Monthly Archives: June 2012

Our home is 26 miles from my afternoon j-o-b at Austin’s airport, so I get to meet clients for the ad business in town around mid day before heading out to the “career”.  That means lunch at local spots like NeWorlDeli or runs to Costco for cheaper gas on the “meeting” days” when I don’t want to show up sweating in lycra or worse,  my camo-print mountain bike shorts.  However in Austin,  some clients just don’t mind or might show up to give business details wearing their own bicycle wear.  That’s what it’s like when you have the lowest-cost ad platform on the planet in one of the world’s coolest little cities.

The other day I found myself with an hour to spend before heading to the airport, and the lure of Ozone bicycles near my favorite Ruben sandwich was irresistible.  I took a few photos while looking for touring gear and bikes when at one side of the store sat a Surly Moonlander.      O  M  G   ~~:D"surly bicycle moonlander"

“Cool”; I said, and started checking it out.    While drooling isn’t seemly for a 51 year-old the Ozone guy completely understood, and I was offered to ride the bike with it’s huge SURLY “Big Fat Larry” tires.

Surly Moonlander front wheel and Big Fat Larry tire

The Moonlander is fun to look at, and more fun to ride than any rigid frame I’ve ever experienced.  It is easy to shift up and down,  with low-lows and high-high gearing that IS NOT slow on the road.  You would be amazed how fast one gets up to “traffic” speed on this bike.  Not that you would need a road.  The Big Fat Larry’s are so big and light, you feel like you landed on the moon, regardless of the rigid frame.   The wheels have holes to make them light, and feel soft to the touch, as they are made of unobtainium or something from the moon, I guess.

Surly Moonlander

Rigid fun, beyond comparison.

Downsides?  The price, at $2350 as tagged, might keep some away, but maybe they’ll sell enough Moonlanders that the price will have to drop when another framer decides to get into the ultra-fatty game.   I want one.  And if you want to be on remote trips, I would caution checking the cost of a few tubes and a spare tire in case you shred one of these behemoths on a broken moon-bottle at Padre Island National Seashore and find yourself 50 miles from civilization.

Upsides?  Simple, pure, FUN could be the alternate text for the Surly Moonlander.   This ride is a lot lighter than it looks, and is the kind of bike I would want to ride on a remote beach tour, or any similar place on the planet . . . . from San Fransisco, Corpus Christi, Los Angeles, Manhattan,  Miami, Chicago, or Dallas, … as in, from there to a weekend camping site.   Or from a camping site to the mountain top and back, in a cool way, with a big smile.

When folks see a Surly Moonlander, they will want to ride it, and ride it again, and be seen on it around town.  It is an attention-getter.   I thought; “What an ad prop.  Wear a costume and tow a sign”?  Hmmm

I would like to give a big thanks to the nice helpful folks at Austin’s OZONE Bikes for the test ride.   Now back to my touring – bike shopping.  The Surly Disk Trucker is looking good for a review, as well as the Salsa Vaya.


Thank you for supporting our sponsors!

adbirds is people, business,  community and eco friendly advertising

Shop locally by shortest distance.  Click the image to see bikes for sale.


The first trip hasn’t a set date, but several locations are all mapped out around Central Texas.

This thing about traveling over many miles on a bicycle has been a “want – to – do” of mine for many years.  Why I didn’t do it in my 20’s is beyond me.  It’s something you have to do when you have time.  And the time between service in the Air Force to an aborted college run to an airline career never amounted to much.   Now at 51, I am getting the gear together.  Gear that will last a long time, and with which I can use to not only enjoy touring on a bicycle, but tour with a purpose.

The bike and gear are a mix of old and new.   I bought my Bridgestone RB-2 in 1991.  It has seen a few miles, been well maintained and has been upgraded with a Shimano Sora triple crankset and Xero 8-speed rear hub and wheels which work great in Austin’s hills.  It is a great commuter bike and feels like an extension of my soul when on the road.  I guess the Bridgestone is one of the more satisfying possessions I’ve ever had.   For conversion from “Road” to “Touring” bike,  I went back to 28c tires from Panasonic.  The RB-2 came with 28c tires, but I thought the higher pressure 23c Continentals were great for speedier rides. Now I don’t think they made much of a difference.  The new 28’s feel great on the road and under load.

"ortleib panniers,  extrawheel bicycle trailer,  touring

The Extrawheel trailer is something new to me.  I look forward to my first overnight ride.   It will only be 16 miles to the campsite for my shake-down ride,  so I can get used to feeling a loaded bike and estimate speeds to be expected on the longer stretches.   I’ll be testing some more new products along the way, so I hope you’ll check back soon.