I present to you: THE HILL TOPPER

I’ve been thinking about bikeventures this summer and how to take baby camping for midweek adventures while Mike is working. I knew I wanted something with more gears and something that could handle both roads and hard packed gravel. I wanted the ability to add a rack, fenders, and a basket. I wanted swept back bars and a dynamo.

So I sent a few emails and briefly flirted with the idea that I could build my own bike before summer. HA! I then hit a few shops and bike sales. I was pretty sure I wanted a Surly Straggler having ridden Madi’s before (and just look at how much that little bike can carry!). But hers is a 50 cm, 700c, which I found out was too big for me when I had to quickly step off the bike on my way up Capitol Hill. OUCH!

I hadn’t ruled out the Long Haul Trucker and had chatted with a friend on Friday about test riding hers soon. I had also lined up a test ride of the 42 cm. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t fit me because of the shortened reach, but I wanted to check for sure. I’m a tall 5’1 (HAHA) and I tend to fall in between sizes which can make it hard to find a good fit.

I saw an instagram post on Saturday morning about the Cascade Bicycles Bike Swap. We had plans to meet up with some baby friends later in the day, but decided to take a quick peek. The plan was for me to go in and look around and Mike to take the baby to oogle dogs at the nearby dog park.

It was so big! And super overwhelming! SO. MANY. BIKES. But then I saw the peek of a tire and the springy mint green. A Surly! A SURLY STRAGGLER 46 cm! There was a woman taking a close look at it and consulting with her friends. She wanted to test ride but hadn’t brought a helmet, she worried. Would it be there later? One friend encouraged her to buy it. She declined.

Phew! I had spent the last 5 minutes making awkward eye contact with the sales guy at the booth and now was my chance! He showed me how the shifters worked and I handed over my ID to take it for a test ride!

It felt so light! So responsive! Mike made his way over from the playground to check it out with me. What did I think about the drop bars? Uh, I have no idea how to use them. What would I want to change? Fenders, rack, basket, bars…

We waited in line for him to buy entry and headed inside to discuss further. It turns out that the shop (Bike So Good) was going to be closing and they were selling everything wholesale. After a little bit of haggling, we committed!


We were able to lash the bike to the rack of the bakfiets (with some trial & error) and I carried the front wheel on my rear rack. We really need one more strap, but someone biking by gave us a bit of bar tape that did the trick!

Mike walked the new bike and Creme up the hill to home while I continued on to our baby brew pub event at Peddler. He joined us a little later on his bike.

I’m still smiling from ear to ear after taking her out today – but more on that later! And I still need to introduce the bakfiets! SO MUCH TO WRITE, SO MANY BIKES TO RIDE!

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