This summer, my wife, Julie, and our two youngest daughters, took a little road trip, from the Atlantic ocean to the Pacific, and back the Carolinas. Along the way I rediscovered my interest in cycling. I came back from the trip with a much-needed obsession with doing some cycling.

After returning from the road trip, I spent a few weeks researching the different types of rides that I might want to do. I know I want to ride some gran fondos, and possibly the TransAm Bike Race next summer.

I would like to buy a Roubaix or Tarmac down the road. But, for the time being I settled on replacing my Sirrus hybrid with a bike more suitable to touring. Interestingly, after considerable research I settled on the bike that a number of people had already suggested. While we were at Newton Bike Shop, the owner of the store suggested a Surly Cross-Check. In fact, she brought her Cross-Check out from the back so we could take a look at it.

So after deciding on buying a Surly Straggler (which is basically a Cross-Check, with disk brakes), Julie and I took a trip to Charleston, South Carolina on Labor Day, where the closest Surly dealer is located, to ride a few. I always run into size issues when I am looking at a new bike. On paper I am a size 56. But, I seem more comfortable on a larger bike. I have more of a torso than legs, and maybe the longer bike lets me stretch out more.

In Charleston, I rode a size 56 Straggler and a size 58 Cross-Check. The bike shop didn’t have a 58 Straggler on the floor. When I asked them about ordering a bike, they said that the supplier seemed to be out of stock, and there was also some confusion over the price of the bike. The owner of the shop said he would check on availability, and pricing, and call me Tuesday.

I waited all day Tuesday, and never got a call. So, late in the day, I called the owner of the shop who said he hadn’t gotten a chance to call his supplier. He said he would call them in the morning and let me know Wednesday. I waited Wednesday and Thursday with no call.

By the weekend my patience had run out. So I took a ride to Atlanta to visit Loose Nuts Cycles, which is listed as an “Intergalactic Dealer” on Surly’s website. They hit the title on the head.

From the moment I walked in the shop their service was excellent. Chris, who is one of the shop owners let me test ride a size 58 Straggler and a 56 Pack Rat, which has similar geometry to the Straggler. When I got back from my test rides, he was out the front door to ask me how the bikes felt before I could even get off the bike. He also took the time to really sort out my sizing issues. And once he explained to me what we were looking for, it quickly became apparent that I needed a size 56. He had a size 58 in stock, but, never tried to sell it to me.

I went home ready to order the bike. With wife approval, I called them back today to give a deposit. The shop said not to worry about it, they would order it tomorrow. No deposit needed. That’s service.

My new tour bike will be here Wednesday. I will keep you posted.