The Surly Disc Trucker
Alright the number of "new bike" posts on my blog is actually starting to get a bit embarrassing. I'm not going to link them. Last year, I bought a very nice Cannondale SuperSix EVO bike which has a full 105 groupset and hydraulic disc brakes. It's really nice to ride, very light and I like it a lot. However, carrying anything on it usually means wearing a backpack, since it's a carbon frame and there are no mounting holes for panniers. I hate cycling with a backpack - my back gets sweaty and starts to ache.
A few months back I got in touch with Rich at Keep Pedalling in Manchester. They are one of the few builders of Surly bikes in the UK. Surly have a good reputation for making incredibly sturdy steel frame bikes with tonnes of options for mounting things. Rich was really helpful with the part picking, taking my vague description of what I wanted and turning it into something real. The main things I wanted were:
- Surly frame suitable for disc brakes
- 35mm tyres with a dynamo hub on the front
- Front and rear racks to give me lots of options for storage
- Drop bars with STI levers
- 11-40 on the rear and 46/30 on the front
There were a few other things I was keen to have too, such as a comfortable Brooks Cambium saddle and mudguards. In the end, we ended up with some combination of Deore and GRX derailleurs. Few months later and I got the call saying it was ready, which coincided perfectly this week as I'd booked annual leave. The bike though, was in Manchester…
Saturday morning, I got the train to Manchester Piccadilly. I didn't know before hand, but the football was on, and so the trains were packed with drunk people. It wasn't even lunch time! Finally arrive at around 12pm and walk over to the shop. Keep Pedalling is a really nice bike shop and I had a great time looking at the bike with Rich. If you are after a Surly, I definitely recommend them. This is what the bike looks like:
Some people don't like the "pea lime soup" green, others do (I do). I cycled from the shop in Manchester to my parents' house in North Wales, which ended up being 98km. The weather was absolutely horrible. I got drenched and it was headwinds the whole way. The ride was mostly flat but with 500m or so of elevation in the last 15km. I was so drained I had to push the bike up some of those hills. The lower gears were fine, I just couldn't move my legs anymore, but I eventually made it. The route was really enjoyable though. I went along some of the Canal heading south of Manchester, then onto a nice trail, some roads, then through Chester, and then a the massive hills in Wales.
I spent a couple of days with my family before getting the train home. Storing the bike was the next issue, as my bike usually sits behind me at my desk. There isn't really enough space there for two bikes so I ended up buying some wall mounts for the lighter road bike. I think it looks quite nice!
They also posted some photos on their Instagram which I stole