More adventure = more gear

= More money spent. On my last bike tour, I purchased a brand new bike a few weeks beforehand. $900. I still have that bike, but now that my planned route involves a lot of trails, including the gravelly C&O towpath, I did my research and decided to go with the Surly Troll. $1700 woo! This bike appears to be able to go anywhere and that is exactly what I think I need. My original bike, a Soma Saga would certainly get the job done, but it is a road touring bike that doesn’t do as well on gravel. In case you haven’t heard of them, Surly appears to be the standard in steel touring bikes. Using their website, I was able to locate a dealer in Delaware, near my home state of Maryland. There are a few dealers in my area, but I went a little farther from home for this bike because they gave me a little discount for paying cash and no sales tax in Delaware!

See the full Gear List for the journey.

Garrison's entrance
The front door to Garrison’s. It doesn’t look very busy because everyone goes to the back for service; the sign says to.

I bought this Troll from Garrison’s Cyclery in Centreville DE. Just over the border from Pennsylvania and a 2 hour drive from my starting point in Bethany Beach. Garrison’s is one of the best bike shops I’ve ever been to. They want to make sure you walk away with the bike you want and that it has everything you need. The owner, Rob, was constantly volunteering information to make sure the bike was fit to my specifications. For example, after they fitted and transferred my racks from my old bike to the Troll, Rob asked if I needed my handlebars cut a little shorter since my reach was wide. I took his advice and sat in the shop while Rob went at it with the hacksaw. The entire time I was there, people were constantly coming in and out of the shop. Some folks were there for service, while others were there just to shoot the shit with Rob and others. It was the epitome of your friendly neighborhood bike shop. I can’t say enough about Garrison’s. Rob and his counterpart Rick spent around 2 hours working on my bike, and I was in the shop for over four hours myself. This place made me want to be a bike mechanic.

Rick also fixed a critical mistake I had made installing my rear rack on my old bike. Surly racks are a little complicated to assemble. In my effort to follow the directions I had not put the bottom end of the rack completely into the piece that attaches to the bike and, after tightening, had crushed and bent the hollow bottom tube of the rack. Rick is a magician and was able to salvage the rack ($150 new…phew). I didn’t even tip the guy, doh! I’ll make it up to him because when I get back to the east coast I would make the trip back to Garrison’s for tuning.

Rob finishing grip tape
Rob finishing up the grip tape. Not my forte.

In addition to the bike, I also spent a solid $300 on new front panniers, a new seat. and some more waterproof bags.

Out with the old in with the new. The Saga and the Troll next to my Forester. I guess I have a thing for the color green.

Preparing for an adventure doesn’t have to be expensive, but I have learned a lesson or two in where not to cheap out when travelling.

I have to apologize for this post. It’s my first time adding pictures and I posted this yesterday from the old blog site. Things will be neater as I learn this.

One Reply to “More adventure = more gear”

  1. Thanks Joe for your fun stories and experiences to follow. I know your dream is to have a shop of your own one day and the way you described this shop makes me think of all the little things a shop owner can do to give extra value to paying customers which proves that it’s all about the customer. You are the type of person that has this core value as you constantly put other people first, ahead of you in many cases.

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