Saturday, June 30, 2012

Salsa Cycles Demo Tour Report

Salsa Cycles Demo Tour @ Geo Wyth State Park
Friday evening was the time set for the Salsa Cycles Demo Tour to hit the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area. This was a great opportunity for folks to get acquainted with the brand and for them to try out some of the products on dirt or paved trails.

It was also an opportunity that several of the shop's staff made an effort to check out as well.

I think everyone had a pretty good time, but it was touch and go there with regard to the weather. In the end, it turned out just fine.

I rode my Salsa Cycles Fargo Gen II bike over and as I arrived I saw the Sprinter van and our Salsa Cycles rep, Aaron standing outside chatting on the cell phone. After he had closed his call, I found out the guys had just arrived as well. So, Aaron, the Campy rep, and I set out to getting the demo set up and ready for folks to come and check out. As we were getting things lined up, it sprinkled on us, and although the weather looked okay, you always wonder how sketchy weather will affect things like an outdoor demo of bicycles.

Apparently, it was okay, because we had several folks start showing up and checking out bikes right away. There was some talk of getting me out on some Fulcrum wheels, but I ended up becoming so busy setting up folks with rides that I never got that chance. That's okay though.

Of all the rigs on demo, probably the most ridden were the titanium models. In an era of "carbon this" and "carbon that", I think folks are intrigued by the gray metallic frames and how they might ride.

I'm not sure about this, but however you do it, carbon fiber bikes look and feel like "plastic" many times. Their shapes, which are amazing, don't get me wrong, are "plastic" looking, not what we traditionally see as a Bicycle frame. So maybe titanium, with its decidedly "metal" look, appeals to our basic instincts as far as how we define what a bicycle is. Maybe I'm smokin' crack too. I dunno.....

Anyway.....people were jazzed about titanium Mukluks and El Mariachis that were available to ride test. The lone Fargo also got raves. Steel El Mariachis were also hot items and tested a bunch. Finally, the Horsethief and Spearfish bikes were well received and I was honestly surprised by that, seeing as how we don't really have "big" or even rough trails in the State Park. Still, some of the biggest hoots and hollers out in the woods were for these bikes. 

But for a few minutes there, it almost looked like it would get shut down. Lightning flashed, thunder pealed, and rain drops fell. However; we just kept on keepin' on, and although we got "damp", it never rained hard enough to wet the pavement, and the storms let us be.

My boss with his resto Falcon hiding from the rain.
Later on I set out with four others on my mini-adventure ride. I gave some historical back ground on some of the trails in the area while we enjoyed tacky dirt, bike trail, some gravel, and the occasional sandy spot or two.

I wasn't going to push for an epic ride, since time was limited, but we were gone over an hour, so I guess we rode a fair piece! Everyone seemed to have a good time.

Finally it was time to roll back to the demo area though. I went back at a bit higher pace to push the new Conti X-Kings I had set up on the Fargo tubeless to see how they would hold up. They actually did well, but I think I need to bump up the front tire pressure a hair. They sure are a supple feeling tire, I'll say that much right now.

When we arrived back at the demo, I noticed a co-worker's bike still sitting there. Hmm.....he had left on a demo ride before our group ride had left, so well over an hour had gone by. We made a few casual jokes about his taking the bike home, but I was a bit nervous about his whereabouts. Suddenly someone exclaimed, "There he is!". He had obviously had some issue, because he was shouldering the bike. Turns out the derailleur hangar had bent in slightly and allowed the derailleur to over shift into the spokes. No major carnage, but the chain was jammed so badly behind the cassette, he couldn't ride it. Of course, he was at his furthest point from the demo when it happened.

Other than that, things were deemed successful. The Salsa guys were happy, I was happy, and everyone that came out seemed to have a good time. Thanks Salsa Cycles for coming out to share the bikes and have some good times with us.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday News And Views

Salsa Cycles Demo Tour:

Today is the day! At 4pm the demo starts at Geoorge Wyth State Park at the "turnaround", Lodge", "shelter", or whatever you know the "end of the road" at the park as. Just drive all the way back in- you'll find it eventually.

You'll get to ride Fargos, Vayas, Mukluks, Spearfish, and Horsethief 29"ers and maybe get an idea of what Salsa is up to next year if you ask nice.

Come on out and bring your I.D., credit card, pedals and shoes, a helmet, and sign a waiver to get a chance to test ride on dirt or pavement right there in Geo Wyth.

And don't forget- I'll be leading a Mini-Fargo/Vaya Adventure Ride at 6:00pm. The ride will take about an hour and will be a modified loop that will take in parts of both sides of the Cedar River.  Hope to see ya'all there. It should be a good time.

Tragic deer suicide!
Guess He Wasn't Rudolph After All: Wednesday I was riding an errand and I took my usual route westward which leads me across an open field and then down into a "ditch" and to the Sergeant Road bike path right as it goes underneath University Avenue.

I stopped short, just before dropping into the ditch, when I saw a young buck laying on its side. I thought at first it was sleeping, but upon closer inspection, I could see that it was, in fact, dead.

I then assumed that perhaps it had been hit by a car up on the overpass, then thrown over the barricade to the ground below. However, there were no signs of an impact. An impact that would have damaged this deer severely had it occurred. I think it actually was disoriented, scared, and tried to jump off the road, only to fall to an untimely death.

I took the image here the following morning on my way to work. By the way- by the time I came home yesterday it had bloated severely, and was decomposing at a rapid rate, leading me to believe that when I saw it Wednesday, I had only just missed the actual leap of death.

I guess I'll find an alternative route for a bit until this "clears up" a little!

Bio-Hazards, Dirty Triathletes, and Other Disgusting Things: I've said for a long time that folks that wrench on bicycles should get some "bio-hazard pay". Here's a great example of why I think that.

This saddle was to be replaced by the saddle next to it. The old saddle was really crusty. Did it get that way just sitting in the sun.....or some "other way"? Brrr! I don't even want to know, but I had to do the job. Old bar tape that is crustified is another good one to deal with. Oh.....and cleaning tri-bikes tops all of these. Mechanics will know exactly what I mean here.

Oh! But then there is the ancient faux-sheep's hide seat cover! You know- the one someone has been sweating on for ten biking seasons and the owner wants you to save it to transfer to the new bike? Gah! I hate that.

All these things and folks that wear helmets for years without ever washing them just freak me out a bit. (Not to mention the fact that after about 3-4 years the helmet is no good anymore anyway.) All part of the cycling culture, but ya gotta wonder if these same folks are wearing the same socks and underwear everyday, and never washing, or if they slop their food all over their homes like they do their bicycles. (At least I don't have to clean that up if they do!)

 3GR: The 3GR ride will happen from Gateway Park at 8:30am Saturday morning. I'll be doing the route we did the last time we rode from Gateway which should be about two hours or so in length.

It should be pretty hot, so bring plenty of fluids! The roads are dusty but in excellent shape now, so come on out for some fun gravel riding. NOTE: If it is windy out of the south, I have a more east-west rote we may end up doing instead. Also- if the threat of an imminent thunderstorm exists, I won't be coming, but otherwise I will be there Saturday.

Okay- that's a wrap for today. I hope you have some fun on a bicycle this weekend, and if you are local- why not come on over and check out the Salsa bikes? 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nature's Repair Stand

Wednesday and another test ride day. This time I decided to roll on up to Cedar Bend Park north and west of Waverly to see how the trails were. Last time I tried to check the place out the county road access to the park was being repaved, so I was thwarted in my attempt to ride that day.

As I got ready to ride I noticed the temperature was pretty hot already. Southwesterly winds were going to bring the heat even more, that much was clear. Hopefully I wouldn't wilt. Generally heat and I don't get along all that well when I am cycling.

As it turned out, I spent a fair bit of time fiddling with adjustments on the new-ish rig. Seems that derailleur hangars sometimes bend when you try bashing them with broken limbs. Who knew? So, I found an appropriate branch to use as a makeshift repair stand, applied an "equal and opposite force", and re-tuned the cable to get back to a crisp interchange of gears once more.

Then a badly behaving brake made for more fettling, although there wasn't a whole lot one can do with a hydraulic set up in the field. Meh.... I ended up eating into a big chunk of my ride time allotment with all this mechanical grubbing, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

At least I got sum skilz at mechanickin'!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


A scree of mental shrapnel today. Get ready for the weirdness......

Here's what I know about this; It is a picture of an unidentified triple clamp fork, curiously missing a brake line, with a Surly Big Fat Larry tire. The fork appears to be installed to a Santa Cruz V-10 DH bike. The tire doesn't look in right relationship to the rest of the image, (if you try to thinker it through as the "tire/wheel is attached to the fork". I do not think it necessarily is.)

The image was posted to Phil Wood's Facebook page and Tweeted by Phil Wood's account with "Hmm..." as the message.

So.......what the heck, right? (WARNING- lot's of speculation to follow!) Here's a synopsis of a discussion on Facebook about this. Basically, an industry insider says this fork doesn't appear to be a currently produced triple clamp fork by any of the major fork makers. Probably a smaller company. Secondly, it may be total dis-information, meant to lead astray folks, but I also learned that DH guys are intrigued by the possibilities of a fat fronted DH rig. It may be something being worked on for Salsa's fat bike FS project, but maybe not.

Whatever it really is, it raises the possibilities to be had by a potential fat bike full suspension device, or just a decent front fork. Interesting stuff........

Update On Salsa Demo Tour Visit To Waterloo/Cedar Falls: 

It came to my attention that Friday's demo tour visit by Salsa Cycles at George Wyth State Park was not given an exact location. Okay, here ya go...

Enter the park by the main gate off Highway 218/27 and go down the service road. Go until you can not go any further, which should be at a parking lot/turnaround with a shelter house.

Don't turn left or right off the main service road. The road winds around quite a bite with several twists and turns, and lasts for maybe three miles or so in.

Make sure you bring the following, if you want to ride:
  • Helmet
  • ID and Credit Card
  • Good Attitude!
  • Pedals*
*Note: You only need your specific clipless pedals if you have shoes to match them.

Also, keep in mind that I will be leading a Fargo/Vaya Adventure ride at 6:00pm. The Demo goes from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. See ya there! 

Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational Update: 

The GTDRI is going to start in front of Bikes To You in Grinnell, Iowa on July 14th at 6:00am sharp. I have also decided that I will veer slightly from my planned use of the opening sections of the past Trans Iowa V8 course and have us ride into Brooklyn, IA.

That should fall at nearly 30 miles into the ride. There is a Casey's General Store there and that should make for a good "breakfast stop" for the ride. I also will likely veer into Grinnell's southernmost side for a noon-time stop at around mile 60-70 at at convenience store near I-80. This will also double as a good jumping off point for those who don't feel up to another almost 60 miles of riding.

I haven't found a good way to get in another convenience store stop......yet. I want to add one more "oasis" stop in that last 60 mile stretch to give us the opportunity to re-supply. Stay tuned to the GTDRI site for updates on that.

Thoughts And Prayers: Seeing images of Colorado Springs last night was shocking, and I want to ask that all of us give some thought and prayer for those affected by wildfires this summer.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fargo Lives Again: Part II

Fargo Gen I w/Retroshift CXV
The Saturday 3GR was the first big ride since I've gotten the Fargo back up and running again. It went off without a hitch as far as the Fargo was concerned. In this post, I want to give my take on the Retroshift CXV levers/mounts and what changes are in store for the Fargo as I go forward.

Retroshift CXV: These are the newest offering from The Goats at Retroshift. Like I mentioned before here, the levers are Tektro RL-520 Long Pull levers that will work with linear pull brakes, or "mountain mechanical disc brakes" from Avid and others. The Retroshift guys are actually offering these as complete set ups with bar end levers, or you can still source your own bar end shifters and mate them up with these levers/mounts. That's what I did with the Fargo.

The installation was straight forward and cable routing on the Fargo was easy-peezy since everything routes down the down tube, which makes cabling simpler than a top tube routed rig, but that said- It can be done.

 The Good: The Retroshift CXV has a great hood shape which I love on the slightly flared Midge Bar. It fills the hand, and lends lots of surface area to spread out hand pressure, which is ideal for rough surfaces.

I also like that the shifters are "right there" at the ready when you are riding in the hoods. Just like a good bar end shifter, the Retroshift gives you the crisp, positive feel and shifts are accomplished with relative ease. Bonus: A degree of redundancy is offered by the re-purposed bar end shifter, since it can shift in friction mode if need be. This is a nice feature if you find yourself on longer, epic length rides self-supported, or in a CX race if you would happen to bend your hangar a bit in a crash. Just flip the ring and twist over to friction mode and carry on.

Oddly enough, the shifter also feels good in the hand and gives your fingers another place to grip and rest upon. Well.....I happen to like it. Maybe others won't find that to be the case.

The levers themselves are just good ol' Tektro performers. They do the job well. Hooked up to my Avid BB-7's, the feel is great with plenty of modulation and power. Good enough for any mountain biking, and definitely way more than I will need on gravel rides. That's a good thing.

The Not So Good: Really only two things here are kind of downers concerning the Retroshift style. Both in terms of looks and function. First- it is weird looking. There......I said it. The Retroshifter looks like a tumor on a brake lever when you first lay eyes on it. Now- they have gone the extra mile to smooth out the mount and give it some pop with a slew of anodized color choices, but it still looks like someone put a thumb shifter on a brake lever. Kind of an "ugly duckling", but a functional duck at that!

That said, I am used to it now. But if this is new to you, it definitely is going to jump out at you. I guess we can quote the great architect, Louis Sullivan here:

"It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic,
Of all things physical and metaphysical,
Of all things human and all things super-human,
Of all true manifestations of the head,
Of the heart, of the soul,
That the life is recognizable in its expression,
That form ever follows function.
This is the law."

If there ever was a bicycle component that fit that, it is the Retroshift lever/mount. (So- maybe that is a good thing then.)

 The other thing, (and this something I've pointed out before), is that you can not shift from the drops. This makes "true mountain biking" a bit tougher, and may not play well if you are set to ride in the drops most of the time.  I will admit that this perturbs me sometimes when I'm descending, and I want a couple gears higher, or I want to preselect a gear for the coming climb. I've figured out how to make it work, but it isn't as easily done as it is with a full on "brifter" set up. 

The other very minor quibble is about the "flying cable runs", but who am I kidding? I'm not too worried about aerodynamics here, and I can only possibly be concerned if I wanted to lash a handle bar bag for a bike packing set up to this bike. That said, I think it would all clear nicely. 

So- that's it in a nutshell. The Retroshift CXV is a definite winner in terms of performance, feel, and function. It may not win any contests for artistic beauty, but they will get you home in fine fashion from whatever bike ride you take them on. For adventure cycling, touring, and obviously, cyclo-cross set ups using linear pull or mechanical disc brakes for mountain bikes, these should rate high on your radar if you are using drop bars. 

Changes In The Wind: While I am pretty happy with the current set up, (and totally stoked to be on this Fargo again after a hiatus), I am considering a few changes here. 

First, the gearing on the crankset isn't optimal. I am probably going to either add a true middle ring, or go back to the original XT crankset with a 44T/32T/22T set up. 

Then I am going to set up a "light gravel road" set of wheels using some old Bontrager Race X Lite wheels and Bontrager XR-1 tires set up tubeless. That will shave some significant weight where it counts most, and the XR-1 tires simply flat out fly on gravel without loosing much volume and comfort. I'll still have the current wheel set for more off-road/mountain bike type rides. 

Finally, I am going to invest in some frame bags for this one and do some S24 camping. It's high time I do something like that. 

Note: Retroshift sent these CXV levers for test/review at no charge. I am not being paid nor bribed for this review, and I strive to give my honest thoughts and opinions throughout. The Shimano 9 speed bar end shifters were purchased out of pocket by me.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Electrified Dirt

Will it be long before dirt goes electric? (Image: Kirk Lee)
We're all familiar now with electronic shifting road bikes. I don't suppose, (as bike nerds, geeks, and freaks), that we barely bat an eyelash at the thought of electronic road bike shifting these days. Push a button, hear a whirring servo motor, and get a perfect shift every time.

Yet, when it comes down to dirt riders, we just don't see the electronic shifting crossing over to mountain bikes. I find this strange.

Oh sure, you have the custom guys doing the deed with Di2 modded set ups for mountain bikes, like this black Kirk Lee number shown here, but by now, you'd figure a major manufacturer would have put something together as a range topping show piece. You'd think that by now, the supposed "shifts fine every time" electronic shifting would be the darling of XC racers everywhere that count on trouble free front shifts. Shifting under power, which the road versions do quite nicely, seems like it would be coveted by the mountain biker. (Well, the well heeled mountain biker, or sponsored rider, at least.)

I figure it has to be coming, (the electronic dirt group that is), and the next XTR will be it. I wonder if a prototype will be raced at the Olympics? Seems like the perfect stage to show something like this off.

Also, curiously, Shimano and Fox have already co-opted the Di2 battery to run an electronic suspension system. Interesting to see that ahead of electronic shifting. Maybe they are easing us into this gently!

Maybe someday we'll all be riding electronically shifted mountain bikes with electronically controlled suspension systems with GPS/Power/Heart Rate controlled shift points. You know- just ride and the bike does everything else for you but pedal and steer. Hmmm.......

Maybe we will, but I hope we don't have to, if you know what I mean.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Quit Doggin' Me Girl!

Or- The 3GR Ride Report:

Well- I knew it would happen someday, and yesterday was that day. No one else showed up at the 3GR ride. But, how could you blame anyone? I mean, I had to move it from Gateway Park, since the Sturgis Falls celebration was going on.  I chose Traer as the meet-up spot instead, so I figured that not many would even consider coming that far.

Too bad. It was awesome! 

B Road Awesomeness
 Like I said, there would be "B Maintenance Roads", (MMR in other necks of other woods), and they were perfect. Smooth, dry, and fast.

The skies were overcast too, which kept the temperatures at a comfortable level for the entire ride. That said, it was plenty humid! I did actually sweat....a lot!

Another point of note: The winds were "breezy". Not gale force, as they have been most of the spring, but actually a non-factor today. That was a first for a 3GR. should have come!

I rode south from Traer and went looking for the B Roads, which are not hard to find south of town there. In fact, I found one I need to go back and ride. I didn't do it yesterday because I had a plan. The Plan must be adhered to for a 3GR ride, whether or not anyone else shows up.

Barns For Jason
I actually rode on several different B Maintenance roads and every one was fun. I know, Trans Iowa freaks will be cursing my name, because a B Road means walking in April, but in June it means awesomeness.

The hills weren't too bad in this part, but a couple were steep and short. I felt pretty good though, and the Retroshifted Fargo was keeping me moving forward just fine. There were some patches of deeper gravel, but the wider tires on the Fargo were keeping things stable with no bouncing around or hunting for smoother lines.

Just point and shoot, as they say! And I did. I took a bunch of photos with my point and shoot, and that bit was fun as well. Got a lot of great images that I will be using for Gravel Grinder News headers.

Run Doggie, Run!
About halfway through my planned loop, I sensed something behind me. I turned to look over my shoulder only to see a smallish Black Labrador dog chasing me down. It wasn't barking at all, just charging down the gravel road straight for me. I said a few kind words to it, and it shot right on by me.

Well, my new found road companion kept running ahead of me for the time being, so I pulled out the camera and shot the image here. Pocketing the camera, I decided I'd better talk to this critter some more, and try to convince her to go home.

She would have none of it. In fact, she was a cunning little cur, and she was running directly in front of me. Then she'd look over her shoulder at me, wet tongue lolling out of her mouth, and brake check me. I about ran over her several times because of this. I don't think it was a malicious thing. I suppose she wanted me to stop this incessant racing and just cuddle in the ditch awhile.

Trans Iowa V7 riders should remember this hill
I would have none of it. In fact, I started dog-fighting, (in the aerial sense of the term), with this mutt. She'd veer one way, I would counter. This all at 14-16 miles per hour. Then I decided to try and out-sprint her. I went hard, but at 22.5mph, I couldn't go faster where I was at, and the dog was right there beside me. Frothing at the mouth now, she was so worked.

I knew it would be a matter of time before she gave in, but it had been 3 miles going on now. I crossed Highway 96 and she went right on ahead of me. At the very next farm house, something distracted her nose, and she veered left to go investigate it. That was my cue to hit the gas and disappear down the road. I knew she didn't have much left in the tank for a chase to bridge up, and I was right. 

The view from Ridge Road
By now I was heading down to cross Wolf Creek and then up to the Wolf Creek Wall. This was the hill featured in "300 Miles of Gravel" trailer that documented Trans Iowa V7. I crawled up and over The Wall, and then the subsequent roller-coaster stretch of 170th which took me to K Avenue and finally up to the water tower at the intersection of Ridge Road.

That's a difficult stretch of riding right there, and I highly recommend it to anyone that needs "hill work".

Ridge Road is a gravel stretch I have not visited in way too long a time now. I forgot how fun, scenic, and interesting it actually is to ride. So I was super happy to have ridden it again Saturday, and you can bet I'll be visiting again real soon. In fact, the last time I rode much of Ridge Road was in 2010 at night with David Pals. Wow!

I'm not going to wait that long again! You can bet on that. Then it was down to the flats around Wolf Creek and the short little back road to the iron bridge outside of Traer. I made it almost a perfect two hour jaunt. That was a good little ride. One of these days, I would like to show some of you new folks to gravel grinding this loop, because it is a ton of fun, and you just never know what sort of adventure awaits you out there.

Ain't that right little doggie? (Hope ya made it home safe!)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fargo Lives Again

This is the Fargo (Gen I) that I've been riding since November 2008. There have been some variations on the theme, but essentially, this rig has seen little change in the almost four years I've had it around.

I have to say that for the most part, I was loathe to swap out anything major on this bike due to the fact that it fit me like a glove the way it was. Some how or another, when it was hurriedly assembled in November of 2008, the fellas responsible for piecing this together hit on a close fit for me, and when I popped on an On One Midge Bar a bit later, it was as if the bike had been custom designed for me.

The other thing that influenced that feeling was my Karate Monkey, which I had dialed in over a period of years previous to getting the Fargo and it was my "ruler" by which I measured all other fits by. I started tinkering around with the KM shortly after I received the Fargo and it has never been quite the same since. I didn't want that to happen with the Fargo.

I know, I know- measurements, yadda,yadda,yadda..... I can't say exactly why it is, but a certain mix of components just makes things "right", and swapping out something, even a minor thing, can really upset the "feel" of any bicycle for me. I should say, sometimes that works in the positive direction as well.

I had installed some Origin 8 Gary II Bars on this bike, and it was a step backwards in terms of the feel of the bike. Even certain wheel sets I've used have made the bike "feel" slower, more sluggish, and others have been great, for no apparent reason other than they were different.

Well, all that to say that putting on Retroshift levers/mounts was a risky proposition. Maybe they wouldn't "feel" right. Maybe I'd like them, but you never know unless you try. That and I'd have to re-cable the bike in the process, which hadn't been done since it was built. (About time for that, huh?) Thursday night I was frantically throwing parts at the Fargo and turning wrenches until at about midnight, I was done.

I would have to wait until morning to see how everything would turn out, but I had high hopes. I was missing this bike, and it has been in limbo ever since I broke it down for the old bar end shifters, which ironically were used to make the Retroshifter mounts work for the "Orange Crush".

Oh.....and about these Retroshift levers: These are the newest versions, now becoming available, for use on that fancy-pants cross disc build you are thinking of for the upcoming cyclo-cross season. (You were thinking of that, weren't you?) The older version of the Retroshift lever/mount is a cantilever only design, (or you could run road BB-7's, I suppose). But if you have some BB-7 or BB-5 Avid mountain disc brakes, and want to use those on a frame up build, these newer levers will pull the correct amount of cable.

For me, I was happy to see the Goats at Retroshift decided to use the awesome Tektro RL-520 model levers as their base for the shifter mounts. These levers have a generous and comfy hood which makes for a nice place to leverage on climbs as well. Another cool feature is the contoured lever blade which really feels nice in the hand versus the original lever, which isn't bad. It's just that the RL-520 is about as perfect as it gets for an off road drop bar, in my opinion.

So, the ride to work and a detour for a longer loop home was the maiden voyage for the new set up. I really am going to like these shifters and the levers. Especially for how I am purposing this Fargo now. It is becoming my "gravel adventure machine". It isn't going to be the "go fast" option, but rather the "long, comfortable" option.

The Retroshift levers/mounts make for a fail-safe shifting option which can work indexed or friction style. The dead simplicity of the lever makes for a durable, reliable shifting mechanism, and for gritty, possibly muddy gravel rides, this will survive about anything I throw at it. Plus, for cruising on the hoods, you are right there ready to shift at a moments notice, which beats bar end shifters in the normal position.

Today is the 3GR, and I am using the bike for the ride. Should have a good first impression to write about after that, unless I get rained out, that is. Also, I should have a good feel for some other minor changes I am thinking of for the Fargo too. Stay tuned.....

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday News And Views

Some Local News......

 Salsa Cycles Demo Tour:

Just another reminder concerning the shop's having the Salsa Cycles Demo Tour come through the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area a week from today, June 29th. Details....

  • Time: 4:00pm - 8:00pm
  • Place: George Wyth State Park at the Shelter. (Go all the way back into the park)
  • Needed To Ride: Helmet, I.D./credit card, signed waiver, and your pedals if you run specific pedals on your bike that mate with your shoes.
  • What: Salsa Cycles bicycles including the Fargo, Vaya, Mukluk, and Spearfish. 
  • Ride On: George Wyth's dirt or paved trails. 
Bonus: There will be a mini-Fargo/Vaya Adventure Ride which will be led by me, Guitar Ted. It will go out from the demo truck and include some dirt, pavement, and back roads. The ride starts at 6:00pm sharp and should take about an hour and a half. Any cyclist is invited but you must sign a waiver and wear a helmet to join in.

Hope to have some good weather for this and to see many of you show up and test out these great bicycles.

 3GR Update:

Well, I mentioned there was a strong possibility that 3GR would get moved to Saturday and that is the case. However; there is another major change specific to this week's ride.

Sturgis Falls Celebration is going on now in Cedar Falls, Iowa. That means thousands of folks all over the place. That complicates the parking/gathering for 3GR in the Gateway Park lot. So.......this week we're moving the ride!

If you are fortunate enough to be able to make this one, it's gonna be a doozy! I am going to have the 3GR start at the convenience store on HWY 63 in Traer, Iowa. That's right.......I am going to ride some serious hills this time around! 

There will be a healthy dose of B Maintenance road as well, so if any of that appeals to your senses, head on down to Traer tomorrow morning and meet me at 8:30am on the south side of the BP convenience store. I'll be there and ready to ride, whether anyone else comes or not, but I hope that you do.

The route should be about 25 miles to 30 miles long. It'll start out relatively flat, but then the last half will kick in like a mule in the stall! The image above shows one possible hill we might ride on K Avenue, but we may ride the next one a mile westward which is even steeper, (and was featured in the trailer for the movie "300 Miles Of Gravel") Hope to see some of you there....

Fargo V1 Is Alive! (Again):

I was waiting on one final piece to the puzzle to get my Fargo V1 back together again. It finally arrived Wednesday, but I wasn't at work, so I found the Retroshift  levers when I got there yesterday.

These are new versions meant to run your linear pull, or Mountain BB-7 brakes, and are based on the excellent Tektro RL 520 model levers. (In fact, they are Tektro RL-520 levers with Retroshifts mods.) You'll notice the red anodization here. Retroshift is now offering colored bases on their levers, so you can kind of customize your look. I thought the red would be nice, but you'll see why when I post a full pic soon.

I've got the old girl back together now and I hope to ride it on the 3GR Saturday morning. It was kind of a bittersweet deal working on the bike, since much of what I removed was put there by myself, Jason Boucher, and Captain Bob one November night late at Jason's house. It was just before the first Fargo Adventure Ride, and what a weekend that was. I had fond memories welling up as I worked on the bike last night. Good times with lots of good folks.

In fact, I think that was the weekend I discovered Sriracha Hot Sauce. (Thanks Kid!)

Hope ya'all have a "hot" weekend doin' whatever it is ya'all do. Ride a bike. Take some pics!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Three Stops

On yesterday's ride I made three stops. This is the story about them....

Safety stop...
First Stop: This was a "Safety Stop". I do this when I've done a fair bit of the beginning of the loop to check on things with new rigs and to make any necessary fit adjustments.

The Fuji I was riding was a new-to-me rig, but it probably was culled from Fuji's test/demo fleet, as it was obvious that it had ben used previously. So this was not a big deal stop here. Check over, snap a few images, and then hit the trail again.

Fortunately I have had enough set ups that I know before going out what to tweak on most bikes. This always saves some precious trail time. That doesn't mean I won't stop, because being cautious with an unfamiliar rig has paid dividends before.

Leg met dirt, amongst other body parts.
Second Stop: This was an unplanned get-off. The incident was a product of a mismatched equipment to conditions situation.

The spec'ed WTB Bronson tires are great for soft to tacky conditions. However; the current trail conditions are typical late summer ones where the trails are so dry, they are nearly pavement-like.

Match that up with the flexible outer knobs of the Bronson and you get something along the lines of the following; Grip-grip-grip-zzzzzipppp-no grip! Translation: The Bronson grips like crazy until you exert enough pressure to fold over the flexible outer knobs. At that point, the tire makes an incredible "rrrrrip-zzzzzip" noise, and before you realize what happened, you are out of control.

This occurred on a slightly downhill grade in an off camber left hand turn that I was attempting to fly through. "Attempt", being the operative word here.

Third Stop: Well, there was no way I was going to capture this on film, as it was totally a surprise. I was zipping along the twisty-turny single track when I came around a corner and all hell broke loose.

Feathers. wings, and bodies were everywhere, going in every direction, and I slammed on the brakes to avoid any contact. Turns out Mrs. Turkey and her half dozen chicks were every bit as surprised as I was to see them. Up and away into the surrounding trees went the little, (relatively speaking- a young turkey is bigger than a robin, but smaller than a crow), chicks and Mrs. Turkey, who was rather large, went up, up and away as well.

The next thing I know is that there is no sign of any animal life except the nervous clucks emitting from a few of the young chicks. I stood in awe for a moment or two, then moved on.

That was enough stopping for the day, until the end of the ride. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Could Ya Turn That Down A Bit
A while back, I wrote about how cycling is a colorful sport, and that having bright, fun colors is a good thing. But there is a flip side to this equation.

Generally, it almost always has something to do with marketing/branding. It is super important that brands gain an identity in the marketplace. If "Brand A" becomes a bland, unnoticed by others kind of a product, it may disappear into the mass of information we are bombarded with on a daily basis, and become just another part of the daily noise.

Brand managers fear this. A lot.

So, graphic designers are brought in to help market the brand/product into something that stands out in the crowd. get what we had here last week. Which is the way he wants it.... Oh! Sorry!

Back on track here... Anyway, so you get what we have here. This fine bicycle from Fuji. Nothing wrong with the color palette here, but there are so many branding opportunities taken that it leaves the mind a bit overwhelmed.

Now I must say, I've gotten compliments on how this bike looks from total non-cyclists, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt here. Maybe I'm totally offa my rocker here, ya know? But that said- this thing could be toned down a bit, maybe, and be a nice, classy looking carbon fiber rig that still would turn heads.

I mean, I can barely take this visual assault in while it is standing still, much less if a rider is speeding by on a trail riding it. But, then again, if it is seen gracing a rack on a car in traffic, what kind of advertising dollars does that opportunity represent? See what I mean? It is almost suicide not to do this branding. 

I guess I am a bit conflicted about this subject, but I know I really like a nice, colorful, classically designed, tasteful   graphic package. This bike is cool, but man! It is kinda hard on the eyes. Wouldn't you agree?

Demo Tour Visit Soon!

Local Plug: 

Salsa Cycles is bringing their demo truck full-o-bikes to Geo Wyth State Park on Friday, June 29th from 4pm till 8pm. 

You can show up, demo a Salsa Cycles bike like a Fargo, Vaya, or Spearfish and test them on Geo Wyth's excellent single track or paved bike paths and service roads.

If you decide to show up, bring your pedals and cycling gear. (Helmets required), and check out these fine bikes. The shop I work at is a Salsa Cycles dealer and this is being done in conjunction with them.Update: Thanks to a comment by "Dave", I am also reminded that you should bring along a credit card. (Precautionary measure in case you ride the bike off into the sunset, never to return. Hint- You'll pay for it!)

Bonus: As an extra special bonus, I will be leading a mini-Fargo/Vaya Adventure Ride which should take in parts of Geo Wyth, the bike paths, and Hartman Reserve. The loop will be about 12-15 miles long and will help folks understand the capabilities of the Fargo and Vaya  bikes.

The Fargo/Vaya Adventure Ride will be technically pretty easy, and there will be stops along the way so I can give some pointers on what the bikes are capable of as we ride through single track, back roads, and paved areas.

Tha Fargo/Vaya mini-Adventure Ride will start about 6pm and should take a little over an hour or so. Helmets required, and waivers signed at the demo truck before you can join. Any questions? Hit me up in the comments section.

See ya on the 29th!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fat Dreams Have Been Stoked: Part II

So what do you do with friends that feed the addiction? Meh......I don't know, but the following items that arrived via the U.S. Postal service yesterday from a "so called friend", (actually, I kid- he is a good friend), sure don't help matters any. Without further adieu....

Pedals in the shape of guitars. Who knew? I figure it may be the start of something sorta fat, (Mentioned back here), and well....yes- Pedals can be the cause of a whole new bike build.

Why not?

(Big thanks to "JG" for the sweet peds!) on to some hardcore rumor mongering.... Seems that Surly Bikes is teasing some monsterous, fat tired contraption. They stoked fat dreams recently by putting out some "Bigfoot-esque" grainy, far away shot of a guy wheelieing what looks to be a wider-than-thou 29"er type ma-sheen.

Commentary has been running amok with all sorts of guesses, people saying they've ridden it, think they know what it is, and such other nonsense. Bike-geeks are the worst for stuff they can't quite figure out, buy now, have ever, or think they should be able to get. Give them a crack in the door, a slight chink in the corporate armor, and the rumors come rushing in like a dam bursting.

As wide as that'll ever get right there....
So what is it? Well, the scuttlebutt is that this is a 700c based wide rim, (some are saying 65mm Marge Lite type of deal), and that there is possibly some 3 inch wide tire to go on it.

I get the wide 29"er rim thing. That's easy for Surly to get made. However; I don't quite buy into the wide tire bit. Here's why.....

I have it on good authority that the 2.4 inch wide tires we have for 29"ers now have maxed out the current tire molding capabilities of Asian tire makers. The machines simply cannot make anything bigger. A new tire machine to make a bigger tire would cost what? Well, you can imagine one machine to do that would cost a whole bunch of money that would need to be made up for in lots of tire sales. And how many tires would be sold?

Good question- How many folks would be willing to buy a 3" wide tire that surely would weigh as much as most nice 3.8" wide fat bike tires? I bet not very many. So the likelihood of this mythical tire machine, and therefore 3" wide 29"er tire, is dim at best.

So, a wide 700c rim- Yes. The 3" wide 700c based tire- Not likely, but there is always that possibility, I suppose....

Then you have the frame needed to fit a tire at 2.4", (the widest available for 700c now), on a 65mm wide rim. That width might be about 70mm at the casing, but my guess is that the tire print I have pictured above, (a 2.4" Ardent tubeless on a P-35 at sub 20psi), is all you are gonna get for float, even with the wide rim. (I measured that combo at about 62+ mm, if I recall correctly)

So, Surly needs to have a frame/fork combo for this, the wider rim, and it really needs a 3" tire, however unlikely that may seem now, or I don't really see a point here. My opinion.

And who knows- it might be something completely different. Time will tell if we are dreaming, or seeing the future.....

UPDATE: Be careful what you post to the innerweb-o-sphere folks.  Someone at found the following....

Fuel for the fire....

Monday, June 18, 2012

Some Riding Happened

Well I got in a couple of good rides over the weekend despite having plenty of goings on with regards to social events. One wedding to attend with reception and, of course, Father's Day. Getting two great rides in was unexpected and I consider it a bonus for the two days.

Twas a threesome for the 3GR
3GR Report: I moved the time for the 3GR to Saturday morning due to my children coming home from their grandparents house Friday evening. I set the time for the Saturday running of the event at 8:30am.

I arrived at the same place we've been meeting at to find a bit of a surprise. Craig Irving had driven up from Mt. Vernon to ride with us! That was a humbling thing, and I was hoping that he wouldn't be the only person to have come over to ride. Thankfully, he wasn't, as Robert Fry also showed up just before we were to leave.

Having these two experienced gravel/randonnuer riders was a treat, and it meant that we weren't going to go very slow! The route was a slightly modified version of last week's route. We did not go up Symons Road this time, but rather, we took Big Woods from the Big Woods Lake to Mt. Vernon Road, then East across Highway 218/27 and then we had to zig-zag over to Leversee, up to Bennington, and back West to Big Woods to go north. (Big Woods is truncated by the 4 lane HWY 218/27 as it bisects the gravels on its way Northeastwards.) This actually added a bit of mileage to the route.

Oh yeah.....that was on top of my mileage riding over to the ride!

Skies looked threatening.
We carried on at a brisk, (but not too hard),  pace all the way North to Camp Ingawanis' South Side, skirted the woods up there, and then we went back South on Ivory/Streeter Roads. Once back into the open, it was a headwind and the rollers on Streeter Road which took us all the way back to our turn at Mt Vernon Road.

Everyone's bikes and bodies held up well. It was a unique ride for me since I wasn't the only one with Clement X'Plor MSO tires on the ride, or RetroShift shift levers. Craig was sporting both on his well used Surly Cross Check. He was pretty complimentary towards both products, having just had success with using them down at the Dirty Kanza 200, which he completed.

After we rolled into Cedar Falls again, we stood and chatted some 20 minutes until I had to beg leave to attend to my growling stomach. Then I went to Cup Of Joe, had an organic muffin, 8oz of Joe, and then hit the trail back home.

I'm strongly considering moving the 3GR rides to Saturday mornings, which work a bit better for me. Yay or Nay? Say so in the comments if ya have an opinion on the matter.

Pretty dry out there again.
Father's Day:

Like I mentioned above, I actually got out to ride on Father's Day as well. I went to the South side of Camp Ingawanis, of course. A few things to make note of from my point of view were as follows:

  • It is crazy dry out there! I stopped to make some small adjustments to the Fuji test bike and looked about me. What I saw was a bit disconcerting. In a "normal" year, the underbrush would be at its maximum growth by now. Trails would be overgrown, weeds would be towering, and green would be the dominant color in the woodlands. That isn't the case at all. In fact, things are wilting, turning yellow and brown. Green stuff that would be flourishing is stunted, or dead. Not good!
  • It's amazing how good suspension bikes are getting for 29 inch wheels nowadays. The geometry is pretty dialed on a lot of them, and the "monkey-motion" is controlled, stiff where it needs to be, and reliable. I think the days of wonky feeling suspension bikes, with noodly frames and poor performance are pretty much gone now. Refinements will be the name of the game from here on out. Take that Fuji Outland 29 1.0 pictured there as an example. Besides making some nit-picky comments, there isn't much not to like there.
  • The tree dwelling inchworms and there webs have finally disappeared. In their place are thousands of black and orange winged butterflies. (Maybe the same, metamorphosed creatures?) I don't know, but the butterflies are far more pleasant to deal with. Interestingly, when you come around a corner, they all seem to be on the ground. Then they take flight, helter-skelter all around you. It's like a black and orange confetti parade. 
Hope your past weekend was a good one!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Details On The 2012 Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational

Hey it's Saturday! I figured this would be a good time to put down some details on my Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational for 2012.

First and foremost- it has to be made clear that this is open to anyone that wants to do a long ride on gravel in one day of at least 100 miles or more. There is no fee. No required registration, no racing, and you don't need a special invite to come. Just show up with your bike ready to grind some gravel.

I've had folks from Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Michigan drive over to come and join in this event. Several local Iowans have done it. It doesn't matter where you are from, this is always a good time, whether it's just a few of us, or many.

The ride is self-supported, so be prepared to carry your water, food, and tools/maintenance items. There is no sag, no back up, and everyone needs to make their own arrangements for bail-out, or lodging before/afterword.

Okay, so that is all out of the way- here are some specifics on this year's ride for you all to chew on.

The host city this year will be Grinnell, Iowa. I figured it might be fun for those riders that wondered about Trans Iowa to see the terrain around this city. That and there are some happening places to hang out in downtown Grinnell if folks want to hang out Saturday evening after the ride.

Time: The GTDRI will be held on Saturday, July 14th and will start pretty dang early this year. I'm thinking before the sun rises folks, because I am scheduling 120 miles of gravelly goodness and it is going to be very hilly! I'll post a final start time later, but last time we did close to this mileage on this sort of course we didn't get done until right at sunset, and I want to avoid that if at all possible this year.

That said- bring yer lights! You'll need them at the least in the morning.

Course: Like I said- it will be very hilly. The terrain in and around Grinnell is punctuated by several steep hills and zero flat terrain. I don't think it will be as brutal as the 2009-2010 versions of the GTDRI which was in Northeastern Iowa and featured a 118 mile course with 10,000 feet of climbing, but it'll be close!

We will stop for grub at about 35 miles at a well stocked convenience store. There will also be another convenience store stop at about 65 miles at the southern end of Grinnell, where you can bail out if you need to. Beyond that, there are no services where I have the route going.  We'll eventually end up back in Grinnell proper.

The course cues will be posted to the GTDRI site shortly before the event. Make sure you copy and print them before you come! That said- this is a no drop ride.

Conditions:Expect it to be hot, humid, and that you'll need plenty of water, electrolytes, and sufficient food/grub that can be stomached in such conditions. The roads should be in great shape. The chances that we will get rained on, (judging by year's past), are about 20% or so, but barring super-stormy weather, I am going on this ride.

Lodging: Grinnell has several excellent motels along HWY 146 near Interstate 80. I will be staying in the Comfort Inn and Suites myself on Friday and Saturday evening.

For more keep track of the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational site. I'll be posting tidbits there as we get closer to the date. Questions? Please post them in the comment section for this post here.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday News And Views

The post about gravel grinder events the other day elicited a few responses that I think are worthy of comment out in the open here, basically to give credit where credit is due.

It has been a few years since a certain individual has been associated with Trans Iowa but it doesn't reduce or lighten the tremendous influence this person has had on gravel grinding. Many times, I seem to be the one that gets the "credit" for Trans Iowa, in particular, and for gravel grinders, such as they are, in general. While it is true I may have had something to do with what has happened out there, this person deserves way more credit than I do. His name?

Jeff Kerkove.

Need to know why? Go here and read up on it. Nuff said.....

3GR: A reminder that I won't be there tonight, but Saturday morning. A request for coffee will be granted and we'll start at 8:30am, weather permitting, at Gateway Park.

Uh...I thought Dracula did?
It's Summertime! How can you tell? Because another doping allegation has sprung up and just in time for Le Tour. This never happens in December, January, or February. Odd that. Almost as if it were timed for maximum impact and publicity, don't you think?

Well, they are after "you know who" again, and I have zero interest in this story anymore, other than to watch in amusement as folks get their hackles up and froth away about this nonsense. I'm apparently not alone.

Much of the reaction I've witnessed from casual observers is along the lines of "who cares?", or "can we move on from this finally?". In other words, people I've talked to about this just don't care anymore. But what about those who do?

Here's my solution: If he did not enhance his performance by "doping", fine. But if he did? Put an asterisk by his name in the record books and annotate it as, "tour title won by using illegal substances". Done and done. I mean, it isn't like you can rewind the clock and take the moment away from him, and he's retired now. Oh maybe a fine, whatever. But "stripping away the title"? Really? You can't erase the memories and the moments folks. They are his forever. He won the Tour seven times whether you say he didn't now or in the future. It's like saying the American Revolution never happened because you don't agree it was done correctly. Shots were fired, people died, and things changed because of it, know, it is what it is.

So short of fining him into oblivion, or imprisoning him, this other "stripping of title" stuff is just weird. It doesn't work, and oh by the way.....who gets the titles? The other dopers that placed beneath him? That's rich. I say forget about it, and let's move on from here.

Update On The Clement X'Plor MSO: 

There were a few things about this tire I wasn't sure about when I got them, and communication between myself and the Clement guys was not as good as I would have liked. However; now I have learned that the tire- the X'Plor MSO- is a 60TPI tire with puncture protection. The USH has puncture protection as well. But now for the good news:

The MSO now is available in a 120TPI folding bead tire with bead to bead Kevlar puncture protection at a sub 500 gram weight. That's awesome news! I'm not always very hot on narrower tires, but the MSO is really, really good on gravel roads. Now with the nicer casing, I can only imagine how smooth it would roll, but I aim to get a pair to compare with. I'll update on the longevity of the original pair I got as well, but as of now, they are going strong.

That's it for today. Get out and ride!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Odd Ball Set Up Man

Making a few adjustments
 Okay- new full suspension test bike. Gotta break it in, set it up, and get it all dialed. You'd think the hardest part would be the suspension, but it isn't. It is the controls on the handle bar.

Maybe I am an odd duck, but I like my brake levers inboard so that I can only reach the lever with my index finger. The shift levers go outside the brake mounts, then the grips come last.

I know it must be an odd way to set up a bike because they never come that way. Brakes are always next to the grips and shifters are always inside  on the bars, closest to the stem. I think that is just weird. I only want to be able to grab a brake lever with my index finger, not my whole hand. Shift levers closest to my hand, but still inside the butt of my palm.

So, every new bike that comes through gets tweaked and I send them back that way wondering if someone else looks at that and thinks, "what a strange set up!"

Got some much needed rain.
I was glad to see that flowers were popping out all around out there in the woods yet. I was a bit concerned a few days ago when it had been so harshly dry, and the ground was cracked.

Of course, it makes for nicer off roading too. Tires stick better. Bumps aren't so rock hard. Gravel roads are not quite so dusty.

Speaking of which- I need to move Friday night's 3GR ride to Saturday morning. It looks as though the weather will not be co-operating anyway, but I have kids coming home from a weeks vacation Friday night. I probably should do the "good Dad" thing. In fact, I want to.  I think I'll have the ride start at 8:00am Saturday then- same place, which is Gateway Park, Cedar Falls.

Hopefully I'll have something else to test for the gravel scene soon. Parts are being obtained. I have a specific set up in mind. The bike is waiting in the Lab. Stay tuned......more odd ball set ups and testing coming soon!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gravel Events: More And Bigger

Inspiration 100- a new event
I keep saying this, and I probably sound like a broken record, (by the way, do younger folks even know what that phrase means? I wonder....), but anyway....I know I am repeating myself, but these gravel events keep coming outta the woodwork. I am flabbergasted.

The latest to hit the dusty scene is a west-central Minnesota event called "Inspiration 100". This is a free event, entry by postcard, self supported, and has some interesting rural points to check out along the way.

In many ways, this new event falls in line with most of what is going on in the "world of gravel riding", if I can even say that. (Some folks think this gravel stuff is small potatoes, nothing noteworthy.) However you see it, the point is that many, if not most, gravel events are low-key, free affairs that eschew any of the trappings of what normally goes for racing these days on two wheeled, human powered contraptions.

But not all gravel events are this way. Some are getting bigger, and bigger, and really starting to become something beyond a gravel road event. One such event is the Dirty Kanza 200. It has been slowly getting bigger every year for the last four or five years to the point where they had 400 riders on the start line this year. But that is going to look like small potatoes if the event directors goals for 2013 come to reality.

Next year the event is going to strive to deliver 1000 starters on the streets of Emporia, Kansas. Not only that, but the whole scene surrounding the race is planned to become even bigger than it has been.

Listening to a few recent podcasts with Jim Cummings, one of the promoters, and racer Tim Ek, it is apparent that the DK is going to become "a really big deal" if it continues to grow at the rate the directors want. Is that a bad thing? Who knows. All I can say is it is amazing to see.

Another facet brought up in these podcasts was how the "feel" of these gravel events is changing. Racers are getting faster, competition more fierce, and the "laid back" feel is fading. Maybe it is. But as they say, everything changes, so maybe we shouldn't be all that surprised. Maybe it is good, or maybe not. My view is that there are so many events now that if you don't like the intensity of one event, there are probably five others that are more about an adventure and a good time to choose from out there. Pick yer poison.

Gravel road racing and riding is becoming a big deal, more popular, and has gone way beyond anything I would have guessed in 2004 when Trans Iowa was cooked up, that's for sure!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fat Dreams Have Been Stoked

One part this....
When I was up at Milltown Cycles a while back, I rode a bike that I have not been able to quit thinking about since. I may just have to pull the trigger on something along these lines....

The first part is a Cargo Bike ingredient. That would be a Big Dummy frame. I have written about this before, how a Big Dummy would be a very practical rig for me. I already use an Xtracycled Schwinn from the late 80's, and a Big Dummy would be a huge improvement. So, at the very least, I think the Big Dummy is a big no-brainer here.

The Xtracycle stuff I already have pretty much seals the deal there, since no other frame I can easily get accepts those bits. Plus- it is a Surly. 

Really, that is all that needs to be said right there.

..two parts this..
Then the bike I rode had Marge Lite rims on it. These are meant for fat bikes, but they can be used on any frame that will accept them, and the Big Dummy frame will.

I would likely have a decent set of Shimano hubs available for this project. Nothing fancy there, just your garden variety Deore disc hubs that would build up a nice, strong wheel with decent Wheelsmith spokes and nipples.

Gotta have the disc brakes to stop the loads with, and that duty would fall to some Avid BB-7's I have lurking around here somewhere, or I could finagle some old hydro brakes into this picture as well. Either way, stoppage is covered here and the wheels would hopefully be able to carry a decent load. Actually, that's my only major concern here. Most of the time, I am not going to be carrying anything too extreme, or too heavy. Mostly bicycle stuff. But there are a few times I carry some monstrous loads, like when I get stuff for putting on Trans Iowa.

But if my weenie Xtracycle can deal with that, why shouldn't a Marge Lite equipped Big Dummy, right?  That's what I figure, anyway.

...and 2  parts this.
The final piece of the puzzle is the Bontrager XR-1 2.4 inch wide tires. The bike I rode had these on the Marge Lites and they measured out to 70mm wide.

That put a big ol' footprint down on the ground and best of all- the bike rode like a magic carpet. Now this makes a great wintertime commute sled or something I can run errands with in the winter. Fat tires spread out for big time traction on a long wheel base bike.

Sounds like good times to me! Now, there are some minor concerns here.....

I would need a Pugsley fork to really make it work right. Extra expense there, and leaves me with a Big Dummy fork sitting around. Also- I would need to do a modified drive train, since the fatter tires would interfere with the chain line. Nothing insurmountable, but it is noteworthy if you are also considering doing this.

Otherwise, what am I missing here? Cargo-Fatbike-Lite. I like the sounds of it.

Now talk me down from the ledge!