My Mother Truckin’ Trucker…

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Hey all, thanks for joining me again. I thought maybe I would do something different this time, something that I haven’t really done before. I thought maybe I would just show off my Surly Long Haul Trucker a little. Ya know, just talk a little bit about it but mostly share some of my favorite pictures of it. I will add links and info on some of the parts I use. You know, just in case you are interested or curious about the stuff that I chose to use on my Trucker build. That sounds cool doesn’t it? I dunno, I think it does.

OK cool.

So, below is a picture of the bike literally moments after I built it up from a frame, fork stem and seat post. No kickstand yet. And at this point, I was running the Soma Fabrications Lucas mini front rack up front with the smaller Wald 137 in black. The bag up front is the medium Rivendell Bicycle Works, Sackville Shop Sack, in olive. It’s a hand made bag and it’s awesome. I use it everyday.

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The fenders that are on my LHT are from a company out of Minnesota called Handsome Cycles. The fenders are called Mud Butlers. The ones I use are the 45mm size to fit my 38c tires. I think sometimes that maybe I shoulda gone with silver on the fenders…but I think the black looks really good though. Thoughts? The black looks nice with the skin wall tires.

Speaking of tires, The tires that were on the bike right when I built it up were the Soma Fabrications C-Line 700c x 38. These tires are amazing. They are light, supple and made by the greatest Japanese tire manufacturers on the planet, Panaracer. Seriously, these tires are great for multiple surface riding and have put up with a lot of me behind the bars. They finally gave up the ghost on a bike packing trip with my son in late January this year with a gnarly sidewall blow out. Check it out here. Most of the pictures I have of the Trucker have the Soma C-Lines in use. It wasn’t until the blow out that I started running a different tire. More on that later.

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Let’s talk mobile tire inflation devices…AKA pumps. Specifically my Silca frame pump. Maybe the sweetest piece of gear on the entire bicycle. It’s the Impero Ultimate Frame Pump. It was super expensive, but I got a Visa gift card from my family for my 50th birthday, so that made it easy for me to pull the trigger. This may seem weird to some people, a $165 frame pump, but it’s a “lifetime part”. What I mean by that is, that it is made to last a lifetime. There is not one piece of plastic on it, it has a corrosion free aluminum body, the whole pump is hand made, it has a leather plunger from the same vendor the company has been using since the 30’s….and the whole thing is completely rebuild-able with all of the parts available through Silca…you get it? If you take care of it, it will last you until you are too weak to use it, and then you pass it down. Plus it has been a dream of mine to have one, and what better bike to put it on. OK? So yeah, it’s really nice.

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You can see in the picture above that I have switched front racks, front basket size and front bag size. As well as the tires we spoke about earlier. OK, so the basket has been up-sized to a Wald 139 large basket from the Wald 137 medium basket. The bag is the same exact bag as the other smaller one. But now it is the large olive Sackville Shop Sack. Oh, and by the way, both of these baskets are held to the rack by 6-8 strategically placed zip-ties. OK, so the rack is a shitty over seas rack that I got on Ebay for like $13 shipped…seriously. It’s not worth including a link. It was supposed to be temporary until I could get a high quality Nitto of some sort. Now, I am not going to lie, it’s lasted awhile, about a year. And I have put some serious weight on it while bikepacking and bringing home heavy groceries. The latter happening about two to three times a week. Honestly, I think I have just been lucky with it as it is not intended for the abuse I have put it through.

My seatpost is from Velo Orange. It is a post that has a little more set back, it’s called the Grand Cru Long Setback. It works great for my Brooks B17 saddle. It allows my saddle to go as far back as I can get it. As you may or may not know, the Brooks has a shallow seat rail that keeps the saddle from going as far back as some of the more modern styled saddles.

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Some other parts you may be interested in are around the cockpit. Like the handle bars. My bars are also from Soma Fabrications and are called the Oxford Bar. They are great, comfortable bars and are relativity inexpensive. The stem is a stock stem that came with the bike. The brake levers are old, vintage Dia-Compe 282 Long Reach…I looked for a little while for these. They are perfect for the bike. The grips are real Portuguese Tree Cork that I got from Rivendell Bicycle Works. They are punched at the ends and grooved to accommodate my 9 speed Shimano Ultegra bar end shifters. The grips are wrapped with Hemp Twine also from Rivendell Bicycle Works. and then shellacked with Bulls Eye clear shellac to seal it all. This shellac comes tinted too for different finishes.

The bell that is on this bike is a perfect blend of function, engineering mastery and art. It is made by a company called Spurcycle. And it’s called the Spurcycle bell. It’s loud for such a little bell. It even cuts through peoples earphones. It is a beautiful little bell, made of brass and stainless steel. It’s not cheap, but again….made to last a lifetime. My stem cap and bottle opener are from another company out of Minnesota called Twin Six. It seems that the bottle opener is no longer available from Twin Six, but it was actually made by a company called WiseCracker, you can still get one from them, although not the Twin Six branded one.

IMG_4060IMG_3511IMG_3734IMG_3476 OK, so we are almost done. I wanted to let you know that I am also using bottle cages from a small company called King Cage. The two bottle cages in the main traingle of the frame are King’s Iris Cage. Again, not the cheapest out there, but hand made, and super durable as they are made with stainless steel. They are the only real cage to use with the 27oz Klean Kanteen stainless bottles. These cages hold these bottles securely and quietly.

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So….about the new tires. I was hesitant. I really liked the Soma C-Lines. But they were expensive…and after the sidewall blow out I needed something quick, and funds were low at that time. So, I was reading something Grant Petersen wrote about the Schwalbe Little Big Ben on the Rivendell site: ” When we got the samples, we were all agog, because we all had the same ridiculous reaction: This tire is Perfect. It’s obviously the Perfect tire. Why do we even sell anything else?” I love me some Grant Petersen “Velosophy” so I thought I would give them a try. They were heavier, sure. But they offered a little bit of flat protection, the durability is supposed to be through the roof, they measured pretty true to a 38c and they were almost $40 cheaper….per tire! So yeah, they’re on my bike. And they don’t ride heavy. They roll fast. And they seem to have a good profile on the stock Trucker rim. All is good…so far.

I think that’s probably it. I have a few more parts to mention that I think you would be interested in. My tool bag. It’s hand made right here in Los Angeles by a small company called Roadrunner Bags. They are great! Customer service is fantastic, the stuff is made to order with a quick turn around. You can pick your colors and they make it up for you at an insanely reasonable price. The tool bag is called Tool/Saddle Roll. They are awesome and do exactly what they are intended to do in a beautifully minimalist way. I have one on my mountain bike as well. The other part is the Rivendell Bicycle Works Sackville Fender Mud Flap. It is a waxed canvas, handmade in the USA, bit of awesomeness for the back of the bike. It even has a reflective strip.

Well? I think that went well. Don’t you? Go check out some of these companies if you haven’t already. You’ll dig ’em. They all give a shit about what they make and how it affects your bicycle riding experience. Seriously, they really do.

Hey also, maybe you could give your bike a big hug and a lot of love next time you get on it and ride. It’s there for you, ya know? I mean anytime you need it to be, it’s there. You know that, right? It is total freedom. You feel that, right?

That’s good.

OK then, don’t forget to tell it thank you when you are done and give it a little pat on the saddle, It likes that. Good job team.

Bye until next time. 🙂

 

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