58cm Specialized SL2 for sale

October 15, 2011 § 12 Comments

This si a fukking bad boy. Yes it is.

So you are fukking off for the umpteenth time on Craigslist or Ebay trying to find a cheap cherry Specialized SL2 frame and fork well keep looking because this isnt it. This bad bitch has had the snot ridden out of her I bet I put a hundred thousand miles on it this year alone maybe a lot more. Its a old bike too I got it in ’09 in July and have beat the shit out of this bike. Strava fukkin sent me a letter saying dont put any more of your badass rides our servers are crashing.

Now then. This bad boy dont give a shit about being beat to shit not one bit. It is still stiffer than a sailor on shore leave. It has some cool decals on it you will still be a dork but this bad boy has cool decals. One is Saxo Bank. The bikes white. Saxo doesn’t mean some effimanent guy in a jazz bar smokin clove cigs and listening to Barry White or some shit. Saxo is short for Anglosaxons which is short for Saxons which means badass.

Dont ask me any stupd questions about this you can see it stupid.

The Saxons came from germany before it was even a country and gave the romans a beatdown and the huns and the vandals and the mongrol hoards too. They didn’t have guns or shit they just beat the shit out of everyone with their fukkin clubs and fists. Hitler wouldn’t have stood a chance against these fukkers or Saddam Hussane they would have kicked his ass too. This bike is Saxo Bank, get it? What do you think a Saxon put in the bank money? No fukkin way they didnt have money they put in the bank whupass and a ton of it. You build up this bad bitch and you will make some serious whupass withrdarls from the Saxo Bank on the local rides when you are stomping peoples dicks off.

Now then. This bad bitch has never been crashed but its not because of lack of trying. I road this like a crazy fukker more than you can believe and sure its not cherry. But if you want cherry go hit on a twelve yearold and go to prison you wiredo. Now then. Its got some dings and shit who wouldn’t after a zillion miles I sure would. Theres places on the header tube that have been worn through by cables because the little plastic protector thingy fell off a stone age ago. Well now if you care about that you are a pussy everything is going to fail catastorifically eventully even the sun will fukkin fail and go out. So what the fuk do you expect from a plastic bike.

its been rubbed so the fuck what it wont kill you you chickenman.

Now then. Theres a place on the inside of the chain stay all rubbed to sh*t from something probably a magnet. Dont whine to me about that its not cherry you morron its been road to shit and back thats why you aren’t paying full retail at a bike shop because you are a cheapass. Build up this bad bitch and paint over the nasty spots it wont fail but if it does you better not even think about sueing me because I’m already telling you its fukked up some. You are probably one of those jagoffs who buys shit at walmart and wears it for a month and then takes it back for a full refund. Well they hate you and think your a dushe even though they are like smiling and like “Have a nice day” crap. Well I’m not so dont pull any crap okay and I dont care what kind of fukking day you have or ever have.

Well now. You are probably thinking this is too cool to be offered but there is more. Everybody in fukking LA knows this bike because it has kicked more asses than a pointy toed pair of boots in a bar full of transvestites. This fukkin bad boy has inflicted some body pain and some booty pain all over the fukkin South Bay and beyond.

NBD that means no big deal. its No big deal get over it.

Switchbacks in PV? Kicked some fukkin ass all over that town. PCH? Fukkin engraved my star on that piece of asphalt with this bad bitch. Donut Ride? You show up on the Doney with this bad boy people will say oh fuk thats some badass shit the guys peckers will shrivell all up they will crap in thier pants and the hot chicks will be staring at your pants guaranteed. You put some good componnants on this bad bitch and it will climb its lighter than helium it will pull your saggy ass up the climbs practically. Dont be a cheapass dork and buy this bad bitch and build it up with 105 crap youll look like a dork and for gods sake wear bibs no one wants to look at your hairy buttcrack. Plus its made from FACT carbon which means Fucking Awesome Carbon Thing and its damned good and stiff.

Now then. One day I was riding this bad boy in PV and some dumfuk road crew had just painted the road with white stripe paint shit while they were stoned like theres any other kind of road crew right and then they wnet  on a rest break to get stoned some more and forgot the orange conese so I road right through the white striping paint shit. It spalttered like a fukker and its instant dry shit I mean they had just put it down when I road over it.

This is a little bit of nothing get over it chickenman.

So this bad bitch gets like sprayed with white paint that after a zillion miles turns gray and looks nasty. Ive took most of it off but there are still spots so if your a prissy pretty boy or prissy pritty girl and your such a loser that you lay on your stomach and stare underneath your fukkin bike with a fukkin microscope you will think “Eeeewwwww” but fuk you I wouldn’t sell this bad bitch to you anyway.

Now your looking at these pictures and going what does he live in a fukkin prison. No asshole I live in a pretty classy place that has big hairy fuks with guns at the door to keep deadbeats like you from sneaking in and stealing the toilet paper. Those are the bars on my balcony not a prison you idiot. I probably have more money in my checking account than your whole fukking family tree and if you had a pot to piss in you wouldnt even know how to spell craigslist.

So now your so hot to buy your like where do I fukkin sign. Well you know what they say the best time to breed the mare is when the farmer is in heat but if you think I’m giving you my contact info your fukkin nuts people get murdered on craigslist over pissant shit like porn and blowjobs much less a bad boy like I’m selling here. So then. You send me a email and don’t give me any poormouth bullshit I dont give a ratsass about your moms chemo cash only please. No I wont take your rubber fukkin check and I wont swap for your supposed web design skills or shit or even think about taking your stolen credit card you dushe. Hard cash only please in this case $500 big ones. Also dont ask if Ill take less than that this isnt Bangaladesh if I wanted $450 I’d have typed $450 morron. If you want to go haggle like your at the fukkin bazar go to Bagdad.

From the other side it is bitching to.

Now then. In case you are a scammer fuk and think your going to meet me somewhere and rip me off well fuk you. I have a federal license for every fukkin kind of killing machine ever invented and guns with caliburs that are big and badass. And I will. use it on the first fuk that tries to rip me off. You may think I’m skinny and no account because I am a fukkin hammer on this bad boy but I know joojitsoo and kung foo and will use it all over your ass upside and down if your not  instantly killed in a hail of bullets. Don’t fuk with me plus I carry a big ass knife.

Also dont send me a zillion emails with stupid questions I wont answer them. You think fukkin Eddy Merx gave a ratsass about your stupid questions he didn’t. He climbed the fukkin tours of Giro and France and Spain with six cogs on the back wearing a stinkass wool sweater on a bike that weighs more than your fat sister. He was a fukking hammer stud and he didnt give a ratsass why the fuk should you. You either want this bad boy or your just a tirekicking dick.

I am Standing by to make you one happy dude or chick. Oh yeah its 58cm dont fukking ask me how many inches that is what am I a calculater and it comes with a pretty bitching seatpost I will throw in the bottle cages too if your not a total dushe. They are blue. Which is very rad.

Readers inquire about Specialized products

October 14, 2011 § 4 Comments

Dear Wankmeister:

I’m trying to decide between a Venge and an SL4. They say the Venge is more for guys who are out in the wind, rouleur/solo attacking style, whereas the SL4 is more of a climber/traditional roadie frame. I’m a little of both. Your thoughts?

Comparatively,
Stuey Sagbottom

Dear Stuey:

Both frames went through an extensive R&D period that included more hours in the wind tunnel than any bike, ever. They were also tested extensively beneath the pulsing quads of some of the greatest racers in the pro peloton. The consensus among people who have thoroughly tested both frames is this: they’re wasted on a weekend wanker like you, who wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between an SL4 and a wheelbarrow. In any event, as with every other piece of cycling equipment you’ve ever bought, you’ll still be gasping at the back when crunch time comes, and you’re ejected from the paceline’s rectum quicker than a bad burrito.

Truthfully,
The Wankmeister

Dear Wankmeister:

I’ve heard people say that Specialized’s strategy is to vertically integrate and lock out all non-Specialized products from their shops in order to reduce competition, raise prices, and limit consumer choice. That’s why I refuse to shop at Specialized shops and why I support my LBS instead. I’m surprised you patronize such places.

Disappointedly,
Dilly Dipworthy

Dear Dipshit:

I’ve also heard that Banana Republic’s strategy is to lock out all GAP and J. Crew products from their store, and that Toyota refuses to share its manufacturing plants with GM. Who fucking cares? Some people like buying a car off a showroom floor, others like surfing Craigslist and spending six months traveling around LA County to the homes of  hookers, perverts, crazies, fraudsters, and axe-murderers in order to get the perfect deal on a lime-colored, low mileage 1997 Dodge LeDouche. My biggest gripe against Specialized is that they’re an adjective. See ya.

Amazedly,
The Wankmeister

Dear Wankmeister:

Specialized bikes are made in Taiwan, a place that’s notorious for low-quality, gemcrack manufacturing. Give me a hand-crafted European frame any day. Plus, there’s no cycling tradition in Asia like there is here.

Proudly,
Sidney Sniffers

Dear Sidney:

I remember when the first Toyotas came into this country. Bigoted pinheads like you called them “rice rockets” and sneered at their shoddy quality and inferior design. You’re now collecting unemployment and the world’s biggest automaker is Japanese. You probably voted for someone in the Tea Party, if you even bothered to vote. Since you probably still drive a Dodge LeDouche, you’ve likely not heard that 99% of all bikes sold here are made in China and Taiwan. Among the Big Three–Trek/Gary Fisher, Specialized, and Giant, all are made in Taiwan. Last time I checked, Cav and Spartacus were making out okay on their “gemcrack” rides. Good point about no cycling tradition in Asia. There’s a much more vibrant bike culture in, say, Houston.

Raised eyebrowedly,
The Wankmeister

Dear Wankmeister:

I saw you on your new Venge on Tuesday and heard that you crashed it after the Pier Ride. Heh, heh. How do you like it?

Uprightedly,
Polly Perkinnanny

Dear Polly:

Have you ever heard of someone spending $4,000 on a new frame and then saying that it’s a piece of shit? Of course not. Here are a few iron laws about bike frame reviews: 1) You always like the bike you have. 2) The more you spend the better it feels. 3) Newer is always better. 4) Stern-O’s is newerer and betterer than whatever you’ve got, and has a lower serial number, usually 0001. Look forward to seeing you on the next Pier Ride and showing you a little move I learned from Walshie. Heh, heh.

Vengefully,
The Wankmeister

Yo, Wankmeister:

Heard about your stooooopid Ride to the Rock on your stooooopid Specialized bike. Dincha get the memo? It’s off season, stupey-stoop-stoops. I’m talkin’ core. Build the core. Pray to the core. Turn the core into a rock-hard temple of fuckupedness. Ride tomorrow. Today? Core. Get it? Core it. Done, doodster.

Roger and out,
Mikey Mulligan

Dear Mikey:

I failed my first mammalian zoology exam because I couldn’t name all the bones that made up the orbit of the eye. So I’m no expert on body parts. But what is this core of which you speak? I remember last winter when Frankendave came up to me on the track and said, “You need more core work, Wankster.” Frankendave squats 800 pounds and has more muscled ribbing on his abdomen than a Trojan. He has a twelve-pack. He sprints so fast that he’s finished with his third cigarette before I’ve even gotten on top of the gear.  Then he took his index finger and poked it into the soft, flabby pouch of tenderness I carry with me wherever I go. As his finger vanished to the second knuckle, he thought it was funny. Then the joint disappeared. Pretty soon, his hand was buried up to the wrist, and he looked perplexed. Then the first half of his forearm vanished, and he got scared. That’s when I tensed my bowels. My jellied midriff went taut as I flexed my kidney and pancreas hard. Now his entire arm was locked in a vicegrip of blubber and internal organs. As the circulation shut off and his face turned purple, I pulled him up closely. “I think my core is fine, buddy.” I released him and he fell backwards, hitting his head (again) on the bike lockers. In other words, Mikey…my core is fine. And send me a picture of yours when you find it. I bet it looks a lot like Brett Favre’s, only lots smaller.

Mamally,
The Wankmeister

Must-have accessory: He Is Over Dere

October 6, 2011 § 4 Comments

With the exception of embrocation and tall, white socks, I rarely recommend cycling products simply because, for the most part, they all suck. And the ones that don’t are so self-evident that if you don’t have one it’s not worth my time telling you about it. However, once in a generation a product comes along that is so revolutionary that the failure to purchase it will relegate you forever to the ranks of the stupid. A brief list of those generational innovations includes cranks with pedals, derailleurs, clipless pedals, brake lever shifters, and of course tall, white socks.

He Is Over Dere

The latest game-changer? The HIOD. Here’s what Swedish CEO Per-Arne Wiberg says about the HIOD (He Is Over Dere): “Even though cycling is a constantly evolving high technology sport, the communication between riders has not developed much over the past decades. The options available today are com-radio and mobile phones, both with significant drawbacks for the sport user. HIOD One fills this gap by offering a new way of sharing your cycling experience.”

Although this clumsy explanation reflects the awkward nature of Swedish, a language that puts its verbs at the end and has unpronounceable letters like “å,” in plain English Mr. Wiberg’s blurb is best translated as follows: “Even though cycling is a giant money sink for gimmicky crap, people still have to scream at the top of their lungs to be heard over the wind, traffic, and death howls from being ground under the wheels of a big rig. The options today are radio earpieces like they’ve banned in the pros and an iPhone, and what with the death of Steve Jobs they will soon suck, too. Oh, wait–they already do! He Is Over Dere (HIOD) will allow cyclists to say, when the guy they’ve been trying to drop for the last three hours finally rides them off his wheel and scatters them individually over several miles of desolate roadway, ‘He is over dere!'”

Wiberg continues: “Some people tink that cycling shouldn’t be for chatting on dere phones because of high death chance. But He Is Over Dere lets dem do just dat. People been trying to stop texting driving forever, but dumfuks still doing it like bananas. I see tree bikers two years ago talking iPhone before smashing into goat. ‘Why dey have to smash into goat?’ I wonders. So I tink up He Is Over Dere. He Is Over Dere safety cyling iPhoning first puts.”

Before reading further it is imperative that you follow this link and watch the promotional video in order to understand the method of function of He Is Over Dere.

Careful observers will note that the mid-sized handlebar unit will displace something that’s already on your bars, like a headlight (extraneous vanity item), cyclocomputer (distance/time/speed/wattage…who really gives a fuck?), or TT extensions (wind resistance is less important than previously thought). In exchange for getting rid of these useless gewgaws, He Is Over Dere will allow you to talk to other cyclists up to 1,300 yards away. And think of how often you want to do that! In fact, any well-organized paceline will be spaced at exactly 1,300 yards per rider, so instead of shouting yourself hoarse you can calmly say, “Take a pull, dipshit,” and “Quit overlapping wheels!” to people that are three blocks away.

In addition to shifting the emphasis of cycling from exercise, discipline, and paying attention, HIOD makes cycling into what it should be–talking on your iPhone or communicating with people you can no longer see, or want to see. He Is Over Dere’s promo video also shows how awful people look when their jerseys are two sizes too big, even when they are blonde, bisexual Swedish women who speak perfect English. It also shows that He Is Over Dere is preferred by blonde, bisexual Swedish women on Scott racing bikes wearing baggy long pants who seek to engage in conversation with men whose dork commuter bike handlebars sport a cute little bell. The bell is extra and can be purchased online at www.dorkybells.com.

The only possible drawback to He Is Over Dere, aside from having to ride late at night without a light, is the special booster pack that you must also strap to your arm. Although slightly on the heavy side (15 lbs.), if you switch arms throughout the ride it will assist in the development of your upper body, remedying one of the long-time complaints about the imbalanced training effect of cycling. The wires from the booster pack, as shown in the photo gallery, insert directly into the rider’s skin, where they interface with blood, muscle, nerves, and other stuff. Although He Is Over Dere is not yet available for retail, Inge, the bisexual Swedish model is. You can videochat with her here for 5kr (Swedish Kronor) per minute. All major credit cards accepted. www.swedishbisexual.com.

It doesn’t smell exactly like teen spirit

September 9, 2011 § 4 Comments

Standing next in line for the Starbucks crapper on a sunny Friday morning is always an anxious thing. You’re there fidgeting because the bran muffin and strong coffee have stomped on the sensors hidden deep in your bowels, and the only real question is whether the person currently in the lockbox is there for a li’l freshen-up or for a seat-clenching full body purge. In my case, the door opened and a plump, middle-aged lady exited. That’s usually a good sign, because for some reason Manhattan Beach women seem embarrassed by leaving major detonation fumes when there’s a line. Perhaps it’s because there’s something that conceptually clashes with a $400 pair of yoga pants and a corn-studded, 14-karat bowl buster, or perhaps it’s because when they open the door everyone goes, “Eeeeeewwww” and looks them over with what is quite literally the stinkeye. Or perhaps it’s just that everyone knows that fully accessorized women don’t shit boxcars in public.

I stepped into the toilet and immediately realized that the ol’ gal before me had dispensed with embarrassment and answered with a hearty “Amen” what must have been a mighty loud call of nature. “Fuck you,” I thought, “game fucking on.” Yes, it would be a battle of the toilet gases, and no chick in a pink leotard was going to overwhelm the mighty issue of my crack if I had any say in the matter. Plus, everyone thinks their own shit smells good, so the sooner I let loose the sooner my vent would overpower hers, or at least neutralize it.

The cranking and rumbling and grumbling that ensued must have struck terror into those waiting outside. Combined with not one, not two, but three industrial flushes that shook the door on its hinges, the poor bastards outside were being put on notice that the next person inside the closet of doom would likely suffer permanent brain damage. With the bran muffin leading the charge, I fired off a reverse burping growl and plunk that sounded like a logging truck had dumped its cargo off a 40-foot cliff into a very deep lake. The folks in line were bathed in a cold sweat. When I finished, I boldly threw open the door just as a kindly old fellow looked up with a stir stick in his mocha latte. The eyes of everyone in line were glued to my hands, hoping and praying that I’d washed them before touching the handle (I hadn’t). The elderly fellow dropped his stir stick as the fumes triggered long repressed memories of mustard gas in the trenches at Passchendaele. I strode proudly out into the sunlight, a spring in my step, five pounds lighter and ready for the day.

Genius where you least expect it

Much as I had been surprised to see that sweet lady in the pink leotard unabashedly doing what she had to do, living in the South Bay cycling scene is likewise a life of continuous surprises. Sometimes it’s the surprise, shock, and awe at the sheer genius that resides in our midst. Over the last few years a seed has germinated here, grown into a mature plant, and spread its seeds quite literally across the globe. Whether you’re aware of it or not, the look of cycling has changed, and continues to change, and to change for the better, thanks in large part to Joe Yule.

Joe’s work is glaring for its simplicity and elegance. Although since the 80’s, cycling attire has been synonymous with “ugly,” for decades before that the cycling jersey motif was classy and attractive. Think Faema, Molteni, Peugeot…designs that were used when a team only had one sponsor and the real estate of the jersey didn’t have to be shared with fifteen other logos. In the hyper-modern world of cycling where everyone can have a team kit, where everyone can have his logo on the team kit, and where everyone can have input into how the kit should look, it’s no surprise that designing an attractive kit is hard to do.

Through his design and production company, StageOne Sports, Joe has done the impossible: he has made cycling clothing look good again, reconciled the noisiness of multiple sponsor logos, and effectively muzzled well-intentioned would-be contributors who are nonetheless fashion idiots. Would you let the cleaning guy advise your surgeon about which clamp to use? Joe’s genius is that he can accept your input and not make you feel bad that your idea is stupid and ugly and that he’s not going to use it. His work is a triumph of art, of will, and of gentle, skilled diplomacy.

You can see the effect that Joe has had on cycling’s new look by watching the various clothing iterations of the Garmin team. Although the Red Bull-crazed designers at RadioShack and BMC have still not grasped the Universal Law of Fashion, “Red Only in Small Amounts, Especially in the Crotch Area,” they have clearly adopted some of Joe’s theories of simplicity. Leopard-Trek’s designers might have done an internship with him. HTC-Highroad, unfortunately, is still using the teenage kid who’s a “whiz” with PhotoShop and who does those great montages where he can put a shark’s head on a cricket’s ass.

The effect of Joe’s genius is more glaring on local rides, however. Leaving aside that most new club kits coming out of the LA area are designed by him, the people who are still “rolling their own” have taken a cue from his lines, his simplicity, and his powerful use of understated color. The effect is that summertime airborne visual pollution is way down, and that fewer children wind up in the emergency room needing their stomachs pumped after accidentally ingesting the view of a passing peloton. One of my favorite companies on Planet Earth, Spy Optics, has rolled out its 2012 team kit designed by StageOne that is–to use the proper artistic term–motherfucking unbelievably fucking awesome. And you can quote me on that.

Waffling reader can’t make up mind about power meter

September 6, 2011 § 4 Comments

Dear Wankmeister:

I’ve been cycling for three years now. I started with a hand-me-down Nishiki that my brother used in college, and have gradually worked my way up to a new Specialized Venge with Zipp 800’s and Shimano Di2. I started doing the Donut Ride about a year ago and although the first part is tough but doable, I have a lot of trouble when we hit the bottom of the Switchbacks. I’ve also done some USCF road races and tend to come unhitched when the road tilts up. After reading Coggan’s “Training and Racing with a Power Meter,” I’ve almost made the decision to up my game and get one, but it’s a tough sell on the home front as my wife doesn’t really “get” why I need a power meter after buying such an expensive bike. I’ve tried to explain power to weight ratios to her and stuff like that, but her eyes just glaze over, she starts talking about the kids’ orthodontics, and then I don’t get any sex for a couple of weeks. Any suggestions on how I can make my case? I’m primed for some serious training this winter and an upgrade to the 4’s in 2012.

Tired of Talking to the Hand,
Billy Budd

Dear Billy:

Pardon me while I puke. There, I’m almost better. Dude, you haven’t “gradually worked up” if you’ve gone from a Nishiki to a Venge in three years. That’s like getting triple D breast implants before you’ve even reached puberty. Back in the day you had to ride a shit bike for three years just so you could upgrade to 32-spoke GP4’s, you spoiled little showoff snotnosed sonofabitch. Your letter indicates that on the Donut, prior to hitting the Switchbacks you’re already in trouble, which should be a Wanker Alert of the first order: the Donut Ride should be a fucking cakewalk until you hit the climb. If you’re so much as cracking a sweat before then, your problems have nothing to do with a power meter, and everything to do with power, of which you apparently don’t have much. Getting a power meter to increase your power is like getting a longer tape measure to increase your height. And by the way, your wife’s not the only one who doesn’t “get” it; I don’t, either. You’re getting shelled at the bottom of the climb on $10,000 worth of bike? You need to study Newton’s First Law of Cyclodynamics, which is that idiots can never be created or destroyed, they can only change bikes. And if you feel stupid flailing off the back on the equivalent of a Ferrari, think how stupid you’re gonna feel when you introduce your friends to your kids and their teeth are growing down into their chins. IT’S A FUCKING HOBBY, MORON, NO MATTER HOW MANY PARTS AND KITS YOU OWN THAT LOOK JUST LIKE FABIAN’S! Plus, the fact that you can even think about sex is proof that you’re not logging the miles, and are logging something else instead.

Disgusted,
The Wankmeister

Dear Wankmeister:

I’ve done some reading on tubulars v. clinchers. Which do you recommend?

Glued to My Inbox,
Sammy Snuffles

Dear Sammy:

A long time ago, when hard men with names ending in a string of unpronounceable consonants plied the cobbles between Compiègne and Roubaix, there were good reasons to use a tire that leaves you covered up to your eyelids in glue, that falls off the rim when it’s too hot resulting in catastrophic accidents, that can only be repaired by a master seamstress, that requires you to carry an entire other 2-lb. tire for flats on the road, and that costs ten times more than a replacement clincher inner tube. That time was long before you were born, during a Golden Age of Cycling when it was honorable to be stupid. Now, the only reason to use a tubular is if you’ve purchased every possible component and whacky invention to increase your speed (think elliptical chain rings, Power Cranks, etc.), yet you still suck. They won’t make you any faster, but you’ll take out the field when you rip through the state championship crit on the last lap and roll a tire.

Snickering,
The Wankmeister

Batshit crazy product testing: Mad Alchemy medium embrocation

February 2, 2011 § 2 Comments

People who’ve done the Boulevard road race have varying memories of it. Mine, aside from crushing defeat, ignominious defeat, and humiliating defeat, are mostly centered on having been frozen to the core. Last year the race began in a freezing rain. The year before it snowed. This year the forecast is for sunshine, but if you check the course elevation–5,000 feet, same as Denver, Colorado–you’ll know that the forecast can change quickly. My expectation is that it will be very cold or at least very chilly, maybe even batshit miserable.

The whole idea behind embrocation is to heat your legs without covering them in lots of restrictive clothing. The other point is to augment your training/racing without having to say “I use Ben-Gay.” The biggest benefit of an embrocation is that it sounds very pro and very Euro, more so if you just say “embro.” Finally, of course, it has the talisman effect of cream in a jar, stored in a small bag, and rubbed on like a magic elixir prior to going forth to do battle. Davis Phinney used to achieve the same effect with his “lucky shorts.” After a few grand tours that must have been lots gnarlier than this stinky gel in a jar.

Mad Alchemy appeals to the most base bike racing instincts: its name admits mental instability and suggests a thoroughly discredited scientific theory. False advertising lawsuits need not apply.

How much to use?

If you’re cycling on the Palos Verdes peninsula, the pre-dawn temperatures can vary from the high 30’s to the low 50’s this time of year. Getting the type of embrocation right, and then smearing on the proper quantity, involve lots of trial and error. I bought a jar of Mad Alchemy Cold Weather Medium, recommended for temperatures from 30-60F, and a jar of Mad Alchemy Cold Weather Madness, recommended for putting on your shelf as a reminder that if you need this stuff it’s too damned cold to be outdoors on a bike.

Last Friday it was in the high 40’s and I put some medium cream on my legs, not very much, in fact, and I paid scrupulous attention to putting my shorts on first, rolling up the legs, and only then applying. If you put it on nude and then pull up your shorts, you will get hot dick and frypan balls, as described in a previous post. If you’re a woman I shudder to think what the phenomenon would be called. After a few minutes the Mad Alchemy warmed up my legs so that no leg warmers were needed at all. However, I didn’t put enough embrocation on so that after two hours my legs were cold.

On Saturday it was in the low 40’s and I put on medium cream, this time slathering it on pretty heavily. It worked wonders, especially since the temperature got up into the 60’s after a couple of hours. The heat remained on my legs for five or six hours, and it was exacerbated by sunshine. I also stuck a finger in my eye almost eight hours after using the cream, and it burned like hell for about thirty minutes. Lesson: wash your hands, dumbshit.

On Tuesday it was in the high 40’s and, like Friday, I used the medium cream. My legs were warm but my hands and feet, which were protected only with thin gloves and sock material booties, were really cold. I decided that today I would lather up my feet and hands as well as my legs and see how that worked. One side effect after yesterday morning’s ride was that after showering (hot water makes your legs really burn) and getting dressed for work, my legs pulsed heat for another couple of hours in the office. People were actually huddling around my thighs for warmth. That’s what they said.

This morning I put on what I thought was a lot, and rubbed it between my toes, all over the tops and soles of my feet, and on the back of my hands. I considered putting a pinch between my cheek and gum, but didn’t. Unfortunately, I didn’t check the temperature until I rolled out. It was in the mid-30’s, and even though my legs, hands, and feet were toasty warm, the rest of me froze to hell. Lesson: make sure you’re bundled up, up top. The medium embrocation was at its limit, and I probably could have used the extra hot cold weather Madness. If it’s cold enough tomorrow, I will give it a try.

The best thing about this product is that it’s really expensive. At $20 a jar, you can spend several hundred dollars a year just on your pro “embro.” Studies have shown a correlation between the amount of money you spend and the amount of pro-ness you feel on the bike, and if nothing else it will give your wife another item on the monthly credit card bill to nitpick and criticize. Not that it happens in my family. Right, honey?

Buy or not to buy?

Definitely buy. It’s a good product and it works.  You’ll pedal faster and stronger in cold weather without all the lycra on your legs. Not sure if rapeseed oil, the active ingredient, is on the UCI list of banned substances, but it’s definitely in the California Penal Code. Use with caution.

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