Before I get into today’s topic of moving on, I want to say thanks to all of you for your kind words about my return to blogging. For anyone that has blogged, I bet at one point they ask the question “Is it worth it?” or “Does anyone really read this stuff?” This past week has been amazing and I thank you. Comments. Links. Emails. Facebook messages. I got them all and I heard them. Sincerely, thank you.
So, onto today’s topic and a theme for my coming posts. Bikes. Changes. Moving on. That is what I am hear to talk about. Many of you that are here know that I have worked at Quality Bicycle Products for quite a long time. Some of you also may know I worked for Salsa Cycles for a long time. Some of you that know me know that about a year ago I made some changes in my job (Still @ QBP though). My end to blogging about a year ago was really linked to a much larger change that I was going through. I needed to separate from things. Spread my wings a bit and relearn some of the things that I have and had done. That’s a long winded way of saying I needed to expand my bike collection to reflect the other brands I now work with and represent. The next two posts will be about two bikes that I have really gotten to know and love in the past year, one being an All-City cross bike prototype and one being a Surly Krampus. I may even get to my Salsa Vaya Travel.
I have spent about a year aboard my All-City prototype. You can read about the bike here on the All-City blog. I just so happened to find one of these come my way and proceeded to build it mostly with parts I had in my garage. The intent for me was to build it more as a road bike with narrow to me 33c cross tires. I had thought I’d primarily ride it on the road and use either my Salsa Vaya or my Salsa Fargo as my “gravel” bike. Things did not really go as planned though. I found myself really loving the bike. I mean what is not to love in a nice steel cross bike right? This one ticked all my boxes with a good fit, stellar performance, beautiful All-City detailing, an ED finish making it really durable and of course it had good tire clearance. In the end, I was also a bit lazy and just rode what I had built and this bike really was my primary bike that I rode in 2013.
While I’d love to do a review of the bike, I really must say that it would not be unbiased. I mean I work for the company that manufactures the product. So, rather, I will just share some of my experiences and more meaningful changes that I made as I grew more and more committed to the bike. I hope you enjoy.
After several months I finally decided that the bike was here to stay. It wasn’t going anywhere. I put some new wheels on it; Chris King hubs and Velocity A23’s. I put a front rack on it thinking I’d run it Rando style and put my stuff in it so I didn’t have to carry a back pack any longer. I put Clement 40c Xplor tires on it. I made it a bit more my own style.
While I really wanted to bring my Fargo to Kansas to ride the Flint Hills Gravel, it was my All-City that was built so I took it. I toughened it up a bit and in my entire year of riding, this is the only experience I had where I was disappointed. It just did not have the needed tire clearance and comfort for my linebacker sized body and the Kansas mud. I suffered a bit and clogged the fork crown more than once. I made it though and that is what it is all about. That one experience didn’t change how I felt about this bike and reinforced my belief that I would have been happier on a bigger by comparison ballooned tired Salsa Fargo.
And this brings me to today. Where am I at with this bike. Honestly I love it. Love it so much I want to put nicer stuff on it. Like it so much I want a SS version. Like it so much I want to buy a new 853 version with discs and a carbon fork. And that is where I am at. Moving on. It’s time to take this puppy apart, clean it and pass it onto a new owner at work. Need to make room for a new A-C bike.