David Klein is currently embarking on a nation-wide cycle tour of his award winning theater show Tour De Science. We've just received a message from him about how much he's enjoying riding his Surly Big Dummy around the South Island. You can follow his blog here, with daily updates of his amazing trip. He's currently in Harihari, heading to Okarito tomorrow. Here's what he has to say about how his bike is performing:
This bike can carry so much stuff. The Freeloader bag system opens up, and has hidden pockets, and straps and clips and attachment points all over the show. If you wanna carry something with this bike, you probably can. One of my problems became being unrestrained by space, and possibly taking things because I could, not because I needed them. Loading up for this trip, I tried it a lot of combinations of what goes where. Keeping the heavy stuff at the bottom makes a huge difference in the handling. And, oh - the handling! I think the bike handles best with maybe around 20kg of gear. It becomes super responsive and agile, way more than you'd think possible.
Cruising along, it’s easy to forget how much you might be carrying. It never feels like a haul; the bike rides so smoothly. The range of gearing is incredible, and always seems to provide another option, so you find the sweet spot for easy riding. And going down hill, or with the wind at your back, this bike just sings. It's lovely. The only issues are some urban ones. Weaving through city traffic can be challenging, and the longer wheelbase (1.5x) needs to be accounted for. If you have a shed to put this bike in, sweet. I don't, and maneuvering it in and out of my room, and up a couple of steps is always the worst part of a ride. It can be hard to find the right way to lift it, especially when loaded.
This bike is very comfortable. I'd thought I may need to change the handlebars, but the default are very comfortable, even for all day riding. The geometry feels great, and you can just chew up kilometres. The brakes provide all the stopping power you need, and all the gears shift like a dream.
I'm on a 5000km tour, and feel very confident that the Big Dummy and I can go the distance. Having chipped off 1/10th of that, I can feel a routine. I'm carrying a full lightweight tent setup, clothes, props and accessories. We ride along, taking a break here and there. Refueling, checking vitals, etc. Reach the destination, set camp, cycle to the venue, perform the show, go to bed. Get up, and do it again! Pretty happy with the way life is going now.
Catch one of his shows in a town near you this Summer.