Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Monster truck'n

Date: Sept. 17
Mileage: ~20
September mileage: 387.3
Temperature upon departure: 49
Rainfall: .75"

Pugsley and I had quite the adventure on Douglas Island today.

We bounded over barnacle-coated boulders, skimmed beaches of soft sand, crushed through mussel shells, squished across fields of seaweed, crossed shin-deep creeks, teetered on rickety bridges, passed crumbling Gold Rush structures, thrashed through the ghosts of old trails, spun up impossibly steep hillsides, and then turned around to do it all again.

I felt like I could go anywhere, climb anything, see everything. Pugsley pressed forward like an army tank with no scruples. I love my Pugsley. It is (sniff, sniff) the perfect bike.

Well, I did notice a few things that make it just a tiny bit less than perfect. It is heavy - quite the beast to hoist on my shoulders, an action rough terrain calls for often. It's also slow (but really, who cares?) And it corners like a bus with a flat tire (but as long as I'm going slow, who cares?)

My shoreline ride was a morning-long expedition that carried me - maybe - four miles from the end of Sandy Beach. But what it lacked in distance, it made up for in pure adventure, the wide-eyed awe of discovering surprising details in a new place.

My initial joy with the effortlessness of plowing over big rocks and floating atop sand quickly tapered when I came to the first big creek. The smoothest crossing looked to be at least waist deep, and could have just as easily been over my head. As I scouted upstream, the water roiled and churned and seemed to create an insurmountable obstacle. But eventually, I came to a waterfall, and above it, something that looked and awful lot like a bridge.

I had to hoist Pugsley up a cliff to reach it. The bridge looked like it hadn't been maintained since the Treadwell area was a bustling gold mining operation. It was too narrow for Pugsley's pedals to slide directly through. As I began to thread the bike through the swaying structure, I wondered if the creek swim wouldn't have been the safer option. But it was too late to turn back now.

Beyond the bridge was something that looked marginally like a trail. I learned the hard way - by falling sideways into a tree - that Pugsley doesn't tackle wet roots any better than any of my other bikes. I started to think about the possibilities with studded 4" tires. That would truly be a bike without barriers.

On the way back to Sandy Beach, I came across some newer infrastructure that didn't seem to lead anywhere. As I stood contemplating this bridge, I heard a loud whoosh and looked up to see a helmet-clad person flying almost directly overhead. I was so startled that it took me a few seconds to realize there was a zip line up there, and these strange bridges were the access trail.

I only skimmed the tip of what there is to explore around here, even in the limited area of south Douglas Island. Pugsley opens up so many possibilities (granted, these are all places I could access on foot, but that's just boring.) I will be back soon; and maybe I can find some lesser bikes to run over and crush while I'm at it.


  1. Sounds like an awesome ride. I love the last shot; it looks like the pug is peeking out of the bushes at a castle.

  2. Yeah it does have a Monster Truck look to it. I bet it would ride high in our Florida sugar sand.

  3. It was just one year ago I went out on my first Pugsley ride. It really opens up a plethora of new biking options. Allow me to make one comment on your set-up. Although the tread on the Endomorphs may look like it's unidirectional, it's not. The guys at Surly recommend that you mount the front and rear tire with the tread pattern going in opposite directions. This will give you more traction in snow because the rear tread won't be following the front tires tread pattern, but breaking it's own pattern in the snow.

  4. Oh wow! That is such a great bike adventure. Your pictures are wonderful. I love your Pugsley. Can't wait to see more.
    Roll on.

  5. Jill,

    You're like a kid in a candy store. Love hearing all about your new baby : ) Take some close-up pix of those barnacle covered rocks would ya? Looks darn interesting.


  6. Damn I want one!!!!! You could do some sweet wash rides around here.

  7. YAY!! Another great adventure, and many more to follow with the Pug! I love the shot of you riding over the rocky seaweed, it gives a good idea of what this awesome beast is capable of. It is wonderful that the slower pace is allowing you to see more detail and make more discoveries. Really funny how you wandered into the line of the zip, too. :)

  8. Doug, your comment was news to me, so I e-mailed Surly to find out of I was running my Endos incorrectly. Here's the response:

    "Honestly, it probably doesn't matter a whole bunch. One of our guys here does run the rear tire with the chevrons facing rear (when looking at the top of the tire) and the front in the more traditional way. Even he doesn't really think it makes much difference.

    "I say do it however you like. I run mine like you do."

    Sounds like it really doesn't matter. Everyone I know here in Anchorage is running their tires the same way, with the chevrons pointing forward as seen from the rider's perspective.

    The Pugsley's a monster. It'll roll over plenty of stuff regardless of which way you mount the tires!

  9. Tim, I agree that it probably doesn't make much difference. I guess the correct answer depends on who's answering the emails or taking the phone calls at Surly on any given day. My LBS owner called QBP/Surly when he did the build on my Puglsey to find out the best way to mount them. The above comment is what he was told.

  10. Jill-
    Tell me you at least rode the zip line, right?

  11. Would those tires fit on a regular mountain bike rim?

  12. You are going to sooooo enjoy riding in the snow on Pugsley. The race to McGrath will seem a walk in the park :)

    ...and maybe I can find some lesser bikes to run over and crush while I'm at it.

    I laughed at that!!!

  13. Yay! Nothin' funner than a new ride!



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