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Surly Troll

Just Riding Along… Milford to Ault Park.

Just some pictures from today…

View from Ault park, overlooking the Little Miami River valley.

Playing with the sunlight.

View of Ault park.

Just keep spinning…


Just Riding Along… Troll ready for an overnight.

Troll version 2.0

Switched out my dirt tires for the more road worthy Schwalbe Big Apples today, and also re installed my Salsa Down Under front rack. This will be my road overnight camping set up. The Banjo Brothers Minehaha bag paired with my cheap Craigslist score front panniers will carry enough gear for a night or two, maybe more. The Minehaha bag is bigger than it looks, all that is inside it in the picture is two tubes, a tool kit, and my lock. Room for days in that bag. The plan for my tent, if I use one, is to just strap it to the top tube. We shall see, starting the planning process for an overnight trip next month.

Just keep spinning…

Just Riding Along… Banjo Brothers.

The Minehaha bag from Banjo Brothers.

While waiting for a certain rear rack to come back into stock, I turned my consumer attention towards saddlebags for my Brooks B17. Saddlebags seem to be a great option for commuting, and they also seem pretty handy for bike camping. Unfortunately, not too many companies throw out a decent, large quality bag without breaking the bank. That was my thought, until I stumbled onto Banjo Brothers.

Banjo Brothers carries quite a variety of bicycle related bags, including their Minehaha line, which focuses on the older style, canvas bag. This is their “medium” model, which holds 650 cubic in. or 10L if you prefer the metric system. Large enough for a couple spares, my camera, some tools, and some spare clothes. With room for more. I feel that this bag with my small, front panniers on a rack will give the Troll a great bike packing setup for some overnight trips this summer. Now if only I can figure out what to do with my tent…


What sets Banjo Brothers apart from other companies in my opinion though, is their customer service. After receiving my bag in just a couple days, I realized that I was missing the seatpost strap. After a quick “tweet” letting them know the issue, I had my missing link practically the next day. Super fast! You normally don’t get service like that very often.

If you are in the market for a canvas bag, check them out. Quite a bit cheaper in price, but way above and beyond in customer service and quality. They definitely have my business in the future!

Just keep spinning…

Just Riding Along… Return to Caesar Creek.

Finally made the return trip up to Caesar Creek state park yesterday, this time with my brother in law. I have been to this park a few times, each time getting a little lost. This time however, we set out with the plan to figure out this trail system. So, after meeting up at the Harveysburg Rd. trail head, we were off to get lost.The trail overall is nice and smooth for the most part. There are lost of roots to make this trail a bit bumpy, especially on a fully rigid steel bike. Not unbearable, just rattling. The most surprising feature of this trail is the amount of climbing. Driving to the trail head through farmlands, and a relatively flat surrounding area, you would not picture much climbing action when on the trail. However, this trail was designed to put you in and out of every single little ravine in the vicinity. None of the climbs are of epic leg breaking length, but all are steep. And when I say steep, I mean you are hiking for some. It is quite the surprise.

Our route started at the Harveysburg Rd. trail head, which put us on the more techinical “Red” trail. After that section, we ended up on the “Blue” section, and from what I gather from looking at the map we rode the “Black” and some of the “Yellow.” We ended up not really sure where we were, but after consulting Google Maps on my phone, we realized that we were on our way to the campground. Not in our cards unfortunately. We doubled back at that point and figured our way back to our trucks.This is a great trail system, that from the looks of it gets lots of traffic. My only complaint is that there is no real signage. Many times we were just taking a trail at a junction to see where it ended up. But, that was the point of this ride, to figure out the system. Smooth single track and adventure just outside of Cincinnati? I will take that. Just keep spinning…

1st ride with the tire combo of the Maxxis Ardent 2.6″ paired with a Maxxis Crossmark 2.1″ in the rear.

Map of the area thanks to CORA.

Just Riding Along… Troll glamour shots…

Yesterday received my new Schwalbe Big Apples tires, so on they went for some sweet road action. Sure, they say on the sidewall “26×2.35,” but damn are they big. Amazingly, there is still room to spare on the Troll frame.

Today, just a quick ride for some pictures in the nice sunlight.

Just keep spinning…

Look Rickey, no hands!

Just Riding Along… Scouting Trip.

Beautiful, windy day in SW Ohio today. Had around an hour and a half to explore this afternoon on the Troll. I have been in the planning stages of a bikepacking trip, so today I loaded up a few things in the front panniers and hit the road to scout out how long it would possibly take me to reach my destination. I didn’t really have enough time to ride the entire route, but riding what I did today gave me an idea on how long it will take to get there. Great day to be out, but the return trip was brutal due to a crazy headwind. Normally, I do not mind them, but with loaded panniers a headwind really sucks the life out of you. Apart from that issue, it was a nice little ride of dirt and tarmac.

Started off on the local trails.

Ended up on some side roads, following the Buckeye Trail. Note the fiberglass sports car body lying in the weeds…

Hanging out in the flowers, which I believe are Dutchman’s Breeches.

Total miles for today, around 17. Mixed with dirt, tarmac, and a nasty headwind? I am beat this evening.

Just keep spinning…

Just Riding Along…Bikepacking.

From day one, my plan for the Troll has been to utilize it’s versatility. Mountain biking, commuting, grocery runs, trailer pulling, all in one machine. Another aspect that it is fully capable for is bikepacking. Essentially, backpacking on a bicycle. Sounds good to me.

Version 1.0

Last week for a night ride, I had the chance to try out the Troll with racks. Using an old rack and panniers that I had laying around, I had the chance to ride it loaded to see how everything worked. All worked together nicely, but it was not as functional as I would like. The front panniers and Salsa rack worked superbly, but the rear rack was lacking. My big issue was that using the connected style rear panniers (ex. saddlebag) I could not use the platform of the rear rack to lash anything down. That is what I call wasted space, and I do not have time for that. So, rear rack and bags are now back on the T500. Way more functional for that bike.

Version 1.1

After the rear rack was removed, I found my old Specialized seat bag. Not as elaborate as a Relevate Designs seatbag, but it does expand more than shown in the photo. I think with this setup, strap my tent and sleeping pad to the top tube, and maybe add a small lumber pack, and I should be good to go for a quick overnight trip. Now with the weather acting like summer, this needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Just keep spinning…