Sunday, January 18, 2015

Keep on Trucking

In all its laden glory.
For reasons I will never understand, the local motorcycling association this week called for a registration scheme and number plates for cyclists. The debate that follow reinforced for me the golden rule, not just for cyclists, but also anyone who doesn't want to be forever terrified by the uninformed opinions of the general public: "never read the comments section". Maybe it's also time to start ignoring the articles above as well. One thing that amuses me about the occasional call of this nature from the uninformed is that my household owns seven bikes, which would make registering them all I real pain and one which would serve no practical effect for anyone.

Some of my early lighting experiments were not pretty.
One of the bikes I have been neglecting a bit lately is my trusty old Surly Long Haul Trucker, which featured a fair bit more back in the early days of this blog – which I notice is now approaching 10 years old! I bought this bike, in an awful shade of snot green, way back when I decided to get back into cycling. I had half a mind to try Audax riding and I was under the impression that was far more made up of blokes on touring bikes plodding through the countryside than it eventually turned out to be. I also had grand visions of overseas touring which haven't yet eventuated in quite the way I had pictured. Nonetheless my Long Haul Trucker put in excellent service as I commuted year-round in Melbourne bearing all sorts of horrible pre-LED era lighting rigs and was a reliable if unglamorous steed on my first few long rides and an excellent touring bike for laden adventures. It is not particularly fast but it is comfortable and solid and reliable. It's also the only bike I have ever owned which rides better with a load than without. 

Touring in South Australia.
In the last few years, unfortunately I haven't done as many miles on the Trucker which is a bit of a shame because it is an excellent bike. At the beginning of a global financial crisis the Australian government gave every taxpayer a cheque for $900, most of which I spent on this bike - building a new set of wheels and putting a new crankset on it. A few months ago I put a set of flat handlebars on it took to work in the hope that I be able to use it to get around town during the day but it just didn't work out so it ended up back in the shed.

At lunch yesterday with some cycling mates, a few of us started talking about touring adventures and touring bikes. It occurred to me was time to take the Trucker out for a run once more. I spent a couple of hours this morning replacing the handlebars and tuning the brakes and transferring an old Brooks saddle from my damaged Crosscheck. After a few tweaks she was as good as new and I went for a ride into town in the wind. I really enjoy riding this bike, and the super-low touring gears made a short work of the final hill up to my place. I have a week off coming up soon. Something tells me it might be time to dig out the panniers and take the Trucker for a blast.

312km so far this year.

No comments: