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…
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.
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.
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…
Finally, after about a year of debating, pondering, comparing, and lusting, the Surly Troll is now complete. This has been a long process, but I am very excited and satisfied with the big decision to pull the trigger on this amazing frame. After first seeing a few years ago, (here) then came the rather annoying comparisons, (here and here) the Troll is now complete and I am done with bike building for a while. That said, here are a few pictures:
Pacer decals in black, on the Ford blue powdercoat.
Just a few quick pictures from today. Not much time to take a ride this evening, just a quick spin around the block. Who knows when the trails around here will finally dry out (or freeze) so I can test this beast out in the woods. Hope to get some real saddle time in this week.
Plans for the Troll already. Once the rear rack I am wanting comes back into stock, I will be able to hit the road on some off road overnight trips. I am also thinking about some sort of frame bag, maybe just a partial, to increase my carrying capabilities. Another purchase that will happen probably next week will be a set of road tires for commuting purposes. Still on the fence as to what model, but I am sure they will be big. That’s how the Troll rolls right?
Just keep spinning…
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…
On Wednesday, I set out on my first bike camping trip. My plan was to ride from here in the Milf, up to John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs along the Little Miami bike path. Just a basic bike path overnighter. I finally today mapped it out on the website Map My Ride, Click to see the route. Overall it was a great experience. Lots of miles, thunderstorms, friendly people, beautiful surroundings, etc. Such a great learning experience. Hopefully this is the first of many. Here are a few pictures from the trip, I didn’t take too many, forgot that I had the new camera with me…
So what did I learn from the trip?
1. Putting in this many miles for me was very humbling. My knees are a little tender as I write this.
2. Always practice setting up your gear at home before you leave, that makes setting up camp in a thunderstorm a little easier.
3. Recumbent bicycles are everywhere, and they are a little creepy.
4. People love the Xtracycle. Even if they do not understand what it is. I should get paid for how much talking about my HaroX that I did. Lots of people wanted to stop and chat to try to understand just exactly what was going on with my bike.
Cant wait to head out on trip number 2!
Spending lots of time on the Xtracycle here lately. I have been putting in quite a few miles, loaded and unloaded, trying to get ready for my upcoming bike camping trip next month. Still not too sure on my route, but it will be a 2 or 3 day journey. I have never done anything like it before, so I am really excited about it. Anyway, I have been trying to tackle all of the tough hills in the area, and last night, I conquered probably one of the best hills in the greater Cincinnati metro area. Cunningham Rd. from Camp Dennison going into Indian Hill. The photo below does not do it justice. Very steep.
Today, I scored a new bike. Technically, just half of a bike. Finally bought a unicycle! I have been wanting one for quite some time now, and I found one on the local craigslist for $25, so I bought it. Quite possibly, one of the hardest things that I have ever tried to do. Tonight, I spent around 40 minutes just trying to balance on it, to no avail. I did end up going as far as two pedal strokes, but man is this hard. I will be lucky if I can ride around the block by the end of the summer. But, that is my goal, baby steps with this bike. I will say though, in just that short amount of time, it wore me out. Crazy.