1986 Trek Elance

They certainly used to make pretty bikes!!

I purchased this bike the other day with the intention of stripping it down to the frame and building it back up with a modern 9 speed drivetrain, converting it to 650b wheels, 41mm Compass Hetre tires, dynamo hub and lighting and whatever else strikes my fancy between now and next spring. I do love having something available to putter with on rainy days.



I think I’m done tweaking my Surly Cross Check… well, I might be.

Well, I’ve owned my Surly CC for several months now and changed a ton of parts and components on it, and it now feels like “my bike”. I purchased this bike with the intention of using as an all a-rounder and winter trainer, but to make it suit me, my needs and riding style, a number of changes had to be made. Here is a list of the changes to date.

* Installed a Deore 42 32 22 triple crankset
* 11/34 10 speed cassette
* ” a Deore front DR
*  90mm stem for the 120mm stem that came stock on the bike
* Salsa Cowbell 3 bars
* Red Salsa bar tape (ordered black but the vendor sent red)
* Brooks Flyer 100th anniversary saddle (I purchased and installed a black Rivet Pearl saddle and rode it for 400 miles, but it didn’t work for me, great saddle, wrong butt)
* Ortlieb large bar bag
* Surly Nice Rack rear rack
* MKS Lambda platform pedals (I despise clip in pedal systems)
* 700c x 35mm Schwalbe Marathon Evolution tires (these are awesome tires, zero flats as of yet and pretty fast!)
* Handsome Cycles hammered copper fenders (they’re not copper, but powder coated new penny color)

These changes have made this bike everything that Id hoped it would be. Low gearing to tackle the hills, a rack for strapping on whatever, the Brooks saddles makes for a happy butt, fenders to keep me dry and clean and I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty! The only significant improvements that I plan on making in the future is to have a 36 hole Velocity Dyad wheelset built with a dynamo hub built into the front wheel and lighting. I’m ridiculously happy with the bike and how it performs for me as it is currently set up. If I had to describe the bike in a word, that word would be “stoic”, It doesn’t feel eager when I’m in the saddle like my ’89 Allez does, it isn’t a lively ride, or a dead one, it’s neither fast nor slow,  it’s steady and capable machine that does what I ask of it well and without complaint. It’s a nice ride.

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My new Surly Cross-Check!

  • Picked up a Surly Cross-Check from City Bikes in Portland Oregon on 7/30/16.

Yesterday I took my new Cross-Check for a 50 miles shake down ride and it became immediately evident that the stock double 48/36 crankset and my old legs aren’t a winning combination. I finished the ride okay, but suffered a bit on the steeper climbs, okay let’s be honest here, I suffered a lot! So, this afternoon it’s back to the bike shop for a mountain triple crankset upgrade.

So far, I’ve replaced the horrendously awful saddle that came stock on the bike with a black Brooks B17 Imperial, yanked off the stock Surly Knard tires in exchange for a pair of Conti Gatorskin 32mm tires and installed a Blackburn rear rack, I also have TONS of other stuff in the mail that I’ll install as it arrives. Expensive but fun!

My goal with this bike is to make it into a sturdy, reliable daily rider that I can also use as a century/rando bike as well as a credit card tourer. Honestly, I’m already more than a little bit in love with it.



After a 32 year career in a California fire dept., I moved north to rainy Vancouver Washington, fell in love with a wonderful girl and rediscovered my passion for adventure cycling. My body is, well, “seasoned “, but my mind won’t let that hold me back. Look out world, there’s an old guy running loose on a bicycle

My touring bike, a 2014 Novara Randonee that I call Erv (Earth Roaming Vehicle)
This is me.