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Bikes. Parts. Chaos.

For the past few weeks I’ve been paging through old topo maps. West Virginia, Northern California, Idaho. I have a pile of these maps, but lately I’ve been stuck in Northern Arkansas. Last week I strung together some trails and campsites, grabbed my compass and packed up to venture South.

For this trip I decided to take a Troll, stick a frame and seat bag on it and junk-strap some stuff on the bars. Of course, I rebuilt the thing 3 times and ended with Rabbit holes, Dirt Wizards, front and rear racks. I still couldn’t decide if I wanted to run ‘er single or geared. The morning of my departure I changed my set up one final time and ditched the racks. For good measure, I threw the stock 9 speed rear wheel into the car. I figured I’d give myself the drive to think about it and reinvent trailside if necessary.
Downward view of a red car buried in deep snow

Arkansas greeted me with a face full of snow and parade of drivers lining the ditches to wave hello. The forecast had changed drastically from two days of light rain, to an immediate sleet-fest and a few inches of predicted snowfall. After a brief pit stop in Fayetteville to analyze the forecast, I decided to tack on another day of driving and head South of the storm into TX.

Screen shot of a Park Advisory message with an image of a flooded river below the text

Now, if you would have told me to pack for a car camping MTB Texan slog, I’m not sure if the Troll would have been my first choice. With the Krampus and the ECR in the lineup, she’s an easy one to skip over. But what I love about this hobgoblin is the ability to load it up for one purpose and completely change plans without feeling like I grabbed the wrong bike. Roads, trail, loaded, single geared, racked- winner! Change of plans does not mean change of bike. Fully loaded, the Troll felt super balanced, which was extra nice when it inevitably started raining and things grew a bit slick. Ditching my bags for some out ‘n back single track, I didn’t feel like I was steering a bus for no reason. Just a super fun all-around good time all-day bike.

Image rotated 90 degrees clockwise - Right side view of a purple Surly Troll bike, parked on pine needles in the woods

Bronze Rabbit Holes, mmm.

With the change to terrain, I wasn’t too happy with my gearing choice and ended up riding a Rabbit Hole/Dirt Wizard front wheel with an Adventure/WTB Nano geared rear for most of the trip. The recent snow and rain in TX meant some slick drifting- a total blast.

A person standing next to a campfire, under a park shelter, at night

Comin for you next time, Arkansas.

About Kippley

Amy Kippley a.k.a. Kippley

Amy brings with her an impressive cycling resume as a mechanic and industry pencil pusher. Both worlds of knowledge serve her well in her role here as she communicates with our suppliers and facilitates all the things that go along with getting our bikes produced and hanging parts on them. In her personal life Amy has a thing for Abraham Lincoln and a lifelong love of NASCAR, which is actually car racing believe it or not. Huh. It’s a strange world. Someone should sell tickets.