I purchased a Moonlit Swamp Surly Krampus frame in 2014 with the intention of building a wonderfully utilitarian mountain bike for long cross-country rides and moderate duration bikepacking excursions. In the four years the Krampus has been a part of my life, it has been utilized as originally envisioned, for awhile as a robust single-speed commuter during a failed two year attempt at polyamory involving a Salsa El Mariachi, and most recently as a dynamic yet fully rigid road touring bicycle as it confidently carried me and some gear across the United States. Though it is an indoor bike, i.e. garage/bedroom kept, it has handled with ease the worst the outdoors has to offer, including a high-speed impact with a large pine tree, from which I was fortunate to walk away relatively unscathed, a couple minor over-the-handlebar incidents, and a few harsh Montana winters. Continue reading “Rohloff on Surly Krampus”
May 18, 2018 is National Bike to Work Day. Among the least observed events on the American calendar, Bike to Work Day is an open invitation to constituents of the labor force to shuck their corn-fed automobiles in favor of riding a bicycle to work. If we’re being honest, Bike to Work Day is really Memorial Day for your legs. For cycle commuters, National Bike to Work Day is like any other, except with a greater chance of free coffee in the morning, and perhaps a potluck in the evening if they live in an uncharacteristically active community. Just as for veterans Memorial Day is like any other, except with greater chance of being invited to a backyard barbecue. Sorry about your friends, here’s a hot dog. Few people actually take the time to visit a cemetery on Memorial Day. Even fewer motorists opt to dust off that bicycle in their garage that they rode that one time, but the saddle hurt so instead of bothering to adjust it properly they hung it from the rafters and got diabetes. But, on this most optimistic of occasions, let us not forget those among us –our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends– who want nothing more than to ride a bicycle to work, but find themselves, as I presently find myself, unable to do so on account of being unemployed. National Bike to Work Day requires more than a bicycle. It requires a job.
On a recent trip to John Boyd Thacher State Park outside Albany, NY Maiya and I stumbled upon a curious apparatus for physique-based access restriction — the Squeeze Box. I initially assumed it had been installed by park management or local authorities to help ensure the safety of park visitors in response to members’ of urban populations predilection for poor decision making in wilderness environments. I imagined a series of daring rescues of physically ill-conditioned individuals that prompted Search and Rescue to devise a clever way of preventing people from going places they simply should not go. I quickly realized its brilliance, and began to wonder why the technology is not more widely deployed. Even after learning that the Squeeze Box was installed by the Thacher Climbing Coalition, and that its profile replicated that of Helm’s Crevice, a narrow geological feature requiring passage to access climbing areas beyond, I maintain that it was put in place to ensure the safety of the public and to help inform visitors’ decision making as it pertains to their health and well-being. Continue reading “Squeeze Box”