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Josh's Surly Long Haul Trucker

Welcome to our first (of hopefully many) entries in the Bikes of Goodspeed! To kick things off, we're going to talk about my (Josh) daily driver, the Surly 26" Long Haul Trucker. This is one of those bikes that is seemingly always changing. It all started with an old mountain bike from high school converted to bigger wheels and smaller tires to go faster (LOL) and has become something else entirely. Only the Paul Components Motolite brake calipers remain from that first iteration, although it was necessary to yank those things closed with purple Love Levers from Paul, a more recent upgrade. This bike is truly a catch all for convenience and utility.

The frame is a 56cm which in most cases would be on the small end for someone my height, but this bike has a really long top tube. Especially considering the bike was designed around drop bars, but the fit is pretty spot on with a banana yellow 120cm Race Face stem from yesteryear and Sim Works Fun 3 bars (so shiny!). Drivetrain is a true mish mash of parts. The rear deraileur and shifter are 10 speed Sram XO moving through the 12-36 cassette with ease. The front derailleur is Shimano 105 with an XT shifter pushing the chain back and forth on that drillium (for weight savings!) crankset from Velo Orange. The gearing works great for around here, whether trying to keep up with a group ride on pavement or pull a trailer with a couple kids in it on dirt (or both!). The wheels are Hope hubs laced to Velocity Cliffhanger rims wrapped up in the purply goodness of those limited edition Panaracer Gravelking SK tires. Touch points include a well worn Brooks Swift Saddle, matching grips made by Ergon for Brooks, and Sim Works Bubbly pedals in "DAAAAAMN!" Bronze.

Mostly things just keep getting added. Just when the world thinks another thing couldn't possibly be added to this bike, I find a way. (I see some space where panniers could go, just saying.) Font rack is a Surly 8-pack rack with a Wald 139 basket (ask us about joining the Basketpackers International local union chapter). Rear rack is a Burley to mount a Burley Kazoo. Fenders are Electra Townie fenders and are really a crowd pleaser with leather mudflaps from Velo Orange. Loads are dispersed amongst a Porcelain Rocket Meanwhile basket bag, Rogue Panda Alamo top tube bag, Revelate Designs Tangle frame bag, SKS frame bag that just happens to fit perfectly in that not-so-tukt rear triangle, and Randi Jo Fabrications bags adorn the rear rack and either side of the stem. Some other fun details include even more hydration storage than the RJ stem bags with an Arundel Looney bin mounted to the basket with Wald's water bottle basket mount, a copper PDW Sparrow Cage that looks like a bird and a King Cage Oliver Cage to tote around that Stanley flask filled with energy drink.

How does it work you ask? Better than I do, some might say! This bike is designed with a full load in mind, so the handling is pretty great. The smaller size and wheels makes it a bit more nimble when the shortest, or more appropriately funnest, path between A and B involves some twisty off road trails like Izaak Walton. It really is a perfect bike to navigate the suburban jungle of Homewood and beyond. Winter setup is equally as solid and really as simple as throwing on the Wolftooth Singletrack Pogies and some studded tires from 45NRTH. Both of these things are a MUST for winter riding. I actually prefer this setup for winter commuting over a fat bike, because the smaller tires cut through the inevitable sludge on the side streets in downtown Homewood or Southgate while avoiding the horribleness of 183rd, Dixie, or Ridge.
winter mode

It had been a while, but I finally got a chance to get out for an overnight. It's such a shame to have a bike ALWAYS ready for camping and not use it to it's potential for a couple years. I really wanted to go somewhere I could ride to from my house, which is really limiting in the South Suburbs of Chicago. There is a state park in Channahon right off the I&M canal trail which is a very flat and easy 40 mile ride from Homewood. I highly recommend it! This bike is definitely designed for this (look at it!) and I can't wait to load it up for even bigger trips down the road. In the meantime, it will continue to work just as well on all of the smaller trips in between.

end of Old Plank Road Trail

home for the night

pizza and lots of hydration