The atv path I ride my bike on all the time passes right by a neighbour’s house. He can see the trail through the trees from his driveway.
Over the past few years he’s seen me out on the path on a bike at pretty much every time of year and day and in any weather. When I’m headed towards home along the path it’s uphill, so I am going slow enough for the ‘neighbour wave’ or head nod.
The other day it was raining to beat the band, the mud trail was an absolute mess, and it was cold – hovering just above freezing. A spectacularly miserable day to be on a bicycle. As I was going by he waved from his driveway, shook his head a bit, laughed, and said, “Is there any time you won’t ride a bike?”
“Still trying to find the most-funnest time,” I said, smiling and waving back.
Saturday was open. Up early and made coffee in the underground lair while listening to the Bosstones. Headed out for a walk with Titus.
Talked about nihilism and child prodigies. Sartre and the Stoics. The weekly menu and cooking rotation as an element everyday existence. Russian prisoner camps and optimism. Canadian Literature and its identity crisis. Drank coffee.
Later. Bike ride. Old haunts have changed color. Watched some light dance in the sky.
Soon I will eat my fill of instant-pot French-dip sandwiches and most likely fall asleep watching the Habs game before I pull myself up the stairs to collapse and sleep the sleep of Ivan Denisovich. I have a bed and some SkratchLabs for tomorrow so tonight I am the King of all I survey.
I guess if I’m going to take this blog to the ‘next level’ and start to incorporate some of the cool new ‘latest media’ like this animated gif, I need to get a tripod to make the loop transition seamless.
I think animated gifs might be just a fad though – like fat bikes were – so I’m holding off on the tripod for now.
I’ve been listening to these sessions on stoicism on the Waking Up app by William Irvine. One of the main points so far has been that the Stoics stipulated that to live a happy life one needed to shift from wanting things we don’t have to wanting the things we already do.
Today what we already had was a whole bunch of rain dumped on top of some existing slush and a temperature hovering around freezing. The Missus needed more hair elastics from the dollar store to make more masks, so I decided to ride the bike to go get them. It was a pretty miserable day to ride bikes, so conversely, awesome.
I would have ridden the new-to-me Troll, but the roads still had pretty good sections of ice on ’em and I think it would have been pretty dicey. I figured the snowmobile trails were probably out as well – the rain would have rendered them 6″ of mashed-potato slush. So I decided to just ride the Pugsley – with it’s studded tires – on the road, a slog for sure, but I wasn’t really in a hurry, and hey – a workout is where you find it, right?
I did something I’ve never done before and clipped the WONDERBOOM bluetooth speaker to the bars and shuffled my favorites playlist for the ride – which was interesting. I had to have it pretty much cranked to be able to hear it over the buzz of the fat, studded tires on pavement, which made for some interesting encounters with walkers, runners and other miscellany folk I encountered along the way.
I would have to think the high point would have been rolling into the parking lot of the Dollarama (freshly-sanitized) with Simple Mind’s ‘Alive and Kicking’ at full volume. Not sure the slew of good ol’ boys in jacked up pickup trucks and earflap hats smoking joints while waiting for their pajama-pant clad wives in the store had to think about silly old me riding a bicycle in the slush. They may have been somewhat conflicted because though silly, my bike does have cool big black tiars.
So a little less than a year ago, my internet homey Matt emailed me out of the blue to let me know he was liquidating his Surly stock. He had a Troll and a Pugsley up for sale and wanted to know if I wanted any parts or whole.
As a matter of backstory, I bought my Disc Trucker frame and fork from Matt some years ago and after going back and forth with various builds on it then almost selling it back to him or someone else, I finally got it perfectly appointed for me and it’s become a steady favorite in the stable.
Matt knew I was a fan of all things Surly and was excited to maybe have the bikes go to a dedicated Surly fan. As much as I like the Pugsleys, I already have one and since I wasn’t really bike shopping at all, couldn’t really justify adding another to the stable. The Troll was another matter. Being Surly’s 26+ platform touring rig, the way Matt had it set up really appealed to me as – among other things – a ‘shoulder season’ bike for all the nasty that was too nasty for the Disc Trucker, but not nasty enough to merit the Pugsley. Matt was open to a long-term creative financing arrangement and a plan was hatched.
After many months, a large box was finally deposited on my doorstep last week, just in time for Festivus. I spent a few days building it back up and familiarizing myself with various components and thanks to the Christmas gods and global warming, the weatherman was calling for an unseasonably warm (16ºC!) day today so I made sure to have the Troll ready for it’s maiden voyage. It didn’t disappoint.
Matt’s build spec is spot on and there’s not a thing I ‘d change -I did put my own Selle Anatomica saddle on it – but that’s it. The thing is really fun to ride, fits great and all the components are great at what they do. This is my first bike with an internally-geared hub and the Alfine shifts smooth as butter and rolls smooth too. The Surly Extra Terrestrial tires are great – though I have to remind myself when it comes to wet roots they are traditional slicks – heh, don’t ask me how I know. The whole bike feels stiff and stable like it could carry 200lbs of cargo without flinching.
I’m especially excited about the front Shimano dynamo hub which continuously powers the front Busch and Müller headlight and tail light. I can’t wait to try it out in the dark. I’ve never had a bike with a dynamo hub before – it’s always something I’ve wanted to experiment with. Other notable standouts for me are the SKS Blumen fenders which are super-solid, easy to mount and silent/rattle free and the Harrier pedals with big chonking pegs to grab boots/shoes in nasty conditions. I didn’t think I was going to, but I even really like the weird Ergon cork grips.
I got the Troll out on my usual loop today and threw a little of everything at it and it didn’t flinch. It’s a keeper. Getting out for a nice long ride today means much less guilt eating all the things this holiday season. Merry Christmas to me.
Hope everyone else out there had as much fun today as I did. Ride bikes in 2021.