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Saturday, April 21, 2012

BIKEPACKING: 9 INDISPENSABLE PIECES OF MOUNTAIN TOURING GEAR [Outside]


One of the most common questions I get about bikepacking and endurance races like the Arizona Trail 300 is how you can carry everything you need. The answer, which I've come to after generous input from others and lots of trial and error, is a combination of lightweight gear, packs that fit your bike, and miserly packing. The products below aren't everything that I use, nor will they work for everyone. I know guys that run dramatically different setups than mine, and every race calls for a different set of gear. But I've found the following items reliable and indispensible over lots of trips into the backcountry.
Aaron Gulley's AZT300 Bike SetupMy AZT300 race rig fully loaded on a shake-down ride in Placitas, New Mexico.
Depending on how rough a course is, I choose between a full-suspension 29er like this Specialized Epic 29er or my tried-and-true Moots Mooto X YBB. Stiff wheels are a must for handling the big loads (I love the Easton EC90 XC 29"), and thru-axles on front and back help, too. Fully loaded for the AZT, my rig weighs 34 pounds, including 5,000 calories and one full water bottle.

Free Ride Pittsburgh


Collective Structure

Free Ride is a collective organization with multiple levels of membership. The collective is volunteer run and has a flat, non-hierarchy, structure. The collective structure means that individuals who use Free Ride are responsible for keeping it running and in return share the benefits of ownership.
Involvement varies for each Free Ride participant. Many participants volunteer when they can but do not contribute on a regular basis. Other participants are heavily involved in the inner workings of the Free Ride organization. Most participants find their participation somewhere in between the two extremes.

Collective Council

The collective council is the governing body responsible for major decisions at Free Ride. Membership in the collective council is open to anybody as long as collective council requirements are met. The collective council meets monthly and often breaks work out into sub-committees to deal with more nitty gritty details.

Sub-Committees

Free Ride has formed several sub-committees to address specific areas that the collective council can not fully address at monthly meetings. Although committee members are usually also council members, participation in committees has no requirements and is open to everybody.

Committee

Purpose

Shop

Shop organization, maintenance, stocking.

Programs

Designs and administers youth & adult classes

Communication

Smooth & effective communication among free ride users, members, and council. Includes in-shop tools, online tools, public outreach, and volunteer training.

Finance

Organize & maintain systems to keep finances legit and provide planning information to the collective.
Each committee has regular meetings to discuss its work. Meeting dates and agendas should be posted in the shop and on our wiki,https://we.riseup.net/freeride_council.
If they are not, visit the website or the shop to find committee contact info.

Main Huts & Trails


OUR MISSION

Maine Huts & Trails is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to contribute to the economic, social and natural environment of Maine’s Western Mountain region by creating and operating a world-class recreation corridor for current and future generations. Our backcountry trails enhance access to beautiful lakes, rivers and forest lands, and our low impact huts provide inviting spaces that facilitate outdoor adventures and learning. This self-sustaining resource stimulates environmentally sensitive economic opportunity in the region by attracting visitors of all ages and abilities.
Our Work is:
  • Creating a resource of national significance for our state and regions.
  • Providing opportunities for environmental and experiential education.
  • Enhancing opportunities for people-powered outdoor recreation.
  • Stimulating environmentally sensitive economic development opportunities in Western Maine.
  • Instilling an environmental stewardship and conservation ethic within our communities and residents.
  • Ensuring perpetual year-round public access to remote and special areas along the trail corridor.

FAQ’S                               Cross country skiers enjoy Maine Huts & Trails.

Q: Are the trails open to the public?
A: Yes, the trails are open to the public free of charge for year-round, non-motorized use.
Q: What are the benefits of becoming a member?
A: For us at Maine Huts & Trails, membership fees help offset trail construction, maintenance and operational expenses. For those who enjoy the use of the trails and huts, becoming a member of Maine Huts & Trails means being a part of a community of active individuals and families who value meaningful outdoor experiences and care about the future of western Maine. Membership also has tangible benefits for even modestly active users and promotes further participation with Maine Huts & Trails.
We try very hard to offer tangible rewards. The membership benefits are selected for their desirability and offer distinction on or off the trail. Most importantly, the membership program levels are designed to provide each person with the choice they seek in planning their adventure in any given year. With early reservation periods, you have access to the best dates on the calendar to ensure the availability of the route you wish to travel. Become a member online now!
Q: What kind of service is available to day-visitors along the trail and at the huts?A: At the huts, visitors can enjoy access to potable water (fresh from a drilled well) and use of the composting toilet facilities. Baked goods, soup, hot beverages, beer and wine and souvenirs are available for purchase at the huts. In the winter, day visitors can enjoy a wide range of groomed and un-groomed trails.  Check out the interactive hut gallery for more information about the amenities at each of the huts.
Q: What types of uses do the trails accommodate?A: The trails are designed and managed for non-motorized uses. In the summer, trail users can hike along all sections of the trail. Mountain biking and paddling are also available along certain designated sections. Winter activities include XC-skiing and snowshoeing. Please understand that the trails run through a variety of public and private lands. Adhering to trail postings and staying on the trail is requested.
Q: Are dogs allowed on the trails?A: Dogs are allowed on the trails on leash or under voice command during the months of April – November.  Our trails travel through some of Maine’s most important wildlife habitat, including deer wintering areas.  In an effort to avoid wildlife disturbance during our winter months, December through March, dogs are not allowed on the trails.  Dogs are not permitted over night at the huts during the winter but we do offer dog friendly rooms during the spring, summer and fall. Reservations for the dog friendly rooms are required.
Planning an overnight visit?  Check out the rest of our Frequently Asked Questions!
Want to learn more? Contact us now.
Ready to book a trip? Book your adventure today!

Red Bull Signature Series [VIDEO]

CYCLISTS TAKE TO WINTER ICE IN MINNESOTA



ON THOMSON RESERVOIR, NEAR CARLTON, Minn. — Hansi Johnson would love to be cross-country skiing. But conditions in the Duluth area this winter have conspired to make skiing a tough go. So Johnson and several of his friends have found another alternative.
Winter bicycling.
One Wednesday morning, Johnson and his cycling friend Todd McFadden rode their specially designed winter bikes across the frozen surface of Thomson Reservoir near Johnson’s home.
“If you get your head around the idea that ice is ridable, you can go a lot of places,” said Johnson, 41, who is Midwest regional director for the International Mountain Biking Association.
Granted, winter biking is a specialized pursuit, best done on mountain bikes with exceptionally fat tires that provide excellent flotation on snow or snow-covered ice. The riders wear insulated biking shoes and split mittens called “lobster claws” to keep their hands warm.
But they’re riding. And they’re happy.

[keep reading at xploreutah.net]

Friday, April 20, 2012

11 Transportation Officials Who Are Changing the Game [dc.streetsblog.org]


America’s streets are changing for the better. The signs are everywhere: Whether it’s bike sharing in Chattanoogacomplete streets in New Orleans or bus rapid transit in Cleveland — cities across the country are trying new things and making impressive progress in the pursuit of safer streets and sustainable transportation.
It’s all thanks to a lot of hard work by a lot of people — advocates, elected officials, and a new breed of policy maker you might call the visionary bureaucrat. This series is about those bureaucrats — the people who are transforming transportation and planning agencies from public sector backwaters into centers of bold innovation and change.
Every day this week, Streetsblog will be highlighting well-known and not-so-well-known transportation officials who are working to put new ideas into action. They’re overcoming bureaucratic and political obstacles, building coalitions, and demonstrating how American transportation systems should adapt for the 21st century.
We compiled this list with help from the Congress for the New Urbanism, Smart Growth America, Transportation for America, Project for Public Spaces, and the State Smart Transportation Initiative. Recognizing that a truly comprehensive list of innovators would be impossible, we aimed to put together a broad cross-section of officials working at different levels of local government, from city agencies to state DOTs. Everyone here is deserving, but not everyone who’s deserving is on the list.
Here’s the first of our five installments.

Why Do Motorists Hit Cyclists & Run? Because 30 days is better than 4-8 YEARS!~ [Steve Magas Bike Lawyer]

By: Steve Magas, April 20, 2012
In Columbus, the end comes to a criminal case two years in the making. Amber Fernandez was sentenced in the hit/run death of Jeff Stevenson – instead of being punished for 4-8 years for killing Jeff Stevenson, she got THIRTY DAYS for running away.

On Feb 27, Ms. Fernandez plead guilty to one count of “Failure to Stop After an Accident” – a 3rd degree felony. She was sentenced yesterday to 30 days. You can read John Futty’s story in the Columbus Dispatch here – I have had the honor of representing Jeff’s Mom in the civil case – this sentence, frankly, makes me sick…
This case illustrates why folks hit… and run… Jeff was probably hit around 2-3am.  By the time Jeff’s body was found around 5am by a family, up early and on their way to move a family member to Georgia, it had already been a few rainy hours since the crash.  Any potential “crime scene” had been driven over by many cars. Police found some smashed bike and car parts at the scene, but little else was useable.  Of course, by running away Amber was able to avoid helping Jeff, or perhaps help make his last moments on earth more comfortable… but that’s another story…


[Keep reading at Steve Magas Bike Lawyer]

YEAR OF YAY! Month 4 is tomorrow! Record Store and Earth Day ride!



YEAR OF YAY! is a series of 12 rides to celebrate our city and promote membership in Yay Bikes!. Everyone who rides with us will receive an exclusive button designed by Bandito Design Co, as well as other goodies TBA. 

April's theme is Rhythm of the Earth. We will be celebrating National Record Store Day by visiting local record shops and ending at the Earth Day Celebration at the Columbus Commons to celebrate our community garden cleanup from April 14th.

We'll be starting from the pavilion at Goodale Park (that's the open structure just west of the main building near the playgrounds).

All YoY rides are FREE for Yay Bikes! members and $5 for everyone else. Become a YB! member at http://yaybikes.com/membership/.

{ { { { HELMETS are *strongly* encouraged on all YB! rides. LOCKS are also useful at our stops. } } } }



[Facebook event]

TransCanadaHighway.com Road Info


Trans-Canada Highway Travelling Itineraries
Here are some key features of our itineraries (see list below):
  1. Our itineraries detail over 3500 points along the highway
  2. Segment overview information, about what not to miss, particularly about the history, geology and nature. This gives you info on what to see & do between towns and cities
  3. Each segment includes and overview Google map, with a Satellite image option, that you can zoom in for more detail, as desired.
  4. We've added an elevation map for each segment, which ties in with the geological discussion, but is of special interest to those cycle-touring across Canada.
  5. Pop-up zoomed-in Google map for every point & exit from the highway, so you can better plan your trip
Here is a listing of Itineraries for a drive across the country. We also have a quick mileage (kilometer) chart.

Depending on how long you want to drive each day, which can be influenced, how much site-seeing you are doing, if you are driving with kids, or the weather and quality of roads, or the hours of sunlight at different times of the year.

The itineraries listed here are typically about 150 to 250 km (taking approximately 2 hours of driving time). You can choose one or more segments per day to suit your preferred pace. The itineraries are designed like bus schedules, with both eastbound and westbound distances on the same page, so you only need one set to the trip there and back. 

STREET SHARKS SPRINT SERIES: Part 1 is tonight!

Who is the fastest rider in Columbus? This series is designed to find out. 6 sprints, 1 sprint a month spanning April to September. The top finishers in the first 5 races will be awarded points with the top point getters racing in the 6th and final race. The first 5 races are a $5 buy-in winner take all. The finale will be a prize BONANZA! So get those track bikes geared up ( geared bikes are welcome but no shifting) and test your meddle against Columbus' fastest! Registration is at the Goodale Park Gazebo at 9:00 p.m. on April, 20, 2012. 9:30 departure to race site. Also, we would like to have a womens category. This can only happen if enough women show up, so GET OUT THERE!

In case of a rain out the rain date will be 4/28/12

For more info/ updates visit: bikewars.tumblr.com

[Facebook event]

Pedaler’s Fair [Seattle]


April 21st and 22nd 2012
from 11am–5pm
A marketplace for bicycle related goods manufactured by independent businesses in Washington.
Pedaler’s Fair is a two-day event that will highlight work from over twenty businesses, representing an amazing array of mediums and projects dedicated to bikes.
Location:
The Building, Ballard District
1415 NW 49th st.  Seattle, Wa 98107   
at the intersection of NW 49th street and 14th avenue North, three blocks from the Burke-Gilman Trail

Domino’s Takes Electric Vehicle Sound Effects To Their Hilarious Conclusion [Fastcompany]




Electric cars are gloriously silent, which means the noise from traffic is almost entirely eliminated. Instead of the noise of combustion engines, we get just the sound of sleek machines zipping around our roads. And also the sound of the screams of pedestrians who, expecting some auditory clues as to when cars are approaching, wander into the street and get hit. In response, the government is working to require electric cars to make some sort of noise.
In the Netherlands, the local Domino’s Pizza has added noises to its electric delivery scooters which consist of a human being making engine noises and occasionally yelling "Domino’s!" and "Pizza!" To be fair, it’s not 100% clear that this is not a joke, but even if it is, it exposes a horrifying aspect of the future of electric cars that goes mostly unremarked upon: A world in which we entrust our urban soundscape to the whims of large corporations bent on advertising...
Keep reading at Fastcompany

America Bikes launches new site


About America Bikes

When America Bikes, America Benefits

Americans are increasingly searching for personal solutions to tight family budgets, rising health care costs, and time wasted in traffic. As a society, we are facing monumental challenges relating to climate change, pollution, and oil dependence.
Despite a small current investment of resources, bicycling and walking already account for 10 percent of all trips made by Americans.
The potential clearly exists to double that share: forty percent of all trips in the United States are just two miles or less, and yet the vast majority are made by car. These short car trips are the most polluting and energy intensive as well as the easiest to shift to bicycling and walking.

Continuing and strengthening our investment in bicycling and walking will enable our nation to move decisively towards a goal of increasing the share of trips taken by these modes from 10 percent to 20 percent. Such a shift from driving to bicycling and walking will provide tens of billions of dollars per year in economic, health, tourism, energy, environmental, safety, and congestion-related benefits.
Recreational cycling is extremely popular, with 84 million Americans participating in 2004. Growing this small investment will help Americans use their bicycles for transportation as well as exercise.
Many Americans have limited transportation options; equity requires providing viable bicycle, pedestrian, transit, and trail networks for more Americans.
America Bikes advocates in Congress for a federal transportation law that meets these challenges and measures progress in terms of cost effectiveness, clean air, energy independence, and job creation as well as safe, healthy, and effective transportation choices.
On behalf of our 300,000 members and the tens of millions of U.S. cyclists, America Bikes urges Congress to adopt legislation for complete streets, active transportation networks, and a fair share for safety.
We are a national coalition of leaders from the bicycle and pedestrian movement ensuring an increased role for bicycling as a healthy means of everyday travel and recreation.

EMBROCATION COFFEE

You, our loyal customers and readers, have been telling us that we should do our own coffee blend for some time. Since our brand image and logo is based on our personal love for strong coffee and the indelible link between cycling culture and coffee drinking, this is a reasonable request. It would have been easy to run to the nearest coffee roaster, buy a bunch of bags and print up some labels. This would have been the quick and easy way, but not in keeping with the other aspects of our company. Any coffee blend bearing the Embrocation name needs to be special.



Enter our team rider and friend at JDK Design, Steve Francisco, who suggested we contact Mané Alves at Vermont Artisan Coffee. Mané isn't any average roaster; he's a world-renowned coffee expert, hired by many of the biggest coffee companies in the land to help them make and perfect their blends. He's like a coffee professor and artisan rolled into one, and he supplied us with this blend, which per our request is specifically roasted for use in a stove-top moka pot espresso maker.
Each can contains one pound of special dark espresso blend coffee whole beans. The cans are vacuum sealed to preserve the flavor of the beans indefinitely. Per Mané's suggestion, we recommend a moka pot espresso maker for preparation, but this blend will work equally well in a french press or other fine coffee maker.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ask the Experts: Why Is US Bike Culture So Different From Europe's? [Treehugger]


Why is the U.S. so different from Europe when it comes to bike culture and is it something that we can change?

Elizabeth Press from Streetfilms answers:
"The U.S. differs from Europe so much because we have indulged in our car addictions much longer than most European countries have. Look at a place like the Netherlands. We can all agree that they are super bike friendly. But they don't have perfect weather for biking year-round.  So, how did they get this way? They had the foresight and political will forty years ago to acknowledge the harmful effects of the automobile on urban centers. They chose to change and not allow the car to monopolize their cities. They chose to plan for people. Here in the U.S. we are starting to realize the importance of giving priority to cyclists and pedestrians. We are on our way to making our cities more livable for all. And, our bike culture will surely grow with this shift."
Elizabeth Press is a media maker at Streetfilms, which you can follow on Twitter @Streetfilms. You can follow Elizabeth's "non-streetfilms endorsed" tweets too, @eeepee.

© Elizabeth Press