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My Surly Long Haul Trucker Touring Bike

5 Surly Long Haul Trucker

In the weeks, months and hopefully years to come, I’m going to start yapping about touring, camping and all things “adventure biking.”   First thing up is of course the bike!

Welcome my Surly Long Haul Trucker

When I started this build I originally started it as a short distance commuter. The front end was very upright and not very efficient for the long haul, no pun intended. As my commute and need for a longer, faster, ride I swapped out the front end of the bike for a mountain bike flat bar, Ergon grips and longer stem.

The bike has been changed for a week and I’m really enjoying it.  The first test will be a sub 24 hour overnight this weekend (S24o) when I ride to a nearby park to go camping.

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Introduction of the Cateye TL-LD570 Reflex Auto Light


We recently received the Cateye TL-LD570 Reflex Auto Light and it quickly was installed on the rear of my Salsa Casseroll.  Our initial spin around the block gave the impression that this rectangle of a light is bright, and the reflector works wonderfully.  Something I didn’t realize I was missing in a light.

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Burley Travoy Cargo Trailer Full Review

3 Burley Travoy

To be honest, I’ve never walked into a review for a product so excited, yet so worried about the outcome. Normally, I have a pretty good idea of how I’ll feel about a product – sometimes my decision or opinion will be swayed one way or another based on product durability or features. The Burley Travoy is a unique trailer system, that would either completely sell me on trailers for daily use or leave me hoping for more.

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Camelbak Podium Chill Bottle Review


Somewhere in the depths of the internet and one of my computers, is the original version of this article.  I hope the second version is only that much better than the first!

Camelbak Podium Chill BottleCamelbak Podium Chill Bottle
MSRP: $12.99
Details: BPA Free, Insulated Bottle

A water bottle is a water bottle, you get them free when you buy a bike, complete a ride or purchase them for $5-9 from your local bike shop.  That is exactly what I thought until I purchased a couple Camelbak Podium Chill Bottles a year ago.

Initial Reaction

When the original Podium Bottle was released I picked one up and wasn’t too impressed.  Yes, the screw on lid with bite valve was cool because it would keep your liquids from leaking all over your bike.  It also allowed you to keep the valve open to easily drink from, instead of opening/closing the lid every time you wanted to drink.  The lid alone wasn’t worth $5 extra dollars.

It’s All in the Insulation

Then Camelbak released the Podium Chill Bottle and I came to my senses.  Never before had I been a fan of insulated bike bottles.  They were clunky, hard to squeeze and came in only very boring colors.  Now insulation made sense to me and on most days in North Carolina between May and September I’m using the Insulated Podium Bottle.

Camelbak Podium Bottle Design

Once I overcame my sticker shock and realized that cold water was worth the money I embraced all of the design features within the bottle.

  • The lid with the ability to lock the valve closed has saved me many times when my bottle is on its side in my messenger bag.
  • The bite valve allows me to leave the bottles lid in the open position when I’m riding, and still doesn’t leak!
  • The textured outer layer of the bottle feels very odd at first, but the first time the bottle or your hands are wet you’ll realize its for grip.

Final Thoughts

Yes, Camelbak sent me some of these bottles as part of a care package so I have to disclose that part, but I owned several bottles previously.  Currently as my standard water bottles need replacing I’ll replace them with the Insulated Podium bottles until it is an even split between the two types of bottles.  The standard bottle will always have its place in the cupboard and on my bike, but for hot days over 80 degrees the Podium Chill Bottle will be in my water bottle cage.

Bottle Line: If you ride in the heat,  or sweat a lot,  try out one of these bottles.

Interested in purchasing a Camelbak Podium Chill Bottle or something like it after reading this review? Help support the site and purchase it from our Affiliate : REI

Customer Service : Bike Shop Failure


Last week I attempted to purchase a lock at the shop down the street from work. Prior to riding down to the shop and wasting a lunch hour I first tried to message them on twitter, following it up with an email to the owner asking what type of locks they had. Quickly, the owner responded but I can honestly say his email didn’t lead me to wanting to purchase a lock from them. “We have a mixed bag of random locks (eleven81, Surelock, Kryponite, etc.). Nothing all that exciting but hey there are locks. Those Knog locks sure look interesting.”

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Reflective Rims and Internally Geared Hubs



Shimano Alfine and Velocity Halo Dyad

Shimano Alfine and Velocity Halo Dyad

A set of wheels are in for review and in the midst of getting installed on the famous Salsa Casseroll.   Utilizing a Shimano Alfine groupset I have been piecing together in the past 6 months, and the new Velocity Dyad Halo reflective rims.

The wheels and review are also based all around the Shimano Alfine groupset, as I’ve been interested in internally geared hubs (IGH) since trying the Civia Loring with SRAM i-Motion.  Combine the IGH and a Dynamo front hub for a motion powered front light.

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Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Pittards Glove WS : Review


Let’s be honest, gloves are odd.  I’ve always been a fan of the basic long finger mountain bike glove. Everyday, on road or mountain, I wore them.   Then about two months ago I was sent a pair of Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Pittards Glove.  Things changed, the first was I quickly became P.R.O. by wearing them.  Continue reading →

Preview : 2011 Trek Bikes Lexa Road Line


If you are here to view the 2012 Trek Lexa line up,  please click here.

July through September is an exciting time of the year for the bike industry.  July is one of the busiest months across the US for retailers, and right around the corner the next seasons product is budding to be released.

One of the first releases out on the wire are the new Trek Bikes line of women’s road bikes called Lexa.

Trek Lexa $689.99

Compared to the Trek 1.1 unisex bike, this bike is all aluminum (including the fork) with 8 speed drivetrain and compact cranks.

Trek Lexa S $899.99

Compared to the Trek 1.2, carbon fork and 9 speed drivetrain.

Trek Lexa SL $1099.99

Compared to the Trek 1.5 with 9 speed Tiagra and carbon fork.  Available in compact or triple.

Trek Lexa SLX $1319.99

10 speed shifting, hydro-formed frame and a higher end aluminum bike.

Bike Rides and Bike Shopping


As I work in a bike shop day in and day out I have the blessing, sometimes the curse, to play with all the latest and greatest bike parts.  This adds a ton of complication to bike shopping for myself.  I’m able to help anyone that walks in the door, calls or emails to find their perfect bike but as my goals of cycling or life change, my bike wants do as well.

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