Category Archives: bike gear

Fall Bike Tours Michigan

Michigan is on the chilly side much of the year, so cycling tour groups pack in a multitude of trips during summer and early fall. Outings range from two-day lakeside rides for families to longer trips that include hilly challenges in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Organized tours offer guides who ride with you, support vehicles or both — and they also make arrangements for your meals, camping or other lodging.

League of Michigan Bicyclistssafe_image

The League of Michigan Bicyclists offers a variety of cycling tours during the summer. A two-day trip, Pedal and Paddle, is appropriate for families; you cycle on the Hart-Montague Trail and around lakes and get the chance to paddle a kayak or canoe on the White River. A three-day outing features rides along Lake Huron in the northeast part of the state. Two seven-day tours include Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with a ferry ride to Mackinac (Mackinaw) Island, and a trip along Lake Michigan’s vast shoreline—it includes swimming, playing in sand dunes and going through a tunnel of trees.

League of Michigan Bicyclists
416 S. Cedar St. Suite A
Lansing, MI 48912
888-642-4537
lmb.org

Tri-County Bicycle AssociationNWT_400x200

The Tri-County Bicycle Association (TCBA) offers tours for various ability levels. The Summer Tour features short riding days in eastern Michigan, with stops at parks and swimming areas. The NorthWest Tour is a more challenging ride through the landscape in the northwest part of the state. TCBA’s best-known tour is the DALMAC (Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw), which includes a variety of routes. In the early 1970s, former State Representative Dick Allen created this ride to promote cycling in Michigan, and it has been going strong since then. Most TCBA tours are five days long.

Tri-County Bicycle Asso.
5825 Oak Knoll Dr.
Lansing, MI 48911
517-882-3700
biketcba.org

Timberline AdventuresdaveforwebSmall

Timberline Adventures, a Colorado-based company, offers a seven-day tour that begins in the Leelanau Peninsula with a ride among the cherry trees on country roads. The trip continues along the shore of Lake Michigan to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and visits the Grand Traverse Lighthouse in Leelanau State Park. Other spots include Torch Lake and the route from Harbor Springs to Cross Village, which has the nickname of “Michigan’s most scenic road.” The days can be challenging on this tour, so cyclists stay each night at comfortable inns and lodges.

Timberline Adventures
7975 E. Harvard
Denver, CO 80231
800-417-2453
timbertours.com

Thanks to Lightload towels

Aspen Road and Mountain Bike Tours

Aspen and the surrounding area provide spectacular and sometimes quite challenging terrain for mountain and road bikers. You will want to keep in mind, a good part of Aspen is comprised of wilderness area – The list below will provide you with information for available rides. You can also call the local Forest Service office at 970-925-3445 or visit the National Forest website. Keep in mind: Mechanized vehicles are not allowed within the Wilderness boundaries and this includes Mountain Bikes –

Recommended Mountain Bike Rides

Smuggler Mountain Road – Follow Neal Street to King Street to Park Street to smugglersSmuggler Mountain Road where the trip begins.  At the fork in the road (approximately 1 ½ miles), take a left.  This road travels uphill for one and a half miles to the Smuggler Observation Deck. Going left will connect you with an entire network of trails:  Smuggler Mountain Road to Hunter Creek Trail andSmuggler Mountain Road to Lenado Trail.

rio Grande trail

Rio Grande Trail – This trail begins behind the Post Office on Puppy Smith Street. The first two miles are paved.  The trail then crosses Cemetery Lane becoming a dirt trail at that point.  The trail proceeds northwest to Woody Creek. For more information on this trail and a map please visit Lay Some Tread. (EASY) We recommend biking to Woody Creek Tavern for lunch in our Day to Defy Ordinary Itinerary.

sunnysideSunnyside Trail – The trail begins on Cemetery Lane.  Follow Cemetery Lane from Hwy 82 where the road crosses the Roaring Fork River.  Approximately ¼ mile beyond this point, you will see the trail beginning on the right.

brush creek trail

 

Brush Creek Trail – The trail begins behind the tennis courts on Maroon Creek Road.  It crosses Buttermilk Mountain and finishes in Snowmass.  As this trail crosses private property, it is VERY important that bikers stay on the trail only.  Failure to do so could jeopardize future use of this trail.

The town of Snowmass has a variety of mountain bike trails to offer, some of our favorites include the Rim Trail, Tom Blake Trail, and the Government Trail. Click here for a link to their trail map.

Mountain Biking Essentials list

Spare Tubes or a Patch Kit
Even if you’ve gone tubeless, I usually have at least one tube and patch kit in my pack on a long ride. It’s a little quicker and easier to replace a tube than patching a tube on the trail. If the popped tube is worth salvaging, I’ll patch it up later when I get home from the ride.

Bike Pump
You can’t fix a flat tire without a pump. I use the Blackburn Airstik 2 Stage Pump because it’s very small and lightweight, but still powerful enough that it won’t tire you out just pumping up your tube. Or for an even more minimalist and time-saving option, a CO2 inflator is worth checking out. I’d recommend keeping a couple of full cartridges on hand if you’re going this route.

Tool Kit
You can assemble your own, or pick up a pre-assembled kit. At minimum, it should include the following:

  • Tire levers
  • Allen wrenches
  • Bike-specific multi-tool
  • Chain tool. A multi-tool does in a pinch, but if you need it, you’ll be glad to have the specific tool. And speaking of chains …
  • A few links of chain and a quick-link

First Aid Kit
You’ll probably need it when you don’t have it. Keeping a bike-specific first aid kit stowed away in your pack enables you to be at least somewhat prepared for the unexpected. One item that has come in handy time and time again is a towel. I like to throw a couple Lightload Towel pucks into my pack. They are as the name implies light 0.01 lbs, they take up almost no space and are surprisingly durable. Check them out here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB-iPiqGQ0c

Light
On a long ride, one setback can leave you racing to beat sundown. A headlamp or handlebar light is good to throw in the pack. If I know I’ll be cutting it close, I’ll bring my NiteRider Pro 1200 along for the ride.

CLOTHING

As many of us know from staring at forecasts all winter long, the weather won’t always turn out how you expect.  When heading out on that all day ride, there are a few things I always try to carry with me.

Extra Layer or Jacket
A long sleeve jersey or a light cycling jacket with a bit of weather defense is a good choice. Depending on where you ride you may opt for more or less wind or water protection. For my longer rides I like to pack my Norrona Fjora Aero 100 Jacket because it is lightweight, packable, and breathable, yet still provides enough protection for the random storm.

Extra Socks
Are you expecting a little mud or water on your ride? Socks are easy to throw in the pack and would be nice to change into on your lunch break or when things dry out.

Gloves
It seems like every time I forget my gloves, I crash and cut up my hands.  Keep them in your pack so you don’t make the mistake I’ve made too many times!

Sunglasses
Even if it’s not a sunny day, glasses with clear or light-colored lenses are essential protection, coming in handy when you roll through a cloud of gnats or are banging through an overgrown trail. No-slip nosepads and grippy temples on sunglasses are kind of a must so they’re not slipping or bouncing around on your face. Interchangeable or, better still, photochromic  lenses are ideal for changing light conditions over the course of a long ride.

FUEL

Water
Hydration packs are the best option for these long rides. But if you already have a regular pack and aren’t looking to get a new one, you can do what I did and just purchase a hydration bladder separately.  For long rides, you’re probably going to want a three-liter one.

Drink Mixes
To go all day, it’s good to have more than just water.  An extra water bottle with a Skratch Labs mix will keep you replenished and less fatigued so you don’t get sloppy at the end of the trail.

Food
Aside from packing a sandwich for lunch, energy bars are good to throw in the pack. I usually bring a couple Clif Bars with me, but protein bars and energy gels will also keep you pedaling.

GEAR HACKS

Your pack is stocked and ready to go, but there’s always that off chance you’ll need to get creative to in order to make it down the trail. Zip ties are at the top of the list when it comes to bike gear hacks—they’re small, lightweight, and can be used to fix all kinds of things—like busted derailleur hangers, flapping fenders, and broken shoelaces—well enough to get you down from the mountain.

Be sure to bring along the other gear hack hall of famer, duct tape. If a zip tie can’t fix it, duct tape probably can, from sticking things onto your bike to bracing or splinting injured body parts like wrists or ankles. There’s no need to weigh down your pack with a huge 60-yard roll; bring along one of these emergency-sized rolls or wind 4-5 feet around a golf pencil or small stick and throw it in with the rest of your gear.

My own personal don’t-leave-home-without-it item is my wallet. And not only for the obvious access to emergency funds; a business card tucked into my wallet once came in handy on a ride on the Wasatch Crest Trail. After a second flat on the same tire, I discovered a small slash in the sidewall (the replacement tube blew out because of that hole).  It was a long way back in either direction, so we needed a quick fix.  I took the card out of my wallet (which I just happened to have with me), folded it up, and placed it on the inside of the tire against the slashed sidewall.  I aired up the second tube inside of that, and it held for the remainder of the ride. Since then, I’ve always made it a point to bring my wallet along instead of leaving it in the car, because it just might save the day.

– See more at: http://www.backcountry.com/explore/whats-in-the-pack-mountain-bike-essentials#sthash.Hn56Onn4.dpuf

Mark Beaumont’s around-the-world bicycle adventure

If you are into cycling at all you have no doubt you already know about Mark and his amazing feats. I had not heard about him until recently (I know I live under a rock) and was amazed, astounded and dumb struck at this particular adventure of his.

I ran across this when I was searching for what to pack for a long bike trek. I came up with the obvious suggestions and the mantra repeated over and over again light lighter and lightest.  All of which made me think of LightLoad Towels (duh)  Anyway I just had to share Mark’s story with you.

This is Mark’s story and a link to his website.

Mark Beaumont’s around-the-world bicycle adventure

The hub for Mark’s expeditions, events, charity work and much more. You can follow Mark’s projects timthumb (2)here and through social media. Broadcasting about adventure, culture, travel, sport, and human endeavor from all corners of the world

What is worse than hearing rats scurrying around your hotel room getting into your bike panniers at night? It might be waking up the next morning with rat turds on the pillow.

That episode in India kind of strips the glamour off the idea of bicycling around the world in pursuit of a world record. It’s just one of many experiences recounted in Mark Beaumont’s book “The Man Who Cycled the World,” recently released in the US.

The Scotsman was the second in what has seemed a rush of bicyclists seeking a Guinness World Record for bicycling around the world.

Beaumont accomplished his feat in 2008, completing his grand adventure in 194 days and 17 hours. Remarkably, he shaved 81 days off the record set by Steve Strange in 2005. At least four others have since tallied faster times on paper, but not all made the record books. The current record holder, Vin Cox, accomplished the feat in 163 days.

Professional adventurer

The Scotsman started his career as a professional adventurer at age 24,when he set off on his 18,296-mile quest. Growing up on a farm and with

timthumbhis university years behind him, Beaumont hit on the idea of the global bicycle ride and figured he could get sponsors if he was going for a coveted world record. He also landed a deal with BBC for a documentary.

Beaumont wrote and published this book, “The Man Who Cycled the World,” the year after he finished his ride. Broadway Paperbacks, an imprint of Crown Publishing, brought the book to US audiences in 2011 and sent me a copy to review.

In reading it, I was struck by how much Beaumont missed by pushing himself to cover 100 miles a day on his bicycle. There are countless times when he talks about being near famous landmarks or destinations, and he just keeps pedaling.

In Thailand, for instance, he catches a tailwind and refuses to stop, in spite of constantly passing road signs for tourist destinations. “The sea was just through the trees to my left and had been for two days, but I hadn’t seen it once.”

No romance

Head-slapping unbelievable is his response to an attractive and “fun” marine biologist he met soon after landing in Australia. As they trade daily texts as he heads across the continent, she offers to take a week off and take a road trip out to his location. At first it seemed perfect, but he writes:

“I called her again that night, having decided against it. It was hard to explain, and it sounded ridiculous even as I tried to, but I needed to be left in my own world.” Later, he thought about changing his mind, “But I knew in the long run I would regret anything that might slow me down. I was here to race.”

So race he does, across four continents. His human contact is often limited to hotel desk clerks, cooks, waitresses and waiters, and whoever is sitting next to him on the stool at the diner.

But people are often drawn to people traveling by bicycle, and he occasionally acquiesces to offers to share their home or meals.

Illness, soreness

Beaumont must have kept a detailed journal, as there are descriptions of the terrain, the local foods, housing, traffic and his condition — all things you expect him to dwell on as he spends hours alone on his bicycle.

Throughout his adventures, Beaumont suffers gastrointestinal attacks, bicycle breakdowns, sore muscles, and various other aches and pains. After riding his bicycle across many countries in all types of weather,
his worst experience comes in Louisiana, where he is hit by a car driven
by an old woman and robbed in his hotel room all in the same day.

Daily centuries

He goes into detail about suffering from saddle sores most of his trip. No wonder, as Beaumont’s target of 100 miles a day takes a toll.

We’ve all ridden centuries, but not day after day after day. Obviously, he doesn’t achieve this goal every day, but he makes the attempt. It often means lots of night riding, camping at the roadside, or riding into strange towns in foreign lands late at night with no idea where to stay.

In the final days of the tour, Beaumont admits to exhaustion as he nears Paris. It’s almost like his goal of riding 100 miles a day has become paramount, and the fact that it enabled him to encircle the globe is just a side issue.

“I still didn’t feel the least bit excited about the finish; I was simply too tired to care. My every thought was focused on making the next mile, knowing that eventually I would get there.”

Beaumont did get there and realized his achievement. But he didn’t stop moving.

More adventures

Soon, he was back on his bicycle to pedal the longest mountain chain on the planet, at the same time climbing Mt. McKinley in Alaska and Aconcagua in Argentina. That adventure also became a book, “The Man Who Cycled the Americas.”

This past summer, he was the member of a crew that rowed to the North Pole. Next, starting in January 2012, he’ll join a team of six seeking to break the trans-Atlantic rowing record.timthumb (1)It sounds like Beaumont isn’t interested in slowing down, at all. I’ll be interested to hear about his next adventures. You can check up on him at MarkBeaumontOnline.

Hut-to Hut Backcountry Bike Treks

Camp Towels for Bike Treks
Camping has never been easier with a three pack of lightload Towels. Use one towel for the cook-set, one for the first aid kit and the other for general use. “Pack it in and Pack it Out” so the next campers can enjoy a good clean site.

I have been looking for different types of overnight/longer then a day biking treks when I happened on this one. Now I have done the winter hut-to-hut cross-country treks so I am not sure why this never crossed my mind, but I have to say now that I have seen it I am obsessed.

This was presented as a non-camping option and given some of the regions there is good reason to opt for the hut overnight.  Hut-to-hut touring is an activity of which Colorado is king. There you can tackle a fat-tire adventure beginning in the southwest corner of the state (in either Telluride or Durango), and wind up a few days later in Moab (okay, that’s in Utah, not Colorado). The trips are organized by San Juan Hut Systems, whose mission is “to provide low-impact, human-powered, lightweight backcountry travel opportunities for the independent, health-conscious adventurer at a practical price.” The distance from one hut to the next is generally about 35 miles; the terrain ranges from dirt roads and trails in the alpine vastness of the San Juan Mountains, to desert canyons and slickrock. Each hut is stocked with food and utensils, water, a cookstove, and sleeping gear.

Another Colorado option: Take one of the trips organized out of Fruita by “The Hut Guy,” who, according to the Colorado Backcountry Biker website, “spent years scouring hundreds of miles, identifying the premier mountain biking trails in western Colorado.” As a result, it says, Colorado Backcountry Biker offers self-guided, budget-friendly bike trips on which you can spend two or three nights in fully stocked huts, and by day experience some of the best mountain biking in the West. Options include riding on the storied Tabeguache Trail, with baggage transfer from hut to hut and other amenities that are somewhat luxurious, considering the backwoods setting.

If you are more of a do-it-yourselfer — or haul-it-yourselfer (your own food, sleeping bag, etc.) — there are some great trail rides to the huts maintained by the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association. Not all thirty of the system’s huts are reachable by mountain bike, but a lot of them are. These huts are relatively large, sleeping an average of sixteen people, and come equipped with wood-burning stoves and propane burners, cooking and eating utensils, and mattresses and pillows.

Up in the great Pacific Northwest, Cascade Huts offers self-guided multi-day trips in Oregon’s Mt. Hood National Forest. Again stocked with supplies to enable lightweight riding, the huts line a loop around Mt. Hood that ranges from 135 to 160 miles in length, depending on the exact route chosen. And to the north of there, in Washington state, the five Rendezvous Huts in Methow Valley offer rustic but cozy accommodations for summer cyclists in a location that, come winter, is one of the premier Nordic skiing destinations in North America.

In Washington’s geographical counterpart on other side of the country, Maine Huts & Trails has big plans over the coming years to enhance the mountain biking possibilities it makes available. As it says on their website, “we envision offering mountain bikers a wide array of trails, from short, easy riding along our hut access roads and other dirt roads to technical singletrack deep in the backcountry. Riders will eventually be able to ride for several days along a variety of trails, staying overnight in the Maine Huts … [and, in fact] cyclists are already finding some great riding along and proximal to the MH&T system.”

Gear List

The Basics for Camping:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Camp pad
  • Small tent, bivy sack, or camp hammock
  • Food (or a nearby dining establishment)
  • Personal items: toiletries, hand towels and camp towels etc

Deluxe Gear List:
Perhaps you’re not a minimalist. Just remember: everything you bring adds weight to your bike. If you have much hill climbing or a lot of mileage planned, you may want to reconsider how much you take along.

Deluxe Camping Gear List:

  • Route map(s)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Camp pad or air mattress
  • Small tent, bivy sack, or camp hammock
  • Camp pillow or stuff sack, bath, hand and cook towels
  • Cooking equipment (small stove, cookware, utensils) including food, camp towel
  • Camp chair
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Pocketknife
  • Waterproof matches

Deluxe Personal Gear List:

  • Toiletries
  • Two sets of bike clothes
  • Two sets of off-the-bike clothes
  • Raingear
  • Cold weather gear
  • Shoes/sandals
  • Bathing suit
  • Towel

Other possibilities:

  • Books
  • Camera
  • Playing cards
  • Sports equipment
  • Fishing gear
  • Radio/iPod/MP3 player
  • And more!

This about wraps up the hut-to-hut riding opportunities my research turned up. If you know of others, feel free to add them to this list.

 

WICKABLE LIGHTLOAD TOWELS CHANGE THE WAY PEOPLE TRAVEL AROUND THE GLOBE

WICKABLE LIGHTLOAD TOWELS CHANGE THE WAY PEOPLE TRAVEL AROUND THE GLOBE Jamaica, New York (November 18, 2009)— Traveling light is a goal for many people, whether they’re going on an extended backpacking trip or a day trip to the mall. With this in mind, Lightload Towels were invented. The hallmark of Lightload Towels is their space-saving design and light weight in addition to the wickable fabric from which they are made. Packaged to fit a 2-inch diameter, the towels are small enough to fit in a pocket and still leave room for other incidentals like keys and a wallet. Lightload Towels open to a full 12” x 24” inch 30x60cm size. They weigh only ½ ounce or 17 grams each and are constructed from 100% viscose, a wickable fabric that draws excess moisture from skin. Wickable fabric is best for keeping warm in cold weather. The towels are an almost indispensable piece of gear for backpackers, campers, fishermen, hikers, bikers or anyone who travels outdoors, and now, after years of successful sales in the United States, Lightload Towels can now be purchased in Europe on amazon.de (Germany) and amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom). Less adventurous travelers will also appreciate the versatility and compact design of Lightload Towels, which can be used in hundreds of imaginative ways. They are useful as fire starters, scarves, insulation, first aid bandages and strainers. They can also be used to protect skin from wind and bugs or any time a traveler needs something to cover the ground to sit on. The towels are more absorbent than cotton, and they dry much faster. A single, machine washable towel can be used over and over again. Lightload Towels are also inexpensive at approximately $2 each. Buyers who purchase 12 towels or more can get a 50% discount using coupon code “50 per.” More information about this product can be found on the company’s website at http://www.ultralightloadtowels.com. Lightload Towels are also available in stores, online and in catalogues through retailers such as EMS, REI, Campmor and Paragon Sports They make excellent stocking stuffers for anyone who can benefit from a lightweight, compact “take-along” towel.

 

Lightload Towels Bug Repeller Video Demo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSmteFWTVYU

Lightload Towels  are the only towels that are survival towels.  View this demo of the lightload Towels as a bug repeller.

Lightload Towels Wickable Fabric Video Demo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSmteFWTVYU

Lightload Towels  are the only towels that are survival towels.  View this demo of the lightload Towels Wickable fabric.