Some time in early 2011, I was sitting on a barstool at Alchemy having already downed a few pints of nitro-charged Night Train. My wife got up to use the restroom and I took out my phone to pass the time. I ended up putting in a bid on a bike on eBay. Then she came back and we drank a couple more pints and went home.
And I forgot entirely about the bid I’d entered — until I got the “you’ve won–pay up” notice from eBay a couple of weeks later. A week or so after that, a Surly Karate Monkey turned up at my door, having been shipped from somewhere in Indiana. Sometime in the first year, it earned its nickname: The Albatross.
It’s gone through a number of incarnations. Four different handlebars, four different wheelsets (geared, singlespeed, IGH, and fixed), four different sets of tires (WTB Vulpine, Clement MSO, Schwalbe Big Apple, Schwalbe Marathon Winter), a few sets of pedals, a couple of saddles, two different cranksets, and has used disc brakes, cantilevers, and V-brakes.
It’s also been around the block a few times–and around the Midwest: Trans Iowa v9, Almanzo 100 (2011 and 2013), Dairy Roubaix (2013), and the first Powderhorn 24–as well as a number of gravel road missions in northeastern Wisconsin, long training rides from home, and rail-trail jaunts on the Badger State Trail, the Military Ride Trail, and the Glacial Drumlin Trail. It’s been ridden in every season, and just about every condition–and been so dirty that I’ve had to pull it completely apart at least three times just to get it clean again.
It wasn’t the perfect bike–but it was a good bike–and it was one of those bikes that hangs around and takes a beating. But I wasn’t riding it much–and with any bike I’m not riding much, it started to look like money I could use to fund another bike project.
Now it will be a good bike for someone else, since I sold it yesterday (along with one of its other wheelsets) to someone, oddly enough, from Indiana.