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Bikes. Parts. Chaos.

A good day for a Pug Crawl it was - windy, cold, and icy. We got a bit of rain and snow Tuesday night, and much of it melted on the warm roads. It then turned to ice when the temps dropped. A night of heavy winds polished it all nicely. So, I rode the geared Pug yesterday. After riding a fixed Pacer for the last week, the Pug felt a bit sluggish off the line. But after 2 minutes of riding on sections of glare ice, I was glad I chose the fatty over the fixie for this commute. I'll gladly burn some extra calories to turn those fat wheels if it means I can have a relatively stress-free ride. My commute is often faster on the Pug, because I can take shortcuts that my skinnier-tired rigs wouldn't handle very well. My Pug route is always different than a LHT route or 1x1 route or Pacer route, etc, because it can be. The Endomorph tires allow me to add variables to the home-to-office/office-to-home commute I've been doing (with slight variation due to relocation within Minneapolis) for 7+ years. When the lakes and creeks freeze, they will become route options. When a new building is under construction, that construction site might be an option. A railroad corridor might be an option. A frozen snow bank becomes an option. A loose, sandy lakeshore or riverbank becomes an option. Options, options, options. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha. I was thinking on the ride home…If I could have one Surly frame for the rest of my life, what would it be? As ridiculous as it might seem, it would have to be a Pugsley. It's simply the most versatile frame I own. It would certainly look odd equipped with road wheels and tires, but it could be done. Any production bicycle tire will fit. One limitation…that of tire size, common with the vast majority of bicycles, is thrown out the window. To some degree, I could even change forks to change handling characteristics appropriate to varying wheel diameters and widths. Geeky and unlikely, but possible. Changing handlebars, saddle fore/aft adjustments, stem lengths and rises, tire tread and size, drivetrain system,…any number of variables, creates a whole new bike on the same platform. But, it's the tire that makes the biggest difference. The ability to use a high-volume tire is paramount for all-season all-terrain riding in the northland. A 3.7” tire can simply get you over and through more types of soil, snow, and terrain without having to push or carry your bike. It's the difference between walking and riding, sometimes. I'd rather ride. I finally changed the original Endomorph tire I installed on my Pug in February. I rode on it, almost exclusively, for a couple months. I estimate there are 2000+ miles on that skin, and there's still life in the casing; I just want a little more tread for the impending arrival of more snow, otherwise I'd leave it on. I might put it back on, next summer, to see how far it will go before it fails. The casing is getting a bit thin and I get small punctures from time to time….usually from wire and glass bits on the road, but a little Stan's in the tube has been taking care of these small punctures surprisingly well. Most of the time, Stan's seals the hole right up. If nothing else, it will slow the leak. I might lose a few pounds of pressure from these small holes, but the tube usually seals itself before it goes flat. I'm happy to ride with a slightly lower pressure or with a necessity to stop every five miles to add a little more air to a slow leaker, if I can keep riding instead of stopping to fix a flat. Unsolicited product endorsements: Lake MXZ 300 winter shoes – they rock. Many winter riders will agree. I'm on my second pair. The first pair is still in operation, albeit a bit ratty...usually used as back-up. No other shoe system I've used works as well in the winter with clipless pedals. Hotronic electric footwarmers– marvelous. These are the cat's meow, the bee's knees, the wood that the woodchuck would chuck if the woodchuck could chuck wood. I use ‘em in temps below freezing. I like this system so much better than the chemical heater packs I've been using for the last decade. I bought the Power Plus 3.5 system with the heating elements that stick to my Lake insoles. The heat settings range from 1 to 4. 95% of the time, I use the first/lowest setting. Nickel Metal Hydride batteries keep the system reasonably lightweight….I don't notice the battery weight on my feet. I stuff the batteries under some lightweight, stretchy hiking gaiters from REI, so they can't flop around. The gaiters also help keep slop out of your bike shoes. They are now part of my cool/wet weather riding clown suit. Jones H-bar – I dig this bar. It works great on the Pug. Lots of leverage, lots of hand positions, great versatility and respectable weight. It's expensive, but it's ti and it's well-made. -----