My Bicycle

This page is all about my current bicycle.  I purchased the bike from Joe Bike (www.joe-bike.com) in November 2012. Here is a picture of the bicycle that Tess (most helpful rep) sent me shortly before shipping it to my home.

Complete assembly at Joe Bike

Complete assembly at Joe Bike

This bicycle is a radical departure from my previous rides.  I’ve always been a pretty seriously performance-oriented road bicyclist.  The mind set here being one of absolutely minimizing any unnecessary weight or drag on the bike.  This bike is setup for self supported touring, including front and rear racks, fenders, a large handlebar bag, and a dynamo powered hub for charging electronics and powering the lights.

Joe-Bike built the bicycle for me, made to order based on a choice of specific components that we worked out thru email over a few weeks.  Their expertise with touring bicycles was so valuable.  And they did really excellent work overall.

The bicycle arrived from Oregon on an Amtrak train, boxed up but nearly fully assembled.  I just had to unpack everything, put on the seat post, pedals, and handlebars.  I was in the final planning stages of my first tour, a ride from home (Atlanta) to Beaufort South Carolina.

This is the bike ready for its first journey, minutes before my departure.

Surly loaded up for first tour

Surly loaded up for first tour

This bicycle is a Surly Long Haul Disc Trucker, a bicycle with a long history as a strong touring bicycle.  There’s something about “trucker” on a bicycle so equipped that kind of grabs me.

One of the things I really like that Joe-Bike did for me is the dynamo hub.  The hub includes an electric generator to power lights and electronics.

Dynamo Hub

Dynamo Hub

This is so perfect for my purposes because I depend heavily on electronics.  I navigate roads by using the tomtom app on my iPhone.  Combine that with the cost savings I get from camping instead of staying on motels all the time and those two goals apparently collide.  The phone may not last through even one day of heavy use of the GPS.  So I need a way to keep it charged without being able to plug into 110 at a motel.  The hub powers that and more.

The dynamo usually charges a battery pack, which then charges various electronics such as the phone.  The battery pack charges after about 10 hours of pedaling.  But that power can then charge the iPhone four times over!  So it works out to be real easy to manage.

 

Road Bike Seat

Road Bike Seat

 

The seat that Joe-Bike provided needed changing.  It’s nice and cushy but that’s attractive only for the first couple hours if that.  It was giving me a disturbing tingly feeling that blood was not going everywhere it’s supposed to.  Seats are a very personal thing so I don’t fault Joe-Bike for that.  I changed it to this road bike seat which greatly improves blood flow.  As with any seat it takes some getting used to but hopefully my hard ass is ready for all day rides now.  It’s getting better anyway.

IMG_0143

 

I recently improved my water carrying capacity.  The bike already has three water bottles.  But it’s not hard to run low on water regardless, especially when camping.  So I got some water bottle cages and after struggling with how to mount them I finally settled on binding them to the front rack with a set of hose clamps.  Seems to work well.

Hose clamps

Hose clamps bind bottle holders to the rack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHIPPING VIA AMTRAK EXPRESS
BAG PANNIER ARKEL DOLPHIN 48 PAIR RED
PUMP AXIOM ENFORCE AIR PRO GAUGE
BAG HANDLEBAR ARKEL W/ MAPCASE
CAGE BOTTLE HOLDER AXIOM RIPPLE INOX STAINLESS
POWER CONVERTER PEDALPOWER+ W/ iCABLE
RACK REAR SURLY NICE BLACK
RACK FRONT SURLY NICE BLACK
FENDER AXIOM RAINRUNNER MTB BLACK REFLEX
LIGHT B&M IQ CYO R SENSO PLUS BLACK
LIGHT B&M TOPLIGHT LINE BRAKE PLUS
HUB SHIMANO ALFINE DYNO 36H BLACK DISC
SURLY DISC TRUCKER 54 CM 26 GREEN
Gearing: 24x34

Why I love my bicycle

  • The feeling of freedom I get from pedaling me and my stuff all over the world for (what feels like) free.
  •  I get stronger while only having fun at a comfortable pace.  Forget “no pain no gain”!
  • I’m never stuck in traffic.  I can always get up on the sidewalk or move between lanes in a traffic jam.
  • My Surly can carry a boatload of stuff.  No need to be spartan and make living on the bike an ordeal.
  • It keeps me healthy and fit and buff.  I like what I see in the mirror.
  • As a vegetarian bicycle rider, my carbon footprint is really low which makes me feel like I gracefully coexist with the world rather than suck up resources.
  • My tomtom app finds wonderful bicycle routes and plots alternatives to keep my commute to work interesting and on less traveled roads.
  • I get an invigorating rush of emotion getting out before dawn with good weather, an open road to explore, and the sky slowly lighting up with a day of adventure ahead of me.
  • I like to outfit my bike to perfection, looking ahead to a life of making this my little home while exploring the world.
  • I can carry clothes, food, camping equipment, tools, toiletries, electronics for navigation or entertainment.

 

29 thoughts on “My Bicycle

  1. Dolan Halbrook

    Great build. Self supported touring is a wonderful thing.

    Joe Bike is just down the street from me and they are indeed great folks. I’m also a huge fan of dynohubs.

    By the way, have you tried a Selle An-Atomica? I’ve found they’re pretty much the most comfortable seat in existence, and doesn’t restrict the crucial blood flow down there…

    Reply
    1. Walter Post author

      That looks like a great seat. I wasn’t aware. Thanks for the suggestion! I looked high and low at the time but didn’t see this one.

      Reply
    1. Walter Post author

      Sure, take a look at the pic I just added. Just a set of hose clamps from the hardware store. Get some that take nut drivers instead of just screw drivers so you can tighten them a lot. That keeps them pointed forward. I was concerned about whether they would stay put but I’ve been riding with them for a month or so with no trouble at all.

      Reply
  2. Tom Prudden

    I also have the Disc Trucker that I am building for touring purposes. I not been able to find much info about people putting dyno hubs on. Can you tell me the model number of the hub you used and was there any major difference between this hub and the Shimano? Love the build!
    Thanks
    Tom

    Reply
    1. Walter Post author

      I’d be glad to share that. The hub is “HUB SHIMANO ALFINE DYNO 36H BLACK DISC”. But the hub is only part of the solution to my electronics (especially iPhone which takes a little higher voltage to charge than a standard USB). So to keep all my devices charged (including when the bike is not moving) I use “POWER CONVERTER PEDALPOWER+ W/ iCABLE AND V4i BATTERY”. My front light is “LIGHT B&M IQ CYO R SENSO PLUS BLACK”. My rear light is “LIGHT B&M TOPLIGHT LINE BRAKE PLUS”. With this setup you can’t run the lights and charge electronics at the same time, but I’m fine with that. I keep the battery pack charged on the dyno during the day. Then to run the lights for a few hours is no big deal. The battery with a full charge will recharge my iphone 4 times. So plenty of overkill there.

      Reply
    2. Craig

      I am currently building a front wheel dyno hub. DT Swiss TK540 700c disc rim, DT Swiss Alpine III spokes and the SP Dyno hub (PD-8)

      http://www.sp-dynamo.com/8seriesdynamo%20hub.html

      I checked all the reviews on SON and Shimano. The SON is still the most efficent but twice the price. The SP seemed to me to be the best. I will let you know after a few thousand km’s how it holds up.

      Reply
        1. Craig Richardson

          Eddie, I finished the wheel about 3 weeks ago but due to an injury, coming off a mountain bike, I didn’t get to go on the tour I had planned. So I haven’t hooked up the electrics at this stage and therefore can’t say how well it produces power. As far as drag goes I don’t notice any difference to any other wheel. I run 2.34 X 29er Big Apples for tyres (When ya go fat ya never go back :) . Some people say the dyno hubs cause a vibration through the bars, I could feel this vibration when the wheel was on the truing stand but I can’t feel it through the bars when riding.

          It’s a classy looking wheel. Black rim, silver spokes and bright red hub.

          I should have the electrics hooked up within the month. I will let you know how it goes power/charging wise then.

          Reply
  3. Gary

    Nice ride Walter !

    I have Surly dreams in my head, but what I really like are the front and rear racks….what is the make and model if you please?

    Thanks, and dang I wish I would have known you were headed to Flamingo, I would have met you for some conversation and a cold drink.
    I work in the Park and actually did quite a bit of work on the Eco-Tent there on the walk in area where it looks like you camped ?

    Reply
    1. Walter Post author

      Too bad we didn’t hook up in Florida! The racks you ask about are the “Surly Nice Rack”, sold by Surly.

      Reply
  4. Eddie

    How many inputs does the Dynamo Hub have? You connected the Peddalpower, the front lights, and the rear lights all to the hub?

    Reply
    1. Walter Post author

      The hub has two outputs. One drives the front and rear lights. The other drives the pedal power regulator.

      When I have the lights on I don’t get anything from the pedal power – i.e. can’t run the lights and charge electronics at the same time.

      Reply
  5. Andy

    My question about your cool-looking bike concerns frame size. Because your seat is set low, I’m wondering how much stand-over room you get, if any. I’m a guy with short legs and a long torso, and ride a 52 cm road bike with looong stem and pushed-back seat. On the 54 cm stock trucker, I got barely enough handlebar to seat length with the seat pushed all the way back. I tried the 56, which felt really comfortable in many ways, but the seat had to be at its lowest limit and standover was not possible with both feet flat on the ground. Since your seat is so low in the photo, I’m wondering if you opted for a frame that gives you stand-over challenges, and if so, why? Just looking for input that will help me decide on frame size.

    Reply
    1. Walter Post author

      I stand about 5’7″. I do have reasonable standover room with both feet planted. My seat is on the low side. I just find that more comfortable. I feel more leverage on the pedals that way.

      Reply
  6. Craig

    Walter,

    Could you tell me what tyres you are running please.

    I am considering buying the LHT frameset, but I currently run Big Apples and I am loath to change as I love them (Once you go fat you never go back). However the tyres you are running in the pictures look interesting. I don’t think the LHT can run Big Apples :(

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Walter Post author

      Sure, the tires are michelin city contact. I’ve been very happy with them. They handle well, take a big load and still have a supple feel, last a long time. I’ve put a lot of miles on them. Had to replace the rear one because of a gash that was cut in it by who knows what. I did have a slow leak once in the rear that turned out to be a tiny sliver of metal. But the roads in Atlanta are pretty trashed up and these tires have been relatively trouble free as things go.

      Reply
  7. Nathan Spratt

    Nice Bike! I too have the Surly Nice Front Rack. I am interested in getting a Hub Dynamo and Lights, so I am wondering what light and how you mounted the light to the rack. Any detailed photos of that? Thanks.

    Reply
  8. Honorio

    How much it cost?
    Your bike customization is the best!
    What do you think about brooks flyer saddle?

    I haven’t look for videos here in this page I would like to see some of your adventures.
    I’m planing to get exactly the same bike customization except the seat and I will stop paying rent I live in a rural place I’m also thinking on hunting and fishing to save some extra money, if things go the way I want them living cheaply I’ll be able to buy the house I want in a few years paying in full no interest.

    Reply
    1. Walter Post author

      The cost was $2,000+. I’m not sure because I lumped in various expenses that were not the bicycle itself, like the panniers. I have not tried the brooks flyer. I recently went shopping for a new saddle and I evaluated the brooks. But ultimately decided on the Selle Anatomica. I have not tried it yet but this one looked more promising for me personally than the brooks. There was a lot of saddle discussion at the time on http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/920281-Should-I-believe-a-brooks-saddle-will-be-more-comfortable-than-my-racebike-saddle. That said saddles are a very personal choice and even after I come to love the Selle Anatomica (my hopes are up), what’s right for me does not make it right for another derriere. Thanks for the comments. Good luck in your lifestyle goals. Happy riding.

      Reply
  9. Bill Hoover, Evergreen, Colorado (cabin @7,500 ft.)

    Hi Walter

    I know this is asking A LOT!!!…..but I’VE LONG WISHED (DEARLY WISHED) AN EXPERIENCED TOURER LIKE YOU WOULD SPREAD OUT ALL YOUR STUFF—EVERY SINGLE THING—AND TAKE A HIGH RESOLUTION PHOTO FROM A LADDER OR ROOF—SO ONE CAN ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM IN AND EXAMINE WHAT AND WHAT KIND OF STUFF YOU’VE SETTLED ON CARRYING. I swear I’d try to send you money in appreciation.

    I traveled 13 years from a expedition backpack with two one-hundred pound dogs. I’ve spread my stuff out for others to examine. Now I want to buy your EXACT bike rig. Gonna use this blog as guide to order is from Joe’s when I get the cash saved up. I noticed you moved up to waterproof contain-all type panniers and such. [I just want to come and carefully dismantle your rig---photographing as I go---then carefully return it to exactly the same packing as I found it..... Or maybe YOU could do that? :) ]

    Reply
    1. Bill Hoover, Evergreen, Colorado (cabin @7,500 ft.)

      Hmmm Just discovered Joe’s is SOLD OUT Surly Disc Truckers. (can’t afford it just yet anyway.)

      Reply
    2. Walter Post author

      Well, you said it. That’s asking A LOT.

      But I wonder if you need that as much as you think. When it comes to the exact stuff we pack, the right items for me will be personally right for me, but not necessarily for others. There’s lots of advice on what to bring at places like bikeforums.net. And I don’t want to photograph my stash and put it on the internet :-)

      But really, the best way to figure out what’s right for you is to start out on some day trips. And then an overnight camping trip. Then two nights in a row. Each time you think of stuff you wish you’d brought, take the time to put that on your checklist.

      At this point I don’t have a list anymore. I just keep most everything in my “camping closet” and go thru it all when I’m packing.

      Reply
      1. Bill Hoover, Evergreen, Colorado (cabin @7,500 ft.)

        Thanks. I appreciate the risk better on reflection—duh. I’m most concerned on spending on pricey items and THEN finding there’s better, more dependable, cheaper—-etc. etc.

        Take a warm handshake Walter. Warm best to ya.

        Bill

        Reply
  10. Dan

    Great setup — I have a non-disc trucker and would like to upgrade some day.

    About the Alfine hub, do you find that it makes a rough freewheel type noise? I have one on my bike and it makes a distinct buzzing noise.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Walter Post author

      No, I don’t hear any noise from mine. Actually, I can hear it a tiny bit if I have the bike on a stand and put my ear next to the turning hub. But I imagine you’re talking about something more substantial.

      Reply

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