Russ’s Bike Camping Adventure

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

West Virginia’s state motto is “Wild and Wonderful”. It certainly lived up to it last weekend. Three bike packers set out on an adventure in Pocahontas County WV. Durbin, a tiny town with no stoplight, 1 restaurant, 1 bar and a coal-fired steam engine, was our starting point. We rode the West Fork rail trail for 19 miles steady climbing at 1 or 2% the whole way. The trail followed West Fork Greenbrier River to the headwaters. It was very scenic and enjoyable.


The High Falls Trail was next up in our plan. The trail is pretty, but it is not really bike suitable. The vast majority of the 1 mile climb was not suitable for mountain biking. However, the descent was mostly suitable. It took us an hour and a half to conquer the mountain. The pay-off was the High Falls of the Cheat River, an amazingly beautiful waterfall. We arrived late in the afternoon and that resulted in quick camp site selection. That is unfortunate because later exploration revealed a few really nice waterside campsites just far enough from the falls to dampen the roar of the falling water.



I awoke early on Saturday and enjoyed the stillness of the deep woods with a hot cup of coffee and watched the water. To quote an Eagles song “I had a peaceful easy feeling”. We decided that a return trip over the mountain was undesirable. That left us with following the train tracks to the town of Bemis. We tried to leave before the first train of the day but we were too late. The engineer waved as the train rolled by and he did not seem to be annoyed with our presence. About ¾ of the way down we saw a very scenic section of the river and decided to take a break.  We walked down the hill to the river bank and enjoyed the water for about 45 minutes. Mike fished a little and we all swam in the swiftly moving water.  We finished the train track and faced our first steep road climb out of Bemis. Even though it was steep, the smooth surface was welcome after the track side trail. We stopped in Glady and ate lunch in a picnic shelter by the road, thank you Glady Church of the Brethren!  The next section turned out to be much nicer than I had anticipated. The road was free of traffic, smooth, shady and at a reasonable grade. We then descended right back down to the Laurel Fork Campground. Our next leg was to the Sinks of Gandy. This ride was gorgeous! The hills were a little steep but still rideable. It felt like we were in Colorado above the tree line, except we could breathe! I have never seen a creek that flows into a hill before, it was really cool and creepy. The birds were circling in the cave and it was difficult to know they were birds and not bats.

Our final day started with a climb of 1.5 miles to the top of the ridge. We were rewarded with mostly descent for the rest of the trip! The road was shady, smooth and again, rarely traveled. We stopped at Middle Mountain Cabins, a rustic setting in the Wilderness area that would be a great getaway for a group of friends desiring solitude with a roof over their heads. They are managed by the Forest Service if you are interested. We investigated all of the intersecting roads for possible detours. We settled on route 17 which followed a river through a beautiful forest. This road ended at the West Fork Rail Trail mile 7. A downhill finish makes the memory sweeter. We stopped at one of the two restaurants in town to reward our efforts with a burger, some fries and two pitchers of beer. We all appreciated “chairs with a back” one of life’s underappreciated pleasures.13450961_10209954952053822_2218187690506137048_n

For this trip Russ rode an Shimano 8 speed internally geared Surly OrgeThe Bike Lane helped Russ choose from a variety of touring and frame bike bags to carry his supplies.  If you are looking to go on a bike camping weekend, stop by the shop and we can assist you in getting everything you need for a great adventure!



Bontrager Race Convertible Jacket

Price: $109.99

Browse the Men’s and Women’s Bontrager Convertible Jackets

We knew we had a winner on our hands when the Bontrager Race Convertible Jacket showed up at the shop and our staff fought to try them on.

It easily converts from a jacket to a vest perfect for changeable weather conditions at the beginnings or ends of your next bike ride.  It’s beauty is in its flexibility.  This cycling jacket is wind resistant and features a durable water repellant finish.

In our testing it performed great on days that were a little wet, but nothing torrential. It was also great for long rides that started early on a chilly morning and lasted into the rising temps of the day.  We also loved riding with it on a late afternoon spring bike ride that lasted into the night. And since this describes so many of the rides we do here in Northern Virginia, this jacket is killer!

Continue reading

The Trek Conduit+ Bike Review: Commuting to work or shopping around town shouldn’t be this fun!


The Trek Conduit + is a new electric bike model from Trek that is a great value at $2999.99.  It comes with front and tail lights  called the Lync onboard lighting system that you can charge right on the bike and features a 5 hour run time.


FeatureAsset_304689_fendersAnd the fenders! We loved the super well thought out fenders because they not only keep you Really Dry, but they also stay in place, and don’t rub on your tires like cheaper fenders!

Speaking of tires, Trek did a great job specing out the bike with Bontrager Hard-Case tires so you will get fewer flat tires and less of your rides will end in a frustration.


And the super smooth ride is powered by the Shimano Step System which is not only quiet, but powerful too.  With a max speed of 20 MPH and a 30mile range , the Trek Conduit+ which is a Class 1 Electric Bike, isn’t quite as fast as this bicycle’s big brother the Trek Ride+ XM700+ powered by a Bosch Motor which goes a full 28mph, and offers an expanded range of 40 – 75 depending on how hard you pedal.

The rugged Shimano Deore components on the Conduit + work smoothly and will stand up nicely to the rigors of bike commuting to work. We really like how the motor is placed right in the middle of the bike as this leads to great balanced steering.

You’ll love the integrated rear rack for connecting your panniers to.  We’re big fans of the Bontrager Town Double Throw Panniers as an option.

Part of bike commuting that Trek paid a lot of attention to is braking.  Trek put Shimano Hydraulic brakes that are the bees knees  because they offer great stopping power so you can stop quickly, and control too.


The LCD screen is easy to see in different light conditions and the large font size is really easy to read. You can also change how powerful the lights and motor are while safely keeping your hands on your bike’s handlebars.

And the best part is how much lighter this electric bike is than other rear hub motor Electric bikes we’ve ridden.

The bike comes with a lightweight and precise steering aluminum fork that we thought kept our bike commuter super simple and efficient.  Some of our customers have been upgrading to Trek’s Pavement Suspension Seatpost to smooth out the ride a bit, but it is something you can ride and decide later on.

We hope this review helps you learn about the Trek Conduit+, and more importantly that you get bike commuting, you’ll love how you feel!  Come in for a test ride today!

Bontrager Flare R Tail Light Review


Flare R


The Bontrager Flare R tail light is the brightest bike rear light that we’ve ever had in our bike shop. Period.

You will be super visible on your bike ride during the night and the day from a full 270 degrees with the Flare R. This means that you can ride safer than ever and will be visible to cars and everyone else while on your bicycle.  It also is one more product to help you fall in love with commuting to work on a bike.

Trek claims that you will be visible from 2k (Be seen while cycling from over a mile away) during the day or night time. While we haven’t tested this specific claim, after checkingthe Flare R out on a few local road and mountain bike rides, we can safely say this is one Crazy bright bike tail light.

It has four different modes for you to choose from so you can balance battery life and brightness.

The Two Daytime modes are: 65Lumens flash-4.25hrs runtime, 35Lumens all-day-10hrs runtime, 25Lumens steady-4.5hrs runtime

The Two Nightime modes are: 65Lumens flash-23hrs runtime, 5Lumens steady-21hrs runtime.

The Bontrager packaging includes a quick connect bracket and also comes with a usb cable.

Charge time is 2.5 hours via micro USB.

The Verdict?

Buy it! This Bontrager tail light is a super popular light down at the shop because of the great value.

Super bright, short charge times and four different modes = safer riding during the day or night!

The Bontrager BallistaBike Helmet Review

Bontrager Ballista road & time trial Bike helmet

The Ballista is a stylish wind cheater.

The Bontrager Ballista Bike Helmet at $174.99 (with free shipping) is Bontrager’s take on the holy grail for Aero helmets.  It is incredibly aerodynamic, super light, easy to get a great fit, and surprisingly well vented for an aero time trial helmet. While $175 isn’t cheap, it is a great deal in this competitive category of bike helmets.

The Verdict?

Grab one if you race and are looking to save time on the course and want to keep as cool as possible while doing it.

Other colors

Key Features

Bontrager’s Ballista bike helmet was Jen’s Voigt’s aero choice for his hour record. Ballista is perfect for cyclists who want to cheat the wind and gain an advantage on every ride. The air vents are strategically placed to keep you cool and fast while the Headmaster II fit system keeps it snug.

Bontrager features a 30 day return policy and a crash replacement guarantee on bike helmets (which we think makes this a great option if you’re actually going to race with it) to keep you covered during your first year of ownership.

Sizing and Technical features

  • Weight: 258 grams (Small), 262 grams (Medium), 294 grams (Large)
  • Small: 51-57cm
    Medium: 54-60cm
    Large: 58-63cm

This video from Bontrager goes into great detail about how it was designed and produced.

Bontrager Velocis Bib Bike Shorts Review

Bontrager Velocis Bib Bike Shorts

Bontrager Velocis Bibs are an exceptional value

Bontrager’s Velocis Bib Short , for $159.99 (with free shipping) at our online store thebike is a sleek pro-level bib short for everyday road cyclists and weekend warriors alike. Velocis features unmatched comfort and performance so you can ride hard all day long.

The Verdict?

Grab em.  These bike bibs hit the sweet spot in three important ways: the chamois, fit and straps are just right.

They also come in another color:

Bontrager Velocis Bike Shorts in Miami Green

The Velocis Bibs also come in Miami Green.

Key Features

– Arcus inForm BioDynamic Chamois – Italian made, OverEasy constructed Aircell pad
– Profila Power main material with Profila Cool mesh bib back
– Lightweight, low-profile, no-sew bib straps equal great support and comfort
– PinchLess leg construction design is more comfortable and looks great
– Clean cut compression leg gripper
– Reflective elements to enhance visibility
– 9.5″ (24cm) inseam
– Fitted cut provides streamlined body fit for enhanced performance

We carry a full line of Men’s Bike Shorts and Women’s Bike Shorts.

The Bontrager Rally MIPS Mountain Bike Helmet Rocks!


The Bontrager Rally MIPS Mountain bike helmet offering mips technology and a ton of other great features for just $119.99 (including free shipping) has been a huge reason why this helmet is one of our best sellers this spring.

The Verdict: Grab it!

The Rally MIPS mountain bike helmet raises the bar in comfort and protection at an amazing price point. Great coverage and prodigious venting keep you riding all day long on the toughest trails.

It comes in two other colors too.

Black Bontrager Rally MIps Mountain Helmet

The Bontrager Rally MIPS in Black. Notice the visor swings up to accommodate goggles.


Olive Green Bontrager Rally MipsBike Helmet

Olive Green has been super popular this year.

Key features

Equipped with MIPS Brain Protection System

In-mold composite skeleton allows a greater variation of vent shape and size

Intuitive, one-handed Headmaster fit system adjusts height and circumference

Flexible head-conforming FormFit brow band has a tailored feel and improves venting

FlatLock dividers make helmet strap management simple through fixed position fit

Internal, recessed channels manage airflow through the helmet and over the head

Drop-in coverage offers additional protection below traditional bottom edge of helmet

Crash Replacement Guarantee provides a free helmet

Replacement if involved in a crash within the first year of ownership

The Key Technology

MIPS, “Multi-directional Impact Protection System”, sets a new standard in helmet safety. Developed by brain surgeons and scientists, MIPS helps reduce rotational forces on the brain caused by angled impacts to the head.

Mips is a revolutionary technology that lets the helmet slide relative to the head, adding more protection against rotational violence to the brain caused by angled impacts. To identify the new generation of helmets, look for the little yellow mips logo.