I’ve long considered a fat bike. The first time I rode one, I couldn’t stop smiling. The last time I was grinning this stupidly, I was probably 10 years old. As I grew older, bicycles became a more serious affair. Sure, I laughed and had fun, but to smile uncontrollably on a bicycle was rare. As of late, a neck problem has put a serious damper on my riding, making it not only uncomfortable, but not very much fun. I was offered a trade for my Litespeed L3, so I took it after convincing my wife it was a good idea. So now, I am back on the riding horse in the form of a Grassy Green Surly Pugsley.
The original idea was to sell the Litespeed and buy a proper mountain bike. As per my personality, I researched the crap out of mountain bikes. The shop I work at sells Giants and Felts, so I was trying to decide between 27.5″ and 29ers. I settled on 27.5″ full suspension from Giant, the Trance to be more specific. Riding one just harkens back to my downhill days. I was watching all sorts of videos on enduro racing. I thought I knew what I wanted, and my course was set. Then the neck pain started to happen.
I usually get upper back/neck pain early in the season when I have been off the bike for a while. But this was a pain that prevented me from turning my head to the right, and kept me from being able to lift my head up to look ahead. Not a good thing when commuting or just riding on the road in groups. I thought the race geometry of the Litespeed didn’t help, hence the decision to sell. Then I rode the cyclocross bikes, and the same thing happened, though the pain took a little longer to manifest, and went away quicker post-ride. I figured an upright mountain bike was the solution.
Enter the Pugsley. I have always loved fat bikes since building up a Fatback fat bike for a customer and riding it through the snow. I couldn’t get anyone to purchase the Litespeed. A buddy of mine, who is a die hard roadie, had a Surly Pugsley chilling in his garage. He offered a trade. After a snub from the wife. I rode the CX bikes several more times before I had to ask her for the okay on the trade due to the neck pain. I made the trade, and promptly rode to and from work the next day. 40 miles total. Neck was a little sore during the ride, but I was also wearing a backpack. However, I could still turn my head to the right. Post-ride, the soreness subsided far more quicker than after riding my drop bar bicycles.
Being comfortable on the bike is paramount. Riding a bicycle should be an enjoyable affair. The Surly Pugsley has brought back that enjoyment as well as a smile to my face.