var switchTo5x=true; />
 
Picture of bike touring in Durango, Colorado
Quick stop on our bike tour north of Durango, Colorado.
Picture of glass of beer pub crawl in Durango, CODurango Brewing Company has five crafted beers
When discussing bikes and beer Durango, Colorado needs no introduction but if you are not familiar with how to get around Durango on a bike to visit these pubs and not sure what each has to offer this blog highlights our favorites.

We wanted to visit the locally brewed fine quality beers that Durango is known for.  So here is the lineup of the best known local brew pubs with links to each pub's site, respectively. 
Carver's Brewing Company
Durango Brewing Company
Ska Brewing
Steamworks 

Each of the micro brewery pubs listed not only offers a unique beer sampling experience but provide a nice bike tour of Duango's very bicycle friendly commuter streets.  Approximately twelve years ago I was fortunate enough to have lived in Durango for three years.  Back then bikes were popular but the designated bike lanes and the number of folks riding and commuting has drastically increased.  

Given the influences like that of Fort Lewis College and the long established mountain bike community it's not surprising that the city would make an effort to not only embrace bicycles as a viable mode of transportation but that the ease of getting around Durango's town full of mountain charm and beautiful scenery could boost tourism as well.  

Picture of bike commuter on mountain bike Animas River Trail, Durango, ColoradoDurango, Colorado's Animas River Trail
An old favorite for bike commuters is the Animas River Trail which covers about seven miles meandering in a round about way providing easy access to visit different areas of town. Use the link provided for a PDF map of the trail system.  

We visited Durango over the July Fourth weekend and were able to avoid much of the town traffic by staying at the United Campground of Durango.  Camping with our two teenage girls it is necessary that we find campgrounds that provide certain amenities such as showers and such particularly for a week long camping vacation such as the one we took this year.  Map provided below shows the easy riding from the campground to town for shopping, sightseeing, photography, entertainment and of course riding your bike.  
If you're looking for a fun, interesting bike friendly mountain community Durango has something for everyone in the family to enjoy, especially us bike folks. 
Here are some favorite accessories for pub crawling tours

Bike Pub Touring Accessories

Picture of Top Line BH1500 Bar-Hopper, Handle-bar Mounted Cup Holder
Hanldebar mounted cup holder, for that necessary cup of coffee between pub stops
Picture of Six-slot Saddlebag Style Bike Bag, 6 Bottle Carrier with Handle
Six-slot Saddlebag Style Bike Bag, 6 Bottle Carrier with Handle from Donkey
 
 
Picture of touring bike with panniers
Touring Bike voted best bike for commuting
Picture of mountain bike for touring and commuting
Mountain Bike for touring and commuting top of votes
After a month of back and forth votes one for traditional touring bike, one for mountain bike the past few weeks votes came in from our survey making a traditional touring bike the favorite among our readers.  
This is a fun topic for determining what type of bike is right for your daily needs concerning your bike commute, errands, grocery toting, etc.  
Picture of Happy Woman with Bike fitBike Commuter with Happy Bike Fit
Most bike folks know to evaluate comfort and performance for touring and commuting and the first way to get there is with proper bike fit.  I read some folks complaining about drop bars' inability to provide a comfortable riding position and other folks claiming the comfort merits of multiple hand positions for longer rides.  

The word "traditional" is used rather loosely to help define a touring bike.  This includes frame geometry with relaxed riding position and longer wheel base.  A design which contributes to a bike which is not designed to be the most nimble or technically maneuverable but that provides a stable ride for the long haul.  As the votes were coming in I found myself weighing the benefits of the various conditions of commuting and touring and as Richard Ballantine was quoted as saying he "prefers to have the ability to go where he pleases" in reference to a mountain bike for touring. 

Some folks prefer older mountain bikes with 26" wheels for commuting with a feeling of centered gravity.  Nice way to put it as it indicates a feeling of balanced control while maneuvering perhaps in traffic or on a trail.  Lisa Piper's photo at left is such a good example of bike fit.  She can comfortably stand over her bike smiling as she displays her joyful relationship with her ride.  This is a good example of what most folks who preferred not to use drop bars particularly with their mountain bikes.  Lisa's vintage Peugeot is a steel lugged mountain bike frame that has been modified for commuting with a new angle to her quill stem coupled with sweeping ergonomic handlebars.  Not only has she found a nice bike fit for commuting but is riding in style.  Grant Petersen would approve.  

Another important consideration regarding drop bars is the ability to duck a head wind.  Long distance and particularly seasoned riders appreciate the ability to get lower on the drops while riding in wind.  A few folks with drop bars disregard the notion that a comfortable riding position cannot be obtained.  By adding inline brake levers to the top bar provides a second hand position for braking.  Thus, moving back and forth from the brake hoods to the flat top bar with access to braking provides a more upright position which is very comfortable for commuting and enables the rider to be visible to drivers in traffic. 

All in all it was a very interesting survey and glad we thought to ask the readers of this blog what they preferred. Hybrid or comfort bikes came in third with internally geared hubs or three speeds with folding bikes following in a close fourth.  We like all these bikes and glad to hear folks' appreciation for all the diverse bikes and scenarios which contribute to bike touring and commuting experience.  
Thanks to everyone for your participation in the survey and look forward to safe and fun riding.

Links to Other Sites Regarding this Topic:

Visit Bike Radar for their article regarding the Touring Bike as the best bike for commuting. 
Of course Grant Petersen at Rivendell Bike Works has some very good advice and common sense information regarding bike fit.  
An article at Hub Pages regarding a mountain bike for touring and commuting.

Fun Books to read for this topic:
Just Ride by Grant Petersen
New Bicycle Book by Richard Ballantine
 
 
Picture of Topeak Joe Blow Bike Floor PumpUsed and a bit abused, Topeak Joe Blow Pro
Finding a good shop quality floor pump proved to be a bit of a challenge.  We had two of Park Tool's shop quality floor pumps seize up on us and used the Home Mechanic Model instead.  Shop quality air compressors are standard of course but the atmosphere of our coffee customers necessitated a more quiet method for our particular shop's needs.  After much experience with various floor pumps either failing to perform under the rigors of everyday shop use or simply not efficient enough for rapid tire inflating I decided to try the Topeak Joe Blow Pro Bike Floor Pump.  

The pump itself proved to be a very dependable tool and we used it daily for at least two years.  After eighteen months we overhauled it with a Rebuild Kit for Joe Blow.  Not bad considering we used it in place of a compressor and we had several folks a week needing flat repair with all the thorns along the bike commuter path.

Picture of Sunlite Twinhead Pump Hose Kit for Topeak Joe Blow Pro Floor PumpSunlite Twinhead Pump Hose Kit
My only complaint about Topeak's Joe Blow Pro is the so called smart head, which is supposed to be able to switch from presta to schraeder valve simply by shoving the smart head onto the valve.  It never worked consistently enough to be very dependable and we had switched the original smart head out for a new one considering how many times the thing had been dropped on our concrete work floor.   We kept two pumps using the Topeak Joe Blow Pro for presta valve and the Park Tool Home Mechanic model for schraeder valve.  This was a practical solution as most of the schraeder valves were typically on lower pressure tires. 

After researching the issue I found it to be a very common complaint regarding Topeak's so called "smart head".   An affordable and practical solution is to replace the hose and head with one like the Sunlite Twinhead Hose Pump Kit.
Despite the criticism of that pump I still recommend  it as a very good quality pump as I still occasionally use that pump which is approximately ten years old with only one rebuild kit having been installed.  These days I use my Porter Cable Inflator on most of our bikes but keep that old pump around as a solid backup when needed.  

 
 
Picture of PORTER-CABLE PCC583B 18-Volt Inflator for bike maintenance and repairPORTER-CABLE PCC583B 18-Volt Inflator
One of my jobs in the bike industry had me overseeing bike assembly, performing advanced bike repairs and maintaining the bikes on the retail sales floor.  As I was required to use my own tools I noted the dependability and performance of the Park Tool PMP 5 frame pump for adding air to the display bikes' tires as needed.  However, based on that experience when I saw the Porter Cable PCC583B 18 Volt Inflator while shopping at our local hardware store I snatched one up. 

I really like the digital pressure gauge which can be preset.  For a high pressure tire this enables me to do other things while the tire inflator is running as it automatically shuts off when it reaches the pre determined pressure.  This is nice for car and truck tires as well.  I have a utility trailer and when I need to top off the air pressure not only is the pre-setting of the pressure nice to have, Porter Cable's little tire inflator when used with the battery enable me to reach the trailer tires without having to unhitch my vehicle to use the 12 volt cord.  

As my Dome workshop is solar powered this handy little tire inflator from Porter Cable has been a welcome addition with ability to perform on the 12 volt plug and cord supplied with product or off of the 18 volt Lithium ion battery, which must be purchased separately.  Since I have owned a set of Porter Cable power tools for a couple of years now I already had a couple of batteries.  However, Porter Cable has enabled this product to run off of either the older ni cad batteries or the newer more pricey lithium ion batteries and have thoughtfully provided a single battery charger for both types of batteries with the PORTER-CABLE PCXMVC Multi-Chemistry Slide Pack Charger.  

Picture of PORTER-CABLE PCC583B 18-Volt Inflator
PORTER-CABLE PCC583B 18-Volt Inflator with digital pressure gauge for pre-setting psi.
Picture of Porter Cable Inflator with 12 volt power cord
Porter Cable Tire Inflator with 12 volt power cord stored underneath unit.
Porter Cable's Tire Inflator is not meant to replace a typical workshop air compressor or a good quality bike floor pump.  It is an excellent choice for flat repair, conveniently adding air to maintain tire pressure particularly if you own several bikes and is very nice to have on a road trip in a car and maintaining car or truck tire pressures.  If you're one of those folks who enjoys DIY gadgets and tools, this is a good product. Click any of links or photos for product information or purchase. 

Other accessories which come with that product are ball needle, and second hose with airport for filling air mattresses or yoga balls with various sized plastic tips. 
 
 

Park Tool PMP-5 Dial Adjust Frame Pump Review

Picture of Park Tool PMP-5 Dial Adjust Frame Pump on road bike
Park Tool PMP-5 Dial Adjust Frame Pump on my Old Razesa Road Bike
Picture of Park Tool PMP-5 Dial Adjust Frame PumpPark Tool PMP-5 Dial Adjust Frame Pump
"They don't make a good mini pump" to quote our instructor at United Bike Institute.  After about a year of not listening to him, preferring to pack a pump I could fit in a jersey pocket or pack I realized he was correct.  Immediately following my attendance at bike school I found myself commuting on steep dirt, rocky and muddy roads of Colorado to get to the paved highway eight miles from town.  Being able to change tire pressures to accommodate the varying terrain proved to be too much of a hassle with a mini pump.  Later, when I could afford to do so I upgraded my tires which didn't necessitate reducing air pressure of rear tire so it would grab going up the steep incline which was so steep it caused my rear tire to spin out if I didn't keep my butt on the saddle.  

One of the reasons I wanted to hold on to a mini pump was due to the fact that I always seem to own several bikes at a time and enjoy riding different bikes for different reasons.  Having each bike equipped with a saddle bag, spare tube and or patch kit is enough but I still don't equip each bike with its own pump.  I wanted a frame pump for my bikes and considered getting a couple different lengths, perhaps a shorter one to throw in a bike pannier or hydration pack until I found the Park Tool PMP 5 Dial Adjust Frame Pump.  If you've ever compared the efficiency of a frame pump to a mini pump you know that instructor was correct in his statement, particularly when properly inflating to higher pressures.  That's one of the reasons Crank Brothers mini alloy pump has a "high volume" or "high pressure" switch at the base of the handle.  What that amounted to was having to pump, pump, pump and pump some more and yet even some more until some folks are so exhausted after a flat repair they don't feel like riding.  I'm kidding of course but you get the idea.  With a frame pump like that from Park Tool that is not the case where even at high pressures the pump performs smoothly and rather effortlessly.  



Picture of Park PMP-5 frame pump for bike touring and commutingPark PMP-5 for varying frame lengths
The versatility offered by the PMP-5 is that the handle has small grooves or notches where the pump can be re sized for varying frame lengths with a "V shaped" stationary piece which holds the aluminum pump barrel to the handle.  A tough resin plastic of which the handle is made is very strong and resilient.  I have had a handlebar swing around and knock the pump out of the frame sending it on to the concrete on several occasions.  Perhaps that's why the photos of my pump are with a concrete background, not at all.  I haven't tried using this pump as a weapon to ward off chasing dogs as I have heard of some bike commuters doing with their frame pumps but I can attest to that as a pump this thing is a work horse. 

I used this pump at a job where I needed a convenient method of maintaining tire pressure on the sales floor of a major bike retailer.  Rather than using a cordless drill tire inflator which was very loud and obnoxious to customers this pump proved to be fast, quiet and efficient enough for me to keep up with my work.  I used this pump on countless tires without issue of higher pressures requiring me to stress or strain.  Of course the pump head of the Park PMP-5 can be used with either presta or schraeder valves by unscrewing the cap and inverting the round rubber washer and tip.



Picture of Park Tool PMP-5 Dial Adjust Frame Pump in hydration pack for bike commuting
Park PMP-5 easily fits in a commuter pack
Picture of Park Tool PMP-5 Dial Adjust Frame Pump on mountain bike for trail riding
Park PMP-5 fits securely for trail riding
Picture Park Tool PMP-5 Dial Adjust Frame Pump on a Touring Bike
Park Tool PMP-5 Dial Adjust Frame Pump on a Touring Bike
With an overall length of 19" when collapsed and approximately 17 1/2" when compressed the PMP-5 fits nicely inside my hydration pack.  It also fits safe and snug on the rear rack of my 20" wheeled folding Dahon when tucked under the rack bag.
Picture of Park Tool PMP-5 Dial Adjust frame pump on Dahon Mariner rear rack
Park PMP-5 on rear rack of Dahon Mariner
I don't know if I have said enough here about how tried and true this excellent pump has served me over the years.  Knowing how it performed at work under daily use conditions which it was not designed for only proved to provide more confidence in the Park Tool PMP-5 Frame Pump to work when I need it to, which thank goodness is very rare as I rarely get flats.  

Click on any of the text links or photos for more information or to purchase.  I picked mine up approximately five years ago and at the very reasonable price of twenty five dollars it is a very affordable, quality accessory for bicycle touring and commuting.  
Picture of Park Tool PMP-5 Dial Adjust Frame Pump on a Commuter Bike
Park Tool PMP-5 Dial Adjust Frame Pump on Commuter Bike
 
 
PictureCommuter using his bike for self defense.
"Bike people are raw" to quote my railroad working buddy who spends most all his waking life behind the wheel of a two ton semi truck.  In his mind I'm sure bike folks do seem a bit "vulnerable" as I have listened to him complain about how people drive.

Now, that friend owns a bike which he rides occasionally for exercise to compensate for his many miles and hours spent on the road driving.  However, he is by no means a bike commuter nor does he have any interest in bike touring.  So when he made a follow up comment "I don't know if it's worth it any more" he was referring to what he felt are the inherent risks of riding a bike alongside the road.

Today's bike advocacy groups are all about bike safety tips and creating safer roads for bike commuting and ironically that is the way it has been since the bike was first introduced as an optional mode of transportation to a horse.   The following quoted selection from Gizmodo helps to explain this.

Back at the turn of the century, the bicycle was one of the hottest non-horse-powered modes of transportation available. It was also affecting all aspects of city-living, including dealing with crime. Thankfully, in 1901, Pearson's Magazine ran an illustrated feature on how to use your bike to fend off attackers.

"Self-Protection on a Cycle," by Marcus Tindal, is exactly what it sounds like. The rather exhaustive report on bicycle self-defense methods, including but not limited to using the bike as a weapon and to brake-checking oncoming assailants. It's worth noting that about half of the illustrations feature women, who famously enjoyed a sense of liberation with the advent of the new technology.
Picture of bike commuter picking up trash litterAdvocacy for bike camping, picking up trash litter.
Pearson's 1901 article written as a treatise on how to use the bike as a weapon for self defense is rather absurd with few if any of the techniques explained would actually work against an attacker.  Point here being that folks have always felt vulnerable riding bikes and display their frustration to varying degrees.  

In a manner of justification and spite for the modern vehicle automobiles themselves are often criticized for green house emissions and blamed as an environmental nuisance if not a hazard.  When I was a kid growing up in the mid '70's through the '80's bike advocacy didn't exist and even if it had as kids wanting to travel about town on our BMX bikes the only thing that would sometimes hold us back was our parents not wanting us to be gone for umpteen hours on end.  We would travel from one side of town to the other, going to the malls, movie theaters or a friend's house in a neighboring town.  We rode sidewalks cut through parking lots and would get off and walk or carry ours bikes as necessary when going through a field and over creeks and through over grown trails.  In high school living in Portland, Oregon several years prior to any bike advocacy groups I would ride from outside the city limits to downtown Portland on my road bike using hiking trails and walking or carrying my bike as necessary to get to work.  In short, bikes can go many places that cars cannot and I use this to my advantage when commuting.

Now that I am living in south Texas I have heard so many folks say how non bike friendly this area is.  I heard this after I had rode the twenty plus miles of open country roads and highways along the Gulf Coast.  I have found most folks to be rather courteous and considerate drivers and it must be pointed out that I am a courteous and considerate bike commuter of cars.  And that's the point here.  With the absence of bike lanes or ability to "take the lane" where traffic moves at a greater speed than I would care to race in I simply recognized the need for a mountain bike for commuting.   It's ironic to say thanks to an area where I am forced to use sidewalks, dirt trails and whatever means necessary to navigate my way about town and at certain times I feel a bit like a kid again.  I have also found some very fun areas to explore, camp near water and ride hard and fast on non designated bike trails.  Yee haw! is the appropriate response for Texas.  In fact earlier this week Lisa and the girls drove to the mall and as we had several emails to respond to for our business we decided to meet at a coffee shop near the mall while the teenagers did their thing.  I said "alright, I'll be waiting for you at the coffee shop".  Lisa didn't feel I could make it to our meeting place before her and so we bet five bucks.  

Picture of bike commuter sitting outside coffee shopBike Commuter won five dollar bet, Lisa's photo.
This is the photo from Lisa of me waiting for her outside of the coffee shop, not bad for a so called non bike friendly area.   To reiterate my friend's comment of "I don't know if it's worth it any more" when referring to bike riding, well, suck it bitch I won the bet so it is worth it.  Cars aren't bullies, people are but that's not news to anyone, even most kids.  I have been a proponent of bike advocacy for many years now and have been hit by cars, had stuff thrown at me from drivers while riding my bike and know from experience what I am talking about.  One of the luxuries of having paid my dues is knowing how to ride in a fun, practical manner without having to demonize anyone.  When success is defined as liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it I know as an individual representing fellow bike folk that when someone tries to tell me riding a bike isn't a good idea their wasting their time, not mine.  

Here are some links to help support your bike riding efforts:  from Grant Peterson's book "Just Ride" who I fondly recognize as someone promoting practical bike riding and for those who remember the Bridgestone brochures of the '80's for his witty banter and writing style.   

PictureVisit sharetheroad.org for more information
Share the Road Tee Shirt stickers and other goodys have been around for years offering a fun way to display your bike advocacy support by making a subtle statement to others. 

Also, shop Planet Bike Products when you purchase a Planet Bike Product 25% is contributed to bike advocacy, as simple and easy way to lend support. 

 
 

Portable Solar Shower for Bike Touring and Camping

Picture of off grid building fun mountain biking retreat cabinClick on Photo for Cabin Porn's Site of Fun cabins and sheds
A very fun site for photos of interesting cabins and other types of structures has featured a photo of my old property in Colorado.  Cabin Porn  provides fun and interesting photos of a variety of cabin and rustic type structures.  So today I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had published one of my earlier blog articles about a cabin and bath house I had finished building for some folks in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  I learned of the site by way of Aistair Humphrey's blog post A Shed of My Own where he discusses the joys of building one's own little structure.  

I have very fond memories of my old place in Colorado having grown food that I shared with friends, neighbors and travelers as well as having become a hard core bike commuter.  Having lived off grid for three years and commuting on my mountain bike approximately ten miles each way those winters spent on the bike in an early morning or early evening chill weren't as challenging as most folks imagine it was.  I have very fond memories of riding my bike through some of the most beautiful winter wonderland scenes that I remember taking a moment to stop on my bike felt a deep inner strength and knowledge that can best be described as gratitude for having the opportunity to experience that moment.  

Now that it's spring and folks are gearing up for their bike touring plans it's a good time to mention especially for those not familiar with the bike touring community at warmshowers.org.  If you're someone new to the bike touring scene I recommend clicking on the link provided, sign up and you will get an idea of the kind and energetic folks that contribute to Warm Showers providing a community for bike tourists and folks offering a place for you to sleep by providing tent space, a guest bed or couch and a shower.  It's one of the best ideas to incorporate into your trip planning as a way to meet and interact with fellow bike touring enthusiasts along the way.

I mention this because while living off grid a warm shower was something I was very grateful to have particularly in the winter.  Summers were easy and I often would simply use a Solar Shower which can best be described as a large thick plastic and or rubber five gallon bag that is warmed by the sun then placed off the ground so that a miniature shower head can be used.  It worked quite well and I enjoyed bathing under the pine trees.  

I have since moved on, Colorado was a place of mixed memories some good, some bad and of course some indifferent.  I hope whoever picks up that property continues to offer the same kind hospitable atmosphere I had intended for the place.  As I continue with an off grid lifestyle with our dome workshop I am often reminded of some of the old challenges I would face and grateful I don't have to deal with them any longer.  Here in League City, TX we offer tent space for bike touring enthusiasts via warmshowers.org as well as being able to provide healthy organic foods from our Natural Living Country Store at shopnaturalliving.com

Picture of Summer Shower 2.5 gallon solar shower for bike camping and touringPortable Shower perfect for bike camping



Looking for a portable, lightweight and convenient method of getting a quick rinse while bike camping?  A new solar shower bag in photo at left comes in a 2.5 gallon capacity, packs small and is lightweight.  Very well reviewed item that comes with a one year warranty.  Click here for more information or to purchase 

Picture of tent space available for bike touring warmshowers.org
We have tent space available for bike touring enthusiasts. Visit warmshowers.org for more information and for a list of bike touring folks who enjoy supporting each other on their travels.
 
 
Picture of Bike Commuter at home for Bike to Work Day
Working from Home while Bike Commuting can provide lots of fun Detours for commuting.
Picture of commuter bike in cargo trailer for work
Bike Commuting is a fun, diverse method of transportation.
For bike to work day I found a method to commute by bike even though I work from home.  Sounds like the best of both worlds to me and more often than not it is.
Picture of old man commuting on a lawn mowerNo bike for Bike to Work Day? Checkout the Lawnmower commuter
While it's National Bike Month I have been trying to ride more often, so what is a person to do who works from home on National Bike to Work Day?  Why, go around it, of course. I'm not much for reading about statistics or really too concerned about what other folks are doing for that matter but it is nice to hear some good news from PBS News Hour where studies indicate a sixty percent increase in bike commuting in the U.S.  Click here to read the story.

Now that we have our home based business I continue to commute by bike for errands and such.  For Bike to Work Day I wanted to ride to work so I put my old Bridgestone MB 1 in our trailer we use for our business, found a convenient hassle free parking area and then rode my bike back to our store.  I needed to temporarily move the trailer for the day anyhow so it worked out very nicely and working from home for National Bike to Work Day turned out to be a fun opportunity for bike commuting. After parking the trailer and beginning my bike commute to our store I got a good chuckle from seeing our resident lawn mower commuter and just had to get a photo and mention him for bike to work day.  What a character.  After noticing his little wagon type trailer pulled behind his mower I thought of the importance of being able to conveniently carry items on the bike in an efficient manner.  I suppose it has something to do with the fact the guy is riding a lawn mower but I remembered the nice functionality of the Detours Town and Country Grassy Basket I found a month or so ago.  I had initially installed that basket on my old Puch Bergmeister but as I have been riding the Bridgestone for most of my errands I thought it would be so nice and convenient to use that basket more frequently.  After reviewing the Origin 8 Classique Cargo Carrier, Sunlite Deluxe Quick Release Rattan Basket and then the Detours Town and Country I have found the Town and Country to be a favorite for picking up a few groceries or a six pack with the drawstring closure and waterproof rain cover it's nice to use as a more versatile basket and pack bag combo.  

Thought I would share one of our favorite bike commuting accessory ideas for folks wanting to commute this month.  At any rate, hoping y'all are enjoying National Bike Month in your part of the country by participating in the various events or quietly acknowledging the efforts of the bike advocacy groups who have done so much to improve bike commuting in the U.S.   Finding detours and ways to go around those areas that are not considered bike friendly gets easier with experience.  After years of navigating city streets and suburbs having a versatile bike for going around potential hazards has become a fun way to improve riding skills and reducing risk.  

Picture of handlebar basket for bike commutingDetours Town and Country Grassy Basket


This photo shows the rain cover for the Detours Town and Country Basket on the Old Puch Bergmeister and I am looking forward to reviewing other products from Detours including some Panniers for bike touring and camping.  Here's a link to a sneak peak of their smaller Pannier Set that can be used on front or rear rack.  

 
 
Picture of Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1 tent for bike touring and bike campingAlps Mountaineering Lynx 1 Tent for bike touring
I have been toting around my old Coleman Peak 1 Cobra two person tent for almost fifteen years.  Click here to read my detailed review of that neat old tent.  A very popular and well reviewed tent with single pole design, dual entry, two vestibule areas and at 4 pounds a very versatile little two person tent for a cozy couple who sleep well together. 

My recent purchase of the Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1 tent wasn't purchased to replace that tent but to provide yet another shelter option.  At 3 pounds 15 ounces it is a bit lighter than my Coleman tent but is a free standing design that is very nice to have for versatile pitching if ground surface poses an issue to getting stakes into the ground.  

I had been considering some other tents of very similar design such as the MSR Hubba and Eureka Midori Solo.  My criteria while searching for a free standing one person tent was that it provide enough interior height and if any accessories were included.  So, in the case of the Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1 tent I appreciate the included gear loft for storing valuables such as a phone, wallet, etc. and the design does not put the storage loft over head but rather it hangs in the upper end between the wall and roof line.   Kinda nice for head room while sitting up in the tent.  I replaced the aluminum stakes that came with the tent with MSR Ground Hog stakes for lighter weight and easier to stake in.

There are varying considerations when selecting a tent and most of those have to do with pack weight, climate and ventilation.  Having a tent that feels like home away from home or I know an old time veteran to bike touring who would sleep on or under picnic tables depending on the weather.  So just how light weight a person plans to travel or if they like having dependable portable shelter comfort for cooking, blogging and, or photography is all a matter of personal choice and interests.   My experience of riding in Oregon I was stuck in a torrential down pour with such intense winds it made riding the bike difficult.  I opted to ride out the storm in my tent and was glad to have a dependable waterproof tent that held up so well to the wind.  

So, if you're looking for a small, lightweight tent at a very good price here are the Specifications of the Alps Lynx 1 Tent.  Including Links for information or purchase.  Another tent I considered for warm humid summers is the Zephyr 1 also from Alps Mountaineering is an all mesh tent body for added ventilation for the approximately the same weight and price.  Some reviewers seem to like the Zephyr 1 for bike touring as there is lots of room for storing your gear.

SpecsBase Size: 7'6 x 2'8
Center Height: 3'
Vestibule Depth: 32"
Tent Area: 20 sq. ft.
Vestibule Area: 10 sq. ft.
Tent & Fly Weight: 3 lbs. 8 oz.
Total Weight: 3 lbs. 15 oz.
Packed Size: 6" x 17.5"
Pole Diameter: 8.5 mm

Picture of Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1 Person Tent for bike touring
Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1 person tent for bike touring
  • Free Standing 2 Pole Design with 7000 Series Aluminum Poles
  • Easy Assembly with Pole Clips
  • 75D 185T Polyester Fly resists UV damage and stays taut
  • Factory Sealed Fly & Floor Seams give best weather protection
  • 75D 185T Poly Taffeta Floor with 2000mm coating
  • Extra Large #8 Zippers on Door and Vestibule
  • Vestibule for gear storage and extra weather protection
  • Weatherproof Fly Buckles on for maximum adjustability and protection
  • Half Mesh Walls increase ventilation
  • Mesh Storage Pockets, Gear Loft, 7075 Aluminum Stakes and Guy Ropes Included
 
 
Picture of adult bike for commuting and kid's bikesNational Bike Month celebrates family of bike
Another May, another year and bikes are being pedaled like never before in my short time thus far on the planet.  Advocacy groups have done so much to benefit transportation habits in many major cities in the U.S. Considering how much has changed in the past twenty years or so there's good reason to say Cheers!

It's a good month to be grateful and the month of May has been a particularly good month for me thus far.  We had a very nice Mother's Day celebration, been visiting with an old friend and my bikes are ready to ride.  Was able to finish the task of spring cleaning at the Natural Living Store and although our Pup ate a few pounds of organic ground beef off the grill we still had a very nice time.

Speaking of spring cleaning I rather enjoy getting our assorted bikes cleaned, lubed and serviced for the months ahead.  Although summers are typically very warm and humid here in South Texas I still intend to get some good riding in.  With the variety of bike events this month and memories of participating in varying ways over the years I got the urge to create a personal blog for reminiscing on some of those times while moving forward to create more fond memories and began a personal blog "Bike Memoirs" .  Please click on that underlined link provided as I would enjoy hearing any comments regarding short bit of content.

Any contribution to our National Bike Folk community is good stuff.  Would enjoy hearing how others' have participated in the 2014 National Bike Month. Whatever that is, enjoy.