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For whatever it’s worth, I’m a late arrival to the Fondo scene. I’m not sure when I first heard about them, but it’s definitely been a minute. First thing I remember thinking is that word ‘fondo’ is stupid as shit. Like, I love Italy, I love the Italian language: written, spoken, gesticulated, genuflected, however you want to do it, I love it. But fuck me if that isn’t the silliest word ever. Sounds like fondue—and fondue is disgusting. You ever had fondue or gone to a fondue joint?, I have. It’s gross. I mean, you’re basically at a table sharing a bucket filled with sticky shit—melted cheese, melted chocolate—with a date and/or some friends. Dipping, licking, talking, dipping, sucking, sticking, licking and dipping from a shared bucket. I’m not even double-dip averse or overly hygienic, I just super mistrust liquid-food served out of overly large buckets. The “to go” containers at Whole Foods and and Chipotle are bucket enough for me thank you. Smoothie blenders are on the edge. Movie theatre popcorn butter for sure must be disgusting, but for nostalgic reasons I’m able to stop the avalanche of negative thoughts about wtf really happens when shitty job-having teenagers and butter vats intersect from overwhelming me and causing me to go in dry. Pump cheese at like 7-Eleven, nope. I mean, I don’t even (really) get Austin’s preoccupation with queso. Third wave pump cheese is still pump cheese.

Anyway, that’s the first thing I think about. Then when folks describe them to me I think wait, umm, isn’t that a group ride, like from the ‘80s and ‘90s? You know, free t shirt, total fuck show. Unicycles, big wheels, hula hoopers, tandems, xc skiers with wheels on the bottom of their skis, mirrors on the helmet, gapers, flappers, wooo-hooo’ers, thumb-uppers, children, overly skinny tires, disc wheels, triathletes. And then yeah, when you dig into it a bit you realize that fondos really actually are those group rides from yesteryear—but fully and completely updated. Big time. Competitive start times and other challenges, timed segments, the introduction of gravel and various other surfaces, better music, no more orange slices. And then the more you think about it the more you starting getting into it. You’re like, yeah, I mean those old group rides where fun and but now I can get competitive about it, or not. And it’s not like USA cycling is providing me with a lotta ways to race a road race. Also, who doesn’t want to Knife Fight their way through 100 miles of all-time roads somewhere in Colorado or California? With friends. And a few thousand other people. Last year I rode the Taiwan KOM Challenge and loved it. I had the wrong gearing and I didn’t know the last 10k was over 22% but they had a cool bear mascot and I met lots of wonderful people. Also the ride was INSANE. What’s that, the Pacific? Yeah we went from the Pacific Ocean which, as you know, is at sea level, to like 10,000+ ft in like 89 miles or some shit. Amazing. And then this year Justin and I rode the Tahoe Sagando which was all-time in spite of the Bone Yard. And I did the Ace Challenge in Tulsa. The most dehydrated I’ve ever been, which is saying a lot. Rolling enclosures, got my dick handed to me by a bunch of gaping jacket “wheelman” oldtimers, half of whom were 67 year old women. Course was horrible, totally stupid. But I loved every excruciating second of it on account of the conceit, wherein the goal was to get as many of the 71 folks who started the challenge over the finish line in less than five hours, as a group, together. So that’s how we rode it, as a group and together. Made for a very interesting and illuminating and welcomed experience.

And now basically in 2019 everyone is talking about fondos. Fondos are where it’s at. Fondos are the thing. Fondos are a part of the future of cycling.

“So let’s celebrate the fuck out fondos together shall we?”

Let’s show our stripes. Let’s fondo with pride and purpose. Let’s sell out of these shirts.

Also, in case you’re stupid or don’t understand irony, the shirt reads “Friends don’t let Friends Fondo” because it’s a joke. Like, fondos had a bad rap ya know? Everyone used to think they were stupid. And clown on them. So this shirt is just acknowledging that, and clowning on the clowning in a sense. Because really the shirt should read “Friends share with Friends, Fondo” but that shirt would be stupid.



The production of the Friends Don’t Let Friends Fondo music video, with Phil Gaimon.

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