Gallery: Joe’s Surly Cross Check

Here is mine in its “finally I’m happy with” setup:

  • 56cm Surly Cross Check
  • Cannondale slice carbon fork (mine went out for warranty, brake boss snapped, will be reinstalled when it gets back, the carbon fork sucks)
  • 700c Araya rims, laced to 600 hubs
  • Shimano 600 6spd freewheel
  • 600 FD, 105 RD
  • Suntour Cyclone cranks, 50/44
  • Whites Industries BB
  • Modded and laced Cardif Cornwall saddle (about 2k miles)
  • DA barcon rear shifter
  • DA DT front shifter
  • Michelin Dynamo 28c tires
  • Soma rear rack, wood deck made by me
  • Sunline front rack
  • CC canties
  • Suntour XC pedals

See’s the brunt of my semi car free lifestyle, as well as all in town errands.

Thanks. Love the site, keep it up. —Joe

Arkel Briefcase

I’ve been using an Arkel Bug as my primary commuting bag for the past couple of years. It’s a convertible pannier/backpack that works well for multi-modal commuting, particularly when a long walk and a lot of weight are involved. While the Bug is not a bad looking bag, visually it’s more of a student’s daypack than a professional’s briefcase. I’m fortunate that my workplace environment is fairly casual, but there are times when I need to dress more professionally for client meetings, and on those days, the Arkel Briefcase fits the bill better than the Bug.

The design of the Arkel Briefcase is similar to other soft-sided briefcases. It has two main compartments that fold down on each side, a front organizer pocket with slots for pens, pencils, etc., and a small key pocket on the outer flap. One of the main compartments has organizer pockets that work well for power adapters, cords, iPods, cell phones, etc., and the other contains a removable, suspended laptop pocket that will easily hold a 15″ notebook. The main body is reinforced on both sides with hard plates to protect your laptop in case of an accident. The center of the bag expands out to make room for books, papers, lunch, or a change of clothes. The padded should strap is on rotating hooks to prevent twisting, and the heavily-reinforced top handle should outlast the bag.

While the design of the Briefcase is similar to garden-variety soft-sided briefcases you’ll find at office supply stores, the construction is more robust. The materials used in its construction are similar to those used in Arkel’s touring panniers, with heavy-duty Cordura nylon, beefy YYK zippers, and National Moulding buckles used throughout. The mounting hardware is also borrowed from their touring panniers. I really like Arkel’s mounting system; the bags are securely held in place while being very easy to install and remove, and in all of the years using their panniers, I’ve never had a failure. An additional feature that’s not included on their touring panniers is a flap that folds down to hide the hardware when the bag is off of the bike.

My commute is unusual in that I carry an above average amount of weight and employ at least three modes, one of which is a fairly long walk. Consequently, a convertible backpack/pannier like the Bug works well for me. But, if I had a more typical point-to-point bike commute in which I didn’t need to carry a heavy bag long distances on foot, I’d prefer the Briefcase because of its organizational pockets, suspended laptop pouch, and more business-friendly appearance.

Width: 17″
Height: 12″
Depth: 7″
Volume: 1500 cu. in.
Weight: 4.3 lbs.
Made in Canada
MSRP: $214.95


Disclosure: Arkel is a sponsor of this website. You can view our review policy here.


It’s been a looong week and we’re looking forward to a little rest and relaxation in the form of a long, leisurely bike ride tomorrow. This one will be purely for fun. Do you have fun plans that involve riding a bike this weekend? If so, share you story with us….

Adeline Adeline

Adeline Adeline is a new bike shop that just opened up in New York City. They offer a nice mix of products from Pashley, Abici, Retrovelo, Batavus, Linus, Brooks, Nantucket Baskets, and others. From their “About Us” page:

Adeline Adeline is a bicycle boutique for the person who wants to rediscover the style, fun and romance of cycling. The shop is a friendly, welcoming environment that focuses on the beautifully designed city bikes and accessories made famous on the streets of Copenhagen, Amsterdam and now, New York.

Adeline Adeline founder, Julie Hirschfeld started her career far away from bikes, first as a graphic designer for the television channel, VH1, and then as partner in the New York design firm, Stiletto NYC, where she worked on fashion branding and motion graphics projects with such diverse clients as New York Magazine, Conde Nast, MTV and Nike.

Adeline Adeline

Albatross Handlebars on Flickr

While we’re at it, here’s a slideshow featuring all photos on the keywords “albatross handlebar”.

Internal Gear Hubs on Flickr

Here’s a Flickr slideshow of all photos that include the keywords “internal gear hub”.

Velo Orange Chainguard

Bill sent me this photo of a Velo Orange alloy chainguard and custom protector ring mounted on his Surly Long Haul Trucker. This is one of the most attractive aftermarket chainguard installs I’ve seen; nice work, Bill! Here’s his description:

This is my LHT (Truckaccino) City Bike with the Alfine 8-speed rear hub. I’m using a 38 tooth chainring up front and it looked “lonely” in the large opening of my new VO chain guard. So I took an old 50 tooth chainring – hacksawed off the teeth – and used a hand file to smooth out the circumference – and mounted it on the cranks in the outer position. A perfect fit! Fills the opening of the VO chain guard perfectly. My 38T chainring is not lonely anymore.

Velo Orange

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