30 September 2016

Project- DIY Slingshot

With all the responsibilities with being an adult, it is fun sometimes to seek our inner kid. I feel that the bicycle does this. As a kid our bicycles let us get that first taste of freedom and the adventure spirit. Today as adults we ride still seeking that freedom and adventure that we found as a kid only if its for an hour or if we are lucky a weekend trip.

I notice on some other blogs or just pictures posted on the web that some folks had slingshots with them on bikepacking trips or bikepacking/touring camp out events. I figured it was time for me to be like the cool kids (adults) that are on the popular online blogs and get a slingshot.

Now there are some cool looking slingshots what you can purchase online but I am not going to pay the Hipster price of $20-$40 for a slingshot. I thought back to when I was a kid we would have just made ourselves a slingshot from a tree branch. I set off one weekend to do just that and it was a cool 1 hour project.

** Disclaimer here** I am not an expert slingshot builder and what I am sharing is how I built my slingshot. You can also research how to build DIY slingshot on the web get other methods. Also remember that a slingshot is not a toy. It becomes a weapon with a rock in it. Also please read about the laws in your state about slingshots.

 DIY Slingshot
Look for a good hard wood branch that has a nice fork. I used a branch from a Dogwood tree. I found that the Dogwood just had better forks than the Oak trees in my yard. When you cut the branch from the tree make sure you cut it longer than you need. You can trim everything up later.

The next step in the process is to dry the branch out. If we just let the branch air dry it would take months to dry out. But with one modern day appliance we can take what would take months to about 8 minutes.

DIY Slingshot

Wrap your forked branch with a rag to protect the microwave. *Note to self, do not use a red shop rag like in the picture. The red will bleed onto the branch.* Use a something that is white. You will want to only cook the branch for 30 seconds with a 1 minute rest time between each 30 second cook. You can catch to wood on fire if you cook it for longer time periods. You will hear the water that is in the branch sizzle and when the sizzle is gone the branch is dried out. This took about eight 30 second cook times to dry my branch out.

The choice is up to you to leave the bark on or not. I think it looks better with the bark off. I just used a pocket knife to do this.

DIY Slingshot

Next I took a round file to cut a grove around the branch. This is where the rubber band or tube will go.

DIY Slingshot

 Go to the BB gun and slingshot section of your favorite big box sporting goods store and there you will find replacement bands for slingshots. The replacement bands should cost you about $4. You could also go to your home improvement store and you can find rubber hose to make the bands from. Three feet will run you $3. Then you will have to source some leather for the rock pouch.

DIY Slingshot

I used a binder clip to hold the band in place so I could wrap one piece of cord around the band to make the loop. I used one white cord from a piece of 550 cord. Each inter cord can hold 35 pounds.

 DIY Slingshot

There you go! One DIY slingshot. Fits in the back of my Wingnut Pack.


18 September 2016

A Look at the 2016 Banff Mountain Radical Reels Tour

Friday night I went to go see the 2016 Banff Mountain Radical Reels Tour. Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation has bought the Banff Mountain  films to the county for over 25 years.
Going to this show I had not seen a trailer of the films being shown. Eleven films for over two hours for $5! What a deal.
Go here to see this year's trailers here
Showdown at Horseshoe Hell was my favorite. Any film that has Alex Honnald does not disappoint!

07 August 2016

Employment =Empowerment

Hey wait a minute, that was not there the last time I rode the Cap2Cap! Cool way to make a bike shop/rental from a ship container. What's better is the story and the effort behind the store. Read it here because they can tell it better than I can rewrite it!

29 July 2016

Capturing What Life Use to be Like

Winterpock Grocery

One of the great things about riding is that you get to see the world around you a little slower. Even with riding the same route you see things that you missed before that brings some enjoyment to the ride.

So the other Sunday I put the road wheels on the Waltworks to get out for a road ride and to get some distance in. It has been a while since I have been out on the road. I think some of that has been due to the fact that people seem to not be able to just drive. They have a impulse to have to check their cell phone for whatever has just been posted and not focus on the road.

I took a route that I have ridden many times before and about 30 minutes of riding takes me to a rural part of the county that I live in. On that ride I rode to an area that had a old country church and a abandon country store. Winterpock Grocery was the name of the store and the area that I was riding in. I started to think about how that store use to be the center of that community. Only about 10 minutes by car could you be at all the superstores that you can buy most anything you want and even things that you didn't know you needed.

I remember that my Granddad on my father's side had a little country store. I can only remember going there two times but I remember getting a small paper bag of penny candy and a orange creamsicle push-up on my visits. This store to me back to that time.

It got me thinking about the people that would have come to that store to get a soda and hangout and talk with a neighbor or purchase some worms to go fishing down at the creek. That was a much slower time than our 24 hour connected life that we live today.

I figured I would start a little project on the blog and that would be capture a picture on my rides of old country stores and other things of interest and try to find some of the history behind them.

The Messenger a news letter of the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia and on page 7 is an article titled Memories of Winterpock by Hazel Bowman Cole. This location is also a Geocache # GC5HVYC if you are into Geocaching. That is about the area where I took the picture. I hope you find it interesting and I plan on sharing more post like this.     

28 June 2016

The E-bike Debate

A few days ago in my Facebook feed there was a post about a E-bike demo day that had just taken place on a local trail system. That post started up the hold debate about E-bikes.

The opinions on this subject are everything from, they are motorized vehicles and should not be on the trail. To they are not because you still have to pedal the bike.

I guess a year or so ago when I was at the beach, was the first time I heard about an E-Bike. I belive my first comment was why would you want a E-Bike? I was told because your non-riding friend or family member will be able to ride and keep up with you (people who ride all the time). Well at the time that made some since.

After reading the post about the E-Bike demo day I have more of an opinion on this debate. First off I want to say I do think the E-Bike has its place but it's not on the trail. I am under the opinion that if it has a motor then it's motorized and is a motorized vehicle. Now I know that can be debated and I am okay with that.

I think we have to think back years ago to the first motorcycle. The first motorcycle was built when someone put a motor on a bicycle and overtime the  motors got more horsepower and the bicycle with a motor became a motorcycle. I see that the E-Bike of today is just the first generation and that we will see the E-Bike motor either get smaller and lighter or stronger/faster or both.

So my E-Bike opinion is not based on where we are at today but where we will be at years from now.

Okay, I did state that the E-Bike has it's place. I believe that place is with the cargo bike. This is the perfect application for a pedal assisted bicycles. If you do the cargo bike lifestyle thing, and use your cargo bike inplace of a car. I can see needing a motor to assist you on that type of bike.

Well for the three people who might read this I would like for you to leave your comments on this subject/debate. I am interested in your point of view on this.

20 June 2016

Be Safe Out There

I got a call from my wife today to telling me that one of the Dads of my daughters friends was hit by a car on Father's day. I was in a bit of confusion.

We had just been to dinner with that family on Saturday because both of our daughters were in the same dance production. They had talked about the Dad and son riding on the Cap to Cap trail on Sunday. So knowing that information I was confused how he had gotten hit.

Well a change of plans put him out on a back county road and a lady going to church turns in front of him and then stops causing his bike to hit the car and him going across the car.

He's a little broken up and will recover. The driver did get a ticket. I was surprised that happen. You hear so many times that the driver does not get a ticket or a charge.

I when this afternoon to pick the bike up from the church. I figured that I was going to see a bike that was broken up. To my surprise the only thing I can find wrong with the bike is a flat front tire and a drop chain. I am going to take it to a bike shop for them to get the shop to make a proper once over.

This could have ended up very badly and I hope for him a speedy recovery.

15 June 2016

Technical Difficulties

The title says it all! Last August I purchased a tablet to surf the Web and check emails. This was to free up one of your laptops for a child to do homework on. In today's world the kids homework is on the computer and not on paper.

With this change writing a post for the blog has been harder for me. One issue is the tablet does not fully function like a laptop or desktop computer. So I have had to research how to use different apps to do the same things I did on the computer.

Second issue is that I have had a hard time getting into my outdoor activities or projects either because of rain, time or waste of time....

I hope in the next few weeks I can start putting up some more content that you will find interesting.

So please check back soon!