Todays guest blog brought to you by the one and only Aaron D.
As I type this, 17 days ago, I embarked on what would be my first solo demo voyage since starting at QBP in 2011. This tour, would ultimately be a creepers’ glance through the window of the mad house that is, Surly bikes. I feel I do need to be upfront with thine fair reader by saying that I don’t actually work for Surly, I am one of a team of Demo Mechanics and Events Drivers at our fair mother ship, QBP. We support all brands at QBP, and as I do have an affinity for steel and things of the Surly nature, it was my pleasure to do these dudes (dudes as non-gender) a solid and go tear some ass across the glorious pasty known as Michigan. Our focus would be on the insane deals that Surly is doling out on their current trail bikes- the Instigator 26+, 27.5”, Krampus Ops, and Karate Monkey Ops. It makes my head spin thinking that this actually happened. I have often had to remind myself to breathe. So here I am.
It didn’t take long to come up with a name for my escapade. After some careful deliberation over canned beer, bestial death metal, I dub this tour: “The Surly Unholy Alliance Tour 2015”. AKA, the Unholy Trinity.
Our first stop would be dah UP. (Upper Peninsula for all you southerners out there) Now, as a Minnesotan, born and raised, I feel that I have a close relation to our Michigan brethren. We are proud Northerners. We look forward to winter. We like meat in tubes, we yearn for frigid desolation. With a few pints of beer, we raise our chalices to Valhalla, and appreciate a rousing rendition of “Roll out the Barrel”.
First stop, Houghton. Steve and his posse of rad dudes at Rhythm Bike and Board Co. were stoke level red to host their first Surly demo. Of course with stoke levels as they were, we had to take action and go for a rip. Soooo, Steve, Boliver and myself unleashed our Instigators at Copper Gnarbor.
It shall be known that, from this day forward the Instigator will be known as the Ram Charger of the bike world. Not just any Ram Charger, but Chuck Norris’ Ram Charger. Fuckin’-eh Right!
The Instigator doesn’t give a rat’s ass what lies in front of it. Rocks, berms, small children; IT CRUSHES ALL. Like Chuck’s Ram Charger over a bale of hay it lays waste to mortal enemies with the greatest of steaze.
And of course on our drive day the following day we had to visit the Southside trails in Marquette as well. After hearing from our boys Phil and Neven at Quickstop, the trails would be a perfect snack for our Instigators. We needed to ride. Their stories of victory on the mountain urged us to tempt fate on the known trail, “Downward Dogger”.
So we rode.
From here we ventured on to some lo-profile parking lot demos where T$$$, Boliver and I did our best to avoid getting arrested for indecency. I’m sure Michigan has laws against letting a bunch of miscreants like us bring down local business property value, but luckily we escaped with nothing more than a few stern looks from concerned parents.
Forging ahead, we battled on to Grand Rapids for the main event on this tour, THE BIKENING.
Grand Rapids Bicycle Co. welcome us with open arms and open beers. Despite being late (I blame Trevor) because we drove to the complete wrong side of Grand Rapids, things went off without a hitch. The demo was busy, we got our picture taken with this awesome lady who just bought her first Surly:
This is our "Tough Guy Hardcore" pose. I think we nailed it.
Then some more stuff happened. I think we drank like 1,000 beers in the woods. I sprayed some people with silly string. I somehow came home with a road flare!???
"A little something I learned in my time up in Marquette" - Opie
During the battle for Grand Rapids, blood was spilt, sacrifices were made, our homie, Opie traversed a river on a Pugsley. Ultimately, our forces suffered only one casualty, an Instigator that met its unfortunate demise from a misplaced pedal in its rear wheel.
As I look back, I learned a lot on this journey. I learned a lot about our industry, I learned how amazing a tea bag in a cheap beer can be, I discovered my first taste of Thimbleberry jam. More important than that, I learned a great deal about what makes Surly bikes, Surly bikes. It’s the people. The employees of the brand as well as the people who ride the bikes. We don’t always have to be salespeople, we don’t always have to be racers. Some of us are big, some are small. Some walk funny. We are the people that need an affordable bike to safely and reliably get us to our night jobs in order to pay the bills. We are the badasses that finish 6th in the Almanzo 100 on a Cross Check. All in all, we are just people. People who love bikes.
It has been my honor to represent such an honest, hard-working and down to Earth group that comprises Surly Bikes. I hope to someday return to the field of battle, wielding our crass flavor of off-hand carnage in order to swing steel justice to the great people of this land.
Until then, I say to all the gnarly dudes who love, tune, build and ride Surly bikes,
Don’t forget to breathe.
...Party on Wayne!!!!!