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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.