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Photo by Adam Coppola
A couple of years ago, I received an email from a writer pitching me an idea that she thought our readers would be interested in. Seems the town of Twin Bridges, Montana — almost in Adventure Cycling’s backyard — was in the process of establishing some sort of accommodations for cyclists.
Valentine's Day is coming up, and I'm lucky to be spending it again this year with Josh, who you may know from his fabulous gear reviews. Or maybe you were lucky and called in to renew your membership and got to talk to him. Anyway, he's an all-around great guy: fun to have adventures with, watch movies with, eat cookies with — and I'm sure he's looking forward to spending Valentine's Day with me, too. Of course, I know, in my heart of hearts, there's 'someone' he'd rather be with.
The derailleurs on a bike may seem pretty complex, but once you start fiddling around with them you'll find them surprisingly easy to troubleshoot. When you're on the road, and away from a bike shop, knowing how to tweak your derailleur can save you a lot of skipping gears and frustration.
When it comes to picking out the right saddle for your bicycle, the options can seem overwhelming. That's partly because there really isn't one correct solution. Some prefer or need something softer; others, something firmer. Some riders comfortably ride the saddles their bikes come with for thousands and thousands and thousands of miles.
For years, I've noticed people using their water bottle cages to carry tools and other miscellaneous gear on day rides, as well as on tours. The most common carrying technique I have seen is cutting off the narrow neck near the top of an old water bottle, cramming gear into it, and stuffing the top with something like an old sock to keep items from rattling out. This gets the job done, but it isn't super elegant and it knocks your water carrying capacity down by one bottle.
Who makes the smallest pack-size solo tent? If you're traveling lightweight and only carrying two pairs of shorts maximum, how do you prevent saddle sores? What's the weather like on the Colorado Trail in August? Find out!
The whole morning we struggled to push our bicycles up the steep mountain pass.
The other day I received a great question over the phone from a cyclist who said she could really take on just one bike. She wants it primarily for fast-paced road riding, but she'd also like it to be worthy of loaded touring. Having been in a similar situation in the past myself, I suggested the route I chose: a cyclocross bike.
We get a lot of questions about planning through our Travelling Two bike touring blog, and every time someone emails us to ask which panniers are best or how many T-shirts they need to pack, I think of Lee.
While buying a new bike can be fun and exciting, it can also be very intimidating when you start looking at $900 price tags before you even start adding in racks, panniers, and other touring equipment. This isn't always in an individual's desirable price range, especially when they are just trying to get their feet in the door.
While the Rocky Mountains and West Coast have a greater range of possibilities for long-distance trail rides than other regions, there also are good options for dirt touring with mountain bikes in the Midwest and eastern United States. The following article details five routes to get off the highway and into a new adventure.
When planning out a bicycle tour, the main focus is often on the route, and a well thought out pack list. One thing that easily escapes my mind when planning ahead is extracurricular activities. You may have a long afternoon ahead of you by the time you have camp setup at the end of your ride, and if you have some energy left, it can be fun to take on a secondary adventure/activity. Here are a few ideas:
When I first saw the map for PAVING THE WAY: The National Park-to-Park Highway documentary, I flashed on the blog post I wrote in December 2009 about A Killer Route Loop. The film recreates the 5,000 mile, 76-day journey undertaken by 12 individuals via automobile in 1920 to visit twelve western U.S. national parks. The Killer Route Loop would use pieces of our route network to showcase a slightly different slice of the West. Both trips take in some of the most stunning scenery the U.S. National Park Service system has to offer west of the Mississippi River.
If you're still looking for a good New Year's resolution, how about working on your upper body and core fitness? As far as cycling goes, this kind of strength isn't something that is super intuitive, but if you don't pay a little attention to it, you will feel it once you start putting in longer rides as the weather warms up.
Way back in April 2009 when I wrote my first GeoPoints Bulletin blog post, I mentioned our Forums as a good resource for route planning. Discussions range all aspects of bicycle travel from routes, gear and swapping out equipment through classified ads to reminiscing about Bikecentennial, and exchanging ideas of how to get youth involved with bicycling.
This is a busy time of the year for airlines, and if you are flying with your bike, get ready for some stiff baggage fees. But, as long as you're paying to get your bike on a plane, you may as well make the most of it.
It's the end of the year, which seems to me to be a great time to make a list. The following is a list of the top 10 routes on which to take a mountain bike trip in the American West.
In last year's December/January issue of Adventure Cyclist, I wrote a bit about David Byrne's book Bicycle Diaries ("Byrne's a Writer — and a Rider").
The winter season is a great time to get on top of some bike maintenance projects, or to learn some basic mechanical skills to help save time and money spent at the shop. Regardless of your skill level, the book Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance is a great manual to have on hand.
Some use it all the time, others have specific conditions they prefer to use it under. In my own experience, I find it most useful in cold/damp weather, or on extended tours, where it isn't always possible to consistently wash my bike shorts. Like bike saddles, everyone has their own preference, and those hardened over time may not need to use it all. One thing is for certain, there is a huge pool of brands to choose from, most of which have some pretty clever names.
Imagine an overnight bicycle trip in the northern winter, perhaps on a nondescript snowmobile trail in the woods near your town. Moonlight illuminates a thick powder coat of snow on the trees, so much so that you don’t even need to use a headlight, despite the inky hue of the sky. The squeak of packed snow under your tires indicates the level of cold — probably about 5 degrees F and dropping. But you’re not concerned. You have warm boots, warm mitts, and panniers full of winter camping gear. You’ve been riding hard and working up body heat for several hours, ever since you left work on a nondescript evening in December, to venture into a black-and-white world that few ever see.
Even when you have a really awesome job, and you get to work at the Adventure Cycling world headquarters, sometimes it's a good idea to get away from it all. That's why, when you're reading this post, I'll be in the Big Apple: relaxing, visiting friends, family, and generally enjoying big city life. And, you're never going to believe this -- I'm not bringing my bicycle.
I think the first time I ever heard of bicycle polo was back in 1989 at Fat Tire Bike Week in Crested Butte, where I watched a match in action. At the time, I figured the players were just a bunch of Colorado crazies that included more than a few equestrian wannabes who had decided to settle for two wheels rather than fork out the bucks for four legs and one horsepower (and a big pickup truck and a horse trailer and ...)
Our shipping specialist, Sarah Raz, was kind enough to let me tag along on her series of holiday gift ideas. I'll start this one out with a few inexpensive safe bets before getting into the fun stuff.
With bicycle touring, there is a fair amount of time spent off the bike. Maybe you're stopping to top off on supplies at a store, or doing a bit of sight seeing between destinations. For this reason, it can sometimes be nice to have clothing that is not only comfortable and functional on the bike, but looks good off the bike as well.