In this week’s Reader’s Rig, we check out Abner Z. Rangel-Leal’s Surly Bridge Club, a bike that’s helped him live an increasingly car-light lifestyle. Find a closer look at Abner’s rig and his thoughts on the importance of riding for physical and mental health here…

Words and photos by Abner Z. Rangel-Leal (@abners_bike_rides)

Hello, Abner here. I was born and raised in Mexico City but have been living in the Utah mountains most of my adult life. At work, I’m the guy people call up when they want to “crunch the numbers.” My first foray into cycling in my adult life came when I started mountain biking a few years back. Nothing is as paradoxically relaxing as intensely focusing on the trail ahead. There’s no room for many of life’s problems if you’re having to make split-second decisions with your physical well-being while you’re on the trail. When I decided I was done melting away my problems and instead chose to think about them, I figured a body in motion will beget a mind in motion, and vice versa; so, I started riding for transportation and relaxation. I haven’t gone on any epic bike tours yet and, as my bike’s setup reflects, I’m mostly cycling to get around town and breathe the (mostly) fresh air of the Wasatch mountains.

Surly Bridge Club

Similar to a wedding ring, a pair of grey sweats you haven’t washed or taken off in a week, or a Grateful Dead tattoo, my Surly Bridge Club represents a commitment to a set of ideals, norms, and practices. In this case: why drive when you can ride? Is it better to get somewhere quickly or to enjoy the trip? Will I make it home at the time I told my spouse I’d be home? (lol… but really). Every time I think about driving the family car, I ask myself these questions. And you know what? You’d be surprised at how often this simple decision tree yields the result ride your bike.

Anyway, an expensive car repair is likely the best thing that happened to my physical and mental health, while also being the worst thing that happened to my personal finances. It led me to this bike and has resulted in countless adventures on it. At 30 years old, I feel strongly that one of the greatest joys in life is getting lost in a fall weather neighborhood tour of your hometown, waving at neighbors and passersby while feeling the warmth of the sun on your face and the chill of the crisp autumn air. You don’t need to book that expensive resort vacation to get that. Just open your door and spin your legs.

  • Abner Rangel, Surly Bridge Club
  • Abner Rangel, Surly Bridge Club

I really can’t encourage people enough to ride their bikes more, and as often as possible. I used to run endurance races and, while I loved it, I always found it a little too slow, and you can’t run comfortably in your street clothes. But this is a Reader’s Rig, so I suppose I should talk a little bit about my kit. I heard somewhere that a comfortable bike is a useful bike in that, when you like your ride, you ride your ride. Which is why comfort, stability, and—I’d be lying if I didn’t mention it—aesthetics all play a part in how I kit out my bike. The more you can store on your bike, the more likely you are to replace a car trip with it. That’s why I have a 24-Pack Rack, Carradice Bagman rack, Roadrunner Burrito Supreme, Swift Industries Zeitgeist… the list goes on and on. Racks and bags galore to throw on for whatever the occasion may call for.

  • Abner Rangel, Surly Bridge Club
  • Abner Rangel, Surly Bridge Club
  • Abner Rangel, Surly Bridge Club
Abner Rangel, Surly Bridge Club
  • Frame/Fork Surly Bridge Club
  • Rims WTB ST i21 TCS
  • Hubs Novatec
  • Tires Surly Extraterrestrial 27.5 x 2.5″
  • Handlebars Surly Sunrise 800mm
  • Headset Cane Creek 40
  • Crankset Shimano Deore M5100 (32T)
  • Pedals Crankbrothers Stamp 3 Large
  • Cassette Shimano Deore CSM5100
  • Derailleurs SRAM XS 2s and SRAM GX 10s
  • Brakes Avid Bromax 300
  • Shifter(s) Shimano SL M6000
  • Saddle Brooks England Flyer Softened
  • Seatpost Promax 27.2mm
  • Stem Chromag HiFi v2
  • Front bags Swift Industries Waxed Canvas Zeitgeist Saddle Bag
  • Rear bags Road Runner Bags Burrito Supreme Rust Orange
  • Accessory bags Swift Industries Swift Campout Sidekick
  • Abner Rangel, Surly Bridge Club
  • Abner Rangel, Surly Bridge Club

The shots you’re seeing here are of my bike set up to ride the local MTB trails by my house while still being able to take photos, eat a proper meal, stash my phone, and repair pretty much anything that could break down during a ride.

You can keep up with Abner on Instagram @abners_bike_rides. And check out the Surly Blog for an in-depth feature on Abner for their Humanoids of Surly series.

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