28 December 2016

The 10 essentials

If you do a search on the 10 essentials you will get more articles on the subject than you could read in a life time. The articles for the most part list the same items.

The Original List :

Sunglasses and sunscreen
Extra clothing
First-aid supplies
Extra food

Then down at the bottom of the article they will list other items to carry. It might be listed as nice items to take or something like that.
Then there is;

The Essential System :

Navigation (map & compass)
Sun protection (sunglasses & sunscreen)
Insulation (extra clothing)
Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
First-aid supplies
Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle)
Repair kit and tools
Nutrition (extra food)
Hydration (extra water)
Emergency shelter (tent/plastic tube tent/garbage bag)

Which are different words for the same 10 items.

Now if you did that same search but looked at the images tab you will see that folks carry far more than the 10 essentials when they are talking about just the 10 essentials. I don't think a Hatchet and a 8 inch fix blade knife is part of the list. But let’s face it, we just like gear!

So how is my post about the 10 essentials going to be any different than the other 10 thousand other articles out there on the subject?

Mission or activity dictates the gear. I want you to think about the 10 essentials in three parts. 1) System base list 2) Level and 3) Time

Let’s just start with the "Mission or Activity dictates the gear". If you are going out to get a 1 hour mountain bike or road ride, do you need the same gear for 5 hour ride?

Do you need the same gear for a 1 hour hike as you need for a 4 hour day hike?

The answer to both of those questions is Mission or activity dictates the gear. Using the parts 1) System base list  2) Level  and 3) Time

System Base List:

I like the system base list concept because it allows you to be able to adjust the list based on your mission or activity.

You pick and choose items for a essential category. Let’s take the essential category of fire. As a system it let's you take waterproof matches or if you like a mini lighter or maybe a fire kit that has a few matches, a striker and a fuel tab.

Remember mission or activity dictates the gear! If you are on a 1 hour bicycle ride on your local park trails or on the road then you don't need any items for fire. You should leave this essential category out of things to carry. Only carry what you need.

I have given it a lot of thought and I do not understand why either list has sun protection on it. I guess since moutaineers made the 10 essentials list back in the 1930s it was more of a concern. I thought at first that this would be better applied under first aid or should not be on the list at all. Then it hit me! It should be renamed as just protection. In this essential category it would cover sun protection but would also cover insect protection and chafing protection.

It might be a day where the sun is not out but the insects are bad or its black fly season. You would not need sun screen you would need insect repellent. So my system based list is going to change from sun protection to just protection. I guess I could have come up with a better name, but that's what I am going with for now.


This is more of a military concept for mission essential equipment.  I believe we can adopt this same concept for any of your outdoor pursuits.

Level 1. This is the clothes and equipment worn by the individual. Examples of these items are your hat, jacket, belt, socks and boots. It would also include items from our essential list such as fire essential category (Carrying a lighter in your pocket). You might also carry the navigation essentials on you and not in your pack.

Level  2. This would be items that you would need for your short term activities. By short term I mean from 1 hour to a full day but your are not staying overnight. Examples would be that the items need from the system base list would be carried in a day pack.

Level 3. This would be items that you would need for long term. By long term I mean that you would be staying overnight or multiple days. Examples would be that you would carry these items in a backpack or panniers

In the scope of this post you would only be concerned with level 1 & 2.

When I was in the infantry we would carry our ruck (backpack) on the approach and then we would drop or cache our ruck before moving forward to the objective. I carried a small pack that was called a buttpack. This small pack might have some food, a poncho and some other items that I would need. But one day I got cut off from my main pack for 3 days. I learned from that point to have the items on me that I would need to survive. 

You might not get cut off from your main pack like I did but the point is to have the essentials on you.


I added time because your essentials will need to change with the amount of time that your mission or activity takes.  This will mostly effect nutrition and hydration.  The longer you are out the more food and water you need to take. Example, on a 1 hour bike ride you might only need to carry one water bottle with you. If you are to ride 5-7 hours then you might need two water bottles or a hydration system and energy bars.  You also might need some cash to stop at a store to purchase more water and food.

I did not want to add pictures to this post because I did not want folks to get wrapped up on the gear in the pictures. I want people to think about the essentials and what you need to have with you to have an successful and safe outing.

I will do a follow on post on the system base list concept and what the  gear would look like for level 1 and level 2 set up.

11 December 2016

Doyles River Loop, Shenandoah National Park

Jones Run Trail
A trip to Shenandoah National Park was well overdue and this was to be a daddy and daughter hike. For one reason or another we have not been able to make the trip. This past October we made it out for a day to catch the fall colors. We might have missed the peak by a couple of days but this trip did not disappoint . 

Are plan was to do the Doyles River Loop. Which is a 6.5 mile loop with about 1400ft of elevation change. You can make a long circuit hike which will put you at almost 8 miles. The trails in Shenandoah National Park are well maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) and my map and guide one this hike was their guidebook Circuit Hikes in Shenandoah National Park 13th edition 1990. The level of detail that the guidebook provides is all I needed to navigate the trail. 

We parked at the trailhead of the Jones River Trail. During the fall color season you want to get to your trailhead by 9:30 or you will find yourself dealing with a full parking lot. The above picture is Jones River Trail just before you get to your first water crossing.

Old growth Tulip Popular
Following the Jones River Trail I was surprised to find old growth Tuip Populars. They are massive and tower the forest floor. We took our lunch just up the trail from where the Jones River and Doyles River Trail meet. 

Doyle River Trail
In the background is Cedar Mountain Elv 3330. This is on Doyles River Trail  about halfway up from Jones River Trail . On both trails you will find a couple of waterfalls and on Jones River you will find a couple of pools to enjoy in the summer time. 

It always seems that I learn about the history of a place after I have been there than to know about it before I go. This hike was no different. The picture below is Browns Gap Road. Construction of the road started in 1805 and was known as Browns Turnpike. During the Civil War this was an important route and was used by Stonewall Jackson to get his troops across the Blue Ridge on many occasions. 

Browns Gap Road goes all the way across the park. I enjoyed this part of the hike so much that I want to go back to hike this road across the park. It is amazing to me that a road that is 216 years old is in such great shape. 

I called it the Rhubarb Highway on our hike because it ran down the side of the trail forever. 

Browns Gap Road

I don't know if it was because I had not hiked it the park for so long or that it was a daddy and me day hike or what. But this hike was one of the most enjoyable that I had been on.

19 October 2016

Bikewright Workshop Project- Diamondback Apex- Phase one Completed!

Bikewright Workshop Project-Diamondback Apex -First Test Ride

At last phase 1 of the Bikewright Workshop Project is complete and I set off for my first test ride. If you are new to the blog go here to read about how this project got started. My process might be wrong or someone else might have used a different method than I have here, but this makes the most since to me.

 First off I was not a 100% that this frame was going to fit me. I purchase the frame off of an on-line auction site. I had to go off the measurements that were list and match that up to what I was already riding. Sure, not all the measurements matched up and it was kind of of wait and see approach.

There were a couple of different challenges to this build which impacted the whole process. I did a lot of research about touring/mountain touring/trekking and bikepacking. That open up a big can of worms or in this case choices, What type of gearing did I want? Double or triple crank? What type of shifters? What racks will I use? There is no right answer to any of this!

Once I had the choices figured out. The next question is, will it work together. More research on to understand what works and what does not. Are the shifters going to work with the derailleurs? Is the handle bar going to work with the stem?

One last challenge was cost. I wanted to keep cost down as much as I could. Not that I wanted to go the cheap route, but a purpose built one. Sure I would have liked to tried an Alfine hub, but I could not have justified the cost over the benefit of such a hub.

What was the test ride like? I am totally amazed at how well this bike fits me and how well it handles. The bike is just a blast to ride. So much so I am thinking about racing in a Mostercross race in February on the bike. One because I think it would be fun and two nobody would be riding anything like it.

Here is the build list:
Frame:                                            1989 Diamondback Apex Tange Chromoly Double-butted Tubing

Front Fork:                                     Chromoly Straight Blade Fork with mid-fork rack eyelets and braze-ons

Wheels:                                           32 Spoke WTB Dual Duty Rims and WTB Grease Guard Hubs

Tires:                                                Bontrager Connection 26X1.75

Brakes:                                            Cane Creek SXC-5 Brakes and SRC-5C Levers

Crankset:                                         Truativ Team Stylo 44/32/22

Derailleur (rear):                               9 Speed Shimano XTR

Derailleur (front):                              9 Speed Shimano Deore M590

Shifter F/R:                                       9 Speed Mircoshift Bar End Shifter BS-T09

Cassette:                                           9 Speed Shimano XT

Chain                                                9 Speed KMC X9.93

Handlebar:                                        Origin 8 Gary II Bar

Stem:                                                DiamondBack L130mm, D22.2mm, C25.4mm

Headset:                                           No Name 1"

Bottom Bracket:                               Tange 68X113mm

Seat Post:                                         Gipiemme 26.6mm

Saddle:                                             Selle Anatomica

Phase II will be the racks and bags and other hardwear that I will need for camping out.

Phase III will be frame work and paint

If you have questions please commitment below

11 October 2016

Bikewright Workshop Project-Diamondback Apex at the LBS

This workshop project has taken me longer than I figured it would and I guess some of that has been by choice. There are so many ways that I could have gone with hubs, gears and other parts that it all can be overwhelming at times.

There have been times that I wondered if I should have done this project. Would the time and money been better spent on a new adventure bike?

Over the weekend I tried to install a brand new Tange bottom bracket. After a couple of tries I figure that I need the bottom bracket chased. Since I don't have the tools for that, I needed to enlist my local shop do do that job for me.

I think I might have had my above question answered today by the shops mechanic. After I told him what I needed done I got the feedback I was looking for. He said I like it! I like the bike and Cane Creek  brakes levers!

I feel like if the shop mechanic likes what you are building and he tells you that, then you are doing it right. He gets to work on everything from crap bikes to the latest and greatest.  But with working on a project bikes like this is just different. There’s putting new life into a old frame. There’s figuring out how to get new or used parts to work together. Most of all is it going to ride like you have been planning.

I hope by this time next week I can share pictures with you of the mock-up and a report of its test ride.

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!

09 April 2016

Public Servive Announcements!

This is a public service announcement! Pocahontas State Park will be closing the Morgan and Lakeview MTB trail systems on Friday April 29th and Saturday April 30th to host the Ragnar Trail Relay series.

The Swift Creek Trail System (Blueberry, Bell and Gateway) will be available to riders but it is has beed asked that you keep in mind the limited parking availability for these trails. Please keep in mind that this event is expected to be a substantial fundraiser for the Friends of Pocahontas State Park (the money will go back into the park to fund projects) and  your support in this endeavor is appreciated. It is asked that you consider enjoying the trails at another (Powhite, James River Park System-Forest Hill) facility of your choosing during these two days.

On another note, a service that the Friends of Pocahontas State Park started this winter is a Automated Daily Mountain Bike Trail Conditions and Closure Information Alert. If you text "POCA" to 804-292-2939 you will receive a text when conditions at the park close down all or parts of the trail system. This text is sent out by 6:30 a.m.. The text will tell you how many trails are closed and open and there is a link to the Friends website that will list those trails either open or close. If you text the word "ALL" you will receive a alert every day even if all trails are open.

Know your data plan if you have a limit to text that you can receive! This should help riders decide whether to head to the trails due to closures.

Over at RVA News 
Great article on the Do's and Don't on using the James River Park. This list of Do's and Don't can be for any park. The bad thing is I don't think that article or this blog is reaching the folks that are causing the problems.

So that's the PSA for today. Enjoy yourself in the great outdoors and take the time out to volunteer with a trail's group or Friend's group. Give back to what you enjoy!

13 March 2016

Banff Mountain World Tour 2016

This year marks the 25th year that Chesterfield Parks and Recreation has bought the Banff Mountain World Tour to Chesterfield Virginia. This year we had three nights of films from the world tour. A total of 26 outdoor films that were from 4 minutes to 40 minutes in length.

Here are 3 of my favorites


55 Hours in Mexico 

If you have not been to a Banff Mountain World Tour  I encourage you to do so.

28 February 2016

Bikewright Workshop Project- Diamondback Apex - Some updates

This project has taken a lot longer than I figured it would. Some of that has been to find the time to work on it but most of it has been researching what I believe will work on this build. In this day and age with all the different drive trains, shifters, tires, wheels, etc it can be overwhelming.

My wife came up with the idea of black parts. What she was meaning was black seatpost, stem, cranks and wheels. Well that should not be hard right? It has been more challenging than I figured it would be. The seatpost had been my stopping point for sometime. The post needed for this bike is a 26.6 which is hard to find in black that does not cost $12. I just don't see a $12 post holding up! Anyhow I was able to find a vintage Gipiemme Seatpost.


Since I was building this up as a drop-bar I needed bar end shifters. Out of all the different drive train set-ups that I could have gone with, I figured 9 speed is where I was going to go with this project. Searching for a set of used bar end shifters at a price point that was not close to a new pair was impossible.  So I went with a new set of Microshift 9 speed bar end shifters. I had not heard of Microshift and figured why not give them a try. I am all for trying out the little guy over the big two companies that make shifters and drive trains.


Easy to set-up and looks good. Very please with how the bar tape looks at the shifter.

Very pleased with the shifter and it has a good feel to it. Now the next picture does not look as good as it does in person.


I could have gone up the bar past the bake lever and had a smaller loop of shift housing but I went with the old school routing and had to put a bigger loop in the shift housing. I think this is the way to go because the Gary II bar does not have a housing routing grove and I think feeling the housing would drive me crazy.

I am really please with how the mouse pads and bar tape worked together. I am sure once I get riding I will have to post how well that works. This is the first time that I have used mouse pad to add extra pading under the tape.

25 January 2016

Winter Sports of Sorts

Winter finally came this past weekend and gave us the gift of snow. It has been years since we had a snow storm like this one and this one went in the record books as the 11th biggest snowfall for the Richmond Virginia area. With totals in the 11-16 inch range.

I love the snow and I love to get out in it. This year also let me breakout my Atlas 930 snowshoes. My friend "G" had just bought his first pair of snowshoes and had been dying to use them. So people you can blame "G" for the snow if you don't like it.

Just a little ways from the house it's time to peel off a couple of layers. Snowshoeing is a great workout and you will warm up fast. I guess at this point we have 6-8 inches of fresh snow on the trail. We are using different brands of shoes but both are the same size at 30 inches.

We have to be the only people in the park and its cool to be able to lay the first tracks in the snow.

This was just a great spot to catch a video of the snow coming down. At this point we had only been out 30-40 mins and the conditions started to get worst. The wind picked up and that caused for low visibility and drifts. I am standing behind a information board to shelter myself from the snow and wind.

Here's a cool picture I took with a app on my phone. Still trying to figure how it works and how good the information is.

This morning was a day off from work and the gym. But I still wanted to get a workout in and snowshoeing by moonlight changes things up a bit.

I think the snow covered trails are calling my name again in the morning.


09 January 2016

James River Park System PSA- Wet Weather Useage

James River Park System PSA-Wet Trail Usage from Max Posner on Vimeo.

We have had a lot of wet weather for the last couple of weeks and the ground is still very wet. Trail reports have been informing riders which trails to stay off of and which trails are good to ride on.

This weekend trail crews are out to do repairs. Remember these guys and gals are riders like you that give their time to keep up the trails. They give up their riding time to keep up the places that they love to ride.

So if it's has been raining and you want to get a ride in, think about the impact and find and epic ride on the road or fire road instead.