Presenting Mister Shine!
I am finally more or less ready to head back out on the road again, this time with a new traveling companion.
Mister Shine is a Surly Troll, outfitted with the racks and fittings from the bike I started out on, Sir. Everything moved over without any problems and I have more or less been able to pack the same kit, in the same place. I have made one or two changes, but nothing too extreme. The one larger equipment change, apart from the bike, is that I’m leaving the camping stove at home. Most people want to have a stove with them but I didn’t have one when I walked through Europe and am pretty certain that I will survive just fine without it. In fact, I find that I end up eating better, more nutritious and healthy food when I don’t have to cook it myself!
I was lucky to get my hands, very quickly, on what was probably the last and only large Surly Troll available in Sweden. I have to especially thank Mats at the Stockholm store of Cykekraft who helped me get the bike from their Gothenburg store in record time. Great service!
The Troll is the original off-road touring bike and is made super strong in order to survive just about anything. I have tested it over a variety of terrain and it feels solid and confidence-inspiring. It is heavier and does not roll as easily as Sir, but I am not racing, so I will just have to take a little bit more time.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, we take the ferry back to Tallinn to start all over again. Rather than head back to Riga to start where I left off, I am going to take the opportunity to cycle the western coast of Estonia, a route that looks really interesting. That way, I can at least say that I have cycled a large part of Estonia. Some of my friends are also taking bets as to whether I will make it past Riga this time, or if I will find another excuse to take the ferry back to Stockholm again!
Mister Shine got its name from 2 different sources. The first is from the Diamond Troll called Mister Shine in the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchet. It was difficult to find a smart Troll in literature to name the bike after, most Trolls are both evil and stupid, not traits that I value in my traveling companions. But Diamond Trolls are different, as explained by Wikipedia:
“All trolls are made of metamorphorical rock. The Diamond King is a Troll born not of jasper or beryl or bluestone or granite, but pure diamond, and as such his destiny is kingship. As diamond trolls, they are capable of regulating the temperature of their brains by reflecting all heat. The troll brain being a lump of impure silicon, troll intelligence is lowered by increases in temperature. Diamond trolls’ ability to regulate temperature makes them very intelligent, and intelligent in all environments.”
The other source is after an Australian Stockhorse that I once owned that was called Mister Kelly. Again from Wikipedia:
“The Australian Stock Horse (or Stockhorse), has been specially bred for Australian conditions. It is a hardy breed of horse noted for endurance, agility, and good temperament. Its ancestry dates to the arrival of the first horses in Australia, brought from Europe, Africa, and Asia. It is used today in a wide variety of disciplines and is still valued as a working horse by stockmen and stockwomen throughout Australia.”
So it will have a lot to live up to! I will most probably just call it Mister, which continues the rather formal tradition started with Sir and I now have 2 bikepacking bikes. One, Sir, a lightweight, easy-rolling thoroughbred and Mister, a practical, solid reliable bike that can handle anything.
Let the fun begin!