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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Tied for First Place: Second Bike Dreams

Actually, I shouldn't say 'second bike' because I already got one. I have a Dahon foldable bike that doesn't really fit (though I think if I put apehanger handlebars on it, it could work at least for the Trashboat Regatta) and there is also the Divorce Maker, a tandem I bought a couple of years ago that me and Corinna have not ridden enough to break us up so far. And there's that used Scott mountain bike I bought two Regatta's ago that my wife kind of gave away but I could probably reclaim if I wanted to. Oh, and my Diamondback, the frame is bent but not cracked, so I could probably put wheels and a saddle on it again if I was desperate.

But basically I only have one bike. The way some hillbilly who has five cars but only one that really runs well has one car, anyway.

But I think about a second bike, and often I think yeah, another Long Haul Trucker with racks and fenders and a Brooks saddle, basically "Bartender, I'll have another of this." But the Krampus from Surly has captured my imagination more than a little. This is a half-fat bike or something like that, not quite as Humvee-ish as a Pugsley or Moonlander, but still a high volume low pressure tire thing that gives you considerable float and huge traction. Good on snow, sand, tree roots, rocks, and so on.

I'm generally not a fan of getting off paved roads, it just gets frustrating, but maybe part of that is the bike. A Krampus would be less likely to sink in the mud, right?

Anyway, the latest thing from Surly is like the Krampus would be after they consulted me: the ECR looks an awful lot like a Krampus, 29+ and all that, but with a dropout designed to adjust the chain stay length and to readily accept a trailer, as well as braze-ons for all kinds of racks. Disc brakes, no problem, see also Rohloff hubs, you can pretty much do everything a rider like me could want to do. All I need is to set aside a couple of grand to get the bike in the first place—that Rohloff rear wheel will set me back that much on its own, but for a camp bike to take through the muck, what could be better than internal gears?

And riding the ECR felt completely natural to me, it's a Long Haul Trucker made into a mountain bike. David, and granted he was trying to sell me a bike, pointed out how perfectly suited this bike was to me, and I had to admit he was right. If I had the money on me, I would have taken the thing home, it would be a second bike that would make me ride my first bike less, true story.

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