The bicycle know to me as the Surley Ogre has been on hiatus for some time now…over two years in fact. Like a horse put out to pasture, she has endured this lengthy time situated in the garage amongst the miter saw, planer, router, and other tools of construction. Not fitting in with these apparatus, she squeals and begs for a letting of road miles. In anticipation of an upcoming trip upon her to the mighty Yukon and beyond, I strip the old gal down to her bones and a cleansing and rebuilding ensues.

It has been far too long since the Ogre and I have embarked upon the open road together, and in a quick fit, I work out a stretch of time off from work and make preparations for us to engage the Alaska Golden Triangle; Riding from my house in Haines to Haines Junction to Whitehorse to Skagway. A 360 mile loop through the northern panhandle and into B.C. and the Yukon, ending back in the good ‘ol AK in Skagway, where a quick ferry ride home ends the adventure. With plans to leave on the 29th of July, and returning on the 13th of August, I must say that these bicycle trip are certainly not about the bike. Or even riding them. These excursions are about being there. Or more precisely, being out there and taking in the tundra, mountains, rivers, and wildlife. If I was in shape and looking to make some quick time, I would theoretically make the journey in six or seven days. I think not. I intend on going slowly and enjoying the vast and wonderful summer in the North. Summertime in the regions of Alaska, Northern B.C., and the Yukon are stuff of fantasy to me. It is a time of exploding life and glorious exploration. There is nothing better on Earth than summer in the North.

Having a couple of weeks lead time to the trip in question, I head out to test the newly constructed Ogre for a quick 20 mile excursion up the wonderful Haines Highway, and as luck would have it, a spectacular day of temps in the 70’s, glorious sunshine, and the glaciers of the Chilkat’s shining brightly.

The old girl, spaced out from many months at pasture, bucks wildly when I attempt to pedal forward. After a rough patch, we hit our stride and suddenly it’s just like old times.

As out of shape as I am, I am looking forward to that big nasty climb up Chilkat Pass and into the Yukon I love so much. Two weeks and counting…

Stay posted friends!

Surley Ogre
The omnipotent Surley Ogre
Rivet Pearl
The Rivet Pearl
Ogre Resting
The Ogre rests by the mighty Chilkat River
Chilkat Ogre
Chilkat Cathedrals and Ogre


1983 Specialized Stump Jumper

'83 StumpJumper

In 1983, I lusted over the new Specialized StumpJumper mountain bikes that were out. A friend had one of the awesome Miyata MTB’s that I test rode and fell in love with; I had never before seen or experienced such a bicycle. When I discovered the Specialized, I had to have one. Mowing lawns alone was not enough for the cost of entry to possess one of these amazing machines, and, at the summer’s end, dreadfully short of the necessary cash, my folks came to the rescue, and the StumpJumper was purchased and my life forever changed. The combination of living in one of the worst bicycle theft areas in the country, along with being a clueless teenager, the machine did not last too long; it was stolen within 6 months and that was that.

Since that time, even as an adult, I have secretly wanted that bike back, and have always kept one eye on the lookout for such machinery. One fine day, John Boyer, from Edible Pedal bike shop, brought in a couple of truck loads of frame, wheels, and parts from a bulk purchase he had made, and in said pile lived two 1983 Specialized StumJumper frames, both in various states of build and/or disrepair. They appeared to be a his and hers matching set; one in 20″, the other in 16″. I quickly snatched up the 20″ from John, and began then acquisition process of accumulating the parts for a build. I decided to build this on the cheap and without too much concern for an attempt at building the bike to it’s original state, or, for that matter, with matching parts even. Some might consider this behavior blasphemous, but not I; I simply wanted a solid, functional, and attractive alternative adventure tourer… Which is exactly what I got.

'83 StumpJumper_12 '83 StumpJumper_11 '83 StumpJumper_10 '83 StumpJumper_9 '83 StumpJumper_8 '83 StumpJumper_7 '83 StumpJumper_6 '83 StumpJumper_5 '83 StumpJumper_4 '83 StumpJumper_3 '83 StumpJumper_2 '83 StumpJumper_1

The Surly Ogre


In preparing for a 4700 mile journey from Utah to Alaska to California, I pondered the possibilities of a bicycle for long distance travel that was different than what I was accustomed to seeing. At first tho, I was in fact leaning toward the traditional, because that is what I knew. At the time my first choice was the Raleigh Sojourn.

It had disk brakes, but other than that, was a traditional touring bike in every sense. Alas, the shop I worked at in the time was not able to acquire one. That was a good thing.

Eventually, through many questions and research, I had settled on the fact that the Salsa Fargo was what I was looking for. I had the geometry I wanted, it was made from steel, had disc brake tabs, and was intended for stout componentry. I laced up some 36 hole Halo 29er wheels and bolted on all MTB gear. Even though I was accustomed to riding a heavy Freeride bike, I, for some reason, bolted on traditional drop bars for my trip. I just figured this was what one was supposed to do on a touring bicycle.

4700 miles later, I realized that this was, ultimately, the wrong choice for my riding style and for where I wanted the machine to go.

After arriving in California, I got to working on my various projects, that included woking as a carpenter, and on some film and video projects. I was also preparing for another trip to Alaska in 2012. A month before leaving on said trip, the Fargo got lifted at a local Safeway while purchasing Avocados.

My heart was broken and my trip was destroyed. The money I had saved for the trip would now have to go to a rebuild…

Enter the Ogre…

After unsuccessfully attempting to locate another Fargo frame, a friend suggested I look at the new Surly Ogre. The Ogre seemed to have everything the Fargo had and more. Disk tabs, rack, fender, and cage mounts galore. It was designed to be run single speed, multi speed, Rollhoff compatable, any way you want. It seemed to be the adventure bike that the Fargo wanted to be, but with a stout stature that couldn’t be matched.

Ogre City Scape Tilt

For wheels, I chose a rear Phil Wood tandem cassette 48 hole with 12/13 double butted spokes laced to Velocity Chukker rims. Short of the wheels on my downhill bike, these are the strongest wheels I have owned. For the front, I chose the IRD 36 hole disc only, generator hub.

Phil disc/cassette rear
Phil disc/cassette rear
IRD genny hub
IRD genny hub

Brakes went way of the of the venerable Avid BB7. These babies have proven many thousands of trouble free miles.

I decided to shy away from my past Shimano fixation and bolted on a Sram drivetrain with the durable X9 rear derailleur.

I went 8 speed with IRD friction shifters for the utmost in reliability.

Cranks fell to the simple, inexpensive, and bombproof, Race Face Evolve triple.

Inexpensive and bombproof
Inexpensive and bombproof

The new Schwalbe Mondial tire in 52c are an expedition tire to be reckoned with.

Schwalbe Marathon Mondial 29"X 2.00 (52cm)

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a set of the awesome Jeff Jones Loop Bar. This bar offer a 45 degree sweep, and according to my preferred riding style and body position, is the correct sweep. These bars make the ride.

The Awesome Jones Bar arrangement
The Awesome Jones Bar arrangement

I like Thompson’s stems and this one is a 70cm. The Ogre’s top tube length is exceptionally long, and the somewhat short stem makes the ride just right for me.

Workaround for the Ortlieb Mount

A Kane Creek Thud Buster post mated to a green Brookes B-17 saddle makes for a very sweet ride.

The Army Green paint mated with the  Brookes give the machine a Russian Military look that pleases me.

Venerablke Brookes B17
Venerablke Brookes B17

Ultimately, there is nothing traditional, touring wise, about this bike. It is setup to be at home on pavement and on trails. From bike packing to expedition touring, this one does it all…

…except roadless Alaskan swamps and remote beaches..  I’m pretty sure a Pugsley is up next.

The Ogre
The Ogre