Enter The Ute. In 2009 I was in @radicaledgebikeski and this bike was leaning against a wall. It was the first time I’d seen a long cargo bike in person. It was goofily awesome. It was being retrofitted with special carriers by local microbrewery @picaroons to be a growler delivery bike. For whatever reason, it didn’t work. Depending on who you ask it was either the weight, the maneuverability of the bike when loaded up or the fact that is shook up the beer too much. Jury’s still out. The bike sat. And it sat. @spoke_n_words tells a story of it being ridden by a guy in a bowler hat and a 3/4 length tweed coat. Maybe urban myth. Then the bike moved to a different location. An open/closed sign was placed on the rear deck and it became welcome signage.
A week ago, @kiersmktg was asked by Picaroons to do some signage concepts. In one of the photos of the building, there the bike was – the back of it in the bottom corner of a frame. Anyone who didn’t already know what it was wouldn’t even notice it. But I did. I said “Ask Sean if he’ll sell me that bike.” I hadn’t seen it in years. Didn’t know what shape it was in or if it worked. I just knew they weren’t using it.
Long story short, now it’s in my garage. It is, quite literally, 10+ years old brand new. Not even the usual chips in the frame paint. All original parts down to the Kona branded bell. I thought I’d dump the growler cases and probably fabricate either my own bags or racks/decks. Then I remembered years ago when I was working weekends at the Edge there was some big ‘pleather’ brown panniers in the basement. “What’re these?” I asked. “Oh, those came with that Picaroons bike.” I completely forgot about it – until I owned the Picaroons bike – and amazingly they were still there, untouched. I think more people – Fredericton and elsewhere – could be using cargo bikes both personally and for business. It’s my opinion that not many folks know about them or don’t think they’re practical. Maybe if they see one, it’ll give ‘em a moments pause to wonder ‘what if…’ So me and The Ute will be on the trails looking to turn heads. Make sure to smile and wave.
A Series Until It isn’t: The 2013 @surlybikes Pugsley Neck Romancer – in one version of ‘winter mode’.
Acquired brand spankin new from @radicaledgebikeski – The Rundown: 2013 Pugsley Neck Romancer Frame and Fork in Burned Nougat. @canecreekusa 40 headset. Bontrager parts bin stem clamping @giantbicycles Connect riser bars with @esigrips Chunky grips to block the cold. @rideshimano 9spd LX shifter clicking an SLX rear deraileur around an 11/34 cassette, spinning a @srammtb chain around a set of X5 GXP cranks that were a take-off of another bike and donated to this project by @shawnthamilton. They’re currently wobbly in the frame, I can’t get them to tighten and they’re probably doing bad things to my BB, but I’ll get to it when I can. @blackspire_components Snaggletooth 32T ring because Canada. I stomp the whole business through jerky squares via @45nrth Heiruspecs pedals. Avid FR5 levers pull BB7 brakes on the original rotors. The stock Kalloy seat post clamped by a Surly clamp capped by a @selleanatomica (NSX?) Saddle. Stock Surly Rolling Darryl rims mated to a Shimano Deore Rear Hub and Surly Ultra New front hub. @ridebontrager Gnarwhal studded tires. OG @porcelainrocket ‘2 section’ frame bag from back when Scott would actually take your frame measurements to make ‘em. I even had him add in some mesh pockets on the non-drive side of mine because #deepcustom . An @oldmanmountainracks Fat Sherpa rear rack holds my Anylander Panniers (also made by Porcelain Rocket) and @parts.and.labor . A couple of other choice bits of this current incarnation are some @revelatedesigns Expedition Pogies – something I waited forever to get, but shouldn’t have because they are a game changer in the cold – and a Tarik Saleh Bike Club Bartender Bag by @randijofab for positive mojo and transportage of little things. Bontrager plastic bottle cages on the forks for bottles. Of course now that I finally got around to making this post – just yesterday I swapped out the wheels for the 29+ set because spring is coming. At some point. I guess I’ll do another post – whenever.
Lyn picked me up from work and we took Colin and Olivia to the @fredredwings home opener last night. Good game. Looks like they have a solid group of guys. Was a fun evening. Shoutout and thanks to Kyle Holder for the tickets. We’ll be back! So today I got dropped off at the office to get the commuter rig back home. Worked out well as it allowed me to get a ride in on #intergalacticsurlyday on the Surly Disc Trucker Hit up my boys at the Radical Edge to stock up on snacks and some conversation. They were sold out of SkratchLabs gummies though – gonna have to make do. Stopped crossing the Nashwaak River to check out the foliage, Just starting to turn – no where’s near Peak Leaf yet – but it’s coming. Was nice to get out and spin the legs a little in prep for a big road ride with @spoke_n_words and @zacharyblong tomorrow. Gonna be good times and an unseasonably nice day for it. Go ride your bikes people – it’s always a good idea.
Somewhere around 1985 my parents bought a Thule roof rack to carry our bikes on a move cross country. We strapped my Haro Master and the rest of the bikes to the top of the Corolla and took off. Worked great. The clamps in those days for road bikes held them upside down by the bars and luckily that worked for BMX bikes too. Later, when I was busy driving all over Northern Virginia in a Dodge Colt trying to be an extreme in-line skater, I got the rack from my parents and used it to haul around launch ramps on the roof. I think I even was able to use the same feet. The rack was one of the few things that came with me when I got married. In 2006 I strapped 2 of my bikes (I’d now obtained some VeloVice fork mount trays) to the same feet/load bars) onto my Subaru Outback along with a huge, used Adventurer box I bought of Craigslist and moved from Virginia back to Canada. Since then the rack was used once in awhile with that Subaru to haul bikes, but the Subaru died several years back, so then I used the rack on top of our Honda Odyssey van. After that, I bought my first truck and without hesitation bought a Thule hitch mount 4 bike rack. The load bars and feet went into storage in my shed. Last year I traded the truck for a Dodge Caravan and made sure it had a hitch mount. With the truck I was able to throw 2 little kid bikes in the back and get 4 full-size bikes on the hitch, so no worries. Well, now, the kids are all for the most part riding full-size bikes, so at first I was stumped. Then I remembered the load bars/rack in the shed. I thought it would be killer if I could use those same, 30 year old load bars now, unfortunately, it was not to be. Not because they weren’t capable – they’re still bombproof and in great shape – alas – they’re just barely not long enough to use on the van. I could have used the stock crossbars on the van with the Thule box, but there wasn’t enough room on them to fit the box AND 2 bike trays. My peeps at Rad Edge set me up with new 65” bars and feet and we’re rolling again. Perhaps my kids will get these old load bars. I’m sure they’ll still be solid then.
Greazy. Some years ago I stumbled into @radicaledgebikeski to find one of these @45nrth Greazy caps sitting on a rack. It being the only one, and me being, at the time, a total 45NRTH fanboy, I snatched it up, ignoring the fact that I had an overflowing drawer full of headwear at home. It came home and went in the drawer. I had another winter cap with flaps that was my go-to and I wasn’t changing things up. A couple of times I brought this one out to get ready for a ride, only to decide at the last minute that it was too warm that day and went with a regular cap. Back in the drawer. Until today. Today it got the call up. I was heading out for a nasty road ride in nasty weather and it seemed this would fit the bill. The temp was hovering around 0º C and the winds were kickin’. Wind that kind of blows right through you. I got kitted up and immediately remembered why I liked this cap the moment I picked it up. It had some WEIGHT. The merino wool had substance. That worked out well, because that weight meant that the earflaps stayed down over your ears nice and cozy no matter what. The cap fits pretty much skin tight, which is great, because it felt like it wasn’t even there under a helmet, other than the whole toasty warm bit. The brim is a good size and construction and the earflaps, in addition to staying put, worked great and didn’t cause problems with helmet straps or sunglass arms. It’s not the sexiest cap out there when you take your helmet off, so if you’re looking to score at the cafe on your ride, you might be out of luck. I have some other caps that are more stylish off the bike. However, if you’re looking for a practical, solid and well performing winter lid to keep your cranium and listening bits warm, you owe it to yourself to check one out.