simple man

 

You may recall me promising a bunch of things a little while ago; we’ve already shocked the world with pink and most of the others are very much in development. Today, we’re breaking out some of the finest grunge we’ve ever had here at lifeinthecyclelane as we discuss one simple man meeting another.

You see, a little while ago, I was invited along to a 2nd birthday party. Now, I know what you’re thinking: balloons, jelly & ice cream, pass the parcel, cake and maybe even a questionable clown.

With the possible exception of a family wedding, I struggle to think of many places I’d rather be less.

Happily, the birthday in question was not for some horrible little sproglet but was the 2nd anniversary of my favourite bike shop, Keep Pedalling, opening up in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

“There’ll be beer. And pizza. And cake. Oh, and some of the guys from Surly are coming too.” they said.

What’s a simple man to do?

Oh, I should probably take this opportunity to shamelessly plug my girlfriend’s cake business, The Baking Room. That way, if you ever need yourself a Krampus cake (non-scary cakes are also available), you’ll know where to go for it. You can check out The Baking Room in these various places:

DSCF5854Right, shameless plug shamelessly plugged, back to business.

So yes, I slunk away from work early, hopped on my Troll and headed over to the shop. Within minutes, I was sipping on an extra cold Corona (with lime, of course!), nomming a slice of rather excellent pizza from the good people over at Slice Pizza Co. down the road and was being introduced to a dude going by the name of Tyler.

Tyler, with his impressive beard and equally impressive ability to drink beer like it’s going out of fashion, just happens to be the marketing manager over at Surly Bikes and a bloody nice bloke too. We spent a little while shooting the breeze (at least I think that’s what the Americans call it) about bikes, touring, beer, why I NEED a Krampus in my life, how awesome the Krampus cake was, beer, bikes, beer and other such nonsense.

DSCF5851As the night wore on, I met some other people from Surly whose names I either rudely didn’t ask or have since forgotten (sorry about that) along with a bunch of like minded people also drinking free beer & nomming free pizza. Oh, and Sylwia took great delight in being mean to me… seems to be her favourite pastime whenever I’m in the shop actually! No doubt she’ll beat me for posting this picture of her!

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Yes, a good time was indeed had by all. I’d like to say a huge thanks to Rich & Shona for inviting me along and, without getting all preachy about it, I’d just like to remind you how important it is to support small, local businesses. I buy all my bikes & gear from Keep Pedalling, they buy all their cake from Karen and we all thoroughly enjoyed the handmade pizza from around the corner… what’s not to like?

Oh, and by the way, it turns out the boys from Surly think what I’ve done with my Troll is pretty cool. How about that?

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are we the waiting

 

If you’re anything like me, you really don’t need an excuse to go to the bike shop; I find myself in there at least once a week whether I actually need anything or not. Very often I find myself buying things I didn’t know I wanted or needed… Most often though, I just find myself hanging out with the guys who run the place, playing with Shop Mutt Olive and drooling over bikes I can neither afford or (if I could afford them) justify buying.

So, when I heard a lot of crazy talk about there being something a little bit rare and a little bit special in the shop… well, it was a no-brainer! I was going in!

Despite many, many gems such as the following, we’re going to skip this week’s ‘Random stuff people were searching for when they landed here trivia!’:

  • Bruising for Marzocchi
  • porno sportwomen
  • How do I shift gears on a Surly Troll?

Sigh.

482411_10151452376954863_1180841035_nSo, instead, let me tease you with this shot of one of Surly’s new Rabbit Hole rims wrapped in a 29 x 3″ Surly Knard tyre.

Now, as you may or may not know, such things are something or a rarity in the UK just at the minute as they’re normally only found attached to Surly’s new is-it-an-MTB-is-it-a-fat-bike 29er, the Krampus.

So, what’s a Knard doing in a small, independent bike shop in Manchester’s Northern Quarter? And, more importantly, what’s it attached to?

644084_10151452375969863_1347449314_nWell, dear reader, everything you’ve hoped for is true! There is indeed a Surly Krampus in my favourite bike shop! Don’t ask me how they got, but they got it, know what I mean? Luckily for me, it’s not for sale which, considering it’s the only one in the UK at the moment that we know of, probably means it wouldn’t come cheap!

I didn’t get to ride it but I did get a good look at it and I’ve gotta say, what a machine! 29″ wheels, 3″ wide tyres, a 1 x 10 drivetrain and disc brakes give it a really simple, clean look and probably all the gearing you’ll ever need. I suspect those tyres are going to be awesome off road and will give you enough confidence and suspension effect to ride over just about anything.

The paintwork is a kind of deep green metalflake which really isn’t Surly’s normal style but it isn’t in the least bit garish and I think it works perfectly with the bike.

Want.

I’m told framesets will be available over here a little later this year and full bikes next year (I think).

want you bad

 

Those of you who know me well also know that there are precious few things in life which make me grin like an idiot and giggle like a schoolgirl; chief amongst which is, of course, the prospect of laying my hands on some new cycling related shiny.

You see, for a while now I have been coveting another… I love my Merida dearly, it takes me just about everywhere I need / want to go; often with Kojak attached, filled with god knows what. Before that, I also loved my Graham Weigh cyclocross which is currently broken down in boxes waiting for me to decide what on earth to do with it. They’re both up for sale but I also have a very soft spot for my Coventry Eagle and Falcon Panther.

But, something has always been missing… it’s hard to explain what but there was definitely something. And so, after much research, a lot of saving up and an awful lot of time spent drooling over one in the bike shop, I am ridiculously happy to report that I shall very shortly be ordering myself a Surly Troll!

Do a quick Google Images search and you’ll see several custom builds, some of which are pretty cool and some others which are… not. A fellow blogger has done quite a good job on his Troll but I think I’m going to go in a slightly different direction.

I’m lucky enough to have an awesome bike shop at my fingertips which just happens to have a ready built Troll in stock which just happens to be exactly the right size for me so this weekend (my girlfriend has gone away for a few days) I popped into the shop, bribed them with some shortbread from the excellent Blue Daisy Cafe around the corner and took the Troll out for a spin around Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

The complete bike comes with a rather odd selection of parts including some very wide handlebars, Avid disc brakes, Kenda tyres and a rather cheap and nasty WTB saddle. The Shimano Deore 27 speed mountain bike drivetrain suits the 26″ wheels and the setup of the bike very nicely and the all steel frame and fork are surprisingly light.

The major attraction for me is the incredible versatility of the bike; it’ll take just about any drivetrain you want to fit from single speed to internally geared Rohloff hub and everything inbetween. You can run disc brakes or cantis (even v-brakes if you really must), flat bars, road bars or… any bars you like – some suggestions here. Unlike many other frames, you can also fit disc brakes, full wrap mudguards and pannier racks (front and rear) all at the same time with no interference issues and, if all that wasn’t enough, there are also dedicated mounts for Surly and BOB trailers!

What will I be running? Well, I’m glad you asked! Obviously, the frame is orange. Very orange. I’ll be going for a fairly clean and simple orange and black colour scheme with the ocassional silver / chrome accent here and there:

  • Wheels: Sun Rims 26″ disc specific wheelset
  • Tyres: Halo Twin Rail 26 x 2.2″
  • Drivetrain: 27 speed MTB specific Shimano Shadow derailleurs, Race Face chainset and Dia Compe full friction bar end shifters
  • Brakes: Avid BBDB mechanical disc brakes with Cane Creek Drop V brake levers
  • Bars: On One Midge ‘dirt drop’ bars with matching stem and seatpost

As I want my Troll to be a commuter, tourer and ocassional weekend trail runner, I’ll also be fitting full wrap mudguards (just as soon as I can find some wide enough to cover the tyres!) and front and rear pannier racks too.

Keep your eyes peeled for progress reports – I’ll be ordering the frameset and other parts tomorrow!!!