Posts Tagged ‘Surly Long Haul Trucker’


Light Road Riding around East Fork State Park

July 10, 2011

Penny and I loaded up our bikes on the bike rack of our Honda Accord around 7pm Sunday, and went out to East Fork State Park to ride around, and also scope out some low traffic roads that we can ride together in the future.

The “highlight” was the 100 ft drop in elevation from the top of the plateau to the boat ramp and then a climb back up.  Penny powered up it, but I tend to “hamster wheel” it in low gear.  My cardio endurance seems better than my strength endurance although neither are all that great.  It was a nice 8 mile ride though.  I expect we’ll be doing more of the roads around the State Park the next time, if we start earlier before sunset.


The new bike rack that we purchased is a Saris.  I noticed that the straps were loose when we got home.  I probably didn’t tighten them down enough, and the weight of two Surly LHT bikes probably caused a lot of twisting and pulling.  Took the rack off until the next time I need it so it wouldn’t fly off on my trip to work.  Will keep tinkering with it until I figure it out.  Otherwise, it seemed to hold the bikes very solid for the 15 mile round trip from home to the park and back.



Testing Driving A New Brooks Flyer Saddle

April 10, 2010

I got a nice Brooks saddle off ebay, and Penny gave it a 15 mile test ride while I tweaked the adjustments. Plan B was to put it on my mountain bike… I don’t think she’s going to give it up though…. LOL… Now she has a shiny black Brooks Flyer saddle and she was loving the springs when riding over the bumps.

Absolutely gorgeous day for a ride.  Outbound, we intentionally kept the speed below 10mph and gawked around at the scenery.  We even got passed by a Dad with two kids on their own bikes…. I tried to convince Penny that it was absolutely empowering to not react to that and lay the hammer down…. LOL.

We turned around in Morrow, but not before I tweaked the nose down on Penny’s new seat.  She immediately felt the positive effect of that change.

On the way back we started off relatively slowly, and at one of the stop signs got passed by three guys on mountain bikes, one of them with full suspension and large knobby tires, no less!  I commented to Penny that the guy with the full suspension was expending lots of energy.  Sure enough, he dropped back to the point where we were nearly drafting off of him.  I felt kinda bad because we were hardly putting any effort into it at all despite having our heavy steel touring bikes.  We kept creeping up on him and finally I told Penny to drop in behind me as I decided to pick ’em up and put ’em down.  We quickly passed all three and Penny caught the “speed fever” and bumped our speed to almost  18mph…. nice cruising speed, but not sustainable for our unseasoned legs.  Despite that, by the time we reached South Lebanon and looked back, the 3 guys on MTB’s were no where to be seen.  I could tell she enjoyed that! 🙂


Dropped the Jeep off for Service and Cycled Home

October 21, 2009

Dropped the Jeep off for service at the dealership and rode my Touring bike home (Surly Long Haul Trucker).  I had mapped out some relatively easy routes to keep me off the high traffic roads.  However, there was one spot that was unavoidable, and quite possibly, one of the highest traffic spots in my neck of the woods, and one that I hate to go in a vehicle.  For those in the know, it’s the intersection of Mason-Montgomery and Fields-Ertel Roads, right where many suburbanites get off and on Interstate 71 for their commutes into Cincinnati.  I now have a better understanding why the Regional Bike Consortium (OKI) has these roads marked red (not recommended) and a big red dot at this intersection.

I did chose a way through that was right hand turns though, and wisely, I chose to wait until near the end of rush hour to ride home.  Even so, it was quite intense and adrenaline packed.  In fact, just getting through the one high traffic choke point left me so stoked with adrenaline, that I threw out my original “lower traffic” route and just rode all the way down Mason-Montgomery.  Actually, it was a combination of “I forgot” and “how bad can it be from here… I’m through the worst of it”…. or it could have been that semi-truck that was barreling down on me near I-71 that kept me intensely pedaling for all it’s worth.  Seemed like every time I looked down I was over 20 mph and 100rpm cadence.

It was a bit surprising to me that I could consistently out-accelerate cars from a stop at a red light…. on my steel bike, no less!  My other “take-away”… I’m much more confident about “taking” the lane at a stop light or stop sign (there were many opportunities for practice!)

So… 8 miles; 30 minutes; 28mph max; 16mph average.

What’s slightly embarrassing is that this was better than what I did on my road bike last night sitting on the trainer watching a Race DVD… LOL

I hope I get Green “karma” points for this!  A few more trips like this and casual cross-country touring on low traffic roads will be a cinch by comparison.

This was also a good opportunity to test a couple of new accessories.   My new Sunlite Trunk bag is a nice intermediate step between a seat bag and a pannier, mounting on the top of my rear rack.  It has two small rollup integrated panniers and 5 compartments built into it.  All I needed to store in it today was my bike tools/supplies, tennis shoes, fingerless gloves, and use the top bungee to hold a fleece vest.

My other goodies were a new flashing front and rear light.  I was glad I had the Cannondale bright rear flashing LED (Hindsite Plus).  One of the blink choices is a chaotic pattern that grabs your attention.  For the front light (Topeak LED), I actually clamped it onto my front fork, just below my brake.  I used this as a white flasher to grab the attention of oncoming traffic or those that might try to turn in front of me from a side rode.

Great morning for a ride!  It was crisp in the upper 30’s/lower 40’s, so I layered accordingly: Unpadded cycling shorts, unpadded cycling tights, workout sweats (loose enough to not bind my knees and not too tight to get in the chain); long sleeve wool cycling shirt, Cycling windbreaker, and full fingered gloves.  I thought I was dressed a bit light on top (so I packed a sleeveless vest), but my wool shirt was drenched when I got home.

Now don’t forget to “Share the Road”!!

Share the Road


Ft Ancient to Xenia Station and Back

September 19, 2009

Today we made some adjustments on the Surly Long Haul Truckers (LHT).  I put Penny’s seat from her road bike on the LHT to see if it would suit her better, then also tried to put an adjustable handlebar stem on my bike.  Unfortunately, the stem was designed for the oversized handlebar used on my Cannondale, not the thinner bar on the Surly, so I just lowered the existing stem a couple of spacers.

We parked over at Ft Ancient parking area near the Little Miami Trail next to the the Canoe Livery and headed up toward Xenia.  We loaded up the panniers for plenty of extra “practice” weight and used the first couple of miles for adjusting seat angles, heights and forward/back positions.  After that we settled into a nice rhythm up to Xenia.  After a sitting a short spell at the Xenia Station, where I also raised my handle bars back up, we headed back south.

It didn’t seem like much of an incline on the way up, but after averaging about 10mph on the to Xenia, it was kinda surprising to easily reach 16-17mph on the way back south toward Spring Valley.  The mostly “downhill” ride back to Ft Ancient made the trip much faster.  Also, I think we were spunkier knowing we were on the return leg of the trip.  After a brief stop in Corwin for an ice cream, we sailed the remaining miles back, and even took turns out-sprinting each other, reaching the vehicle as the sun was setting.  A Fun 50 mile ride!!

Once home, we loaded back up on carbs with some Skyline Chili to top off the evening.

I think we have a few more tweaks on the LHT’s.  I’d like to try a shorter stem, and Penny wants to try a Brooks Saddle at some point.  Even so, I’m about ready to try a 100 mile ride on the LHT if the timing works out yet this year.


Small Tweaks and Equipment Testing on the Surly LHT’s

September 13, 2009

Today, my back was still tight…. but I didn’t want an intense bike ride.  Instead, we focused on relatively easy spinning and testing some tweaks to the touring bikes.  We both wanted some changes to our handle bars, so we headed out on the road.  I raised Penny’s handlebar and rotated mine.

We both hit the road without any padding, using the Columbia Road, Turtlecreek Rd-Mason Morrow Rd loop.  I tried to wear casual shorts over compression shorts, but my I should have grabbed my longer compression shorts.  The casual shorts kept rubbing and grabbing my leg hair… ouch!!  It wasn’t too terrible though.  On our way back to the vehicle I rotated Penny’s handlebar and then later bumped her seat forward.

I left my casual shorts at the vehicle before we headed out again on the bike path just to get some miles for Penny’s saddle change.  Using the Little Miami Trail, we headed up towards Morrow.  It’s quite different dealing with pedestrians and bike traffic after doing quite a bit of riding on the road recently.  Not better or worse, per se… just different.

My unpadded bum was starting to complain a bit, even though my seat is pretty comfortable, so we turned around at Stubbs Mill Rd.  I can’t complain… 16 miles is pretty good with no padding… more than I’d attempted previously!

I think I have a few more handlebar tweaks to make, but I’m getting close.  Should be ready for a Metric Century (100K/62M) or standard Century (100M) before long if I can fit it in.

16 miles, 1hr 10min


My First Grocery Trip… Well… On a Bike

September 1, 2009

It was lunch time, the cat was hungry… so what’s a guy to do?  I needed a break from the computer anyway, so instead of jumping into a Jeep with a V8 for some cat food, I’d decided to try pedaling up to the store instead.  The store is only two miles away, albeit down a busy 2 lane highway, but doable.

I figured since it was a day of firsts, I may as well do it right!  So I wore non-bike specific clothing so that I wouldn’t look like a dork walking through the store… the exception being my biking sandals… but it would be hard for non-cyclists to recognize them as anything but strangely-branded shoes…. no bike shorts… no padding in the seat… no form-fitting bike shirts… just a t-shirt, compression shorts, loose casual shorts, and a prayer that the saddle wouldn’t be rubbing me raw!! 🙂

bike sandals

bike sandals

pedal clips (for clipless-pedals)

pedal clips (for clipless-pedals)

I put on one pannier, grabbed my bike lock and headed for the store.



I have to say… it’s exactly 2 miles from my door to the store, an easy distance in comparison to any of our other rides… but it’s amazing how much the adrenaline gets cranked up when traffic is screaming along just a couple of feet away on a road with little or no shoulders.  Immediately, I found that I was pushing myself cold much harder than I normally would… going uphill at a pace I normally do on a flat trail… WHOA Nellie!!!

Coming back home, it was fun to cruise down the big hill at almost 30mph…. WHEEEEEE…. and that was mostly coasting!

When I got home, the cat was pleased with the results of my shopping!

cat food

cat food

Was I too bold to be wearing this t-shirt while riding to the store?  I wasn’t looking to make too big a statement or become a target.

I suppose you get used to the traffic and all… but I was glad I chose a slower traffic period for this maiden voyage to the store.  Makes me wonder how Paul Murray manages to bike around Long Island to get some exercise when I’m only in a slightly busy small town in Northern Cincinnati.

Share the Road

Share the Road

First shopping trip was a success, managing a slightly lower carbon footprint, and kept the cat alive at the same time!  WooHoo!! 🙂


Beautifully Cool Day for a 4 Hour Ride

August 30, 2009

We’ve made some tweaks and modifications to our Surly Long Haul Truckers, so it was time for an extended test ride.

I’d gotten in the new Velo Orange seat posts that allow our saddles to move back a few additional centimeters, had raised my handle bars one spacer, trued Penny’s rear tire (the best I could), and replaced a stripped seat post bolt on Penny’s bike, so her seat should stop sinking now… lol!

We made it a good ride too…  Starting at the Kingsview Industrial Park, we rode all the way down to the Little Miami Golf Center in Newtown, then back.

The weather was pretty cool, so we layered shorts and tights, as well as 3 or so shirts (sleeveless, short sleeve, and long).  Although it remained cool most of the day, I shed the bike tights after about 10 miles, then had my long sleeve shirt on and off a couple of times for regulation.  I finally just gave up and left my outer shirt on to keep my arms warm.

At the start, I’d discussed with Penny that we wanted a nice “touring pace”, and even chose the southern route to encounter more traffic (and there was lots and lots of pedestrians/dogs/kids-on-bikes)… mission accomplished!!

All told, we pedaled for 4 hours and although getting a bit tired from not spacing our eating well… we still felt pretty decent at the end…. I think we were easily good for 15-20 miles more without pushing too hard…. but Jess called while we were on the bike and wanted to get together, so we didn’t head north of our parking spot and called it a day.

Despite having to go slow with trail congestion, it was a relaxing 45 mile ride!