Posted tagged ‘Surly Cross-Check’

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February 13, 2012

We’ve got a minor weather event going on today after a pretty cold weekend, so it might be a while before I manage to actually ride my bike again.   With that in mind, I thought it might be a good time to finish out my Top 5 posts series with Number One.

In the fall of 2009, I had gotten to the point where I decided I was done using my road bike for a commuter.  It was beating me to death, it was taking a beating, and I felt like I deserved to have a dedicated commuter bike if I was going to continue to commute by bike full time.  I spent an agonizing month scrutinizing bike specs and features, developed my specific set of requirements, waffled quite a bit over two or three different frames that would meet those requirements, and finally ordered my Surly, basically spec’ing it out from the frame up. 

I suppose I had probably ridden it to work 7 or 8 times, when I posted my thoughts on the bike.

Surly Cross-Check Review

Interestingly, I feel like nearly 100% of what I wrote back then would be re-stated if I were doing a two year review of the bike.  The only thing I would possibly change might be a slightly lower grade for the brakes.  For what I use it for, I still feel like the Surly is a perfect match.

Here’s some trivia.  If you compare the picture above with the picture in the original post, you might be astute enough to notice that the water bottle cage has been moved.  What I figured out is that I was only drinking while stopped at lights.  For that, it’s actually easier for me to get the bottle in and out when it’s mounted on the seat tube as opposed to the down tube.  The opposite holds true when I drink while moving.

God bless…


Off the ark

April 27, 2011

Whew!   After several days of monsoon weather and a trip to St. Louis with my dad to see a doctor, I was finally able to come down out of the ark today and ride my bike to work.  The only place I had any issues is pictured above, the intersection of Catalpa and Barnes.  It’s down from what it was earlier…check out Jim’s picture of the same place. 

I waited here a few minutes for a car to attempt it so I could see how deep it was out there.  I could have easily turned around and gotten around it, but I didn’t think it was deep enough to warrant doing so.  The first car was turning around as I approached, and the second was a VW Bug that turned around rather than cross through.  Finally:

After seeing him cross, I followed on my bike.  Fortunately, the bottom bracket is high enough on the Surly that I was able to keep my feet dry as I pedaled through down the middle of the street.  Hopefully, the monsoon is about over for us.

God bless…


Feeling Good on Monday!

August 2, 2010

Wow!  After a day yesterday in which I just about went nuts because I was forcing myself to rest, I went hard out of the gate this morning!  Twenty-eight and a half miles before work, with twenty of them at an 18.6 mph average speed over a hard and hilly course.  It’s pretty rare that I get the road bike out and hammer these days, so it felt really good.

I had two deer sightings this morning.  The first is actually standing under the tree pictured above looking at me.  It was pretty big, and may have been a buck.  It wasn’t quite light enough to tell.  The second, a big doe, exploded across the road in front of me a few minutes later.

By the time I got home from the first twenty miles, it felt really good to get on the Surly for my commute to work.  Every time I ride the road bike, then get on the Surly, I’m absolutely amazed how smooth and quiet that bike feels.  There is no doubt I made the right choice when I selected and outfitted that bike to be my daily commuter! 

How did your week start?  I hope it was as good as mine!

God bless…


Spring Break Trippin’

March 24, 2010

Boy, as far as I’m concerned, this morning was about as good as it gets for a bike commute to work!  At 49 degrees, it’s cool enough to be crisp, yet warm enough that you don’t need a lot of clothes and your body can work efficiently and easily.  In fact, today I wore the wrong jacket and was overly warm in spite of toning down my under layers quite a bit.

In addition to nice temperatures, I’ve also felt a bit like the “King of the Road” so far this week.  You see, here in the Queen City of the Ozarks, it’s Spring Break for the local school system!  That’s one of those weeks I always hated when our kids were in school.  It seemed like there was always pressure to take that as vacation time, and back then we didn’t have a lot of extra cash laying around to go someplace warm so we were always at the mercy of our fickle March weather.  Now that the kids are gone, I like Spring Break week because everybody else is on vacation!  That means less traffic because everyone is out of town and those moms that are still here are sleeping in instead of driving their rug rats to the bus stop and school.  I’m sure I’ll probably be shocked back to reality come Monday, but for now – I’ll take advantage of it while I can!

Anybody recognize what that is in the picture below?

Officially, it’s a quadrupole loop demand actuated traffic detector.  I just call it “the trigger” for the stop light.  The reason I bring them up is that the three I encounter on my ride to the office seem easier to trigger all of a sudden, or I’ve just suddenly found the sweet spot for triggering them with my bike.  If I stop on the middle seam, about 3/4′s of the way to the front, the lights at Sunshine and Eastgate, Fremont and Chestnut, and Central at National will all trigger for me reasonably quickly.  The one at Chestnut has the slowest response time, but it will trip for me when no other vehicles are around.  The other have reasonable response times.

I suspect the city’s traffic department has adjusted the sensitivity to make them work better with smaller mass vehicles like my bike.  If so, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!  However, I’ve also wondered if they work better during warm weather.  Prior to getting the Surly, the bikes I commuted on were aluminum and carbon fiber, so there was no way they would trip the lights and it was mid-November when I got the steel frame, so this is actually the first warm weather we’ve had since then.  Anyone know?  Do those sensors work better when it’s warm, or do you suppose they’ve been adjusted lately?

Tonight was church night, so I met Pam at McAlister’s for supper again.  It smelled like rain the entire way over there, and by the time I got to church it was starting to rain.  I got the bike into the back of the Prius just in time again!

God bless….


The End….

December 29, 2009


Of the year, that is!

If the weather forecast for tomorrow is correct, and from all indications, it will be….today was my last bike ride of the year.  As bike commutes go, it was just another day.  Kind of cold, kind of gray, not a lot of traffic, not a lot that stood out.

I  did, however, take the time to calculate my mileage for the year.  The grand total is 5, 342 miles.  That’s a record for me.  Last year was my previous high total at 4,855 miles.  The breakdown is as follows:

  • Tandem – 1,100 miles
  • Road Bike – 2,926 miles
  • Surly Commuter – 398 miles
  • Marin MTB (old commuter) – 918

By using my Giant road bike for a commuter much of the year, it has finally passed the tandem in mileage.  Both bikes showed up at the same time, and until this year, the tandem had accumulated a few more miles than my single.  Not this year, however.  As of today, the tandem has a total of 7,676 miles on it and the Giant now has 9,268.   This time last year, the tandem had 6,576 miles and the single had been ridden 6,343 miles.  Maybe next year, we can catch the tandem back up to the Giant!  It would be pretty cool to roll both bikes over the 10k mark next year but that might be a stretch for us on the long bike!

God bless….





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