The long weekend gave me an opportunity to take my newly-completed Surly Troll our for a shakedown ride.
It seemed appropriate to go for a rattle along the Pennine Bridleway. This runs near to my home and features a variety of terrain. While there’d be plenty of mud and snow following last week’s near blizzard conditions, rock-strewn tracks, filling-rattling cobbles and rotor-deep puddles would be the order of the day.
A shakedown ride it would definitely be… an opportunity to shake off one or two components along the way, too.
The day started along canal towpath but I was soon climbing above Walkerwood Reservoir. My initial plan had been to hit the Woodhead Valley first before heading back to the bridleway for a lumpy route to Greenfield.
However, slushy, sticky snow hung in hollows along the trail and deep drifts made progress difficult. I retreated and followed the PBW at a lower and, hopefully, clearer elevation.
My early impressions of the Troll were confirmed quickly. I clearly lack mountain bike riding experience, but I find the Troll an absolute joy to ride both on road and off. It climbs well despite its heft and this deftness is keenly felt when picking albeit tentative lines through boulders and broken trail.
Not running a suspension fork, my progress was slow but the Troll gave me plenty of confidence and small jumps and ‘bunny hops’ soon punctuated my progress.
BB7s squealing, I dropped into Greenfield and followed paths and tracks to Dove Stones where I rattled around the reservoirs before the grinding climb to Chew Reservoir. This resulted some gear slipping, which will require a bit of fettling with the rear derailleur. I reached the ‘summit’ and hurtled down the track again enjoying the sure-footedness of the Surly. What a blast!
Next test will be lugging some load just to see how it handles.