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An Unlikely Swamp Monster

Having been “with” Surly for quite a long time now, I have been honored to meet a lot of fine people (I have also have been made to suffer many more people with whom I did not “see eye-to-eye,” but that's a long series of other stories). Once many years ago I answered an email from Steamroller rider Elan Viss. Elan had written to Surly HQ to let us know how much he loved his Steamroller and has from time to time written back to update us on his life and his bike. The other day I received an email from him, the first one in quite a while, and I thought I’d share it here to illustrate first that we make tough bikes that work well for all kinds of things and that last a long time even when you don't pamper them, and second to illustrate that core Surly customers do not write in very often because they are off living fulfilling lives instead of sitting in front of a glowing screen eating Cheez-its and waiting for the next chance to “like” something on Facebook.

       The photo doesn’t begin to explain how cold this morning was. In the Central Valley of California, there is a sort of wet-cold that just hurts to be in. It was only 33 degrees, foggy, and everything that was supposed to keep me warm was soaked. My buddies and I had to take bikes back into the hunting refuge because the roads are blocked off to motor vehicles. That left us very few options. The Surly is set up as a fixed gear rig with no brakes. I robbed part of my parent’s shower curtain rod to make the handlebar. The brushed stainless looks good, but it is primitive. I have to say that the bike handles like it was designed to cross small rivers loaded with shotguns and duck decoys; the folks at Surly very well may have accounted for this. Either way, it performed much in the likeness of its namesake. This article, I reckon, is an ode to versatility and fundamental quality. The no frills approach to bike making seems to be a thing of the past, and otherwise bygone so-to-speak. Not with Surly though. The 4130 carries my hulking frame just fine. Even though I’m about as nimble as an elephant, the bike almost makes me look like a true athlete. Whether I’m riding to the store, riding through a creek, riding for fitness, or just riding because I feel like riding, the Steamroller is my steed, and a good one at that. Thanks to Anders Jerner and Sam Sawyer, my photographer and hunting guide, respectively. Keep it real, and get Surly. 

Chest Rockwell's avatar

About Chest Rockwell

When not writing some of the words that Surly uses to convey information about their products and life position, Chest enjoys a stunning array of adventurous and rewarding endeavors. He is an internationally known entrepreneur and businessman, an award-winning architect, and has trekked the perimeter of China, unsupported, overland on bicycle, on foot, and on skis. He fluently speaks eight languages, including Icelandic, which is considered to be one of the world's most difficult languages to master. He is an avid skydiver. He designs spacecraft for NASA. He has been in no less than twenty-one feature films and is considered the world's leading authority on the healing properties of snake venom. He has built a popular reputation as a funnyman, appearing in cameo roles on various popular television shows primarily in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, and is the author of sixteen books about achieving one's potential. He is a motivational speaker drawing on his experiences in combat, for which he was awarded two purple hearts, and is a personal life coach to celebrities and notable figures worldwide. In his spare time he enjoys music, bicycles, writing, and spending time with his family. In other words, he's totally perfect, so don’t worry about it.

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