I sometimes wonder what it would be like to compile my blog posts into a book. At the very least, I would have a permanent hardcopy record of months of writing. This might be important should the internet crash after the computers become sentient and take over the planet.
Apparently, I am not the first person to think of this as Elden Nelson (aka “Fat Cyclist”) has actually done it. His book, Comedian Mastermind: The Best of Fatcyclist.com, is a collection of his earliest blog posts from 2005-2007. I’m not sure why Nelson chose 2007 as a cutoff date for material. It’s probably nothing more complicated than he had enough posts for a book at that point (be ready for the sequels!).
For those who don’t know Fatty, he’s probably the most famous cycling blogger in the world. How famous? Google “fat cyclist” and watch what happens. Check the urls, images, and videos. The dude is everywhere and so are people who have joined “Team Fatty”. Although he claims to be fat because he once “soared” all the way up to almost 200 pounds (ha!), this is probably the least compelling thing about his blog. He is better known for his hilarious writing style and his inspirational efforts to raise money for programs which support cancer victims and those who care for them. Nelson lost his first wife to cancer and his earlier writings are peppered with references to her fight against the disease (to this day, the Fat Cyclist motto is, “Fighting like Susan”).
Although Nelson is a great writer, I wasn’t sure I would enjoy a string of seven-year old blog posts. Fortunately, Nelson doesn’t do this. Instead he organizes his posts into themes, including topics any of his readers would recognize, such as Fake News, Open Letters, Epic Rides, Practical Guidance From an Expert, How To Do Very Important Things, and Tour de Lance. He also sprinkles many footnotes into his posts, wherein he comments on what he was originally writing, either to provide more (humorous) background, or remark on how insane/prescient/ridiculous he was “back then.”
The footnotes and the topical sections make the book a far more interesting read. The posts are all relatively short and can be taken in small chunks (placing the book in your bathroom would make perfect sense). Some of my favorite posts were How to be a Middle-Aged Cyclist, How to Fall Down, An Open Letter to Triathletes, and I am A Changed Man (Parts I and II). As is to be expected with Fatty, almost all of the book is hilarious.
Nelson hails from Utah and although he enjoys both mountain and road biking, his first love was mountain biking and most of his stories involve trail rides. It is a testament to Nelson’s entertaining style of writing that this author – who does not ride mountain bikes and has no great desire to do so – finds the book to be compelling, humorous, and inspirational. Just like the blog.
So swing by FatCyclist.com and order the book (if there are any left). You’ll laugh out loud and will be inspired. On the off-chance you don’t like it, you can still feel good knowing that you helped somebody with their battle against cancer, and there’s a lot to be said for that.