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The Return Of The Straggler

Aside from skiing, is there a more privileged position to be in as an outdoorsy person than to own more than one bike?

Skiing is an easy target to lob a rock at in this particular conversation. You have to invest thousands of dollars in gear and apparel and then invest roughly another thousand dollars or so to actually use the stuff.  Backcountry skiing costs less than resort skiing but it also comes with a higher risk of dying in an avalanche so in actuality it has the ability to cost even more.

Biking is really no different. A decent bike will cost you at least $1500 and despite the allure to own more than one, there is technically no good reason to do so.

Let’s say you own a mountain bike and you love to rip around on trails and be a badass mountain biker.  Just because that bike was built to support your trail riding habits doesn’t mean it won’t work in other capacities.  

Anyone can be this guy.

Can you put a rack or frame bag on it and ride to the store to pick up some eggs? Yup.

Could you ride your full squish, carbon steed that was crafted to perform on the ups and downs in the mountains and bomb down to the local bar or coffee shop to meet up with some pals? Damn tootin’.

Could you even, should you be moved to do so, add a little more air to your tires and take your mountain bike for a quick road ride on a day when you don’t have time to make it to the trailhead? Absolutely.

But a bike based lifestyle isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. And the creation of a bike quiver makes the journey even more interesting even if it’s an objectively stupid road to travel.

I was pondering all this because my personal quiver currently sits at 3 bikes and that number feels about right. I’m not currently working on a future purchase mostly because I keep finding ways to rework the existing quiver from within by modifying what I already have. And frankly, it would be overwhelming to add a 4th model to the bunch.

Actual photo of my bike quiver.

My current lineup is a 3 piece punk band. The Green Day of bike quivers. Simple, raw, effective and totally awesome. 

The rhythm section are the two models made from chromoly steel and the lead singer/guitarist is an aluminum hardtail. Nothing flashy but incredibly versatile as there are opportunities on each bike to modify and change the riding experience.

In a previous Drips & Dregs I told you how I took my Surly Karate Monkey from a basic rigid 12 speed mountain bike and had my pal Chuck modify it to become a modern two wheeled version of my old Hooptie War Wagon.  Getting that work done relegated my do it all gravel bike, a Surly Straggler, to collecting dust in my bike rack as I split my time between riding trails on my Salsa Timberjack (that’s the aluminum HT) and gravel rides on the Karate Monkey.  

(And no, Surly does not sponsor me or Rock Fight. I just really like their bikes)

This is where the quiver comes into play because the other day for whatever reason I was in the garage and the Straggler caught my eye.  Immediately in that shared moment I knew that later that day I would dust her off, pump up her tires and take her for a long overdue spin. And it was on that spin that the next incarnation of the quiver came to mind.  

A struggling Straggler.

What if I started doing more everyday gravel rides on the Straggler and I converted the Hooptie War Wagon back to mountain bike tires with a flat handlebar but this time…as a single speed. 

Holy shit, then I’d have my hardtail mountain bike, a fun fully rigid single speed that could come off of the bench for family rides (or trail rides whenever I wanted a break from the HT) and my Straggler would move back into the starting rotation for days when I didn’t go mountain biking.  

So am I going to go see Chuck and make some more mods to the incredible Karate Monkey? Yup.

Is this a privileged position to be in as an outdoor enthusiast? Damn tootin’.

Do I love the fact that I have my own little quiver that keeps things fresh and allows me options so that riding bikes is always fun? Absolutely.

And yeah, having a bike quiver is definitely a privileged position to be in.  But my little punk band is timeless. In fact I’m guessing that if you check in with me years from now it will be relatively unchanged.  

Unless we decide to open up auditions for that new e-cargo bike I saw the other day.


Drips & Dregs is the weekly column from Rock Fight Founder Colin True.

Sometimes outdoorsy and always outdoor adjacent, check in weekly to see what is on his mind.


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