Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Surly Long Haul Trucker Bicycle. Taking One For A Test Ride!

Sunday afternoon I managed to squeeze in a quick visit to the bike store to again ponder the imminent purchase of the nicest and most expensive bike I could imagine owning. After much research on bikes and touring it became apparant that you can tour on anything (one gent has pedaled the world for 25 years on 40 dollar bikes) but a nicer ride will make the trip smoother and more enjoyable. Less chance of sitting on the side of the road in India wishing you had moved up the quality scale a bit.

Gearing that sits lower to the ground, a longer chain, proper geometry, and a steel frame for strength were the main attributes I sought in my bike. Surly makes a bike called the Long Haul Trucker that fit the bill. Online reviews were excellent. Check out this interesting gallery of loaded touring bikes sent in from around the world. The are no shortages of Surly LHT's. Those pictures are votes of confidence right from the road.

Surly themselves gave the bike shop West End Bicycles in Houston, TX a high rating for Surly knowledge and with great tredpidation I visited the store. I should explain. I am not a Lance Armstong wannabe, I don't crave high tech gear or lust to shave milliseconds off of my speed. It's highly unlikey you will ever see me in spandex tights of any color, but even less chance I would wear those shorts that seem to encomapss all colors!

I explained all of this to Chad, the clerk at the store, and I have to say he and the others there have been great. Chad actually listened to my thoughts (rare in retail sales), validated the choice of bike, offered great advice, even showed me a line of padded seat biker shorts that looked like us folks that just like riding slowly could tolerate being seen in.
Looking for a bike? Stop in and visit them.

Alan Mizell and the Surly Long Haul Trucker
Click On Images For A Larger View
So here is the pricey little beauty. West End Bicycles had the same price as any online source so I prefer to keep it local where I get personal service and advice. The bike sells for... hold on if you shop at Wal-Mart... $1,050! This is easier to swallow if you visit the other rows where the bikes go for $2,000, $3,000, $5,000 and up. Understand that I drive a Ford Escort that might be worth $1,500. Ah well, it is my vehicle, home, and comanion for the coming months, and I am going to sell the Escort to buy the bike. Anybody need a dependable little work car? Ladies, buy this Escort for your man and no other woman will look at him. Ever. I guarantee it.

Lexi Mizell and the Surly Long Haul Trucker
Of course I had to work in a picture of my beautiful daughter Alexia holding my beautiful bike... um, well, you know what, I think any bike making an around the world trip needs a name. I think I will make up one of those polls again and let people send in suggestions and vote on the best name! But the bike. Like any expensive and finely tuned machine it always looks better with a pretty girl beside it. Of all the things in my life Lexi is what I am most proud of and the thing I am going to miss the most while away.

Taking the bike for a test spin through the neighborhood
Zipping through the Heights neighborhood where the bike store is located was great. She rides like a dream. Several years ago I bicycled the MS150 charity ride from Houston to Austin and I recall that one of the guys lifting my bike into the truck for the ride back to Houston said "Wow, that's the heaviest bike I've lifted all day". It was a $20 dollar Goodwill ten speed! In my research several riders said the Surly Long Haul Trucker was a little heavier than the bikes that cost, well, a few thousand dollars more. It may weigh more, but when Lexi lifted the bike easily over her head and then lifted it with one hand, well, it's all relative, isn't it?

Again, my aim is to enjoy a trip, take my time, see as much of the world and meet as many people as possible.

No rock solid goals on distance.
No need for 100 mile days.
Keep the schedule loose and free.

Hope to meet some of you out on the road. If interested write to me, I would love to get an invitation to visit or stay the night.

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Adorabibble May 16, 2009 at 5:13 PM  

The bucket list, as that is what this trip really is, or bucket for short.

it rimes with trucket sucket blucket and F*ucket.
smooches to you and Bucket.

love and fishy fishes

Alan May 17, 2009 at 9:23 AM  


But as far as naming it that how about "A Day Late And A Dollar Short" Still waiting for a piece of property to sell as that is financing the trip.


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