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A Real Bicycle Commuter…

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As I was unlocking the Troll from the bike rack at my local grocery store, I could hear the sound of music, blasting out of tiny, shitty quality speakers.  I look up for a second to see this beast of burden roll up behind the bike rack, and the proud owner plop down the kickstand and run into the store very quickly.  The bike stayed unlocked mind you, but the owner did set the bicycle alarm with the push of a remote button.  All I can say is “Rad.”

This is an amazing bike for a few reasons:

1.  It has a radio.

2.  It has an alarm.

3.  Lights seem to be everywhere.

4.  The rack on this bike probably cost more than the Schwinn itself.

Kudos to you, real bicycle commuter.  You make me look like a poseur on my custom built Surly.  Well done!

Just keep spinning…

 

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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…


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Beer:30… North Peak Vicious.

North Peak Brewing Company's Vicious

Every other summer my family takes a trip to northern, lower peninsula Michigan, just outside of Traverse City. This area is known for it’s multiple clear lakes, sand dunes, the Great Lake, and surprisingly quite a few craft beers. I am not really sure what is going on up north, but Michigan is turning out quite a bit of quality beer. During our last trip, I discovered North Peak, and really enjoyed their versions of some staples in my diet. Seeing the company name again on a recent family outing, this beer made the journey back to Milford for an official write up. Enter the Vicious Wheat IPA…

Wait a minute, did I just say a wheat IPA? Yes, yes indeed.

But before that, check out the packaging. I am a sucker for clever marketing/packaging, and this beer makes me think of good times just by looking at it. Almost looks like a Red Stripe right? Right off the bat, that makes me like this beer. But this beer is more than just it’s almost trademark infringing look, once poured into a glass you will see why.

The beer pours with a nice, fast forming head that is stickier than I was expecting, especially due to it’s reddish/amber hue. The head dissipates leaving a little bit of lacing, and some subtle aromas start to hit your nose. Scents of citrus hops slightly, with an earthy wheat smell to it. Not the most fragrant IPA that I have ever had, but this is a beer tasting, not a beer smelling. No negative points there. Once you start to drink it, you realize that this is a keeper. Smooth, smooth wheat flavors, with a tiny sweet malt touch balance the scale with the 72 IBUs, to give this beer a very minimal hop character. The hops are there, just not choking out the other flavors like some IPAs. You almost forget that this is an IPA, but the bit of hops are a subtle reminder. Very interesting, and I have to say I was reaching for a second.

This beer has been one of my favorites, and I will definitely be buying more of it. One of the smoothest, easiest drinking beers that I have ever had, and just in time for my trip up north to sit by a cabin on a lake, watch the sunset, and drink good beer. Welcome the newest beer into my top 5.

Well done North Peak, check out their site here.

Cheers!


New year, new look…

Thought I would try out a new look to the site today. After some time rolling with the dark layout, thought I would set a brighter tone to the page. It is always great to change things up a bit from time to time, and that holds true with websites as well. Lots of good things are falling into place, so with that mentality, it was time to take out the “doom and gloom” of the past look. Not that I didn’t like it, but it made me think of an old bumper sticker that I once saw:

“The only constant is change.”

So true. 2012 is going to be a banner year.


Getting antsy… More bike thoughts…

Still have not ordered my new frame yet, but the parts that I have ordered are slowly starting to trickle in. Today welcomed my Chris King headset, hopefully tomorrow the Brooks saddle will arrive so I can start the process of treating the leather.

Photo from Brooks.

If you have ever thought about a Brooks saddle before, you might have read a little about the break in period. Some sources say 250 miles. Others say up to 1000. Some people will tell you to cook the saddle in the oven at low heat for a bit to soften the leather. Sheldon Brown (RIP) preferred to soak leather saddles in some type of oil to soften the leather. Holy crap, lots of options. What is my plan? I am going to go the safe route and follow the directions on the box. Sure, it is probably going to take longer, but it will be done right. As long as the saddle ends up with dimples for my butt cheeks, I am okay with that.

The other thing that I have been obsessing with as of late, is to order or not to order the new frame. The Troll frame comes out of the box with enough rack and fender mounts, etc. to take the bike across the country. The “new” version due in March has even more. So, the question is to wait or not? Do I need the water bottle/anything cages on the fork?

Photo from Welshridething.blogspot.

I like the idea of the anything cages on the fork. The question is: Are they necessary? I am still debating that.

As soon as I can move this, then I can really start the process at full speed. It is weird to think that at this point, I am at any speed but…


Make time to ride…

Nice weather calls for being outside. Especially this time of year in SW Ohio. These nice past few days are probably some of the last of the nicer weather. Soon, the skies will be filled with the doom and gloom of winter. Not that I do not like winter, it brings a whole different aspect of outdoor endeavors. But that is another topic, this post is all about today.

Today was my first “official” ride on the newly revamped T500. Just a short 10 mile jaunt on the Little Miami bike path. Nothing special. This is a go to ride if I am short on time, or just short on daylight. Today was neither. Just out riding, enjoying the weather, and making sure that the T500 is road worthy. And without a doubt, it is. Just some minor adjustments to the shifting, and some minor adjustments to the brakes, and all will be well with the world.

This ride was all about taking it all in. The upright stance of the bike forces you to look around, and see what you have been missing while staring at the road. I have to admit, I really liked the way this bike rode. No camera with me, just a quick Evo picture over the Little Miami. Nothing fancy.

Hopefully the nice weather will stick around a bit, this has been one my best years of cycling in recent history. Maybe this winter, it will continue…

Hope you are getting some quality saddle time during this nice spell of fall.

Ramble on…


Salsa Fargo for the future?

So lately I have been digging around the interweb, doing lots and lots of searching for my next bike purchase. Cargo bike? Check. Road style bike? Check (Well, at least in the process of building, more on that later…) Dirt ready bicycle? No. So my search begins. But hold on, I need more than just a mountain bike, I need something versatile. Here is what I have been debating:

Surly Cross Check. Seems like this bike is the jack of all trades, does everything decent, but nothing superbly. I have no real idea on that, I have only test ridden one, but that is the jive that I get from reading various online forums. I like that you can fit fatter than normal tires, but not as large as I would like.

Surly Long Haul Trucker. Mostly the same as above. But, I think I would be on a 54cm, which would put me into the 26″ wheel category, which makes me think:

Surly Troll. I really like this bike. I feel that it with a set of Maxxis Hookworm 2.5’s would be the ultimate road bike destroyer. Or at least would be fun to ride. Big positive for it though is I would only have to buy 26″ tubes if I bought one. After riding 29ers in the woods exclusively for the past few years, riding on 26’s again might be a little weird, which leads to:

Salsa Fargo. This bike really intrigues me. Ever since it was introduced in 2008, I have always wanted one. Very cool bike that seems to be ready for whatever. Still somewhat road worthy, but basically a big drop bar 29er mountain bike, with every single braze on one could think of. As of today, this is the bike that I am settling on to round out my stable. This is why:

Most of my riding is on paved surfaces. Every chance that I get though, I am looking for somewhere off of the beaten path. And also, every vacation that my family takes, puts us in a prime mountain biking location, where having a CC or LHT might be a drawback. The Fargo seems to do it all. And now with my feet wet on the touring front, this bike only makes more and more sense. I have thought about a hardtail 29er, but I do not feel that I will be happy on a “normal” mountain bike. Like I stated earlier, I need a bike that is versatile, and I feel the Fargo is it so far. So far for now, that is. I change my mind more than my wife changes shoes…

Ramble on…