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Words of Wisdom From the FNG

Oh, hi. How’s it going? I’m Fleck. One of the new kids on the blog. Sort of. I worked for Surly a while back, peddling, and pedaling, bikes on the international fronts.

I was somewhere in Europe about this time last year. Man, was that boring. I thought it would be really cool to chain myself to the stateside action. I’ll be passing more days of the year right here in the lovely icebox of the country, Minnesota.

No, some or most of the preceding paragraph wasn’t sarcasm.

I’m here now, captaining the ship of Surly global sales. As in: Bloomington to Bangkok; Toronto to Tokyo; Sweden to South Africa. Yep, we sell bikes here, Down Under, and lots of places in between. Wow, that sounds kind of dirty.

But I digress.

So, let’s digress a little more.

I moved from TN to MN in 2002. This season it’s colder, consistently colder, for sustained periods of time than I have ever before experienced in my life. And that is amazing. Even if it hasn’t inspired me to ride as much this winter as I have in years past.

I’ve been taking advantage of our light rail train, or LRT, to get around a lot this season. It has bike hooks inside the cars. Pretty sweet, eh? Our train system is far from comprehensive, but it can get the job done if you’re creative.

Now, one interesting limitation of the LRT is the bike hooks only accommodate “normal” sized tires, like MTB tires up to 2.3”. When hatching this plan of mine to bike/train commute I couldn’t easily grab my go-to winter bike, a 2x2 Pugsley:

Instead, this dilemma offered an opportunity to embrace my seasoned winter steed of years past, my beloved fixed gear Cross-Check:

Okay. I know most of the North American continent is going ape feces for fatbikes right now. Rightfully so. Fatbikes rock. Seriously. If you are a doubter you need to ride one for more than 3 minutes in a bike shop parking lot. It will change your world view.

What I am getting at, however, is a rhapsodic renewal of my love affair with this venerable velo in the Surly product line-up. Jesus H hoppin’ on a pogo stick! Does it get much better than a Cross-Check??

I proffer that it does not.

I broke my first collarbone on a Cross-Check, set-up geared for commuting. Man, did that hurt, but the bike was spot on for commuting.

My preferred winter bike is a fixed Cross-Check. There is nothing like the responsiveness of an agile steel frame coupled with the immediate surface feedback and control of a fixed gear drivetrain. (Not to mention the need for far less maintenance.) In this age of FAT, I appreciate the sheer utility of slicing my “skinny” 42mm tires through slush and powder.

For airplane rides, I have used a Traveler’s Check for countless trips and never felt less than equipped anywhere in the world. (I’m currently working to convert that bike to a 2x2 drivetrain for simplicity of packing and destination riding.)

You might have guessed – I’ve owned a few Cross-Checks over the years. Well, why not? The Cross-Check is one helluva bike.

All right, then. I’ll wrap up my product proselytizing and let you get about your daily habit of pretending to do more productive stuff. I want to close, however, with a quick word on why what we do at Surly is so damned intriguing and meaningful to me.

Bikes aside, you want to know another reason why I am so stoked to get back with this brand? Sure you do! It’s because everyone at Surly is a passionate freakazoid who brings something unique and meaningful about their ride experience to our group. We don’t follow trends to gain more sales. We don’t try to tell you that you must have a Surly. We don’t build elite bikes for elite athletes to push to their limits. (Although we do build our bikes to be pushed to their limits.)

We say: “We built what we want to ride.”

Hell yeah.

Go enjoy riding your damn bike, whatever logo it has on the downtube.

Fleck's avatar

About Fleck

Meet John, Surly’s Global Sales Manager & Domestique. Long ago, John worked for Surly in a customer service and sales capacity, long before Surly had any sort of proactive sales plans or programs. Most recently however, he honed that experience by building relationships and selling bicycles and bicycle accessories to people outside the U.S. of A. He returns now with a wealth of knowledge about Surly, about the needs and habits of bike shops and about the clockwork orange that is global and domestic sales markets. John’s hobbies include woodworking, riding bicycles, positively focused skepticism, being a dad, Buddhism, making good food and eating good food.

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