Russ’s Bike Camping Adventure

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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.
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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.

 

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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.
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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!

 

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

National Bike To Work Week and National Bike To Work Day

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In a perfect world, every day would be Bike To Work Day. But this year we get a whole week to celebrate commuting that’s fun and emission-free.

What could be better for curing work stress than a fun bike ride to and from our workplaces?  A ride to and from work gives us “me time” to think about the day ahead while also enjoying fresh air and physical exercise.  It is well-known that moderate exercise can make us smarter. Remember, Einstein rode a bike!

A good place to start planning your ride is

Biketoworkmetrodc.org.  The site has maps of Bike to Work pit stops, where you can pick up a free Bike To Work T-shirt on May 17 (order when you register online), get refreshments and meet fellow bike commuters.  The Bike Lane will be supporting the Reston Town Center and the Burke VRE Pit Stops.

The Bike to Work Day website also lets you join a group of “Bike Bus” riders heading in your work direction, with a ride leader who knows the ins and out of that route.

Before you ride to work, stop by The Bike Lane stores in Springfield and Reston to get your bike tuned up for commuting. You will also find a great selection of office-friendly bike clothing and fenders, panniers, baskets, bells, lights and other accessories that will get you out of gridlock and into pedaling nirvana. And don’t forget your helmet!

Laser Light Bike Lane Concept

So this is interesting….Not sure if a driver would actually see this on the road but I like the fact that people are thinking of new ways to keep cyclists safe while riding.  And, if you can’t get VDOT and other folks to agree to more bike lanes than you might as well make your own. 

This was grabbed from the Huffingpost

Laser Light Bike Lane
Laser Light Bike Lane

A close brush with a distracted driver is enough to intimidate the most avid bikers from riding at night. The problem isn’t just about visibility, as safety lights are effective at capturing the attention of a driver. However, these lights are typically constrained to the bike frame, which highlights only a fraction of the bike’s envelope. Bike lanes have proven to be an effective method of protecting cyclists on congested roads. One key is that the lane establishes a well defined boundary beyond the envelope of the bicycle, providing a greater margin of safety between the car and the cyclist. Yet, only a small fraction of streets have dedicated bike lanes, and with an installation cost of $5,000 to $50,000 per mile, we shouldn’t expect to find them everywhere anytime soon. Instead of adapting cycling to established bike lanes, the bike lane should adapt to the cyclists. Read the whole story here.

I Resolve to Think of My Bike More Often

So, it is that time of year again.  It comes way too quickly sometimes…..It is time to make New Years resolutions.  This year I am going to make it easy.  I am going to make the resolution to think of my bike more  often!  Now you would think this would not be a challenge for me, since I live and breath bikes.  But oddly enough, I forget about my bike more often than not.  It’s funny, I think of my bike when I think of things I would like to do.  I like riding my bike so every day I think  about how I am going to make time to ride it.   So, I think of ways to rearrange my schedule to get in an hour ride here or get up early so I can bike commute to work.  But I forget about my bike when I need a gallon of milk or I need to go to the copy store around the corner.  Sometimes I can’t believe that I do this.  It so easy to just get on the bike and ride around the corner.  But in my mind, my bike has always been a recreational vehicle and something that takes time to enjoy.  When in reality, I could have 10 minutes of enjoyment just riding to the store or to the coffee shop.  So, my resolution this year is to think of my bike more often as a way to get somewhere instead of just getting away. 

The article below in Velonews got me thinking about how easy it is to reach for my bike instead of my car keys.  Hopefully, we can all do a little more thinking about our bikes this year! 

Legally Speaking with Bob Mionske – The 1-mile solution

What if there was something you could do to improve your health and fitness, save money, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, and reduce your carbon footprint, all at the same time—would you do it?

Maybe that’s a bit of preaching to the choir here, but that’s the idea behind The 1-Mile Solution. As Andy Cline explains,

The idea is simple: Find your home on a map…Draw a circle with a 1-mile radius around your home. Try to replace one car trip per week within that circle by riding a bicycle or walking. At an easy riding pace you can travel one mile on a bicycle in about seven minutes. Walking takes about 20 minutes at an easy pace. 

Now I know Legally Speaking readers generally put in their miles every week, but the concept here is a little different. According to Two-Wheeled Wonder, an article published in the March/April issue of Sierra, “nearly half of all trips in the United States are three miles or less; more than a quarter are less than a mile.” As the Sierra article notes,

Short car trips are, naturally, the easiest to replace with a bike trip (or even walking). Mile for mile, they are also the most polluting. Engines running cold produce four times the carbon monoxide and twice the volatile organic compounds of engines running hot. And smog-forming (and carcinogenic) VOCs continue to evaporate from an engine until it cools off, whether the engine’s been running for five minutes or five hours.

Discussing the Impact of the 1-Mile Solution. Andy Cline cites research from Professor Chandra Bhat that reveals that “the transportation sector accounts for about one-third of all human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. Within that sector, travel by personal vehicles accounts for nearly two-thirds of those emissions.”

With the 1-Mile Solution, Cline proposes a simple means for each of us to reduce the impacts associated with these short trips—once a week, make a trip make a trip of one mile or less from your home by bicycle, or on foot, rather than by car. As Cline observes,

You start out small. You commit to one trip per week by foot or on a bicycle within a 1-mile radius of home. One mile is not far. At a modest pace it’s a 20-minute walk (great exercise!) or a 6-minute bicycle ride. The idea, of course, is that we’ll all see how easy one mile is and then begin replacing two trips per week. Then three. And soon enough, we’re routinely walking and riding within the circle. 

Some of us are already making our short trips by bike; others have yet to make the change, or have friends and family who make all of their short trips by car. Because it’s so easy, the 1-Mile Solution is the kind of change that almost anybody can incorporate into their lives. As the year draws to an end, and a new year begins, that’s something to think about.

Wishing all of you a very happy new year,
Bob(Research and drafting provided by Rick Bernardi, J.D.)

Bike to Work Day

We hope a lot of you enjoyed your bike commute to work today. Although the rain did not hold off at least it was not too cold. The Bike Lane helped out at The Reston Town Center, AOL, and Springfield pit stops. We saw a lot of our customers out there and we hope that many people are making bike commuting a part of their lifestyle. Fairfax County is trying to help. The Washington Post wrote a great article about the new Fairfax County Map! Stop in to check out the new map
From the Washington Post:
The Road Best Traveled
County’s New Map Guides Cyclists to Safe and Straightforward Routes

By Amy Gardner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 15, 2008; VA14

Cycling across Tysons Corner has been described as more dangerous than traveling from the Baghdad airport to the Green Zone. The same story unwinds across Fairfax County: Along Braddock Road, Lee Highway, Huntsman Boulevard and many other thoroughfares, cyclists put their lives in jeopardy trying to share the road with fast-moving traffic.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/13/AR2008051303458_pf.html