Bikes & Gear Archive

Surly Cross Check

It’s been in the Surly Catalogue for more than 20 years, what possible relevance could the venerable Cross Check still have in a world of modern adventure and gravel bikes…? That would depend on you, here’s mine.

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Project: Big Fat Dummy Fenders

A workshop project to make a set of laminated wooden mudguards for my Surly Big Fat Dummy. Made from a blend of oak and smoked red gum with home-made brass and stainless steel fittings. They look cool and are a more sustainable solution than moulding composites.

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N+1 = Big Bro

Mk1 Brother Cycles Big Bro. A well thought-out rigid steel 29er for bikepacking and general trail duties, that supports the kind of old-fashioned standards that I enjoy fiddling with.

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Brother Cycles AllDay

In a world obsessed with carbon, 12 speeds, & electronic shifting, the AllDay stands out as a simple, well-executed steel fixed wheel frame. Post now updated with new content after almost 3 years of ownership.

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An ECR + Tubus Vega post

** A quick update on this post, a couple of years on, while I remember. I’ve since ‘cold-set’ the Vega rack such it fits over a 3″ Knard on Rabbit Holes without any adapters/risers and with about 1/4″ clearance each side. I cut a block of scrap wood to just a bit wider than the gap between stays at the tyre position. Wedge the wood in place. Bung a quick release through the mounting holes …

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Lightweight bike touring gear list..

Over time gear changes (mostly gets lighter), personal philosophy changes, bikes change and as a consequence so does my packing list for a bike trip. The last time I wrote one (in 2011, here) it represented a pretty heavyweight outfitting for a long, partly off-road journey featuring mountains, deserts and the potential for really bad weather and as such is still completely valid to my mind even if these days I would probably leave some …

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ECR Fettling

Mk1 Surly ECR. Original thoughts and fettling from 2015, now with a 5-year update following many months on the trail together in the Andes, Himalayas, and other places.

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Fiddling…

I’ve been fiddling around with my trusty old Nomad a fair bit this last few days in view of my imminent return to the High Atlas, Djebel Sahro and western fringes of the Sahara. Planning on a very much off-piste trip as much as possible having been twice before but both times on a bit of a mission, this time plan to spend a bit more quality time exploring backroads, tracks and trails. With that …

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early August two wheeled stuff

Yesterday was the last event in the Cornish Cup series and also the last Open TT event of my calendar for the year. There are still races in August but for me August is reserved for cafe rides with friends, taking cross bikes up onto the moors and paddling. I’m feeling really tired now too, the sort of tired that doesn’t go away in a week… it’s the fault of the weeks of great weather, …

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Isaac Velocity.. somewhat inevitable

One for the bike nerds :-) It was inevitable really I suppose that sooner or later along would come a new dedicated fixed-gear TT machine to replace my now long-gone Condor Stadio… Budget this time around much much smaller so nearly all second hand parts, which is no bad thing, but I in theory the end result is a quicker bike… if not quite so pretty.. The frame was a really lucky find. Back in 2005 I …

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Titanium Pocket Stove

I’m determined to get my total camping load on my bike for a month away below 10kg if I can. No idea if that’s reasonable, as I’ll still want some basic tools and bike spares, not to mention camera.. and a little bit of comfort for a month long trip, so we’ll just have to wait and see. So.. for this next trip don’t want to carry my Primus Himalaya multifuel stove and fuel bottle. …

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Kona Paddy Wagon Winter Bike

2020 Update This bike is still in regular use, and folk still read this post, so perhaps a quick update is on order, almost 8 years on from the original post. It’s been probably the most reliable winter trainer I ever owned; the old Soma Rush that preceded this was an excellent ride too.. until the frame cracked. I still think the Kona’s compact frame looks a bit rubbish but functionally it’s proven to be …

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Thorn Nomad

Well with flights booked (November) it was about time I got off my arse and rebuilt the Nomad after its last adventure.. it amazes me each time I clean it up and service it how good the paintwork still is after years of adventures..  a thick, black powdercoat that has proven to be pretty much bombproof. The only real changes to the bike from last time are the new rims I built onto the old …

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Storck Scenario Pro… a second life

It took me a while to get around to taking some pics… motivation has been low to write and photograph these last couple of weeks, something to do with settling back into normal life at home I guess. Anyway for those folk who might be interested I finally photographed my refurbished Scenario Pro… It cost me £416 in total, that includes shipping to/from Germany; strip, inspection and refinish of the frame; return of the fork …

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