Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I'm not done with my wishlist so let's postpone Christmas

It's mid December and technically Christmas is just around the corner. This year however, I feel like I would need to postpone it.

First, my work situation is super busy in the end of this year. You know that feeling when everything has to be done for yesterday and all 5 of your projects compete for any scarce resources you have left? Yup, it's Christmas time!

Second, you would expect snow everywhere, which is not the case now. Instead, we are supposed to get 65F (18C) on Christmas Eve here in Boston. In fact, it looks like we may not see snow and decent sub (metric) zero (or sub-32F) temperatures until February. What a change from the previous season. Anyway, it doesn't feel like Christmas.

Third, I can't have Christmas because I don't have all gifts ready yet, even though this year I was smarter and bought most of this useless stuff online. Saves me several trips to the mall, which is a nightmare this time of the year, even if you don't drive but ride your bike instead.

Last but not least, my wishlist is not exactly complete yet. Nevertheless, I may have to settle on what I have so far and realize it's highly unlikely I get anything from this list for Christmas. Well, they don't call it a wishlist for nothing, I guess. Dear Santa, here is what I would really like to get:

Clement MSO 36mm tubeless tires
Clement's new X'Plor MSO 36mm, tubeless (Source:

I got super excited when I read that Clement announced their new tire several months ago. I'm very happy with my USH 35mm tires but I really wanted to try something designed for paths less traveled. The MSO was always on my list but so far it was offered only in 40mm and 32mm widths. The former one won't clear my frame and the latter one feels a bit narrowish for true off-road use.

To me, Clement hit a jackpot with the new 36mm MSO, especially that now it's tubeless. Unfortunately, it's not being sold yet so I will have to wait till spring to get my Christmas gift.

Surly Wednesday
Surly Wednesday (Source: Surly Bikes)

Another exciting news this year was the introduction of Wednesday - a new fatbike by Surly. In 2015 nearly every bicycle manufacturer out there offers a fatbike in their fleet but if you want to be true to its origins, you would look at either Surly or Salsa. Salsa's fatbikes used to be great. The newest ones, unfortunately, not only turned into fat-tire mountain bikes, but also are offered in some wacky colors. Their designers must have taken too much LSD.

Surly, on the other hand, hit all the boxes on my list with their Wednesday design. Symmetrical rear triangle, thru axles, 4.6" max. tire width, which means no crazy-wide 132mm bottom bracket is necessary and a whole bunch of braze-ons (rear and front racks, fenders, bottle cages, etc) - all this just makes sense. Not to mention the normal (blueish) frame color and a very affordable price.

It's a wishlist and this one is just wishful thinking. Because, let's be realistic, what is the chance that I will soon see more well-designed, protected and well-connected bike lanes and intersections in Boston and surrounding towns? If our politicians don't have guts to make changes, maybe Santa will.

Patient drivers
Overall, drivers I meet on roads in my neighborhood are actually not that bad. Most of them seems to be quite respectful of cyclists, not counting a few usual a**holes. But everyone behind the wheel needs simply more patience. The road is narrow and a cyclist is "slowing you down"? Wait a moment. There is going to be a better place to pass him/her safely in just a while. No need to try to squeeze by, inches away. Especially if you drive a large truck.

Along Maine Coast bike tour
Here I'm going to reveal some of my plans for 2016. I just need to find some time in the summer to ride a week-long tour of Maine coast, all the way to the Canadian border. The route is set. The bike is ready. I just have to decide when. Please Santa, help me make this happen.

Two month bike tour around New Zealand
This one is in a "distant dream" category. But who knows, maybe one day I will be able to return to places I visited 10 years ago. This time - by bicycle.

What's in your letter to Santa?

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