizes still in stock, including yours.
And for off the bike, how about an RKP ball cap? I have always been uncomfortable with companies who call their ball cap a “podium cap.” It makes me feel unworthy. This cap is just a cap. You can wear it on podiums, if you’re one of those people who wins things, but you can also wear it to the grocery store if your hair’s a mess, like mine is, every day.
I hope you will understand that these sort of shameless appeals to your base consumerist instincts are not the reason we set up our stall here on the internet. But the staff accountant, comptroller and operations team have all recommended we sell more stuff, if only so we can continue to pay their handsome and well-justified salaries. This, it seems, is how the world goes round.
And thank you for your support.
With our stock running low, the time has come for another order of the best looking non-ProTour kit going. Designed by Joe Yule of StageOne Cycling Apparel—the same graphic designer responsible for the stylish look of the Garmin-Transitions team—and produced by Boulder-based Panache Cycle Wear, this is one kit that never fails to get compliments.
We’re going to be doing things a little differently with this order. We’re ordering plenty clothing for stock so you can purchase stuff any time the urge strikes, but we’re also offering a discount of up to 20 percent (depending on the item) to those who pre-order.
We’re also adding another item this year: the secret weapon. A thermal bib short is one of those items that may see use for only three or four months per year even in cold climates, but they are the unheralded heroes of many a Spring Classic. To get a better sense of their value, you can check out my review of Castelli’s thermal bibs called the Claudio.
While the standard bibs are blue, the Roubaix bibs will come in black; consider it a humble nod to the conditions they are meant to endure. And like the other bibs, these include Cytech’s best chamois, making them as comfortable as anything you can find. The Roubaix bibs, unlike the blue bibs, are strictly pre-order.
- Blue Bibs: $105
- Roubaix Bibs: $120
- Jersey: $95
- Arm Warmers: $30
- Knee Warmers: $30
- Wind Vest: $95
Pricing includes shipping, except for international orders, which need to add an additional $10.
Get your order and payment in by November 1 to take advantage of the discounted pricing.
RKP accepts Paypal and Google Checkout. Send your payment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sizing comparison for Jerseys, Vests and Arm Warmers
|Extra Small||Extra Small||Extra Small||XXS||Extra Small|
|Extra Large||Extra Large||Extra Large||Large||Extra Large|
Sizing comparison for Bibs
|Extra Small||XXS||XXS||XXS||Extra Small|
|Small||Extra Small||Extra Small||Extra Small||Small|
|Extra Large||Large||Large||Large||Extra Large|