My Pride & Joy
By Nicole Murray
The bike I was using prior to visiting Family Bicycles for the first time in 2012 was a hand-me-down that was almost 2 sizes too big for me. Five months later I purchased a road style Fuji Newest 1.0 in a the smallest size available! Once I was measured and purchased the Fuji, my enthusiasm for cycling grew exponentially. After completing a few Sprint distance triathlons with the Fuji, I decided to broaden my cycling scope and venture over to the touring side of the sport. That is when I became entranced by the Surly line and began my research of all gravel/touring/cyclocross bicycles.
I had talked with the Family Bicycle staff, on and off, for over a year about wanting to venture over to the cyclocross style bicycle. I was particularly drawn to the Surly brand because of their great reputation and the eye-turning appeal of the fat tire line. After months of research and discussion with Theresa and Bruce, I decided I wanted a bicycle that could double as a cyclocross bike or a touring bike. Theresa encouraged me towards the Surly Disc Trucker because it is easier to use a touring bike as a Cyclocross bike than vice-versa (not to mention that it came in my size!).
I was measured at Family Bicycle and it was determined by my standover height that my short stature required a very small frame. I am limited, because of my 5’2 height, on which bicycles I can choose from. The Surly brand (and Fuji) was thankfully one the few that made a 42 cm frame with 26 in wheels. While I gave the staff endless grief that it was a child size bike frame, having a bicycle that fit my body made all the difference in the world.
A few of my friends questioned why I would want a steel frame bicycle, since it was heavier than my road bike. I have 4 bicycles (2 road, 1 urban cruiser, 1 touring/ gravel). My Surly Disc Trucker is by far my favorite bicycle. It is a very smooth ride and the shifting is effortless. Since the touring bicycles are designed for hauling weight with comfort and ease, I am able to climb hills with less effort than I can on my lighter road bike. The gears allow me to pedal with minimal effort, even on steep inclines. I am on the chubby side so this is especially important to me, as hills are my nemesis. Additionally, because of the disc brakes, I go down hills with no hesitation that my brakes will fail, or will overheat or cause a blowout. I no longer worry about if it will rain, because I am confident in the braking and handling of my Surly Disc Trucker.
I did make a few enhancements once I purchased the bike. I changed out the bar-end shifters for STI shifters because I don’t like change and STI is what I am used to. I also bought Shimano dual platform pedals so I could have the option to clip in on one side of the pedal, or use regular shoes with no clips on the other side of the pedal. This was a big step for me because I had never clipped in before. At Family Bicycles, I was shown how to properly clip in and out. I had a 30-minute session both on a bicycle trainer and on the road where I gained confidence in my new pedals. This personal attention is one of the many reasons I appreciate this small-business shop. Now that I am comfortable, I am amazed I went so long without clipping in.
Another modification was purely visual- I had a paint-job makeover. This is the bike I had been drooling over for more than a year, and she deserved to be extra special and unique. Theresa suggested Groody Bros. Bicycle Restoration Project for the new paint job. This is another wonderful, local, small-business on the Kansas side. I picked a Shimmer Burnt Orange color and had a few personal decals added on as well. I purchased a second Surly decal set from Family Bicycle so that the Surly logo would still be visible after the new paint job.
I am so glad I made the plunge and invested in my dream bicycle. I ride it on trails, roads, gravel, long distances, short distances, leisure rides, cardio/fitness rides, city errands commuting trips… My Surly Disc Trucker I recently purchased from Family Bicycles is not just a bicycle, it is my pride and joy.