Big Dummy


Alex is a seasonal salmon fisherman and a musician; a painter, a steel sculptor and a cyclist.  He and I rode from Tacoma, WA to San Francisco, CA in October 2009.  On that ride, we scouted a great route through the Lost Coast of California, pedaled for a week with the globetrotting English cyclist Matt Blake, and encountered not a moment of trouble in three weeks of travel.  Alex’s Mavic MA40 rim cracked dramatically at an eyelet, raccoons stole our food at least once, and the tent we were sharing was a little too short for his 6′ 4″ figure.  Alex rode a 1989 Trek 520, and I rode my 1995 520.  It couldn’t have been any better.

After another season of fishing in Alaska and much planning, Alex has set out to continue the ride south.  This time he has crafted a bike for the Bikapocalypse, with space for many liters of water, a camera, computer, and a guitar.  His Surly Big Dummy is built with a Rohloff hub, custom drilled by Aaron’s Bike Repair in West Seattle for 48 spokes.  A Shimano dynamo hub is wired to Supernova E3 lights front and rear.  Of note, the saddle is one of the most luxurious models that Brooks offers– the sprung triple-railed B33.  The saddle weighs 3.5 lbs.

Alex hopped the train south to San Francisco from Tacoma, and met a friend for the first few days down the coast.  They mixed pavement and dirt tracks over the mountains from SF to Santa Cruz.  Along the Pacific Coast Highway, Big Sur and the south-central coastline are an exceptional ride– one that never gets old.  Further south, Alex pointed his tires up into the Santa Monica Mountains before descending into Los Angeles.  Now, another friend has flown into San Diego for a few weeks of riding in Baja California.  Alex and I plotted some routes on the peninsula in search of quiet roads and remote beaches.  Working from memory and the same National Geographic series maps that I used several winters ago, they should be on their way from the Pacific Coast across a low mountain range to the Sea of Cortez.  As this Big Dummy continues south, I hope to share more photos and stories from the road.

The guitar is encased in a waterproof tarp on the back.  The tires are 26×2.35″ Schwalbe Fat Franks.  The rims are Halo SAS, 36h front and 48h rear.  The handlebar is an aluminum Jones Loop H-bar.










Photography: Alex Dunn, captured with a Sony Nex-5R with 18-55mm lens.