Monday, October 22, 2012

Dear Pugsley, I'll always consider you my friend....

“Well, I've been afraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older too
And I'm getting older too...”
Fleetwood Mac

Dearest Pugsley:

This is a very difficult letter to write.  My mind is reeling, my heart is aching, I can’t think too good, but I need to give it to you straight, you deserve the truth. I have found someone new...Someone that I am very excited about and this someone can give to me the kinds of things that you were never ever able to give to me...But itz not your fault...This does not mean that we still cannot be friends.  I’ll still respect you, I’ll always respect you.  As a single speed on loose terrain, you’re the greatest...but we both know that you are not that good with gears and that your wheels are too narrow, too heavy, and too old for long rides on snow. 

Please don’t take this personally...We have had a long, beautiful, rich history together and I’ll never forget the good times. We made a great team back in the day.  The early Arrowhead 135 races, when there were only your cousins to compete with, and I was young and able—we were contenders; the epic solo summer ride along the Northshore Trail to Grand Marais; last March’s classic winter trek to Ely, and even this summer’s single-speed effort at the 24 Hours @ Red Wing.  We were good together....

But there were tough times as well, like the debacle at last year’s Tuscobia 150, where the other bikes floated light-heartedly across the snow, while we continuously plowed our way through, causing great consternation and resentment on my part.  I know itz wrong, but I’ve never forgiven you for that day.  Itz me, not wasn’t your fault...itz me, I’m the one that has the problem...

I knew we were in serious trouble last week, when I spent hours trying to rig-up a hodgepodge set-up so that I could use gears on you and no matter how much I tried to adjust the old cables and yard on the bent derailleur hanger I could not get you to shift to more than a couple gears.  I know that itz true, Eki and Buff and all the other guyz blame me for your pathetic state and their right to blame me; trying to get you to rightly shift using an old chain and an even older cassette, combined with a super old back-ass derailleur and rusty cables, but  I still blame you. I’m a’ll be better off without me...  You deserve deserve someone that will fix you up right, someone that will put new shiny components on you.  Your still young, you can still do something...You need someone that will meet you half-way...Someone that will giveback and not just take and take....

I guess the final straw came yesterday when your chain broke for the umpteenth time while I was riding on the Northshore trail with my buddies.  There I was, once again on my knees, getting soaked, getting my hands full of grease and oil trying to cobble together an old chain while Eki and Buffington, atop beautiful modern, efficient snowbikes, mocked us...You deserve better... I’m a jerk.  You need a guy that will routinely take you to a bike shop and have expert mechanics go over you and build you up. Build up your self-esteem...All I do is tear you down. 

But it wasn’t always so bad...I remember when you first came into my life...It was something like seven years ago.  I was still treating the new concept snowbikes from Surly with ridicule and derision...I called them “clown bikes” and preached the gospel that the Pugsely was an abomination, a sacrilege, an unnatural instrument of the devil...whose concerted aim was to destroy the very core of the winter cyclist—the standard 26 inch mountain bike (Pramann still holds the Arrowhead record on such a bike).   Just as I now vow to never, ever buy a carbon frame or even worse, an electronic shifter, I vowed then to never own a Pugsley.  Then a generous, non-cycling woman that I work with at my school won a Pugsley frame at the Arrowhead 135 drawing and graciously gave the frame to me in repayment for a few minor niceties that I had done for her in the previous years.    I figured that since you were “free” I’d be okay with putting some used stuff on you...Maybe thatz why we never really clicked?  Maybe itz because I never truly appreciated you...You were the bike that alwayz got stuck with the used gear or the gear that I picked up at races.  For that I am sorry.  You deserved better. 

You may think that I am doing this cuz your not made of some fancy pants material like carbon or titanium or aluminum, but that ain’t the truth.  I love steel and I never minded that you were always a little bit heavier than the other snowbikes.  I know that you think that I blame you for your short fork-steerer tube, but I don’t...I know it was someone else that cut it too short, itz not your fault...but still, it drives me crazy! I hate being all hunched over...i don't blame you...itz me...I need counseling. 

Itz just that I need to move on...I need space to grow.  I’m going to Alaska in February and I need to really focus on that...You say you want to go with me, but you know as well as I do that your wheels are too small, your tires are too bald, your components are too old and brittle...I gotta think about myself, my own needs....

Please forgive me...but I be gettin' me a MOONLANDER :)

This will be for the best in the long run....



  1. So sad, but beautiful!

    Tell Pugsley not to worry, there's plenty of riding to go around, we're like LDS Fundamentalists-polygamy is a wonderful thing.

  2. Wow! You put it like that and I actually feel bad for mocking you. Although, that 10" wide handlebar just had to go. We're all very happy for you.

  3. P.S.

    I was in fact riding a Pugsley OLDER than yours with working gears and chain!

  4. So sad...breaking up is hard to do....

  5. So, is this pugs up for adoption? If so, I have room in my quiver of bikes to fit one. Condition of components is not important, as long as the frame and wheels are still good. Let me know.


    1. Dear Josh: The Pugsley remains...She feels jilted and hurt, but once I get her set-up as a single-speed again, she'll once again shine...My question to you is: How many Fat-Bikes can one man own?

    2. Fair enough, I thought it wouldn't hurt to offer some shelter to it and perhaps some (what sounds like) respite to you. I figured it was a stretch as you have been on many noble adventures with that fine mare. When you mentioned needing someone to take care of it and build it up, I immediately had plans for a pile of nice parts that are just waiting for a frame. Cheers!

  6. Charlie, I read you are ready to retire your Pugsley. It may just be I can help. I own a bike store in Seattle, at the age of 59, motivated by love, adventure and insanity. So, I know even more about carrying around some years than you. We started carrying a few Fat Bike models just a few weeks ago. We have an entry level we are selling for around $900, a nice bike for locals to knock around in, and we rent it also to spread the experience. We are also taking the manufacturer's best aluminum bike and doing a bunch of upgrades. We think it is better that a Moonlander by quite a bit, for less dough. I was also able to afford one titanium fat. I would be happy to equip it per your specs, ship it to you next week, and you could use it through the Invitational. If you liked it, and wanted to keep using it, I would either give it to you or sell it to you super, super cheap. Depending on I don't know what right now. Why? I would like to introduce us to Alaska, the heart of fat-biking, and having someone with some personality in that race would, I hope give us some cred. So let us be your sponsor. I hope we could at least talk about it. In any event, you seem like a pretty interesting guy. You can call me, Brian Nordwall, at 206-396-0446, or email

  7. Charlie, Brian again. Read you blog more carefully. I do not want to mess in anyway with your definition of amateur. I don't think I am. If I am I apologize, and will fix it. I feel like an amateur myself. I have had the shop for a year, never paid myself a nickel. I pay all of my employees more than everyone else, because bike people are not fairly paid. Some day, if I can pay myself what my mechanic makes, that would be OK, I work many hours.

  8. ya ride em and wear em out and getcha yourself a new one...