Do you remember that feeling you used to get as a child when you’d wake up early, scamper down the stairs and ever-so-tentatively open the living room door to see if Santa Claus had been and left you some presents?

Every day this week I’ve had that exact same feeling; arriving home from work, opening the front door and seeing…

…absolutely nothing. Postie has brought me nothing but bills and junk mail this week. Until today, that is.

Easily 4′ tall, about 2′ wide and probably 1′ deep, this has to be the biggest box I’ve had delivered that didn’t contain a complete bike.

Naturally, I barely managed to get my post-ride stretches done and my helmet off before I was reaching for a knife and attacking the sellotape. Inside, there were 2 more boxes and, inside each of those, more boxes. Inside the increasingly little boxes, little plastic bags. And, inside those little plastic bags, 17 hundred million little bolts, washers and other assorted bits of hardware. The exciting things, however, the things I’ve been waiting for all bloody week were the reason for the comedy oversize box.

Yes, dear readers, it’s time for my faithful old Merida to hang up its commuting hat and retire. Or, more likely, get listed for sale on eBay so someone else can put a few more thousand miles on the clock with her.

The long awaited Surly Troll Monster Cross Commutourer is finally ready for daily Manchester based commuting abuse. The last few bits I was waiting for (bottle cages and pannier racks) have finally arrived.

As with all things, I agonised over which racks would be right for me; even going so far as to order a Lezyne Power Rack Elite only to have a regular Lezyne Power Rack arrive so, despite it being a very nice thing, it had to go back to the shop for a refund. Sigh.

In the end, I decided that scrimping and saving really wasn’t the answer, threw caution completely to the wind and asked myself:

“What kind of pannier racks should I fit to a Surly?”
“Err… Surly racks.”
“But. But. But… They’re £100. Each!”
“Yeah. And?”
“And… She’ll kill me. Kill me dead.”
“Nah. It’s only 4 months’ bus fare.”
“Ah, well, when you put it like that…”

And so, the decision was made. Surly racks it would have to be. Front and rear. All 4 months’ bus fare worth. But, wait. What’s this? ‘Ragley’ you say?

It turns out there’s a dude called Brant Richards [Brant, really? Who calls their kid Brant???] who markets front and rear racks bearing a striking resemblance to those made by the good people over at Surly. Sold to me by the evil Chain Reaction Cycles with a considerable discount and an extra £15 off voucher, I bagged front and rear racks for a ‘mere’ £105.

Primarily, I built the Troll for commuting duties so, for now, I’ve only fitted the rear rack and I reckon it looks pretty good. A full review of both racks will follow once I’ve given them a few months’ testing.