Surly Stories

My friend Megan, intrepid world-traveler, recently bought a Surly Cross-Check.  She already had a Gary Fisher Simple City for in-town riding, but wanted the Surly for longer, faster rides and for a bike tour around Iceland next summer!

I ran into her by chance today on my way home from work and she had been riding around the city for hours, enjoying the swiftness of her new bike.

The Surly seems like a popular bike for people looking for the right combination of quality and (relative) affordability.  I know of many who use Surleys both for commuting and for touring.

Do you have a Surly story?  If so, share it in the comments!  I’m sure Megan and many others would be interested to hear them.

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30 thoughts on “Surly Stories

  1. my hyggelig says:

    forget about the bike, what’s this about riding around Iceland?!! one of our unexecuted dreams thus far… can’t wait to hear more!

    • Megan says:

      It’s my plan but I haven’t worked out the route or logistics yet. This summer I’m trying to get some miles in and I’ll plan routes and details this winter. It’s not a done deal yet, but I hope I’m ready next summer when the ice thaws in the middle of Iceland…

  2. my hyggelig says:

    forget about the bike, what’s this about riding around Iceland?!! one of our unexecuted dreams thus far… can’t wait to hear more!

  3. AdamHerstein says:

    I’ve been looking at this bike for a good commuter bike. I’d most like replace the drop handlebars with the more open ones Surly makes: http://surlybikes.com/parts/open_bar .

  4. Kevin MacLachlan says:

    I toured on a Surly Long Haul Trucker. I found it to be a stable ride. What was unique was that it seemed to ride the same loaded as it did unloaded. This is a huge feat for any frame to pull off. My old Trek 720 could do it. (That is the touring bike not the multitrack bike)
    The Cross bike may be the same. I did find that the use of a handle bar bag made the bike hard to park. I would want low front racks and a nice rack on the rear. Balance the load and see how she does.
    Happy Trails!

  5. steve_a_dfw says:

    While I don’t have a Surly, my Tricross has most of the same virtues as a Cross Check. A cross bike is almost ideal for a longer commute where you want to carry a moderate load and use the bike in all weather. Mine has around 10000 miles over three years.

  6. Sarah W. says:

    I would like a Surly Cross Check!

  7. Wendy Haas says:

    I love my Cross-Check! I bought her this year (after researching for months) as an upgrade from my lovely (but slow) hybrid; I wanted something solid yet springy (steel!) and suitable for long rides and commuting. We intend to ride GOBA next summer and I raced on her this year already. While I’m still tweaking the stock parts (and upgrading others), I couldn’t be happier with her. She’s the same robin’s egg blue as Megan’s. I call her “Inga.”

  8. Deb says:

    I have a Long Haul Trucker – it’s got about 25k miles on it now. Still trucking….

    One day on my way home from work, a guy in a SUV paced me with his window rolled down.

    “I like your bike!” He shouted. “I had a Long Haul Trucker too. Rode it across the country, coast to coast!”

    Another day, same road, I saw a car with a Surly (not sure the model) on the back. I’d seen it a few times before, but this time the rusted chain had been replaced, and it was in good shape again. Just happened that he hit a light, and I rolled up in the bike lane next to him just before it turned green again.

    “Love your bike,” we said at the some time, and grinned.

    Today I rode up to the house where I pick up my CSA share, and there was a guy working in the yard. As I parked my bike, he squinted at me and said “Nice bike. That’s, what, a Long Haul Trucker?” And we proceeded to talk for about 30 minutes about bikes (he has 15) and biking (he started mountain biking in the early 80’s, and built the earliest trails in the area).

    My LHT has put up with a lot of abuse in our 4 years together. I don’t baby it. I ride in everything, and over everything. I even ride dirt sometimes (a 1/2 mile diversion on the way home), and that’s one of the nicest things about it – it isn’t lightweight, but that just means it isn’t a lightweight. I don’t feel like I’m going to break it any time soon.

  9. Megan says:

    I ended up riding only 40 miles that day, but I’m going to aim for longer rides to get my training in. I’m trying to keep in mind this doesn’t get me prepared for hills or loaded touring.

    As I was leaving Handlebar tonight four bikes were coming into the patio looking for parking. The guy at the front said “any room for a few more Surlys in here?” I looked and there were at least 4 Surlys between us.

  10. Megan says:

    I ended up riding only 40 miles that day, but I’m going to aim for longer rides to get my training in. I’m trying to keep in mind this doesn’t get me prepared for hills or loaded touring.

    As I was leaving Handlebar tonight four bikes were coming into the patio looking for parking. The guy at the front said “any room for a few more Surlys in here?” I looked and there were at least 4 Surlys between us.

  11. Bill says:

    Love my Cross Check – just do one thing before you head out on tour – swap brakes out. The stock brakes (if you went stock) are not the greatest so I upgraded mine after about 3 months of useage. Enjoy the bike though!

  12. trailz says:

    I have a mostly stock 2010 Surly LHT, that I love! I don’t baby it at all, but I am very careful about locking it up outside (too many lesser bikes stolen). First thing I did was add fenders (Planet Bike), a Brooks saddle and a rear rack (Jannd Expedition). Ortleib panniers followed shortly thereafter. 2500miles later, all is still working great! The strong point of this bike is it’s so comfortable to ride, it hardly feels like your peddling. It just wants to go (not fast, but just go). I’ve taking several short tours with it (loaded!), countless grocery runs (pulling a trailer with 100lbs of groceries), and joy ride it on the weekends. The tires are Continental Contacts, and are great for roads or trails. Honestly, the CC is the only other bike I can think of that would be so versatile — while being a little quicker. Good buy for sure!

  13. Cecily Walker says:

    This post couldn’t be more timely. I’m in the market for a faster bike for longer rides, and Surly is one of the bikes I’ve been looking at, even though one local bike shop is convinced the geometry on Surly bikes is all wrong for my body type. Thanks for the post!

    • Megan says:

      I got a lot of conflicting advice and even though logically I should have gone with the LHT I went with the Cross-Check because I liked the way it felt. The reach is too long for me (most of me height is in my legs I guess) but I might shorten the stem. Try lots of bikes out and trust how they feel, not what someone tells you about geometry necessarily.

  14. Annie Angello says:

    My entire blog is a Surly story – I’ve had a Long Haul Trucker as my primary ride for 2 years, and it’s my favorite way to get around. I’m currently on my third chain, second bottom bracket, third set of brake pads, second set of cables and housings, and my second front tire. I’ve locked it to poles, racks, car racks. I’ve carried barbecue accessories, my dog, my groceries, and even a passenger. My bike may not be the next big thing, but my god do I love it.

  15. Annie Angello says:

    My entire blog is basically a Surly Story. I’ve had a Long Haul Trucker for a couple years and use it to go everywhere and do everything. I’m on my third chain, second bottom bracket, third set of brake pads, and second front tire. It’s carried barbecuing accessories, groceries, a dog, and even a passenger. I love my Surly!

  16. MFarrington says:

    I’ve had my Surly CC (46cm) for a couple of years now. It’s a fantastic bike, but I did make a lot of adjustments to it to suit my riding style (higher rise stem, different saddle, SKS longboard fenders, rear rack, etc).
    Here is a photo for those interested: http://i45.tinypic.com/2rfej34.jpg. You can do so much with a Cross Check – it is such a versatile bike. :)

  17. Jennifer says:

    I loved my Cross-Check so much, I got a second one!

  18. Annalisa says:

    I have that exact Surly and love it!

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