11 June 2017

Bikewright Workshop Project- Diamondback Apex- Rawland Raidoverks Rando Rack


Rawland Raidoverks Rando Rack with p clamps.


The reason I picked the Diamondback Apex frame for this project was it was originally built for adventure. Mountain bikes in the early days came with rack mounts and they were make for off-road camping and touring trips. Todays bikepacking or off-road touring is a refinement of what started over 30 years ago. The Apex came with rack mounts for low rider panniers (see picture above). I had been on a quest to find a black porteur rack that I could use with a low rider rack mount. Now there is a difference between a low rider mount and a mid-fork mount. A mid- fork mount is the same type of mounting point used for a rear rack on the seat stay, but a mid-fork mount is at the front of the fork just up a little higher than the low rider mounting point.

Rawland Cycles just came out with their Rawland Raidoverks Rando Rack. It looked as if this was what I was looking for. For the most part it is. It came with two pair of struts. One set of straight and one set of off-set struts. The straight struts are 219mm and the off set are 205mm. You could also use P-clamps (something I did not want to use) if you do not have fork mounts.

In the pictures above and below you can see that I had to use P-clamps. This set-up works its just not the look I am looking for. The Rawland Cycles Raidoverks Rando Rack is a nice rack and has three mounting locations for light and also fender mounts. The rack also mounts at the top of the fork, so I had to change my straddle cable to an old school cable mount to be able to get the straddle cable over the fork mount. I just used a brake cable for a straddle cable which seems to workout well.  



Test Ride


Not being happy with the P-clamps I went to my local LBS to see if the could order some longer struts for me. Just so happen the shop rat had a set on-hand. Pictured below are the off-set struts I purchased for $10. I believe straight struts would have also worked just as well.
Off set strut that I used to replace the Rawland support

Pictured below I have replaced the Raidoverks strut with the one I purchased from my LBS. Since I am not an engineer I have no idea if this changes the strength of the original design. I the Raidoverks is a rock solid design. Since this rack was designed for both straight-blade and traditional raked forks, the only improvement I could see is making the point where the strut attaches at the top of the rack more adjustable.
Replaced the Rawland Raidoverks  struts

Couple more test rides are in order!

18 May 2017

Day Hikes around Beagle Gap, Shenandoah National Park


Near prefect conditions will be the way I will remember this day in early April. There was a clear view down to the Shenandoah Valley and you could see back to Charlottesville, VA. This hike was a daughter and Dad day hike and she had asked to keep it shorter than the Doyle River Loop we did back in October.

My plan was to enter the park in the South District and head north only around 5-7 miles which would put us at Beagle Gap. From there we would be able to get in two short day hikes and would not spend a lot of time driving up the Parkway to get to a trail head. 

Beagle Gap sits between Bear Den Mountain and Little Calf Mountain. What's cool about this area that on both side of the Skyline Drive are meadows. This area was part of the Royal Orchard.


Lower Meadow Bear Den Mountain at Bagle Gap



Our first leg of our day hike would take us up to the top of Bear Den Mountain via the Appalachian Trail. This area of the trail is not in Shenandoah National Park, but in the Appalachian Trail Park. At the top of Bear Den Mountain is the location of two radio antenna farms.  

Illegal Camp Fire Site

On our way up there was a side trail that took us to some rocks. As you can see in the picture above some idiot made a illegal camp fire. They did a good job of covering up the spot... But as you can see the small tree did sustain some damage. This was a very bad spot for a camp fire due to all the pine needles. Last year the Rocky Mount Fire took place 16 April 2016 and was the 2nd largest fire in the parks 90 year history which burned 10,326 acres. I am sure that fire was caused by humans.


Family Picnic Site

Back in the mid 90's you could see down in the valley from this location. This spot is just off the AT and the radio towers are behind me. There are about four old tractor seats that at this location which makes a great place for a lunch. The owners of what was the Royal Orchard use to come to this spot for family picnics and to watch fire works.


Steel Table

I don't know how many times you are going to find a half inch steel table in the mountains, but we found one here and we used it to make our lunch. My daughter likes the backpacking meals and she has a fun time helping fix our meal.


Apple Tree Blossom 

The old apple trees are just starting to bloom.


The second leg of our hike takes us up to Little Calf Mountain. Just before getting to this point we met our first thru hiker of the season. He had start out on his hike 10 February and had just entered into the South District of the park. If you have a new PATC map of this section. the trail on the map does not match what is on the ground. This is not a big issue but just something to keep in mind. This also goes with some of the track logs and other online maps. Again not a big issue.

Little Calf Mountain

From Little Calf Mountain I wanted to make our way to Calf Mountain Shelter because I knew there was a spring there and I wanted to use my Sawyer Mini filter to be able to get some mountain spring water. I have to say, the Sawyer Mini is an easy filter system to use. 

Old Spring sign

The spring is in better shape that the sign. Depending on the time of the year and rain fall you will reach water running across the trail. This is not the spring. The spring has a white PVC pipe at the source.

Pictured below is a benchmark for the Appalachian Trail Park. I think by the end of the day we still hiked as far as we did in October... Whether you just hike Bear Den Mountain or Little Calf Mountain, both are get short family hikes that gives you a great place to stop and have lunch. 

Appalachian Trail survey marker

09 May 2017

Post are coming soon

I will be posting up some new content by the end of this week. I have had some issues with my Flickr account. 

12 March 2017

Banff Mountain World Tour 2017

This must be the 5th Banff Mountain World Tour post that I have put on the blog. This was the second year that there was a 3 night showing at the venue I attended. They showed a total of 24 films two of which were special edits for the show.
One of the things I like about the films is that they are about as diverse as the great outdoors. Every heard of canicross, scooterjoring or skijoring? Nither had I and I am not going to tell you what it is. Go to a Banff World Tour and see for yourself.
I am going to leave you with three trailers of the films that I enjoyed the most.
Elk River


Danny MacAskill Wee Day Out
 
The out takes were great!

Doing it Scared

Personally I think this was the best film.
I hope you  are able to catch a showing of the Banff Mountain World Tour and enjoy and be inspired by outdoor films

04 March 2017

Don't Let The Weather Fool You

I don't know if it's a normal cycle or part climate change, but it seems like winter has left Virginia early this year. Well maybe... This week we had a record breaking high of 81 and then in 24 hours the high is 33 degrees cooler. When I got up this morning it was 24 degrees! That is a huge difference.

My point of this post is a reminder for all of us that pursue outdoor activities. Don't let Mother Nature fool you during the months of March and April! This is the time of year that the weather will be nice and then two days later it will be cold again.

I can remember being in the Field for training in the early 90's and it was the first week in April. It had been nice that week and that weekend the weather turned on us, Cold and windy and it had rained Friday night. The guys that stayed the the GP Large tent was up most of the night digging a trench to keep the water from flooding the tent. I had found the best place to set-up my pup tent and had no issues. Late Saturday afternoon the commands started pulling the troops back to the barracks. With the mind set train as you fight I stayed out in the field and woke to a dusting of snow the next morning. Three seasons in one weekend...

Don't get caught being under perpared. Check the weather for the time period that you are going to be gone even if its just a few hours for a day hike or bike ride. Pack that shell and gloves in your pack! Something tells me you might need it.

Be Safe out there!

17 January 2017

Watching the Santos Tour Down Under-Tour Tracker is your Answer

I don't know about you but I find trying to watch any cycling (in the USA) or non-mainstream sports a challenge.  I started to see what was online or to see if there was an app that I could used to follow the race.
I was able to find the Santos Tour Down app by Tour Tracker. This is a free app that you can download from Google Play or itunes (see link below). What do you get for free? You get live coverage such as stats, news (which is like a feed every few mins. You also get a profile map and a course map. The video is delayed and starts at 9:00 p.m. EST
You also get stage details and teams and riders.
I am pleased with that and feel that I get what I am looking for and can enjoy an evening of cycling to end a long day. Last night I was having an issue with the video freezing up. So i figured i would email the app support link. I figured in a day or two the app might get updated to fix the issue. That was not the case at all. I received an email back from Tour Tracker that they also had seen the problem and within 30-45 mins I was watching without issue. During the night the app was updated! I was very surpise with the quick response.
I hope to be able to provide some information in the future of how best to watch cycling. If you have had success with apps or online cycling coverage please leave a remark below
Following the Santos Tour Down Under on Tour Tracker! Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.thetourtracker.tdu iPhone: http://itunes.apple.com/app/id930796407