2021 was an exceptional year for our Readers’ Rides series, which we first began posting back in 2011. Last year’s readership-submitted bikes ran the gamut, much like our Top 10 Beautiful Bicycles, but Readers’ Rides is 100% audience-submitted. We love receiving submissions each week so if you were on the fence about submitting your ride, perhaps this list will motivate you to break out the camera. This list was compiled by web traffic and comments. Let’s check out the Top Ten Readers’ Rides of 2021 below, in no particular order…
Bike supply chain shortages got you bummed out? Love the Midnight Special but can’t get yer grubby mitts on one? Well check out this contest Surly is running with Full Cycle, a non-profit organization that uses bikes as a way to support and feed houseless youth in Surly’s hometown of Minneapolis, MN.
Read about how you can win this bike at Pillsbury United Communities!
One of the things that caught my eye at this weekend’s NM Bikepacking Summit was Mike, the owner of Broken Spoke in Santa Fe’s custom-built O’Leary rack for his Karate Monkey. Mike really wanted a better way of carrying his essentials, rather than a bikepacking saddle pack. His goal for the rack was to have it be multi-purpose, both designed to carry traditional panniers or as a framework to strap Nalgene bottles to, while allowing for a bedroll or tent to be strapped to the rack’s platform. Depending on how you’re traveling, this opens up the use of a dropper post as well.
Mike went to O’Leary, a custom builder here in Santa Fe, to hash out the design and he whipped it up in a matter of hours. Minimal racks like this offer a simple solution to a very common problem and I thought the readership would be intrigued by this. Check out a few more photos below!
This week’s Readers’ Rides comes from Christopher in NYC and his Surly Midnight Special which he customized. It’s a real beaut, so let’s check it out in detail below!
It’s no secret that Pale Ale is Paul from Paul Component Engineering’s favorite beer, and this will be our 4th year collaborating on a custom bike for Sierra Nevada Brewery to show off at Sea Otter and give away to a lucky winner. This year we decided to raise the bar by building up TWO bikes, and using them to help out two of our favorite trail stewardship!
Narrowing down my setup for Turkey was a bit tricky compared to some of my previous trips. In particular, because half of my gear that I was using in Central Asia was stranded in Nepal on lockdown, I’d have to try to piece together a rig using older equipment I had lying around as well as a handful of new additions to round it out.
To start, I picked up a Surly Bridge Club. I originally had intended only to have it as a do-it-all bike while I was home, but when I found out I was heading to Turkey, I was intrigued to see how an off-the-shelf $1150 bike with entry-level components would fare compared to higher-end setups like my 44 Bikes Marauder and Tumbleweed Prospector. I’ll post my full thoughts on the Bridge Club soon, but in the meantime, here is my full kit list along with six pieces of gear that stood out in the Taurus Mountains.
Bicycle tourists are some of my favorite subjects to document. Especially ones that ride by their own rules. When a fella named Beau Walters dropped me a line on Instagram on Sunday, asking if I was free to meet up in Santa Fe as it was on his touring route from Boulder to Mexico City, I naturally obliged. Little did I know what I was getting myself into!
For this week’s Readers’ Rides, we figured it’d be nice to celebrate snowfall as large swaths of the country we hit by their first big winter storm. Here’s Josh’s Arctic Monkey, shot atop a beautiful coat of snow. Read on for details and a write-up by Josh.
The mid of March is usually a time where you think about the upcoming season and what kind of adventures you are going to tackle during springtime. Suddenly, the world is closing down, throwing everyone into the status of the unknown. Leaving us with restless and raving minds. Diving into the world of bikes has always been a great way of escaping reality for me. Let it be physically or virtually – if you don´t have the chance for some saddle time.
I was blessed to have the chance of getting my first taste of ultra-cycling at the Atlas Mountain Race last February. The harsh brutality of the Morrocan rock fields brought up the first ideas for this project. Rocks and smaller stones hitting my frame and rims for hours let me think about how I would repaint my bike after the race.
Ben from Heath Creek Cycles shares with us his customized Surly Karate Monkey with some details we think the singlespeed readership will really appreciate. You don’t have to go full-custom to have a customized bike! Check out a few quick words from Ben below, along with more photos from Josh Kowalski, who manages Continental Bikes in Duluth, MN…
We visit a lot of makers here at the Radavist. From frames to components to bags. 2020 has put a lot of that on momentary pause, yet I’ve enjoyed meeting cyclists serendipitously since moving to Santa Fe, many of which are small business owners. One of those is Jacob from Bread Shop. He and his wife Mayme, along with his brother Zac run a small bakery that’s big on taste. We’ve been buying loaves once a week from Bread Shop and this week I met up with Jacob to shoot his Surly Cross-Check.
Considering I’ve reviewed three Surly bikes here on the Radavist and have loved every one of them, it’s a bit surprising that I don’t have one of my own. Thing is, we live in a two-bedroom apartment, and our family collection has room for three bikes each not including cargo bikes: slow, medium, and fast (still slow by many folks standards).
Review bikes come for tryouts, but in the past two-and-a-half years, none which have been able to displace our collection, which includes my Kona Unit (slow), our Soma Wolverines (medium), and my humongous Rock Lobster (OK, pretty fast). There’s a slim chance that a bike could be added, but for the right bike it is possible, and that’s where this story begins.
The Disc Trucker is Surly’s disc touring bike and this year, the brand revamped it a bit, adding a bunch of crucial details:
-Dynamo routing on the fork, plus three-pack mounts on the blade and every braze-on you’ll ever need for racks, fenders, water bottle cages, and more
-12mm thru-axles for a stiffer feel and increased stability when fully loaded
-Shortened seat tube and slightly sloped top tube for improved stand-over clearance, plus increased stack height for a more upright and comfortable riding position on those long hauls
-Spec’d with the Truck Stop Bar and tubeless ExtraTerrestrial tires for dependable handling and traction
-Flat-mount disc brakes
-Frame sizes 42–56cm are available with 26” diameter wheels, while frame sizes 56–64cm are available with 700c diameter wheels
-Clearance for 26” x 2.1” tires with or without fenders, or 700c x 47mm with or without fenders
Check out this video for all the info and head to Surly to see more.
Nesting projects. While some families go crazy building out and decorating a “nursery”, we mostly tried to figure out how to continue our bike lifestyle once our baby arrived. When Stephanie was pregnant, we fawned over Larry vs. Harry’s Bullitt, tried out the very-Euro Riese and Müller Packster, and bought into the front load aesthetic right away.
But, long term practicality was never too far away, considering the astronomical cost of an electrified front-loader. As it turns out, our friend Adam, whose Bullitt we borrowed for a couple months in 2018, let us know that his daughter was in fact outgrowing the bike’s kid canopy at only 4 years of age. Not only was her helmet hitting the top of the enclosure, but she was losing interest in riding in the “trailer” on the front of the bike.
High costs mixed with the prospect of the bike possibly lasting only three years before its primary cargo turned on it meant we were wary of dropping into an electric box bike. When the opportunity came along to review the first Surly Big Easy to make its way into Canada, we were very, very stoked. The dream of a car-lite lifestyle was alive!
I immediately swept out and scored an older Yepp seat with the requisite (and obsolete) adapter off the local buy and sell, and we got scheming on how to adapt to the longtail lifestyle.
FOREWORD: Back in May and into June, I had the pleasure of helping the crew at Angry Catfish for a couple of weeks as their summer season began to pick up. The following is a series of entries from a journal I kept during my time there. My hope is that through these vignettes you will get a glimpse of what it’s like to not only work at one of the most successful bike shops in the country, but be a bicycle salesperson and mechanic in the city of Minneappolis. Think of this as an extended shop visit, one where I get my hands dirty and experience the area and community the way those at Angry Catfish and other locals do. All photos are film, shot on 35mm and 120mm. Enjoy!
Short sleeves, long sleeves, caps, gaiters, shirts for men and women, Surly’s new wool lineup has something for everyone. Check out the newly-launched lineup at Surly.
This just in from our friends at Surly!
“We’re writing today to let you know that we have recently received reports of a small number of Surly 8-Pack and 24-Pack Racks loosening, contacting the front wheel and causing accidents.
Rider safety is our greatest concern, and we want to make sure that you are fully informed with what is going on, and the steps you should take to ensure safety on your bike equipped with either the Surly 8-Pack or 24-Pack Rack (rack images above).”
Bars. Bars. Bars. I feel like we’ve been inundated with bar designs this year and leave it to Surly to bide their time and develop one of the more subtle replies to the high-demand gravel handlebar market. The Truck Stop Bar is an aluminum bar with a 31.8 clamp, 42-48cm widths, 30mm of rise (!!!), 12º of sweep, resulting in a bar with many hand positions to help alleviate pain on long rides. Check out the Truck Stop Bar at your local Surly dealer or see more information at Surly!