Experimental music, photography, and adventures

5,000 miles on the Trucker

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Last week, I crossed the 5,000 mile threshold on my Surly Long Haul Trucker, which I bought back in August of 2008. It’s staggering to think of all the places this bicycle has taken me in the last two years or so. In fact, it has opened up new riding possibilities for me, in terms of mixed terrain (which I’ve done a lot) and loaded riding (which I still haven’t done much). It has also been my commuting bike for most of this year.

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I am still very happy with the Trucker. It’s versatile, and a joy to ride. My only real complaint is that it’s not fast; particularly, it can be a real dog when climbing. I haven’t done a lot of rides with a full load, but it’s nice that the capability is there. Frankly though this bicycle is overkill for how I use it. A cyclocross bike would work just as well, or better. Then again I’m not exactly fretting over having a bike that’s sturdier than I need.

Perhaps somewhat enigmatically, even though the Trucker is slower and requires more effort on hills, the extra carrying capacity and smooth ride/forgiving geometry make it a great bike for all-day rides, especially in remote areas with no services. Since this is a situation I find myself in often, it comes in handy.

After 5,000 miles, the bike is getting to a point where it needs some work, and there are some improvements I would like to make. Money is tight right now, so most of that will have to wait. But, at the very least, I need to get the bike ready for winter. I intend to commute on it this winter as much as possible. That will mean buying some studded tires that will fit (I have some, but they’re 26″ and I have a 700c Trucker). I’ll also likely need better lights, since my commute is longer than before and I’ll be riding more of it in the dark.

Part of me is looking forward to winter riding, and part of me is dreading it. It can be a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot harder, and dealing with layers can get complicated, and it’s  just an entirely different kind of riding. But, every year I seem to get a little better at winter riding; hopefully that will hold true this year as well. I think the Trucker will make an excellent winter commuter. We’ll see!

Fun fact: I’m still using one of the original Continental Contact tires that came with the bike!

6 Responses to “5,000 miles on the Trucker”

  1. Jeremy Says:

    wow, 5000! Nice work. I just barely turned 1000kms on mine. They are great bike, and you’ve described their strengths and weaknesses spot on. I love mine for slow, rambling rides. Ones even that aren’t long distances, or fast, but just to stroll along and take in the surroundings. I’d ride my LHT as a winter bike, but compared to some of my other rides, it’s still a little too new for me to do that. I’m sure you’re find it a great winter commuter, and hopefully the challenges of winter riding fall into place nicely!

    And again, congrats on the 5K mark!

    Cheers.

  2. RANTWICK Says:

    Winter riding – optimism and dread. You’ve got it man. It really is a whole different deal. Gear, clothes, (lack of) speed, mutant factor, salt and dirt and repairs. And yet I still love it. I honestly don’t know why…

  3. Doug Says:

    I agree with your assessment of the Trucker. I tell people it climbs like a dog, and doesn’t accelerate. But everytime I load it up with camping gear I love it more and more. It is so rock solid when loaded down with gear. No shimmy, no shakes. I can bomb down hills with a full load with complete confidence. I bought mine with hopes of doing a lot of bike camping. And certainly is the best use for it. I bought mine in Feb 08. Just last month I rolled over 5,000 miles. I, too, have some upgrades in mind. I hope to add some Paul canti’s before spring. The brakes that came with it I can’t always count them bringing me to a fast stop.

    If you’re looking to save some money on studded tires I have a used pair of Nokian’s (700 x 35c) which still have one or two more winters on them. I would have used them, but decided to go wider on my new winter commuter.

  4. Apertome Says:

    Jeremy: thanks. I felt the same way about my Trucker in the past, but since I’ve been commuting on it anyway, it’s picked up some scratches and stuff and I no longer feel so protective of it. I’ve been enjoying riding it even more since I stopped caring so much about stuff like that.

    Rantwick: Yeah, you nailed it. One thing’s for certain: winter riding is never boring!

    Doug: Sent you an e-mail, maybe we can work something out. That would be excellent.

  5. Steve A Says:

    5000 miles means the bike is finally properly broken in. Congrats!

  6. Bill Lambert Says:

    Congratulations! Not only has that bike taken you places, it’s taken all of us places, thanks to your photos.

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