kayak and lots of camping gear to make a major purchase. I had been commuting fairly regularly on my old mountain bike and I wanted to take this cycling thing a little more seriously. My friend Vic had recently purchased a Surly Cross Check and was really enjoying it. Vic's been on the cycling scene for probably two decades. With that experience came a desire to ride a steel bike. To be honest, I didn't know it mattered what kind of metal a bike was made from. I had been riding bikes off and on my whole life and had no idea anyone even cared.
Enter: The Google Search. Wow. Some of those people out there were fanatics! I saw forum brawls that went on for pages and pages. But what I did notice was the continual theme of "versatility" that came along with this Surly bike.
"The Jeep" of bikes, I read. Hmmm. Sounded interesting. It took me months of Googling and reading to realize the very bike I wanted was the bike Vic had been pedaling for nearly half the year. I knew I wanted a bike for commuting, bike camping and maybe even a conversion to single speed if I ever got a nicer bike to replace it (the Cross Check would then be knocked down to a foul weather bike).
I had narrowed it down to Surly's Cross Check or their Long Haul Trucker. But I couldn't seem to come up with a definitive answer.
So I had nearly made my decision. All that was left was going to the bike shop. They seemed to answer me pretty quickly. Cross Check. Cross Check. Cross Check. I think that everyone in there had one in their bike stable. And they agreed with me. One day, this bike could step down into single-speeding, low-maintenance, bad weather duties and an LHT could come in as the replacement.
The other factors were a small desire to ride a cyclocross race, 700c wheels and maybe having a straight "road" bike beyond the current commuter functions. So the Cross Check it was. It fit all my needs... literally, it could do anything. And while this is a story, not a Surly Cross Check review, I do put 100% endorsement behind the bike.
I love it. I've never had any major mechanical problems with it (now with thousands of miles on it) and it's still my favorite bike to ride. I do still wish for the LHT and one day I think one will be mine, but for now, I love the Cross Check. And, yes, by the way... it does matter what kind of metal your bike is made out of... and yes... steel is better :)
Get out there.