For many years, I have heard great tales of SSWC shenanigans from people in Surly. I had never been to SSWC until my straw was picked this year and I got to go to Alaska on the company dime. Many people in the brand and our old time friends had quite a lot to do with starting the singlespeed movement in the first place. Take, for example, the “venerable” 1X1, a bike made for shop rats at time when more and more gears were being thrust upon us by the cycling industry at large. It was (is) simple, tough and unpretentious. And did you know that Minneapolis hosted the 2000 SSWC, which happened not long after the 1X1 came out? Surly has in some way attended nearly every SSWC since then.
My point is that I had a good idea of what to expect, and SSWC2014 did not disappoint. There was drunkenness, debauchery, fits of riding, bears, moose, sleep depravation, great food, bad food, jello shots, Dales Pale Ale, Old Chub, Old Yeller, gongs, feats of strength, salmon, almost 24 hour sun, AMAZING TRAILS and costumes. Yep, pretty much what I expected.
I did not really know what to expect when it came to the people we would meet. They were really great and had a lot love for riding and the culture that singlespeeding produces. Everybody we met were really proud of Alaska and wanted to show us around. Hell one guy even wanted to give us his car. I was honored to meet Eric Parsons who is the proprietor of Revelate Designs
He and his crew were really great and they make amazing gear. Dusty even let us borrow his rig for a day so we could get out and see the sights before our flight.
They offered to take us up to see and ride the local trails. His “fitness beer” is amazing. Nice shop dog too.
I also got to visit a really cool shop called Off the Chain. It is a great example of a community bicycle shop. If you get to Anchorage stop by and say hello, help them out by volunteering or giving a couple of bucks.
I always knew Alaska was amazing but I didn’t know what to expect from the people. They were really cool folks. I think that is why people attend these events to hang out with people who have a common bond. Whether it is a band you like or activity you do, it is always good to find out you’re not the only freak in the world. Its even better to meet people from around the world who like the same things you do. That is what makes this event so awesome. I met people there who knew each other only from attending SSWC they have been attending for years. It gives us all an excuse to travel somewhere and fuck shit up...together.
I really wanted to thank Carp, Cate, Holly, Amy, JP and Jeff for showing us around. I hope we can return the favor sometime. Ben 2.0 wrote about many of these folks in his blog. What a great bunch of down to earth, rad people. Also huge thanks to DeeJay and Chewy for organizing the event and volunteer Ryan Greeff who was out marking the course in the wee hours of the morning while we were dodging bears on our ride home. We recognized him by giving him a Pug SS. Here is a photo. Thanks Ryan!
Here are some photos...
Who knew Jim had a place in AK?
I ain't scared and niether is my Ice Cream Truck!
GRILLIN & CHILLIN AT THE HOMESTEAD
I WON FLASKY!
LATE NIGHT DERBY SESSION (CARP DESTROYS OPPONENTS)
Lil' Chub 1X1
A little Piece of Home
Jim Fell down and went BOOM!
Halibut, I loved this shit!
SCREEEN PRINTING AT REVELATE
YET ANOTHER BAR
WHAT TIME IS IT BOB LIKE 10:30?
We spent a fair amount of time at this place. They let you take bikes in with you. Hey bikes get thirsty too.
Yeah, My head is bent at this point.
Beer Stop (under a bridge of course)
BACK AT HQ FOR SECOND DECIDER (BIKE PILE OUT FRONT)
SOME SORT OF STRANGE DECIDING & BIKE SURFING
JIM IS PRETTY HAPPY
AWESOME BURGERS HERE
Although I kinda knew what to expect, there are always pleasant surprises at a SSWC and just the right amount of weird. That is why we travel and go to these in the first place.
See you in Japan??