Anybody who knows me knows that I am an incredibly incompetent consumer. I buy stuff and hold onto it long after its useful life is over. Getting me to the point of buying stuff take Herculean effort.
Today I finally pulled the trigger on a new bike purchase. I drove to Bicycle Space in Adams Morgan and bought a Surly Cross Check. Unlike my other three bikes, the Cross Check is not a touring bike. It is a little lighter, a little more nimble, and a lot more responsive than The Mule or Big Nellie, which are bouth designed for touring. Little Nellie is plenty responsive but her little wheels don’t care much for maintaining a head of steam. The Cross Check does both.
I have lost track of how many people I know own Cross Checks. They all seem to like them a lot, except for Katie Lee who LOVES her Cross Check. (She doesn’t do things half way.) Every time I see her she shows off her baby called Arrow. She’s like a rolling advert for the damned bike.
I started my bike shopping venture with the idea of buying a new touring bike for my May tour. I was fixated on a Surly Disc Trucker, a long, heavy touring bike with disc brakes. I tried one in a size that is too small and liked it. I wanted to try a bigger frame, but the shop didn’t have one.
Last week, after test riding the Cross Check at Bicycle Space, I learned that Jesse, a Friday Coffee Clubber, was selling his Surly Long Haul Trucker. It’s very similar to the Disc Trucker but with conventional rim brakes.
I test rode Jesse’s bike. It had wide tires and slightly smaller wheels than I am used to. It rode like a bus. A very, very nice bus. I was very tempted to take it off his hands, but I decided to try the Disc Trucker too.
I test rode the Disc Trucker today at Bicycle Space. It wasn’t so bus-like with its 700 wheels. And the brakes are really impressive. Neither the Disc Trucker nor the LHT like to be ridden out of the saddle though. This is not a deal killer for touring but for everyday use it’s a bit off putting. I also had trouble decided whether a new Disc Trucker was worth several hundred dollars more than Jesse’s bike.
So I test rode the Cross Check again. LIKE!
So I bought it. Working with Rachel, one of my favorite people in @bikedc, I picked out a lightweight rear rack, a pump, some tubes, a bike computer, a multitool, and a wireless bike computer. (It’s all in her hands on the left.) Tonight I am going to buy a saddle bag from a store in Massachusets to carry my stuff.
When I brought the Cross Check home I had to take it for a spin. I couldn’t go too far from home without stuff to change a flat (which will go in the saddle bag I am buying). It was a fun 5 mile romp around the neighborhood. It’s going to take some tweaking to get the bike and my body to play nice together but I can’t wait to get it out on the road. This is the bike I want to take out on the weekends or on event rides without a lot of crap on it weighing me down. It’s going to get a lot of us.
Many thanks to Rachel for spending so much time with me getting this done. Bicycle Space has a huge inventory of bikes and a gorgeous new store (actually two but I’ve only been to one) which makes it a great place to shop. It also has a large complement of very helpful, knowledgeable, and personable employees which for some reason in bike shop world is unusual.
Oh, and one other thing. Bicycle Space gives a discount on bikes and accessories to WABA members. The discounts I received today paid for my membership for many years to come.
I keep calling the bike “it” because it does not yet have a name. I have five names in mind so far. I won’t tell them. Feel free to offer suggestions of your own in the comments.