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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We made it!
Kathy and I just rode the beach from just west of Hope to Homer, and it's 100% ride-able with the right tool. Pugsley is that tool.
It's the best ride I've done yet, all the mo betta with my wife along.
We took Pugs with the new Endomorph tires and Ray Molina's Sand/snowbike with his sand tires. Li'l Ray, as he became known, was a very close second, but was indeed second to Surly's bigger tire. We switched back/forth between bikes, and whoever was on Ray struggled to keep up.
Ray originally designed those tires out of necessity for a lack of anything close to their 3.5 size, and it's served snow/sand bikers very well for many years. But now Surly has improved on Ray's original.

If you have a sandbike style bike, keep it. If not and you're thinking of buying one, look at the Surly, or at least the tires. They're worth every penny.
We didn't know quite what to expect in terms of beach ride-ability, and we were pleasently surprised when we averaged 5mph the first day out. Overall we averaged around 8mph with some 10mph bursts when we needed to beat the incoming tide.
We flew onto the beach west of the Chickaloon River to avoid the big mudhole that's Chickaloon bay, and started at 8pm Tues night. Made a quick 10 miles and setup camp on Point Possession. Lot's of bear activity but none bothered us.
For the next several days we cruised the beach and even stopped off to eat in towns along the way. Even went to the Ninilchick State fair!
Pulled into Homer on Sunday and spent most of the day toasting Surly at the Salty Dawg.
It's a great ride and do-able by anyone with a snowbike. Snocats will work in spots but you'll be wishing you had bigger tires for most of the ride.
You can ride from state campground to campground, or stay in towns along the way. You can also start at the Capt Cook state park at the end of the road north of Kenai, and avoid the fly-in expense.
We both highly recommend this ride.
We're working on a more detailed story with more of the 459 pics we took. Stay tuned.
Pat
 

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dear santa

Fantastic pictures that make me want to go back to Alaska today. Only downside is now I "need" another bike. When you get a chance please post a close up of the bike and list parts (I am really interested in the bars). Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Pugs' reply

Glad everyone is as excited as I am. The great thing about this ride is it's close to Anchorage and doesn't have to involve alot of planning or expense. The right bike and a tide book....
We took 5.5 days, but it can be done in 2 if you want to race it. But it's too beautiful to race thru for me.
We basically rode on the early low tide and were done by noon on most days. Nice to have all day to relax, read, write, or go to the fair, then sleep all night. But there are 2 low tides per day, so the more impatient folks can knock it out pretty quick. Earlier in the summer with more light is a good time to try it. But watch out for: lots and lots of sharp rocks, razor clam shells, ship parts, and cars that caught in the tide. Really! And bears. Lots of bears....

The Kenai and Kasilof rivers are too big at low tide and can either be crossed in a pack raft if you have one, or you can hit the road and cross on the bridge and grab a meal while you're at it. This ride is like the best of off-road touring with the convenience of stores/resturants.

Pugs has a modified Nitto Albatross bar, flared out to 45 degrees at the grip. A friend did this for me. Anyone can get it done, but there are other bars coming already flared for you. The Jones H-bar and the Mary bar are already out. Either one will offer the same fit. The Nitto has some rise and that is nice for beach cruising and comfort and the Mary would offer the same. The Jones has no rise.
Pugs was single-speed with a 32x20/18 combo, but I'd probably go with a 32x21/22 for the next one.
I have cantis on there now, but just got a 185 rotor so I can put one rear disc brake back on. I built the wheels with an old Pre-ISO Hugi disc hub and the red dial on the Avid caliper rubbed the spokes. That should be solved with a larger disc.
With that said, we hardly used the brakes on this ride and it can be done with no brakes. A fixie would be great, but I don't like fixies.
Other than that I built Pugs with parts I had laying around. You have to use a 100mm BB, and all I can find are ISIS, which is the one weak spot in an otherwise bombproof bike.
Wellgo Mag platform pedals that I use for winter riding, FSA carbon crank(hey, it's all I had), Avid cantis, miss-matched brake levers, Ti post and WTB saddle.

We took one pannier each, a Jandd frame wedge, a cheapo bar bag, sleep bag, thermarest, GoLite Hex tent, MSR XGK stove, and food for 5 days. Pretty standard touring stuff.And yes, we had bear spray.

Pugs is here at the shop if you want to see him. Everything is available but the tires which are due in September.

Enjoy the pics,
Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
more pugs

I have 459 pics and need to do something with them. Hopefully I will entice folks to do more beach riding.....
Pat
1. I've had this hanger for years and couldn't wait to use it again.
2. Can you believe there's a Surly CrossCheck in Anchor Point?
3. This pic makes Pugs look huge compared to Li'l Ray
4. Kathy in yet another rock garden
5. I call this Gooseberrypoop mesa
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
more of the same....

I just can't tell you guys how much fun this was. Just do it!

1. The Mesa. Who needs Utah? By the way, that is REAL slickrock!
2. The finish line...
3. Homer beer in Sobe bottles. Gottaloveit!
4. You don't get a nose like that teaching Sunday School. This was Sunday morning....
5. Don't get caught by the tide.....
 

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thanks pat - truly inspiring

Just one question from the newbie - Can you go too big with the rims and tires?

When I did Iditasport a few years back a couple of riders were on sand bikes and they complained how tough it was to push those big wheels. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Too big?

Yes, for certain conditions you can go too big with tires, but as I said in the first post, you need the right tool for the job. Snowcats/2.5 rubber just wouldn't be enough on the beach we rode, but it's often ideal for Iditarod Trail riding. The big wheels are slower and take more effort on the snow, and the difference between when they can ride and the smaller ones can't is marginal. But the bigger ones can ride when others can't, and if you're not racing but just riding, the bigger ones are a sure bet.
And what I found on the beach is that the Endomorphs are so big and float so well, that the rolling resistance is minimal. You can see that in the two treads above. I hope it holds true for snow because I'm already planning some cool winter rides.
Pat
 

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still interested

Very little sand in Vt. but cruising on snowmobile trails in March would be greatly improved on a Pugsley, I checked out the Surly page and did the numbers so a new bike will have to wait.

One last question, have you run a 26"Snowcat with 3.0 tire on a monkey? Does it give you that little bit of float that is needed to ride at 32 degrees (I run 29" Snowcats with the Exis)?

Thanks for all of your answers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
monkey

I have not tried 26" cats/3.0 Gazz on a Monkey, but I don't think it would work. But check the 29er forum just in case as I'm sure someone out there has tried it. Also post on this Alaska forum as there are lots of monkeys here. I don't have 26" cats to try....

That wheel combo does work great in a 1x1. I have Marge/3.0 Gazz on Pinky and we would have taken that bike had it not been for Ray sitting in my basement.

Your 29er Cats just aren't big enough at those temps unless you get lucky. If it's soft and around freezing, I'd put 26" Cats and the biggest tire you can fit in your bike and go from there. That's if you just want to have a fun ride. If racing, I'd wait until that day and make the call: Fatter rubber if it's soft, narrower if it's hard.

The Iditasports have been on the warm side the last several years and everyone was walking. The fatter wheels are a little tougher to push. But to just have fun, and not being in race mode these days, I'm opting for the fatties. Lots of races have been won on the fat Snowbikes, too!

Pat
 

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A great adventure!

Hey Pat!
Congratulations on charting new options for the big wheeled bikes! I can see a ride like this in my future. My Vicious Cycle looks like it would handle the trip quite well! Steve's got the Evingson, so maybe we'll give 'er a whirl.
Down here in Colorado Springs dropping off The Boy at school and exploring the cycling opportunities. The singletrack is humbling.

QB
 

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surlys rock

patirwin said:
I have 459 pics and need to do something with them. Hopefully I will entice folks to do more beach riding.....
Pat
1. I've had this hanger for years and couldn't wait to use it again.
2. Can you believe there's a Surly CrossCheck in Anchor Point?
3. This pic makes Pugs look huge compared to Li'l Ray
4. Kathy in yet another rock garden
5. I call this Gooseberrypoop mesa
Hey Pat,
We think the cross check in your photo is on we sold here in burlington this summer to a couple from AK. small world.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
We got lots o' talk

And we got lots of pics, Bearbait. Ya'll just tell me when you're tired of my rantings and photos. Did I mention we took 459 of them?

Vermont, that XCheck did indeed have a shop decal from Burlington. Pretty cool to think we effectively doubled the Surly population on the Kenai Penninsula on this ride.

Queen B, it'd be a great ride for you two. Leave Leonard at home though.....

Pat
 

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your roots

patirwin said:
1. Just in case I forget.....

2. Rowdy, the dog.
We caught a ride up Cohoe Rd back to the beach on the southside of Kasilof river. They offered, we accepted.

Pat
Pat,
Those last two views confirm it for me...you ARE from Tennesse :p

akdeluxe
 
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