Pug Ops first ride

Surly Pugsley Special Ops, Flagstaff Hill, Wollongong (looking south)

I have just acquired a Surly Pugsley Special Ops (a fat bike for those otherwise unfamiliar), after being interested in them for a few years. Being back in Oz, they are about as — perhaps even less — common as snow on the beach. It was for riding on the latter where my interest primary sat.

It was shipped to a friend’s business premises (to meet courier requirements), which is about 10km away. The plan was to pick it up and ride it back — which would open up the possibility to get it out onto sand for the last couple kms.

About 5 minutes of pedalling the Pug Ops on pavement, I started to reflect on whether forking out a significant amount of cash — made without having ridden a fat bike before — was the right decision for me. About 5km into the ride, I was able to get my first experience of anything other than pavement. A simple drift into grass adjunct to the path provided a subtle hint of how different the Pug Ops performed. It provided a tiny bit of hope, still heavily suppressed by the incessant rigidity of pavement. Having the seat a touch high was also starting to bite a little.

With doubt well and truly setting in, about 8km into the ride, I closed in on the beach. With a little trepidation I crested the mound behind the sand, and descended the wooden slat walkway onto the soft sand — unsure how much I would sink and if a trip over the bars was imminent. I was a little surprised about how little the tyres sank…

I headed for the edge of the water, about 30m away. As I closed in, the trepidation and doubt quickly dissipated. With 30 seconds on the harder packed sand — as I watched the very subtle and shallow tyre marks the front wheel was leaving behind, as the smell and feel of the ocean washed around me — I could sense joy and excitement fermenting.

After the 1.5km stretch on the beach, I headed onto another small strip of sand, then a rocky beach, and another sand beach, taking it all in.

My first ride on the Pugs Ops became everything I hoped it would. I look forward to many more beach riding adventures, before taking on some trails in nearby National Parks…