Returning to the Depot Deli after my Bastille Day Gravel Grinder I noticed these really nice Surly Bikes in the rack. At first I thought the black one belonged to someone I follow on Instagram who lives in the Hartford area but when I introduced myself to the owners I realized it wasn't him.
Still, seeing these two Surlys made me long for my old, shit stain brown Surly Cross Check. I always hated the color but I loved the bike. It was steel, I ran 40c tires, and it would bomb down every dirt road and eat up the bumps. For the time being, I still long for another Surly, perhaps trying the Straggler or Long Haul Trucker, which is the other bike.
I think I have found a pretty good replacement in the REI ADV 3.1 Touring/Gravel Grinder bike. It has a unique geometry, an extra large head tube that almost gives it a mountain bike feel, coupled with short reach dirt drops and bar end shifters gives me a ride like no other gravel bike I have ridden to date! It is steel, and with 40c tires I can bomb down any dirt road I want.
At first I was a little concerned that I went back to a 58cm frame but I am now using a 20mm setback seat post and a 130mm stem it feels perfect. With my trunk bag in the rear and my forward trunk I can carry everything I need for an all day ride, as well as a 32oz growler, should I have the opportunity to stop at a local brewery for a fill.