Adventure

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So many people underestimate what their bike can do.  A properly fitted bicycle can take you down roads and trails, hither and yon with no problems whatsoever.  It is we that have the problem.

We’ve been conditioned to think that a certain type of riding requires a certain type of bike.  While that may be true of the professional racer, or someone willing to catapult themselves down rock strewn trails; for most of us it just is not the case.

The photo above shows me on a “mountain bike” trail.  An easy trail, but a trail none the less.  I’m riding my touring bicycle.  Fitted with racks, bags and a basket.  Tires a bit wider than 2 inches with no tread to speak of.  It was great fun.

This is the pinnacle of “Local Touring“.  We rode the local greenways to a state park that has off road trails.  After riding the roads through the park we took a detour onto one of the trails.  After completing our off road adventure, we got back on the road and retraced our path back home.  On another day we took hammocks and lounged for a while, enjoying the outdoors before we rode back.  I hope I made it sound as fun as it really was.

I think we all suffer from a bit of A.D.D. (Adventure Deficit Disorder-I stole this from Tim Ferriss, all credit to him).

Does this, in any way, inspire you to use your bike in a different way?

Do any of you engage in this sort of activity already?

I would be interested in hearing your stories.

Adventure on!

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Take the First Step

If you read my last post, and you’re interested in Local Touring you may be wondering how to start.  One word.  Bags.

The handlebar bag is the gateway drug to bicycle utility.  They give you the ability to carry some stuff without mounting a rack directly to your bicycle.  A bar bag will keep things close at hand and easily accessible even while riding.

Here are 3 great options.

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The waterproof bar bag from Banjo Brothers.   The least expensive way to start adding bags to your bike.  It has internal stiffeners to maintain the bags shape, a map pocket on top, mesh side pockets.  It comes with a shoulder strap for off bike carrying, and bracket to attach the bag to your bar.  Dimensions are 8″ H x 9″ L x 6″ W.  The bag opens toward you.  Imported

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The Paloma from Swift Industries.  Made in a small shop in Seattle the Paloma is a small bag made of the best water resistant fabrics.  It’s just the right size for a day on the bike.  The bag opens away from you making it even easier to access your stuff.  Dimensions are 10″w X 6″d X 6″h.  Bar adapter bracket priced separately from bag.  Made in the USA.

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If you like the tradition of  waxed canvas and leather the BarSack from Sackville is the bag for you.  Sackville is the bag brand from Rivendell Bicycle Works.  This bag features  magnetic top flap closure, two side pockets and zip front pocket.  Top flap opens the way it should-away from you.  Attaches to your bar with the super swanky rack from Nitto (not included).  Dimensions 9.5″ wide to side x 7″ front-to-back x 8″ tall.  Expensive to buy, but cheap to own.  This bag will serve you for a long time.  Made in the USA.

Next time I’ll tackle other options for carrying stuff on the front of your bike.  Racks, and panniers and baskets-Oh my!

 

 

 

 

The Case for “Local Touring”

IMG_3303One of my many goals over the last decade has been trying to get more people to ride bikes.  Convincing people that a bicycle is a legitimate form of transportation is probably a better explanation.

Instagram is full of romantic images of travelers, vagabonds and hobos on expensive bikes, with expensive bags carrying their belongings over road and trail in far-flung locales.  While alluring, I’m enough of a realist to understand that most people aren’t going to chuck it all and start traveling the world by bike.  Many aren’t likely to spend several thousand dollars to outfit an adventure ready rig.

I was watching a video the other day from our friends at Surly.  The commentator for this bit of video magic was our pal Fleck.  He said something that made me stop in my tracks.  Just because you’re not taking long, laborious trips for weeks and months at a time doesn’t mean you’re not touring.  Traveling your local streets and paths-riding to work or to the store is still touring-“local touring“.  Outstanding.  It took two words to sum up my idea of making the bicycle a daily part of your life.

Just as the S24O, and coffee outside gives you a way to use your camping gear more often, local touring is the perfect way to take touring gear and make it work in your everyday world.  In addition, I hope I can present it in such a way to inspire people to think about their bikes differently.

The best part is that the bike you already own may be a great candidate for local touring.  Got an old hybrid or mountain bike?  Perfect.  Add some racks and bags (hopefully a basket) and you’re all set.  While these things can be costly, they don’t have to be.  I may do another post on my recommendations for these things.  When in doubt, feel free to ask me or someone at your local bike shop.

For some of you this may seem like a obvious thing.  That’s good, and I hope there are a lot of you.  That just means you’re out there using bikes.  For everyone else hopefully this will spark an interest in either getting a bike, or using your bicycle more often.

Instagram is a great source for bicycle inspiration.  I follow so many people, I won’t single anyone out.  Instead I suggest you follow some hashtags.

#coffeeoutside

#s24o

#basketlyfe

#localbiketouring (starting this one with my next post)

Follow a great hashtag that you’d like to share?  Send them on!

 

 

The cold, dark days of Winter

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Many of my writing ideas come from daily interaction with people in the store.  When the weather is like it’s been here lately (read: COLD), interactions are few and far between.  What’s a guy to do?

My relationship with winter has changed as I’ve gotten older.  In my 20s and 30s I would wear shorts in the bike shop all winter long.  I spend a handful of years skiing upwards of 20 days a season.  I rode my bike in temps down around (and sometimes below) 20 degrees (F).  Not.  Any.  More.  Dammit.

Couldn’t I ride my bike indoors? Sure.  I have done this in years past.  I could also stick a fork in my eye.  It’s just too mind numbing for me to even contemplate.  It will take a couple of weeks to get my legs back underneath me come Spring, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay.  I have no one to keep up with but myself.

The flip side of this is I’m getting older (aren’t we all?).  It’s not necessarily a great idea to just let myself go to pot during the winter months.  Again, what’s a guy to do?

My solution should be body weight exercises.  Air squats, push ups and stretching (maybe even yoga-gasp!).  All these things could keep me mobile during the long, dark winter.  Then again, I could go back to binging shows on Netflix.

If you live in a cold climate, keep the faith.  Spring is nigh.

I was a guest on a local podcast last month.  We talked about cycling in the city of Indianapolis.  If you have an interest, you can listen to it here.

 

 

A question for bike riders

I can’t help but contemplate the ever changing face of retail.  It’s how I’ve made my living for most of my adult life.  That said, I have a question for those of you out there that ride bikes (bicycles).

Do you shop at locally owned bike shops?

If so, are you “loyal” to one, or do you shop several? (assuming you have more than one to choose from.)

Is there anything you would change about the store/stores?  This would include products or experiences.

You can leave your answers in the comments.  I thank you for taking the time to help me with this.

Ride on!