My Surly Steed
This bicycle has been stolen.
The lock was broken in a University of British Columbia parking lot about 4:00pm Aug 2, 2006.
If you see it, then call the police.
Serial number: M2120884.
UBC RCMP file: 2006-3060.
I am having a repacement bicycle built.
I never did get the bike back. I replaced it with one almost the
same, except black in colour.
Some details of my custom-built commuter bicycle
Over the years I have added and replaced several components
to augment durability, utility, comfort and dependability.
It is, after all, my "car."
The Surly Cross-check
is a chrome-moly steel frame
which is specialized for
Cyclo-Cross cross-country racing.
The 56cm frame is is durable and smooth as silk on bumps.
It is not really suitable for elite racing, due to frame weight.
But why pay an extra $1000 to save 500g?
This is a wonderful frame for the $$.
It is tough as nails, with lots of braze-ons,
and perfect for my needs.
The original rim brakes ate though the front wheel after just two years,
even with the gentlest (Salmon)
brake pads! Furthermore, I hated needing 75m to stop downhill in the rain.
So I replaced the stock Cross-check front end
(rigid, disc-only) forks which accommodate
cable-pull disc brakes,
Salsa "Delgado Cross"
front rims on a Formula hub.
A rugged Mavic CrossMax
rear rim with a
tire permits (gentle!) curb-jumping with full panniers.
drive train with 50/38/28 chain ring
and a (32/28/24/21/18/16/14/12/11) 9-speed cassette provides between 23.20 and 120.54
"gear inches". The high-to-low gear ratio is more than 500%,
so I easily ply Burnaby mountain with a load, yet comfortably fly the
60km/h speed limit all the way down.
Mountain-bike rear derailleur reliably handles the cartridge, but a
front derailleur leaves room for the fender.
Cockpit (far too busy for purists!)
My long legs vs short arms warrant a short, high
Flared drop handlebars.
Reason: All those years of 10-speeds ;-)
Actually I can't stand those ubiquitous mountain-bike handles.
I feel trapped with them, and get fatigue.
Drop bars accommodate my "ADHD" by providing no fewer than five
comfortable grips (bar-top, top-curve, brake-horns, drop-curve, bar-ends).
- Shimano bar-end shifters. People are often critical of this
"old-fashoned" set up.
I find them to be convenient and easier to replace/service than those
popular integrated brake/shift levers,
which need replacing every 10K km for sake of reliability.
The unusual routing of shifter cables, as shown, works well.
- The Mirrycle
is the only satisfactory one I have ever found.
No shaking, convex, easy adjusting, spare parts easily available,
and it folds away.
Unfortunately, neither their "Original Mirrycle" nor their
"Mountain Mirrycle" works well with modern brakes on drop handlebars.
(Will Shimano/Mirrycle ever cooperate on this atrocity?)
I was saved by Calhoun Cycle in Minneapolis.
For $13USD extra, they mate the mirrycle with a sturdy tube-mount base
and call it the
It is targeted to recumbent bicycles, but works great on road bikes.
By fastening it just under the brake handle as shown,
the mirror is in a good viewing position, yet
the mount is (by miracle!) just out of the way of my left hand
for both of the braking grips (lower and horn).
Still, I pine for the beautiful mount of the
on those old 10-speed cable-bearing brake horns.
A Delta Airzound
air horn has saved my life twice now.
It is especially good in summer,
when I am less visible (no lights), but alarmingly audible.
I use it preemptively when I suspect a driver might has not seen me
in the right-of-way, about once per hour on average.
It usually stops cars dead in their tracks.
It must never be used for pedestrians.
I pump it up every couple of weeks.
Mounted as shown, it within easy right-thumb reach,
which lets me simultaneously use the powerful front brakes if necessary.
A Planet Bike Alias
15-watt lamp (winter only) features a compact battery, and
is inconspicuous when mounted under the handlebar as shown.
The company was greatly supportive, when the charger went on
When I politely related my woes, they replaced it for free!
Kudos for Planet Bike!
- A BLT
front LED blinker is surprizingly visible, and is
locally made. Always remove it when parking the bike on the street,
or someone else will do it for you.
- A bell is for politeness.
- Bicycle computer -- just kidding
-- Ed would disown me if I tried to
squeeze another gadget on the "chistmas tree."
- Two locks. A snappy cable lock for quick stops.
A U-lock for resistance.
- Under-saddle Blackbum tool bag
- Rear Axiom 10.2mm pannier rack (go Canada).
- Very very old and patched
My Theory: Ahem . . . nobody could possibly imagine that they contain anything worth stealing . . .
- Front rack/panniers (summer touring only).
- Full fenders (It rains 200 cm/year here).
- Toe clips. I would go clipless if I could find 3E-wide shoes.
The "wide/stubby" clips are better as they fit overshoes,
and avoid the front fender.
Profile Design Kage
water bottle cage is perfect for those 591ml Dasani water bottles that
I find all over the place. The 710ml bottles are even better, but
rare. Bonus: Return the bottle for 5 cents refund
after the sun has damaged it.
- Rear LED blinker and reflectors
- Hose clamps -- not kidding -- Ed showed me how to deter thieves
with electrical tape and hose clamps on the quick-release levers.
- Bungee chords.
- Deeply engraved and stained ownership information,
so a thief knows who will be sending him to the dentist ;-)