Lost in a watercolor smear between hilltops and sky until every shard was just a tighter spiral of repetition to a grey singularity. Windblow enough to not be able to hear what’s said, but the cadence and tonal shape is enough, the absence of reference points and yet we’re still here.
Riding the Pugsley in South Africa confirmed its bona fides as an unmatched roughest conditions touring bike. It remains my favorite expedition wheel.
Brooks England Ltd recently hosted a photo contest for “you and your dashing bike.” MC’s photograph of me with the Pugsley was selected as one of the winners! Many thanks to Brooks for putting on their North American Dashing Bicycle Show, hosted in New York City by Bicycle Habitat.
Carrying water bottles on the fork is standard bikepacking practice, and is familiar from touring bikes going well back. (My friend Ed Carman’s beautiful mid-1970’s Eisentrout Limited has a fork that is probably not the original but […]
Early in the Spring I asked my friend and cycling co-conspirator Nicholas Carman to build a set of 2-9 wheels for my Pugsley. We debated and joked our way between conceiving of the bike as […]
My Pugsley had been in pieces since I returned from touring South America over a year ago. I left most of the drivetrain, the threadbare tires, and anything else that had reached its end behind […]
Next month I’ll be giving a talk and sharing photos at the REI Soho store in New York City. Join me to chat about Fat Bike touring in South America on 18 October at 7pm. Space […]
(All photos courtesy of Rob English from his news blog.)
The Surly Pugsley proved to be an exemplary expedition bike in South America. Though I remain tempted by Moonlanders*, I expect the Pugs to be the go-to machine for anything properly silly. There were a few things, however, that I wanted done for future missions to make it more suitable for carrying water and gear (cf., Cass’s Troll), and I finally got around to sending it to English cycles. These mods were surely embarrassingly brainless for Rob, who builds exceedingly clever and innovative machines, including my folding 2-9 and my road race bike.
Tremble frigid, but thinking it in unfluid blocks stumbles far short of the cutting, the blades in your lungs, the warning away pain and strain in moving such that a warm pocket in your clothes might bellows inhale the cold. Exit the car when there is enough activity to confirm ten minutes to go, the way it always is before a race, even one that you didn’t conceptualize as it but instead as something perpendicular with a built in urgency…
Freeze thaw hissing breathe head down shielding body mood against hypothermic rain hours. Or searing piercing spike sunpunish heat sweat burn. Reflectance surface spectral anger froth ocean retreating to grey infinities. Men on horseback wearing […]
Villa O’Higgins, a proudly end of the road town, angled cooked dirt streets desert thorny plants growing along paths linking the tiendas, the horsetack shop, a panaderia, a smart looking new community activity center. Curious, on surface empty but folks hiding from heat or the appearance of bustle, the border beyond and across no mans lakes and glaciated cragtops witness to the imaginary boundary between Chile and Argentina. I book passage on the two ferries for the next day, return to the hostal with cyclistas and mountaineers loitering against the boat schedule, each eyeing the other friendly cautiously suspiciously across the sport divide, climbers not nearly as cool as they hope and cyclists far dorkier than they realize. Swiss friends roll up in the afternoon, we drink tea and beer alternately, talk about nexts or who we are returning to and when.
Arrive Tranquillo, a place, not the disposition though that, too. Hot, bright, rundown lakeside. Encounter Francis with a curious trailer setup and an even more curious bicycle.
The setup continues to get more and more baroque. Skeptics indicate that I might like to have a bit more agua for some stretches south. Obvious solution: more bottle cages! I guess I have to […]