After packing away BBC#1 this past summer [reason, photos, etc... all Here] and building up a Rivendell Bleriot [documented Here] and realizing that it might be a little big'gish [or that its geometry isn't a perfect fit... without getting too technical: I might be favoring higher BB's these days -but that's a boring thing to talk about so... ] for me, I just kept riding what came into my life back in Jan. of this year:
...a Surly Pugsley.
I bought the bike from a fella here in Portland, right after I had finally Man-Up'd and had one of the final remnants of my Big-Days erased: my umbilical hernia repaired, in early January. He had bought and built it up during the Fall of 2009 with the hopes for grand adventures & such only to realize that thinking a thought is different from doing a thought.
I began riding it to Amy's abject horror while I still had a nice line of sutures in my abdomen. She feared the bike's size would be my -and the surgeons- undoing. I survived, sort of...
...I rode a bit too hard [and landed in the ER for not so much ripping the sutures open as stretching them back-n-forth and bleeding out from my abdomen].
The Pug, to my mind, is pretty near a perfect vehicle. Sure, it's a self-limiting kind of deal that says to its rider: "So, your legs feel pretty great today huh?" as you approach hills with nimble legs & thoughts of speed while climbing... but the Pug's answer is always the same when you climb, "Fuck You: not today, not ever" and that's fine. It's fine because a bike, any bike, that makes its built-in bookends so clearly defined, well you have to laugh to yourself while respecting those bookends vastly. I like that in bikes, I like that in people: What you see is precisely what you get, period.
So why do I ride it? ...and where?
2nd part 1st, 1st part 2nd...
It does anything any other bike does, and mostly it does it way better than any other bike. Maybe, it does one thing worse than any other bike [but I don't really think so]... climbs. Hey, I've had full groceries + Chloe on the Big Dummy, and that pup is S L O W, and while that's reasonable, it -also- feels really S L O W...
The Pug, on the other hand, with full groceries [and minus the child, of course... no real way to get her on-board with me + these days Chloe doesn't really want towed anywhere any longer] is S L O W but feels monstrous in what it's capable of... sort of like driving an Abrams tank through a K-Mart parking lot: It isn't doing its intended thing, but damn, I could inflict a world of hurt on all these cookie-cutter mini vans if I desired, and it still gets me around to boot.
I've ridden it into Malls [funny, people loved it, security didn't]; I've ridden it in snow [duh]; I've ridden it into one entrance of a supermarket -straight through the supermarket- and out the other side [felt wonderful, plush, comfy... sure it scared the living shit out of a few folks but I would guess it gave them something to talk about later that evening once home]; I've ridden up & down stairs; I've ridden it up & down steep hills [again, it tells you how to ride it with no further discussion options available]; and I've ridden along, and then into, the Willamette River [didn't float, wasn't overly great on the drive train, but the Pug -and- me, we both survived].
Oh, and I've ridden it from central Oregon to the California border on mostly the beach [and a little highway-when the beach simply wasn't there anymore]...
...with Chloe & Amy meeting me, 240 miles & two days, later:
The Pug is my new favorite bike indeed.
Plus, you have to love a bike that simultaneously stimulates the curiosity and ire of Racing Snob wannabes; is a favorite among the insane & homeless: all curious about the Pug as I roll by while they go about their business residing under bridges/masturbating while sitting on park benches/etc; invites Crystal Meth heads to smile when they encounter me & the Pug out tooling along the Springwater Trail; and forces city bus drivers to launch into "Keep motorcycles out of the GAWDDAMN bus lane buddy!" on nearly every ride...
not to mention -apparently- drives every individual to ask the same two questions:
1. "Can I pick that up and see what it weighs?"
2. "Does it have an engine?" ...yeah, Me.