Hey AF MAN,
What bike would you recommend for me and where should I go to get it? I’m not a spandex and pointy helmet guy but I would like to get some distance riding experience on the right bike. I was also thinking about an electric combo. Do you have to wear the spandex shit or is there an alternative? I do have a photo of you all spandexed up and it ain’t pretty!
_CW, St. Augustine,FL
Thanks for reaching out to me about the bike.
Given the many years I have known you, I am going to make only one recommendation to you because of our close association. I know that comfort ranks high on your list when you are considering any purchase – not just this bike. You also mentioned, when we spoke recently that speed was not so important.
Frankly, there are lots of great bikes out there. Trek, Specialized, Salsa, Kona all make road bikes that I would feel very comfortable recommending, but the one bike that remains very close to my heart is my Surly, Long Haul Trucker.
As you have stated, distance cycling is your goal. The Surly will not disappoint. It is a heavier bike because of its Chromalloy steel construction, but because of that it produces a smooth ride. It is engineered for long tours, aka Long haul Trucker, and designed for maximum rider comfort while in the saddle for extended periods. I own the Long Haul Trucker with regular friction brakes. The upgrade which I also reccomend is the Disk Trucker with a disk braking system.
Knowing your sense of humor CW, and for the quality of the video review on a disk trucker watch this.
A few more recommendations:
- As a fellow over fifty guy like myself, purchase a Brooks B-17 Imperial saddle to help protect the cajones. http://www.brooksengland.com/en_us/b17-imperial-3.html . The B-17 will set up back approximately $150.00 but it rides comfortably from the moment you hop on it’s leather seat.
- The Surly Trucker does not come with a rear rack but I find it really helpful when tooling around town. I always have my Detours Transit Box rear rack pack with me for all of my extra stuff. Unfortunately, I don’t see it listed on their website http://www.detours.us/. See item 5 below. Jeff may still have one.
- Make sure you purchase high quality lights for front and rear. Headlights on bikes have taken a major leap in brightness and size in the last few years and there are many great choices. I happen to have the Cygolite, Streak 350 USB model and love it. http://www.cygolite.com/product/streak-350-usb/ . A great headlight for around fifty bucks.I also use their taillight the Hotshot 50 USB. http://www.cygolite.com/product/hotshot-50-usb/ Both the headlight and taillight are rechargeable.
- The local Surly dealer in St. Augustine is A1A Cycle Works – http://a1acycleworks.com/ 904-471-9009. Either Jeff or Nancy will be glad to help and are super knowledgeable about bikes in general. I love em!
- As for the Spandex, it may not be pretty on my After Fifty self but its comfortable. There is padding in them thar shorts. But not everyone likes tight bike shorts so here are a few options.
REI baggy shorts – https://www.rei.com/c/mens-bike-shorts (choose loose option in filter)
Other options – http://www.competitivecyclist.com/mens-baggy-bike-shorts
I guess that wraps it up. If you have any questions, well, you know where to find me.
Nothing would make me happier than to take that long tour together!
The AF Man