Near and Fargo…….Ti

While I have yet to discover a cure for Lyme Disease I have found a wonderful distraction. This distraction happens to come with 29r tires, a titanium frame and disc brakes. The new beast has arrived. The 2014 Salsa Fargo Titanium, drop-bar, adventure touring bike. I know what you are thinking. “Milnor, you live in Newport, get real man, there is no adventure in Newport outside of bombing the stairs at South Coast Plaza or Fashion Island.” You are nearly correct, but just as this bike is a distraction from the battle with Lyme it is also a permission slip to dream about the future.


The idea is a long tour. Originally, my idea was just across the United States, Washington to Maine on the Northern Tier Route, and I might do this, but I’ve also got ideas for a longer, more exacting route that I don’t want to divulge here, at least at the moment. It’s a secret and it involves doing my photography thing as I go. I got on my bike today and my wife asked,“You ready to go?” I said “Mentally, I’m already gone.” The reality is a tour like this is not in the cards for me at the moment simply because I love my job and I do not have the time required to even begin to think about something like this. But think I do. Almost every single day.

So, to satisfy my curiosity, when time and location allows, I will be taking short trips, three to five days if I can time vacation or holidays with being in the right location. So far I have made four short excursions on this new bike. All four were what I would describe as Newport excursions. Now for those of you who routinely ride across the Yukon or places like Mongolia, don’t go thinking Newport is a breeze. No. Sorry. Newport is as dangerous as any location on Earth.

Newport excursions include things like dodging financial dudes in 4×4 Rovers with front axle breathers who have never seen the dirt but have no issue driving like they are in the Paris Dakar. We also have soccer moms in black Escalades with 22-inch, black spinners who have the innate ability to navigate a car full of kids doing 60mph in a 30mph while simultaneously TEXTING and drinking a $13 cafe latte half cafe decaf with acai. And not to be outdone by other generic urban centers, EVERYONE on EVERY TRAIL, at ANY time of the day is on their phone, walking serpentine like a drunken felon on weekend furlough. I once saw a puddle of blood, one shoe and a broken cell phone on the trail. Like Ron Burgundy says, “You gotta keep your head on a swivel when you find yourself in the middle of a cockfight.” I couldn’t agree more. Newport might not the Divide Trail, but I’ll take a grizzly over a high school girl on Instagram ANY day of the week.

A few observations.
I had always heard about the ride quality of titanium. Oh, I forgot to mention. Anyone who still thinks this is going to be a photography post can sign off now. Titanium is like…like…well, like your Grandma’s 1982 Le Sabre. It’s smooth. Combine this with a carbon fork and a Thudbuster seat post and you have a ride that equals my full suspension mountain bike, at least over dirt track, fire road, etc. When it comes to single track or insanely rough places the full suspension bike is the king, but for everything else I was amazed at how smooth the Fargo is. Also, the bike is, by far, the most comfortable bike I’ve ever had. I’m riding a large, which I initially thought was too large, but it’s actually perfect. The drop bars combined with the sloping top tube, mountain bike style frame is the perfect merger of siblings who never knew they were related. They are, and they play nicely together. My first time with SRAM shifters which took about 1.75 minutes to adjust to. All frame bags are made by this Canadian character, otherwise known as Porcelain Rocket. I have since added a handlebar bag as well as bottle mounts on the front forks and down tube.

There is an upside of Lyme Disease. Lyme made me rethink a few things. The reality of a medical world mostly unconcerned with the disease. My overall health, and oh ya, EVERY SINGLE THING I DO ALL DAY LONG. Lyme has given me a perspective about life. Funny how disease does that. Makes you realize there is lip service about life and then there is the actual marrow. Whatever it is you feel you MUST do in life, must be done. One way or another.

This bike for me is a reminder. A reminder that when I wake to the sound of birdsong, something I do each and every morning here in California, I need to stop and enjoy those sounds. When I take that first sip of coffee, the real black fluid that powers our culture, I should stop and enjoy it. Appreciate it. Someday this bike will aim in an unknown direction and take me to places I never thought I would every be. Until then this bike serves as my reminder there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are corners in the road I can’t yet see beyond.

Get on your bike and ride.

19 responses to “Near and Fargo…….Ti”

  1. That is one very fine piece of bike, some day we gotta go for a ride my brother.

    And I love this “Whatever it is you feel you MUST do in life, must be done. One way or another.” – took me ages to realize this, until I completely changed my life 5 years ago. And recent events have drilled it home to live now, there will never be a better time.

    • Smogranch says:

      It can be difficult. Heck, I know it’s difficult, but I also know I have ZERO to complain about. Life is good, even with Lyme.

  2. Craig says:

    Salsa makes such fine bikes for long adventures. I can’t wait to see where it takes you and how you see that adventure. Enjoy.

  3. Sean Breslin says:

    Two days after you sent me that photo above I was just finishing the 152nd Km of my 155km for the week when my front wheel slipped on oil (or whatever it was) and I cycled straight into a tall concrete wall at speed.

    One fractured wrist, one badly sprained, and one broken elbow. First major bike accident in over 15 years of almost daily cycling and off the bike for a month on doctors orders.

    If it ever came to it and I was left with a choice of either my camera or bicycle I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the bike. Not even in the condition I am as I type this (one-fingered).

    Cycling is fantastic and I truly believe it alone could save the planet. We just need to watch out for bloody car oil.

    • Smogranch says:

      Oh man that is horrific. Sorry to hear that. At least you kept one finger and your sense of humor. This isn’t a high speed bike, so my future crashes, I hope, are slower and void of concrete. Man, sorry.

  4. lionelB says:

    I can see how the inability to carry much ‘stuff’ on it is a liberation and a discipline. Nevertheless, if it was me, I would want someone doing the same stages in a camper-van, allowing me to accumulate curios along the way, while leaving enough space for a portable darkroom and a mobile cycle repair workshop. Even then, a bulk discount with a courier to periodically disgorge the van contents would probably enter into the equation.

    • Smogranch says:

      Well, my wife too one ride with her, she on her road bike and me on the Salsa and she said “Maybe I sell this and get that.” I have a feeling I wont’ be alone, and just so you know, this bike is fully rack compatible, so I carry….too much.

  5. I bought a new bike recently. It’s more a city bike, which makes it comfortable to sit, instead of leaning forward like on my previous bike. I want to go out more, just riding the bike and relax, and to improve my health as well.

    Have look here:—touring/collection/roadspeed.htm?frame=H

    • Smogranch says:

      I thought long and hard about Koga, the World Traveler actually, and if they had more dealers in the US, I might have gone that route. Those bikes are unreal good. Riding is the key point however.

  6. Randy says:

    i approve. Bikes and bikin are cool.
    it’s one of those rare things that you can enjoy from 4 yrs old, to 84+ yrs old. it’s not hard on the body as, say, running.
    For those trips… you planning solo without support(resto,motel) or full on tent, cooking, etc?
    one of those trailers with one wheel could be good.carries a lot of gear. camera, flyrod, chair, bottle, coffee….

    • Smogranch says:

      Not sure yet. I am planning on doing all of that actually. Friends, camp and hotels when I need or want. I might have to go with panniers on the rear, and a waterproof backpack for the F6x2 and lenses. Flyrod, check. Stove, check. Journal, check.

  7. Reiner says:

    What a fine bike you bought Dan! Shape it, tune it and let it glide on the roads and paths; it always takes me more or less a 1000km to get a new ride fully shaped and tuned in so it disappears underneath me when I hit the road; it’s like magic, a bike fitting your body as a seamless glove. It’s the finest machine man ever invented, even more than the camera! (imho) If you’re ever planning taking the machine to Europe, give me a sign, we can team up for a dayride together…

  8. Mike says:

    Just found your site. Wanted to share that I had a bad crash in Bali last summer. After a couple trips to the operating room and months of rehab I was able to go back to work. The thought of never riding again, or at least not touring again, had me so down. So when I was able to get around town again, over the objections of my wife and everyone I know, I bought a Fargo ti, which is so comfortable it’s like riding on a sofa, and took off for Vietnam. I had a blast on the little coastal roads (stay off 1 as much as you can), and then came home and road from Monterrey to Santa Barbara. There are a lot of things I still can’t do, but my arm and shoulder are strong enough to ride safely, and I’m back. You will be, too. Hang in there, Brother!

    Leaving to ride from Vancouver to Portland with the kids in a couple weeks! Trying to decide whether to Bob it or rack it.


    • Smogranch says:

      Where do you live? Let’s hook up at some point. With your bad shoulder and my Lyme we could set some records. Just got off a 5:30AM ride, 12 miles total, so nothing much here, but my first early morning ride in 8+ months. Moving in the right direction. Just added rear rack so I could use my panniers left over from my Trek 520 days.

    • Smogranch says:

      Also looking for a good touring tire, something like the Schwalbe Marathon. What are you using?

  9. Pete Smith says:

    Stumbled across your write-up while researching the Salsa Fargo Ti as a potential bike to do the Great Divide MBR, which I plan to do in 2015. It not only gave me a good chuckle but I fully understood the “satisfaction” you’re deriving from such a bike.

    While I have no experience with Lyme Disease, I’ve heard, in some cases, it can be very debilitating.

    My first exposure to a potentially debilitating disease was pancreatic cancer at the age of 44. That was 25 years ago. The event, in retrospect, proved to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. That being, coming to the stark realization that life is precious and not to be taken for granted.

    Starting with a 3% chance to last 5 years and a much longer story shortened: Solo canoed the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, backpacked the Grand Canyon North Rim to South Rim, climbed most of the lower 48 14ers, extended backpacks in our main mountain ranges (Sierra Nevada Range being the favorite) and adventures in Alaska and Canada. Even experiencing a Grizzly Sow and Cub charge to the point I could have touched her and winding up in the middle of a school of Gray Humpback whales while sea kayak in Glacier Bay N.P. Both experiences I consider religious.

    10 years after the pancreatic event, I was pronounced “cured”. To celebrate, rode a bike, self-contained, across the U.S. (Northern Tier Rte.) and continued on to do the circumference of Nova Scotia.

    Two years later, in 2001, diagnosed with Stage III Colon Cancer. After surgery and chemo got on the bike again and did the Transamerica Route from Astoria, OR to Boulder, CO. There were many other subsequent “epic” adventures, as I like to call them, until June, 2012. I was then diagnosed with another Colon Cancer. Fortunately, it was Stage II so the “motivation” to live life to its fullest continues.

    I’ve had many adventures since the “initial” diagnosis in 1989 and continue to seek them out. To avoid belaboring the point, you have a hint how my “disease” has vastly improved, what probably would have been, the typical 9 to 5 existence. Those of us who get such wake up calls, at an early age, and have the ability to recognize and capitalize on them, are most fortunate. I’m 69 now and still go for the Gold Ring and live life to the fullest. No matter how bad it gets, I never have a bad day.

    Good luck on the Lyme and grab for the “Ring” every chance you get.

    • Smogranch says:

      Where are you? I’d love to meet and interview you!! You up for it? I’ll bring the bike and we can ride. You have to promise to go slow.

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