Next week I am planning my first off road bike packing trip, so this morning I was up at sunrise with the Troll fully loaded and out the door. My plan was to ride on different surfaces, and try to follow the Buckeye Trail as much as possible. If you are not savvy to the Buckeye Trail, it is a hiking trail that goes around the entire state of Ohio. Unfortunately, the trail is mostly on back roads, and very little of it is on actual single track. Furthermore, what single track there is, is usually off limits to bikes. But horses are allowed? Makes no sense to me, but I will save that rant for another day.
Luckily, the Buckeye Trail goes right through my little town of Milford, so I followed it east, towards East Fork state park. All on pavement until I came to the dead end of Ross Road, which is in the photo above. This was my first loaded off road section with the Troll, and it handled beautifully. This part of the trail appears to have been a completely usable road, that the county must have decided to let die. The trail was made up of broken pavement, dirt, and lots and lots of rocks. Very interesting downhill to say the least. This section made me realize that my brakes are very underpowered. After this off road piece, I was dropped into the town of Batavia and almost to my destination.
From Batavia I rambled along St. Rt. 222 to Elk Lick Road, which then connected to Green Briar road. The Buckeye Trail follows Elk Lick to another dead end, but I continued up the hill on Green Briar to see if I could find a campsite in East Fork state park. Green Briar dumped me onto Old Rt. 32, which connected me to Zagar Rd. which I found a single track trail that should have put me at a backpacking campsite. Unfortunately, I could not find the campsite, so I turned around and found this gem of a road:
This old dirt road off of Zagar Rd. was a broken down gem. Broken pavement, gravel, and ended as a single track, and put me back onto Green Briar Rd. Very interesting to see roads fall off of repair, and get turned into trails. Also, pretty interesting to see how quickly the marks of man gets erased off of the planet in such short time. Makes me think of the book, “The World Without Us.” Definitely worth the read if you are into that sort of thing. Anyway, once back onto Green Briar, I followed that back into Batavia, retraced some of my tracks, ended up on US Hwy. 50, then back to the comforts of home. Total saddle time of almost 4 hours.
Things learned from this ride:
1. My brakes need upgraded. I am running Avid BB5s, which I am thinking of switching to Avid BB7s. I am most familiar with BB7s, but I also am thinking of switching to hydros, but they cost way too much, with too much maintenance for my taste. Anyone have recommendations for a good, economical set of hydraulic brakes? I’m all ears.
2. I need to rethink my packing. I am only planning an overnight, but I found myself running out of room for gear. I might still have to use a backpack, which I was trying to avoid. Now that they seem to have come back into stock, I will be picking up a Salsa Minimalist rack to run on the rear to add a bit more cargo space on the bike.
3. I love my Brooks saddle.
Not a bad way to start the day, next week should be an adventure!
Just keep spinning…
Quick update on the Troll. After powdercoating, I took the frame down to my local shop, Bishop’s Bicycles, to have the frame treated with framesaver and also to have the headset installed. Picked it up this evening, and started adding parts to make the bike more complete. Here are a few pictures for a tease:
Chris King Headset.
Brooks saddle looks at home.
Avid BB5 disc brakes in the interesting dropout.
More parts being added, more parts being ordered, hope to have everything finished this week! This bike is starting to look like a tractor!
Just keep spinning…
So on my last post, I talked a bit about dissembling my HaroX cargo bike, and moving the parts to a new frame. What frame you might ask? This guy:
That’s right, a Surly Troll. If you have read this blog before, you know that I am a big fan of Surly’s products. As for the Troll, this is no exception. I was contemplating the Troll when it came out over a year ago, check here and here. It is an amazing frame with lots of options, and most of all, versatility. I will still be able to haul my daughter around, using the free trailer that I picked up this summer. So here is the plan:
Once the new frame is in I plan on taking it over to my father’s motorcycle shop to make some changes. First, the rim brake bosses are going to be cut off. I never plan on using them, it will make the bike look cleaner, and it will slightly increase my tire clearance. After that is done, it will be powdercoated. Not going to reveal the color choice just yet, I will keep that a surprise. Once I get the frame back, it will be parts swap time, and time to add some recently acquired purchases. Parts will look something like this:
-Sun Singletrack wheelset
-SRAM X7 shifters
-SRAM X9 rear derailleur
-Shimano LX front
-Avid BB5 disc brakes
-Avid FR5 levers
-On One Mary handlebars
-Truvativ FireX crankset and BB
-Shimano XTR pedals
And the new purchases:
Chris King headset
Brooks B17 narrow
Maxxis Ardent 26×2.6 x2
That should round it out. I am really pumped to be building this up. But the question now is: Should I order the frame now, or wait til March when the newer frame starts hitting the shops, with an extra bottle mount on the downtube and the extra mounts on the fork legs? What’s a couple more months?
Troll picture from Surly’s site
Other three pics from Google Images