29 November 2014

A Morning of Trail Work- Part of the Richmond Regional Ride Center

Things have changed since I first started building mountain bike trails in Pocahontas State Park in 1995. The above picture is part of the new "Gateway Trails" at Pocahontas State Park and are part of the Richmond Regional Ride Center".

I could only give a few hours to the trail this morning but glad I could give something. What's cool is that part of the trail is a Adaptive Sports Center to serve paralyzed riders with a safe place to handcycle.

A few hours or a few dollars is all it takes to have a great place to ride.

13 November 2014

Outings From This Past Week

My son wanted to spend his birthday hiking Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park and I figured that would be a good birthday gift to take the day off and go with him. I guess he wanted to hike Old Rag because he did that hike as a Scout a few years back. Old Rag is one if not the most popular hikes in the park.

The weatherman was calling for some rain and that would make the hike dangerous because of the wet boulders on top of the mountain. We got a later start on the drive up and by the time we got to the mountain it was a bright and beautiful day. I called the weatherman's bluff and we started our hike from the lower parking lot to the upper lot which is about a mile up the road. Once we got to the trail head it started to rain.

Yep, the weatherman got me.. At this point we can only move forward and complete the hike. For the next 45 mins it rains on us. But by the time we get to the rock scrabble the sun is back out and the wind is blowing and most of the that are in the sun are dry.

Beautiful fall day after the rain

But in the shallows the rocks were still slick and it made for a hard day of climbing. By the time we got to the peak the wind were blowing in the mid teens and was getting a little colder. We started eating lunch and I looked over to the west back to Skyline Drive and could see that another band of clouds were coming our way.

The sign at the top

As we started off the mountain the wind started to pick-up and the temperature started to drop. We were hiking at s quick pace for about 15 mins and I looked up and saw this gray wall of rain coming at us. Just up the trail was a shelter the Birds Nest #4 which is closed other than an opening with a picnic table in it. I think by the time it is all said and done we had 10 hikers waiting out the weather in that small space.

Just remember that the weather can change on you in a heart beat in the Blue Ridge Mountains and you need to plan for it!

On Saturday I went to the Carytown Bicycle Company Pizza Crawl 6. The ride starts and ends at CBC but you ride around the City of Richmond making stops to eat a slice or two of pizza from local pizza restaurants. This was a great event and it was only $10 for pizza from 4 different places and pizza and beer back at the shop.

Great mix of riders (There must have been a hundred) and all different types of bikes. Plus I got to hang with all the young cool kids. Being one of the older riders there that night.

My pictures suck but you will get the point.

Waiting on the pies from 8 1/2 Italian Restaurant: 401 Strawberry St. All the pizza for the night was cheese and in my opinion 8 1/2 was hands down the best.

Overlooking the city from historic Church Hill we had Anthony's on the Hill: 2824 E. Broad and 29th St

The 3rd stop was at the Floodwall on the South of The River (yes you use caps when you say it and write it). There we had Papa's Pizza: 214 Hull St "Old Town Manchester"

Waiting on everyone to catch-up

Riding circles on the compass rose at VCU

Last stop before the shop was Christan's Pizza: 404 N. Harrison St. This one you loved it or hated it. Described as tasting like tomato soup on bread. No photo op at that one..

Back at CBC they had the mobile pizza oven which was cool. I had to ride back to my car which was still 20 mins away so I did not stay for pizza and beer.

Once again a great time and I would do it again. $10 is a great price to get out and ride in the city at night hitting the local pizza shops! Now I just need to find 8 1/2 by car..

07 November 2014

New Day Over the James

It has been a while since my last post. It's not from a lack of things to share. It has been a lack of time and the lack of motivation to post those things. After setting the clocks back I figured it was time to move forward to make the time to get out their and do the things I love and share with those that visit the blog.

The image above was what I captured on my way across the James River in the heart of downtown Richmond. I had just made my mind up just a couple of days earlier that I am going to do another GORUCK. But this time it would be a GORUCK Light. Why not a Challenge? One I want to get the light patch and two I want others to do it with me. It is easier to get folks to do a Light than a Challenge.

Once I got to work I was able to get a couple of co-workers to commit to doing the Light with me. So once a week we will go out for a ruck for and hour. I hope to be able to share those images with you.

04 September 2014

DIY Fork Bike Light Mount

Ever since I finished the MB-1 Bridgestone I have been looking more into adventurous travel by bike. This might be a day out on a light tour or a S24O or even a full on bikepacking trip. I soon figured out that I needed to add some lights to my bikes if I was going to head out on the road for one of these rides.

Here in Virginia there is a law on the books that cyclist must have a white front light and a blinking red light if they ride on a public road between sunset and sunrise with a posted speed of 35mph or higher see here for bike laws. It just makes since to ride with lights anytime because of all the folks trying to drive and use a cell phone at the same time.

One issue that I am having is that I do not want to mount anything else on my handle bars. When I ride I like to move my hands around and I feel like I cannot do that with a handlebar full of stuff. With that issue comes a second issue. I wanted a mount that looks like it is part of the light system and not something I just put together.

With more time wasted on the internet I found all types of set-ups but nothing I liked until I found the Problem Solvers website. They had a cool little Blog section that showed you how to well "solve" stuff.

Now there are a couple of ways that I could have gone with this. I could have used a Gino Light Mount from Paul Components. Problem Solvers has two solutions. Those would be Brake Stud Light Mounts and Quick Release Nut Light Mount.

The Gino Mount would have worked on the MB-1 but not my Waltworks CX bike. I am not sure if the Brake Stud Mount would have worked on the Waltworks because I have Paul Neo Retro Brakes. I am not so sure about using a QR Nut Mount as part of my QR.

I did find two DIY Hacks on the Problem Solver Blog. The first hack was a fork crown light mount and a second hack was afork light mount. Both of these used the QR Nut Light Mount. Both of these solutions I like and both meet my requirement of looking like it is part of the light system.

So now I have two bikes that I want to mount lights on. Only the Bridgestone will work with the crown mount hack but both the Bridgestone and the Waltworks will work with a fork mount set-up. Since both bikes can use the same set-up I only need to make one mount that I can move from bike to bike. So now I have two requirements (1)that the mount looks like its part of the light system and (2) the mount can be moved from bike to bike. I go with fork mount hack

Two things I would like to caution you on. First is cost. I ordered a Cateye FlexTight Bracket #533-8827N off of eBay for around $7 with free shipping. The QR Light Mount I purchase from my LBS. They had to order the mount and it cost me full retail of $25 and two trips to the shop. One trip to make the order and one trip to pick it up. Then I purchase the M5 bolt from my local hardware store and a M5 nut for a grand sum of 65 cents each. So I am about $33 into this project. Next is if your reading comprehension is good, you would have read that you need to tap the M4 nut that is part of the bracket to a M5. This cost me another trip to the hardware store to purchase a M5 tap. Grand Total for the project is now $36. But you can always use a new tool!

This is what my project turned out looking like

I just used the light that I had to see how this would look and work for me. I am looking at using a Princeton Tec PUSH on this mount. I am also going to see how my mini camera will work on the mount.I am happy with the way this project turned out for me and I hope that some of my research on this project will help you. Whatever you do make sure it is the right solution for you and that you have the skills and tools needed to do the job right. Safety first!

02 September 2014

A Dad and Daughter Outing

Took a day last week to have a little one-on-one outing with my daughter. This was the second time that we have gone on a canoe outing. I believe we were the first customers of the day at the canoe and kayak rental service that the park has. For a person that does not own a canoe the parks rental service is a great deal.

We were able to rent a two person Old Town canoe with PFD and paddles for two for a two hour time period for $16. You cannot go to the movies that cheap.

Swift Creek Lake is a 300 acre lake in the heart of Pocahontas State Park.

Our plan was to paddle out to see the eagle's nest. It took us almost and hour to paddle out to the area of the nest. But navigating from the water to where things are on land is a little harder than I thought it would be. Once we got to the nest location I was not sure my daughter had seen it.

With and hour paddle back we catch some of the birds that call the lake their home.

After taking a lunch break, we head to another location in the park so we can hike to the eagle's nest. After a 30 minute hike we make it to our objective.

No eagle's in the nest. That's okay! We had a great time and a great adventure.

06 July 2014

Going Fat on the Front

Checking out adventure bike blogs and the such, I see that a lot of non-racer types are running fatter tires on their steed. The other day in the garage I was cleaning up and notice I had a Wilderness Trail Bike MOTO Raptor 26 X 2.4". I had purchased a used set of Cane Creek AeroHeat wheels and the tire came on one of the wheels. After looking at the tire and the Waltworks fork, it looks like it would fit. I figured since I had the tire I would give it a try and see what a fat is all about.

Over the last year the roots are starting to be more define on the Lakeview Trails. This makes for some rough riding on a 26" rigid bike. I mounted the tire and put about 32lbs of air in the tire. This is the same amount that I run on my other 2.1" set-ups. I used this as a starting place.

A 2.4" tire does slow you down some, but that's okay because I am not racing. Overall handling is the same as a 2.0/2.1" tire. But a 2.4" just sucks up the bumps better.

That's a lot of contact with the trail!

I guess there are two things that I am looking for with this set-up. One would be something that sucks up the bumps and helps with control. Two is to help with arm and upper body fatigue. If I am able to achieve both of these items it would be such a benefit. After two rides this weekend I am encourage, but I need to ride much longer before I say fat is where it's at!