TBT: My first Surly Bicycle

Surly Cross-Check
My 2005 Surly Cross Check with fixed wheel and Surly Dingle Cog.

This picture was taken in January of 2006. I had lived in Duluth, Minnesota for a little over 4 years at the time. I had been car free for several years. I was learning how to ride through the harsh winters we have here. I was becoming weary of replacing drive train parts every Spring. Six months of salt and sand on the roads was drastically shortening the life span of many of the components on my bicycles.This Surly Cross Check was my first attempt at simplifying my bicycles and trying something that might work better in the winter.

I decided a fixed wheel (fixed gear) bike was the way to go. No gears, no deraileurs to gunk up. I bought the frame new from a local shop. The shop then worked with me to set it up as a fixed wheel with durable mid range parts. It had Surly hubs. Sugino Cranks. Bull horn handlebars with one brake, a front brake. The drive had a double cog in the back, a Surly Dingle Cog with a 17 tooth and 20 tooth cogs. The front rings were a Rocket 41 tooth and a Surly stainless 38 tooth.

It was a wonderful experiment. It didn’t pass the “ideal winter bike” test with our hills. I could ride any hill in Duluth with the gearing, but….I needed to stand on the pedals to do it. When there was snow on the roadway I would lose traction as soon as I stood up. When seated I couldn’t turn the pedals over on the steeper hills.

December 2009. A later version with a Nexus 8-speed IGH and drop bars.

Although I discovered I enjoyed riding a fixed wheel bicycle, it didn’t work for some of the winter conditions I faced. I owned this bike until 2010. I would eventually buy a Nexus 8 speed wheel to use in the winter. I would switch it back to fixed wheel for the summer. This was a period of time in my life where I put on more miles than any other time. From 2005 to 2010 I logged more than 22,000 miles on this bike with it set-up as a fixed wheel.

When I replaced this Cross Check with a new Cross Check project bike, I stripped down the frame and Derrick in Kentucky bought it. I’m not sure if he still has it or not.


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