<![CDATA[Bike Tourings - Blog]]>Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:28:23 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Mixed Bags For Bike Touring or Commuting]]>Fri, 14 Apr 2017 03:47:46 GMThttp://biketourings.com/blog/mixed-bags-for-bike-touring-or-commutingDetours Sodo Bag and Axiom Smart Box Reviewed
Picture of Detours Sodo Handlebar Bag and Axiom Smart Box top tube bag
So impressed with the functionality and features of the Detours Sodo Bag.
Picture of Detours Sodo Handlebar Bag with raincover for bike touring and commutingDetours Sodo with included rain cover
Detours Sodo Handlebar Bag is currently available at such a hugely discounted price that I wanted to share the information with folks who read and depend on this blog for this type of information.  Affordable, quality bike touring gear and this product is a perfect example of that. 

I don't know for certain but it seems to me that Detours Bags is going to discontinue this product so if you're looking for a nice sized handlebar bag for either bike touring or commuting snag one of these before they're gone.  Click on photo or underlined link above for more product information.  

I was looking for a handlebar bag with a quick release clamp that could be mounted with my inline brake levers and that held the bag out far enough to allow my hands easy access to those secondary brake levers and this design allowed for that.  After reading a review from a guy who had recently invested well over a hundred bucks on the new Arkel Handlebar bag he felt that he had overpaid considering it didn't include a rain cover. I'm not saying the Detours Sodo Bag can be compared to the quality of an Arkel product but when you see the price this is listed at it's a no brainer.  And it includes a rain cover! 

Other features include a nice padded shoulder strap for carrying around off the bike and a clear map sleeve on top.  Apparently the clear sleeve was actually designed for cramming a cell phone into but it doesn't work well for that.  Like other reviewers have mentioned the goofy plastic ziploc type of access on the under side of the lid broke on the first use.  I didn't care as a map stays nicely in place with the bag closed.  

Picture of Detours The Sodo Bag for bike touring and commutingSturdy mounting bracket, nice padded shoulder strap with metal, not plastic attachments and included rain cover that can be stowed in bottom zipper compartment.
​Here's some basic information from the product listing:
  • 2 large zip zippered compartments are covered by a TPU-coated waterproof flap with a waterproof welded clear pocket on the top lid for maps and screen phones
  • Interior org / zip pockets / key fob / external side pockets for water and snacks
  • Plenty of padding for lunch and camera
  • Removable shoulder strap and removable rain cover
  • Dimensions are: 10 x 4.5 x 8 in

Picture Detours Sodo Handlebar bag with 7 watt solar panel for bike touringA 7 watt solar panel tucked in front for charging devices while touring
For this year's fund raiser bike tour the need to post regularly to social media and continued blog posting I found the Detours Sodo to be a nice piece of kit to keep electronic devices protected from the elements.  Definitely appreciating the waterproof lid but also the nice thick material lending an insulative quality for potentially extreme summer temperatures.  I was able to fit all my equipment including a Voyager Pro Tablet, Canon G16 camera, mini tripod, spare camera battery, all necessary cables, power bank and even the seven watt solar panel!  There are two nice sized exterior pockets on both ends that are excellent for stuffing snack stuff into for easy access while riding.

Some common complaints of handlebar bags are the lid or cover opening from the front making it very difficult to access contents while riding.  For me, that's what a top tube bag is for so next item in this post is the Axiom Smart Box.

Picture of Axiom Smart Box top tube bagSecure fold over velcro closure lid
First bit of important information is this; everywhere I found product information this little goody bag is described as being eight inches or more both in length and height with two inch diameter.  That last bit of info is the only correct measurement.  It's actually closer to five inches in each direction, a very significant difference!

I considered returning it for that very reason but since it holds my Canon G16 very snugly providing ease of access while riding while not bouncing around at all I decided to keep it.  I was also able to fit a 6700mah Zendure Power Bank with it.    

Picture of Axiom Smart Box top tube bag vertical measurementMeasures smaller than descriptions
Dubbed "Smart Box" as the exterior side pocket on the drive side of the bike is designed to hold most common sized smart phones.  I was able to fit a Moto G phone without a case easily.  I'm planning to take advantage of the pocket's convenience for my old Kodak Playsport zx5.  This provides easy access to a waterproof camera that I can use in inclement weather.  Notice the four straps used to secure this little thing makes for a very sturdy install.

Picture of Axiom Smart Box velcro lid cover for bike touring or commutingA solid velcro closure keeps a lid on it. : )
What I have found an appreciation for is the no zipper design.  Some other manufacturers have tried a velcro design on covers that open and close lengthwise and folks commonly complain that the cover pops open too easily when riding over rough terrain.  Not so with Axiom's Smart Box design.  It is such a sturdy bag it actually feels more like a box than a bag and the velcro holds the lid shut tight.  

Anyhow, if you're looking for a large top tube bag to stash a rain coat or larger items than those described here this is not the product for you.  However, if you need easy access to a couple gadgets that would otherwise be difficult to access from your handlebar bag while riding than this is a very good affordable quality option.  

Picture of Profile Design Standard Aero E Pack for bike touring and commutingProfile Design provides a much larger affordable option
For a large top tube bag consider the popular ​Profile Design Standard Aero E Pack, photo at left.  One large zippered main compartment and is approximately nine inches long.  I'm considering this product option for another bike and will add a post if or when I do.  Until then stay tuned for information regarding this year's Organic Farm Tour Fundraiser.  Feels good to be blogging again after a six month hiatus due to some unfortunate circumstances at our store last August.  More about that later.  Until then, Happy Spring and y'all are planning some fun bike touring adventures this year. 

<![CDATA[Bikes and blogs after six month hiatus]]>Thu, 13 Apr 2017 20:17:05 GMThttp://biketourings.com/blog/bikes-and-blogs-after-six-month-hiatusNew Bike Touring Fund Raiser for our StorePicture of Bike Tourings' blog author walking touring bike through meadowReturning after a six month hiatus
It has been six months since my previous blog post so where have I been?  Our little store was in trouble and I had to go help after the business owner who shared the lease with us decided to suddenly quit without notice.  

Picture of mountain bike for bike touring and bikepacking at herb shade house, New MexicoWorking at Granny B's Herb Shed in New Mexico
The case of the missing juice bar.  Being a small business owner, entrepreneur or any type of self employed venture can at times feel like a test of endurance.  It's important to take some time off, retreat, recharge and refresh.  So, late last summer while making an effort to do just that I planned a nice little getaway to New Mexico, visit family and do some bike packing or mountain bike touring.  Instead I took care of some much needed maintenance around Granny B's mini pecan grove, herb garden and while doing so discovered a major gas leak to the house.  

Then I received a phone call that the owner of the Juice Bar back home in League City, Texas decided she was done with her business and was shutting it down.  Unfortunately our store depended on the Juice Bar paying half of the lease for the newly acquired commercial space.  So, did it feel like I went on a nice vacation to refresh and recharge?  Absolutely not!  As soon as I could I was forced to pack up all my bike touring gear and return home to help find a solution to keeping our six year strong organic food co-op business going.  There's a reason our little store has been so successful for the past several years and that reason's name is Lisa Piper.

Picture mountain bike for bikepacking at Natural Living Co-op and Cafe with store owner Lisa Piper
Store owner Lisa Piper sitting outside of what is now the Natural Living Cp-op and Cafe
Picture mountain bike for touring and use of bicycle trailer for moving firewoodTook down a dead tree threatening to fall on power lines
Before coming up with solutions for funding a rather large buy out of the former juice bar I had to process some much needed frustration.  Luckily there was a dead tree threatening to fall on my workshop and power lines that the city wouldn't have taken care of unless it fell onto the power lines.  There's no metaphorically speaking mumbo jumbo I was just glad I could vent a bit and do something productive at the same time.  : )

It was difficult to not be angry with former juice bar owner's sudden decision after attending a week long spiritual retreat where it seems that she "drank the kool aid" and the lack of consideration of her effect on her business lease partner and family.  So, yeah I was pissed off and after the saw dust settled Lisa told me about her solution to help cover the lease by renting out the commercial kitchen to our local vendor product suppliers.  But we still had to figure out a way to make use of the rest of the old juice bar space.  

Picture mountain bike for bikepacking and touring used with bike trailer in wood working shopOld juice bar tables used for wood crates
So, this is how I helped to handle the situation in an effort to benefit our little store's efforts in our community.  Firstly, I took the old juice bar table tops which had sayings stenciled on them like "Go Ahead and Tease Me". "Feed My Soul" and "Let go and let Smoothies" and cut them into useable sizes for much needed wood crates that would help our staff with maintaining our weekend farm and garden sales table. 

Photo at left shows the stackable creates in the bike trailer (which I got a lot of use from for these tasks) and can be used to fit inside of coolers to store and keep produce fresh overnight.   By the way, if you're looking for some cordless power tools for around the house or even somewhat industrial use I have a huge fond appreciation for any of the Milwaukee M12 line of tools, especially the recently acquired hammer drill after burning out the chuck and motor of my old drill. 

Picture of mountain bike for touring and commuting with bike trailer to move pallet wood tableRustic pallet wood table top ready for use
After cutting up the old tables for crate use what would we do for tables then?

I replaced all three poorly made tables from particle wood and cheap trim with some elegantly funky upcycled pallet wood.  

After I got them all installed for use in the newly acquired cafe space we received a lot of complements from folks who probably got tired of reading those previously described silly messages on the old tables.

While putting this post together first thing this morning I received a call from the store that another one of our staff has had to give her two weeks notice as she simply needs a better wage.  It's just a reminder of how the inconvenience of the former juice bar owner's behavior and the forced buy out effected our funds in such a way that we are unable to offer better pay to our much valued staff.  So, with that I can make first mention of our fundraising bike tour with a link to our GoFundMe page.  

It's important to mention that given the angst created on behalf of other folks' decisions and actions the former juice bar owner continues to be a loyal customer and supporter of our business.  It wasn't about us or our business why that person made the choices she did.  And all the while Lisa received many complements over the past several months in regards to how well she has been handling it all.  I will be conducting a nice long bike tour visiting organic farms, gardens and co-ops in an effort to raise funds for our store's co-op garden and cafe.  I have just recently put together a GoFundMe Campaign for our store's continued efforts to serve the community.  For more information about all that the Natural Living Country Store and Cafe does here use any of the underlined links in this post or use new widget below. 

Looking forward to honing my bike and blog skills as a means of providing a meaningful and significant contribution to our Store's funding effort.  So far I have been realizing how much work it is to put such a campaign together and the logistics of bike touring while working.  Very different than simply putting together a bike touring vacation where it's much more of a recreational activity than an electronic gadget filled effort of blogging and posting to social media.  Anyhow, look forward to more posts regarding bicycle touring route and establishments along the way.  I have no doubt despite all the hard work and effort I will still be able to enjoy myself.  : )

<![CDATA[Affordable Quality Products for Bike Touring & Commuting]]>Mon, 31 Oct 2016 17:33:17 GMThttp://biketourings.com/blog/affordable-quality-products-for-bike-touring-commuting
Picture of touring bike and rider in meadow while bicycle touring and camping
End of the year round up of our favorite products for bicycle touring, commuting and bike packing

Selection of Bicycle Accessory Products

"You can't buy happiness but you can buy a bicycle and that's pretty close".  Most bike folks and those considering taking up bike commuting, touring or recreational riding can relate to to that quote.  One of the reasons it's "pretty close" is that lots of folks after purchasing their bike for its' intended purpose find themselves needing a few more items to fulfill their bike's ability to meet their needs.  After four years of blogging, riding, testing products and reviewing them here is our list of our favorite affordable quality products.  

Front and Rear Racks for Bicycle Touring and Commuting

Picture of Touring Bike with Minoura MT-4000SF front rack for bicycle touring and commutingAffordable quality steel front touring rack
A few years ago while designing and building our kinda fat mountain bike as an all terrain utility rig that could navigate an area without designated bike routes we had a difficult time finding a steel front rack to meet our needs.  I was looking for a design which provided low rider positon of panniers and a top deck for either strapping a tent or sleeping bag to or to support a large handlebar bag or basket.

After comparing cost, weight and other specifications I was pleasantly surprised to find the MT-4000SF front rack from Minoura.  Not only is that rack disc brake compatible it comes with hardware for mounting to either standard or suspension forks, will fit 26" to 29" wheel sizes and mounts to the axle with an extra long skewer making installation easy yet very secure.  Here's link to my review of that rack from three years ago.  

Picture of mountain bike for touring with lowrider style front bike rack for bicycle touringLighter weight Minoura FRP-3000
After being very happy with the first Minoura front rack I decided to try another rack in the FRP-3000, a traditional low rider front rack for my road touring bike, weighs much less than the MT-4000SF and includes same mounting hardware with axle skewer and brake post mounting hardware.  

I have had both of these racks for three years now and very much appreciate the quality steel front racks provided by Minoura with a price tag that is unmatched by anything comparable. 

Here's a link to my initial review of this rack that I have installed on both a 26" Bridgestone MB-1 converted to a touring bike and my 700c touring bike.

Here's a link to another informative review of these racks shares some ideas of optionally mounting the rack to the a threaded touring bike fork rather than the brake bosses.  

Picture of axiom DLX Streamliner Disc Cycle Rack, Black for bicycle touring or bike commutingStreamliner DLX rack for disc brake
While Minoura provides favorites in terms of front bike racks axiom continues to deliver some ultra solid load carrying capacity with their rear racks.  I've installed many axiom racks for customers over the years and since the introduction of the Streamliner DLX rear rack for disc brake equipped bikes installation couldn't be easier.   Here are a few main points to consider from their product description:
  • A lightweight, low profile solution for mountain, commuting and fitness bikes
  • Ultra-narrow profile improves aerodynamics, keeps load closer to center and greatly reduces bag "swing"
  • Hand-welded 10.2mm tubular 6061 T6 alloy construction
  • Fits 26" and 700C wheels
  • Ample space for MTB and Hybrid/Trekking fenders

At our shop the most popular is the axiom Journey for bikes that don't have disc brakes.

Panniers and Bags for Bike Touring and Commuting

Picture of handlebar bag for bicycle touring and bike commuting with photography equipmentA versatile, affordable, quality handlebar bag
Due to the simple fact that I like to ride different bikes for a variety of reasons it is nice to be able to swap panniers and bags from one bike to another.  That quality of versatility is something I look for when considering and sifting through many of today's bike touring and commuting pannier and bag options. 

For example a handlebar bag which mounts with a quick release bracket can only be used on the bike to which the quick release clamp has been installed.  Some manufacturers offer an additional clamp at additional cost of course.  The same can be said about some panniers with locking mechanisms which limit the ability to swap panniers around to the front or rear racks as preferred or needed.  This is not to say that some of the more popular products from Ortlieb, Arkel and the like are not of excellent quality but to say that there are some other options in affordable quality panniers that can lend some added versatility compared to others.

Photo above is of a very inexpensive handlebar bag that just so happens to fit most all my gear for "some" professional quality photography and blogging gadgets including a tripod, tablet, camera, cables and rechargeable power pack.  Here's a link for a review of that handlebar bag. It's design provides a very convienient option for swapping the handlebar bag from my touring bike to my mountain bike for bike packing and even on a folding bike for travel.  Very versatile indeed and after two years of lots of use it is holding together extremely well considering how rediculously affordable that bag is. 

Picture of touring bike with front and rear panniers attached to racks for bicycle touringAxiom panniers, new and old style

​Axiom products continue to prove to be an exceptional choice of quality and value.  Unfortunately, Axiom has discontinued their Cartier panniers (front panniers in photo at left) which are still providing dependable service after ten years of use.  Fortunately they have introduced the Seymour DLX panniers available in two different sizes both of which can be used as front or rear bags and although those panniers now have the Rixen and Kaul latching mechanism for attaching the top of the pannier the very heavy duty steel hook and bungee are used to secure the bottom of the bag making for a versatile yet secure attachment system.  

Another very impressive option in that same series is now available in a waterproof material called their "O Weave" series.  It's a complete line of various panniers and bags of varying capacities for different uses.  Another thoughtful idea is that the interieor of the waterproof design is a red interior for enhanced visibility inside their bags and panniers.  

Picture of Axiom O Weave Seymour waterproof panniers for bicycle touring and bike commutingAxiom's new O Weave waterproof panniers
Axiom's O Weave Seymour Panniers are some of the first affordable quality waterproof panniers to become available from a reputable company of proven reputation that stands by their product with an excellent warranty.  Here's a quick description from their product listing: "Made from recycled fishnet polyester with waterproof polyurethane coating; Red interior liner on back-plate protects contents from scratches and improves internal visibility; Daisy-chain webbing for additional tie-down options".

We're excited about testing a couple of these items based on our experience with axiom's innovative quality.

Rechargeable Lights for Bike Travel

Picture of Cygolite Metro front bike light on bicycle path at nightExample of Cygolite on unlit path
A favorite around here are any bike lighting products from Cygolite.  With a rechargeable USB connection I can simply connect a Cygolite Metro front light to a Zendure power bank if for whatever reason the battery should get low.  I've been using the Cygolite Metro for my night time bike commutes and for bicycle touring with ability to recharge via USB cable and solar kit.

We have found most if not all Cygolite products to outperform other bike lights based on battery run time, lighting options and overall brightness.  

Last year I received a Blackburn 2 fer front or rear light for review which is also USB rechargeable and can be used as a headlight for camping.  It's very small, lightweight design and multi mode functions make for a nice bit of kit just know that the battery time is lacking.  

Rain Gear for Bicycle Touring and Bike Commuting

PictureYes, you can stay dry riding in wet weather
I have tried so many different types of materials from various brands and manufacturers but they fell short of the quality I wanted or had an absurdly high price tag.  Now that  I have found a rain gear kit that truly keeps me dry I don't mind riding in wet weather at all. 

For the past couple years I have been more than satisfied with the performance of my Bellwether Storm Front Jacket with a drop down butt cover combined with a pair of Tenn Outdoors Waterproof Cycling Trousers.  Photo at left shows how much rain we frequently receive along the Gulf Coast and having good quality rain gear makes it fun and easy to ride.  

While I continue with this blog look for more fun and effective ways to improve your rides whether it's more bike commuting or bicycle touring we effort to have you covered.
Link related to this topic:
Multi day Bike Touring Kit

<![CDATA[Bike Touring Adventure at...Las Vegas? ¬†Absolutely!]]>Mon, 17 Oct 2016 02:05:03 GMThttp://biketourings.com/blog/bike-touring-adventure-atlas-vegas-absolutelyTravel Ideas for Bike Friendly Las Vegas
Picture of bicycle playing cards, black jack and dice with mountain bike for bicycle touring in background
Backpacking and MTB tours abound just outside of Las Vegas
Picture of vendors and customers at Interbike in Las Vegas, NevadaHundreds of vendors at Interbike
When bike folks think of Las Vegas and bikes their first thought is of the largest annual meeting of bicycle industry leaders known as Interbike.  “The annual Interbike International Bicycle Exposition is where the bicycle industry gathers to celebrate, educate and conduct the business of cycling.  Bicycle retailers, media, importers and distributors can discover the latest in bicycle technology, including bicycle demos at the largest 2-day demo event for the trade – OutDoor Demo”.

Yeah, pretty awesome whether you’re a customer or a vendor it’s considered the most exciting event the bike industry has to offer.  However, Interbike is held only a few days out of the year so is there any good reason for a bike travel enthusiast to want to visit what has been dubbed “Sin City”? This article highlights just a few reasons that hopping on a bike and touring around Vegas could be one of the most fun and rewarding travel ideas many bike folks wouldn’t consider.

Picture of paved bike path from Las Vegas to Boulder City, Nevada for bike commuting and touringTwenty five miles of paved bike path at Las Vegas
Las Vegas is Bike Friendly?  Bicycle repair author, frame builder and regular Interbike attendee Lennard Zinn has been riding the twenty seven miles from Las Vegas to Boulder Canyon's outdoor bike demo for the past ten years and says "every year it gets better".  Why?  Because nowadays there's a twenty five mile paved bike path from Vegas to the River Mountain Loop Trail where the Interbike Outdoor Demo takes place.  "What's not to like about a shaded, tree-lined trail along a railroad in a sunbaked city? Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com" 

Picture of people riding mountain bikes on trails near Las VegasMountain Biking at Bootleg Canyon, near Las Vegas
Of course, if you're looking to get off the pavement and onto some dirt the coordinators of Interbike have selected some of the best mountain bike trails in the country for their annual display of bike industry leaders wanting to show off their latest and greatest rides.  

Want to simply grab your bike and leave for Las Vegas without making a whole lot of travel and activity plans?  Guided mountain bike tours are available like that pictured at left of McGhie's Las Vegas Mountain Bike Guided Tour.

There are also many hotels and bike shops that rent bicycles for you to conveniently get some exercise while visiting Las Vegas.  Visit Vegas.com to search those types of specal offers and deals.

Picture of Pedego Henderson bike shop owner at Las Vegas offers bike rentals and bicycle toursPedego Henderson E Bike rentals and bicycle tours
I know that some folks, bike enthusiast or not just want to see Vegas from a unique perspective that can add to their vacation enjoyment.  From a photographer's point of view I wanted to know just how bike friendly Las Vegas is.  Well here's a nice tid bit of information Las Vegas increased its bike network by more than 23 percent to 444 miles of bike lanes and 102 miles of paved off-road trails and installed bike parking racks throughout downtown.  The League of American Bicyclists awarded both Las Vegas and Henderson with their bronze award in recognition of the closely knit communities efforts to encourage bike enthusiasts to visit the tourist based area.  

That's what I like to hear when considering a bicycle touring or bike travel destination, particularly when planning logistics for photography opportunities.  I have found getting around town by bike is the most versatile and efficient methods of transportation regardless of what town it is and more often than not offers picture opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise considered or seen if I was in a motor vehicle.  Businesses like that of Pedego Henderson understand this and offers electric bike rentals and tours of Henderson, Las Vegas, Lake Mead and Boulder City.  

Whether you're interested in epic mountain bike rides, long, scenic road touring or just want to get out on the bike while playing in Las Vegas there is a bike and terrain for your every whim.  Visit Vegas.com for more information when planning your next bike touring adventure whatever that means to you.

Picture of escape adventures mountain bike tours in las vegasescape adventures' variety of bike tours in las vegas
Escape Adventures offers a variety of mountain bike tours, road tours and many other options for bike touring enthusiasts of most all skill levels providing many ways to see the sights of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas.  Click on photo for more information and if you plan on going to Vegas to party and exercise you might consider stopping up on some healthy performance supplements like that from redace organics where our visitors can now get an additional fifteen percent off their purchase.  

<![CDATA[Performance Supplement for Bike Touring and Commuting]]>Wed, 12 Oct 2016 05:49:20 GMThttp://biketourings.com/blog/performance-supplement-for-bike-touring-and-commutingred Ace Organic Beet Juice Products, Fuel for Rides
Picture of Red Ace Organic Beet Juice Supplement for bicycle touring and bike commuting
Red Ace Organics small, pack friendly two ounce bottles for bike touring and commuting
A few years ago I met a fellow bike touring enthusiast who told me how good he felt on long rides after fasting on beet juice for several days.  He explained how much lighter and faster he felt not only while riding but in his everyday life he was just feeling more energetic.  We have a juicer and enjoy the nutrition benefits it offers and with a good food dehydrator using the pulp to make crackers or fruit leathers that can be packed for bike camping and touring is quite a perk.  That having been said, sometimes in the course of our busy-ness around here we want something quick to grab and pack that doesn't require refrigeration without compromising on quality nutrition.

Good nutrition plays such an important role whether it's helping to meet the demands of everyday bike commuting or completing those long treks of bicycle touring.  Other than pre ride carb loading and post ride protein recovery, nutrients necessary for maintaining a healthy immune system will keep you going when the going gets tough wherever your rides may lead. 

We appreciate good food and nutrition so much that we opened our organic country store almost six years ago.  Since that time we have expanded not only our store's ability to meet the varying needs of our customer's dietary concerns but have learned a lot along the way.  Over the past few months we decided to make our store's products all organic and non GMO as more folks are educating themselves about proper nutrition and how it contributes to their general health and well being. When the folks at red ace organics reached out to us with an opportunity to test sample their products we were more than happy to considering their California farm supplier is a hundred percent organic and GMO free.
Picture of Red Ace Beets and Greens juice blends for bike touring and commutingRed Ace Juice available in three distinct blends
The Boulder, Colorado based company well known for their three beets per two ounce bottle of beet juice now has two more blends which rounds out a more complete nutrition package. It includes a beets and greens blend packed with antioxidants, is cleansing and detoxifying and a beets and turmeric blend to help with recovery with post workout inflammation.  All of these products aide cardiovascular health, stamina and oxygen intake.  This kit of two ounce glass bottles which don't require refrigeration unless opened offer a very practical method of getting a good dose of nutrition in warding off fatigue for long rides as it's not difficult to find some space in a pannier or bike bag to accommodate the little two ounce bottles.

Usually when I think of the types of ride performance supplements found in bike shops I think of GU, Red Bull and other junk food caffeine sugar spikes which actually deplete the body of good ride fuel.  When the body is fueled with such synthetic junk food it's like a gas hog vehicle that gets very poor mileage.  We're excited to be promoting such an excellent performance supplement that benefits not only your bike rides but supports your body's good health and longevity.  

Before I sign off of this post I also want to make mention of what I refer to as "my green drink" that I like to have everyday with hemp milk or with water.  I've tried a few over the years and have found my favorite for the past few years to be from Amazing Grass and their Original Superfood Powder.  It's very easy and convenient to pack and is of course organic and non GMO.  

Our blog visitors can use promo code clean energy at check out for an additional fifteen percent off your purchase!

Links related to this topic:
Lose Weight, Get Fit for Bike Touring
​Benefits of Goat Milk for Commuting
Bike Touring Energy Bar Recipes

<![CDATA[More cushion for Pushin' while Bike Touring]]>Wed, 05 Oct 2016 03:22:04 GMThttp://biketourings.com/blog/more-cushion-for-pushin-while-bike-touringFat Wrap Offers Comfort for bicycle touring
Picture of Fat Wrap Handle Bar Tape for Bicycle Touring
Fat Wrap, a product from TASIS Bikes
Picture of Tasis Bikes fat wrap for cushioning handlebars while bike touringWrapped properly, no branding, nailed it : )
When Kent of TASIS Bikes contacted us about reviewing his new handlebar tape made specifically for bike touring enthusiasts he mentioned "if you double wrap your handlebars, this product is for you".  Of course Kent got his new Fat Wrap product to us a couple months after I had just finished double wrapping the bars on my touring bike.  

Due to the long hours spent on a bike while touring having your bicycle set up properly is imperative in eliminating some of the most commonly associated miseries of a long bicycle tour. Even with proper bike fit, handlebar to saddle length and height adjustments customized for the rider's body characteristics certain types of pain tend to creep up on many folks while touring.  Second only to saddle soreness is hand numbness and/or wrist pain from maintaining and holding a particular riding position hour after hour day in and day out, week after week.  

Over the years I have used many products all of which I might add have provided solutions to hand numbness and pain.  Several gel pad products are available designed to be installed under handlebar tape and I found them to be most notably helpful while riding over rough dirt and gravel roads for vibration dampening.  Some of the fancier kits are designed to fit over the contour of the handlebars and are reusable when you need to re-wrap your bars.  

That having been said the gel pads are only so durable and if they get punctured the gel oozes under the handlebar tape consequently requiring the tape to be removed and very likely replaced. Also, some of the gel kits are a bit cost prohibitive and don't include bar tape.  Padded cycling gloves help to some extent but often are just not quite enough to accommodate the needs of some long haul touring enthusiasts.  There have been innumerable companies creating all sorts of gimmick products (particularly saddles) in an effort to provide more comfort or "implied comfort" by the less scrupulous.  So it is refreshing to receive a product to review that provides a simple, practical solution to one of bike tourings' most common complaints.

Picture of Tasis Bikes Fat Wrap thickness on handlebarsFat Wrap is that much thicker
Introducing Fat Wrap, a simpler more cost effective method of getting the handlebar comfort and durability for bicycle touring and especially bikepacking where I have a tendency to be rougher on equipment than while road touring.  Grabbing, gripping, lifting the front wheel and throwing it about can cause the gel pads to wiggle about if not properly secured under the tape during installation.  Sweat, rain, any moisture that may seep in can contribute to some of the loosening effect over time.  

A simple solution would be to have a very thick, durable handlebar tape available which can be installed securely without added layers of other products.  That having been said how much thicker is Fat Wrap than one of my favorites from my shop supplier?  Significantly, photo at right illustrates how much thicker Fat Wrap is then the very durable cork synthetic blend shown in photo.  It's worth mentioning that the durability test of handlebar tape can be determined while wrapping gel pads.  I've had some tapes tear while getting the tight wrap necessary to ensure the pads stayed in place without feeling "squishy".  Perhaps it's due to the sheer girth of this product which contributes to such a nice durable feel when installing as while I pulled and stretched it tight to ensure the tape would cover the entire handlebar I soon realized I wouldn't have to be concerned about tearing it. 

Picture of Fat Wrap with flush bar end wrap on touring bikeSo thick wrap flush with bar end
If I have one criticism it's that the Fat Wrap didn't include bar end plugs, which although not an issue around here as I had plenty extras to choose from other folks may not.  However, a trip to your local bike shop might provide a set for free or very inexpensively.

Fat Wrap is so thick that when I attempted to begin to wrap the drop bars (photo at left) by tucking the initial portion inside the handlebar and then inserting the bar end plug like all other handlebar tape the Fat Wrap kept kicking the plug out.  All this is covered with the included product instructions but I had to test it out myself for this review.  

As barend plugs are designed to fit with bar tape tucked in I added a short piece of cloth rim tape to ensure it would hold securely.  Fat Wrap is designed to be wrapped flush with the handlebar end so the accompanying instructions which suggest using a short piece of electrical tape to secure Fat Wrap tape to the bar when beginning the wrap proved very useful.  

Picture mountain bike for bicycle touring and bike packing with handlebar tapeHandlebar tape over foam grips for comfort
While adding some hand positions to my mountain bike for bikepacking I installed some inexpensive plain old foam grips (left photo) over the bar ends and then wrapped them with some extra tape from the shop.  

Although this provides more than ample hand comfort it is a bit squishy and I'm concerned it will wear out rather quickly as the tape flexes with the cushy foam.  

This is an excellent example for highlighting the textured surface of Fat Wrap which feels to provide a much better grip so important on the trail while maneuvering a loaded bikepacking rig over rough terrain.  Not only does Fat Wrap offer a better textured grip but the product feels sturdier simply due to the fact that it is applied directly to the bar surface eliminating slippage or quickly wearing out under rough handling.  We really like this product from Canadian based TASIS Bikes and their Fat Wrap and look forward to sharing other products that Kent might be coming up with for fellow bike touring folks.  Use any of the bold text links or photos for more information or to purchase.  

Links Related to this Topic
Bike Fit Basics
Fit Well Bikes
Ergonomic Cork Grips
Posture for Bicycle Touring

Treatment for Sciatic Pain

<![CDATA[Top Four Tents for Bicycle Touring and Bike Packing]]>Thu, 25 Aug 2016 17:30:33 GMThttp://biketourings.com/blog/top-four-tents-for-bicycle-touring-and-bike-packing
Picture of mountain bike for touring and bike packing with tent
One and two person tents compared for bike packing and bicycle touring.
Picture of torn tent while bike camping with dog"Roo" feeling bad about damaged tent
My recent bike camping visit to New Mexico provided an excellent opportunity to compare some new and old tents while working around some family property.

This past summer had proven to be a very challenging time for a lot of friend and family folks for varying reasons which effected my bike touring plans for the months of late July and August.  In an effort to make light of those facts I blogged about it here, Lisa found it to be rather amusing.  

Anyhow, after finally getting some bike packing travel plans figured out I debated over which tent to take to sleep in with my dog after our house and puppy sitter flaked out.  So I decided to pack both the REI Quarter Dome 2 two person tent and the Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1 person tent.   Both tents offer a "quick pitch" method using only the foot print and rain fly as an optional simple shelter.  

Although the Quarter Dome 2 is much roomier with dual entry and vestibules it weighs approximately the same as the Alps one person tent (three and a half pounds) which has a single entry and vestibule although the vestibule is quite large for storing panniers, packs, shoes, etc.  How the Quarter Dome is capable of being so lightweight is that the rainfly and tent body are made of very lightweight fabric that can best be described as unpacking a material which resembles plastic cling wrap used in a kitchen.  Lisa immediately voiced a concern about the fabric being "too thin" for use when camping with the dogs as they could possibly tear the floor fabric.  As it turns out Lisa's evaluation of the fabric was correct as shown in photo above it was way too easily torn by a stray year old lab puppy who insisted on keeping me company by sleeping next to the tent every night.  Previous to that while we camped one night using only the mostly mesh tent body without the rainfly our three year old dog was startled and made an effort to lunge out hitting the mesh and creating stress tears in the base fabric of the tent body.  It was easy enough to repair those tears but the other damage caused by the lab pup pawing at the tent will require us returning the tent to REI.  Will update this post later.  

Picture of bike packing load with REI Quarter Dome tent polesBike Packing the REI Quarter Dome 2 tent pole length
Another important consideration is tent pole length as poles which are exceptionally long are a hassle to pack properly especially for bicycle touring and bike packing.  At ​??? inches I was barely capable of tucking the Quarter Dome 2 poles under the top tube of my twenty inch frame mountain bike.  Also, due to the "single pole" packing design where all the poles fold around what I would call the tent pole hub and the slightly curved design of some of the pole sections I was concerned about them getting bent.  In comparison to the Alps Mountaineering poles which are two simple poles with pole sections that fold and pack flat.  Also note the convenience of being able to pack the Alps Lynx 1 tent poles into the top tube of bike packing rig pictured above.  

I could go on and on saying the praises of the Alps tents materials, ease of packing and pitching.  As one reviewer of the Quarter Dome 2 is quoted as saying "it's not the type of tent design you want to try to set up after a few drinks" implies that it needs to be set up a few times to get familiar with the design for pitching at night or if in a hurry for inclement weather.  When the same stray lab puppy tried to get in through the rain fly vestibule while it was zipped shut he evidently became frustrated and chewed through the guy lines which were staked down for the gusty New Mexico monsoon weather.  

So, all that having been said here are top four suggested features of a tent for bicycle touring or bike packing followed by a list of our top four tent picks which all weigh less than four pounds.
1. Packing friendly aluminum tent pole length which can fit inside a pannier, bike bag or pack or strapped to the top of a front or rack so as not to adversely effect navigating the bike especially on trails. 
2. Materials pack down small enough to fit inside a pannier, seat bag, or can be strapped on to a front or rear rack or handlebars in the case of bike packing.
3. Ease of setting the tent up whether it's due to being in a hurry with bad weather with free standing design.
4. Durable enough that a dog doesn't tear it too easily. : )

Our Four Favorite One and Two Person Tents

Picture of Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1 Tent for bicycle touring and bike packingAlps Mountaineering Lynx 1 Tent
1. Alps Mountaineering Lynx 1 Tent has become a personal favorite for several reasons least of which is how incredibly affordable this tent is at under a hundred bucks, compare to the three hundred dollar Quarter Dome 2 previously described.
After deciding to add the ground cloth (sold separately) I have no doubts about the durability and quality materials of this tent.  Large vestibule for storage of personal items, absurdly easy to set up even with lots of wind and includes a gear storage loft which I have found very useful for holding other small personal items while bike camping. 

Picture of Kelty Salida 1 Tent for bicycle touring and bike packingKelty Salida 1 Tent
Another quality free standing one person tent option that is light weight and pack friendly with manageable pole section lengths is the Kelty Salida 1 Tent.  Footprint is also sold separately and doesn't include a gear loft like the Alps Lynx 1 tent but is very well reviewed and slightly lighter than the Alps model. 

Another thing I like about this tent when compared to the Alps Lynx 1 is that it doesn't have the little transparent plastic windows on each end of the rain fly which probably contributes to this tent being slightly lighter weight. 

Picture of Bryce 2P Two Person Ultralight Tent for bicycle touring and bike packingBryce 2P Two Person Tent
Personally this Bryce 2P Two Person Ultralight Tent and Footprint is not only a much more affordable option to the Quarter Dome 2 at under two hundred dollars and it includes the foot print!  Also, the packed ple section length is very manageable at just seventeen inches.

This is a highly reviewed tent weighing less than four pounds.  Couple things I don't like about it are the seventeen inch packed pole length and single pole hub design very similar to the Quarter Dome 2 poles described previously.  

Picture of Kelty TN 2 Person Tent for bicycle touring and bike packingKelty TN 2 Person Tent
This is going to be the tent to replace the Quarter Dome 2 tent.  With pole section length of just fourteen inches, weighs less than four pounds, easy to set up and at a hundred dollars less than the QD2 I'm excited.  
This is the Kelty TN 2 Person Tent which although the ground cloth (foot print) is sold separately it's still an awesome deal and the only tent I have found with the option for parking my touring bike under an accessory tarp shown below, also sold separately.  

Picture of Kelty Upslope Tarp for bicycle touring and bike packingOptional Kelty Upslope Tarp for bike camping
Optional Kelty Upslope Tarp shown being used with trekking poles (sold separately) or as I have mentioned for use with a touring bike with a double kickstand.  Of course the Upslope Tarp can also be used by itself as a simple tarp shelter if needed.  Excited about the possibilities with this tent and tarp combo.  

<![CDATA[Effective Treatment of Sciatic Pain for Bike Touring]]>Thu, 18 Aug 2016 17:23:36 GMThttp://biketourings.com/blog/effective-treatment-of-sciatic-pain-for-bike-touringSciatic Pain is a Symptom not a Condition
Picture of cyclist resting in hammock with bike for bike packing
Lisa's new hammock from Grand Trunk felt very nice to lay in for sciatic pain relief after a warm up test ride.
Picture of assorted pain relief remedies for sciatic pain with touring bikeReduce swelling and stretch!!!
After a recent occurrence of extreme sciatic pain symptoms I decided to share some of what I learned to not only get some pain relief but so that I wouldn't have to cancel my summer vacation plans.  

Of most significance is that after several years off and on of going to chiropractors and physical therapists I just recently was informed that sciatic nerve pain is a symptom rather than a condition.  I don't remember ever having been told that if it was then it wasn't explained in a way that I would have understood it.  In one word "Piriformis".  A muscle which connects the hip and femur and is very deep below other muscle tissue and is therefore difficult to reduce swelling and inflammation with cold pack remedies.  Consequently some sort of anti inflammatory may be necessary at times help reduce swelling of the piriformis for stretching and pain relief.  

Many cyclists have reported the condition of so called "piriformis syndrome" over the years due to over training, improper bike fit or incorrect riding posture being some of the most common reasons.  For bike touring and bikepacking I was wanting some new methods for maintaining sciatic pain relief now that I know it is the piriformis muscle needing the attention.  

When my sciatic nerve pain acts up it is typically noticeable in varying degrees of pain.  One chiropractor showed me a simple test for sciatica by pressing on the back of my right knee and if painful was an early indicator of sciatica.  When the sciatic nerve is getting more pinch pressure from the piriformis muscle my left thigh is numb and tingling and I feel nerve pain extending to my right foot making it painful to even stand on that foot.  This was the type of pain I was experiencing when I was planning to drive seven hundred miles in one day for a vacation destination.  My goal was to get the pain reduced to where I would only feel it when pressing on the back of my knee.  After forty eight hours of several alternating fifteen minute hot cold treatments, tens electrotherapy treatment, all the while taking three aspirin twice a day and gently stretching the piriformis muscle I found this excellent video from Kai Wheeler.  Kai Wheeler is a former D1 track and field athlete turned Personal Trainer out of San Diego, CA who specializes in functional training, athletic performance, corrective exercises, self myofascial release training and teaches a balanced approach to maximize workouts.

Her method of using a lacrosse ball to gently roll on the area to find sore spots, then holding that sore spot for a minute or two prior to stretching proved to be an excellent method.  Although I had been shown a few effective stretches to relieve sciatic pain over the years Kai offered a couple different stretches which were very effective.  

By the time I needed to get on the road after implementing all the treatment methods described in this post I gently pressed on the back of my right knee and was pleasantly surprised to find there was no pain.  Wow!  I was reading bike forums where many folks spent weeks and months without ever getting complete sciatic pain relief.  I added a cushion to the driver's seat and stopped a few times to stretch the piriformis muscle along the way of my nine to ten hour drive.  Not only did I reach my New Mexico destination but I did a lot of physical labor pruning pecan trees, repairing bicycles and removing a collapsed chicken coop which required bending, lifting and some awkward muscle tensioning positions.  I was riding my bike on trails though careful not to overdo it ensuring I could drive home pain free, which I did!    

Use any and all the links provided which are underlined in bold for information on stretching exercises or products I used to reduce swelling of the piriformis muscle prior to stretching.   

<![CDATA[Lose Weight, Get Fit for Bike Touring and Commuting]]>Mon, 15 Aug 2016 22:48:33 GMThttp://biketourings.com/blog/lose-weight-get-fit-for-bike-touring-and-commutingGuest Post from Clint Latham of Bike a Latte
Picture of cyclist getting in shape for bike touring
Clint Latham is a professional photographer who enjoys building his own bikes and photographing that process in his studio as part of inspiring everyday cyclists.  As a better part of Clint's efforts his approach to training and diet is simple yet effective. He developed it over the last 10 years, taking training advise from the worlds best bodybuilders and cycling coaches to create a plan that keeps the fun in cycling for the everyday cyclist.  
Picture of Ride to 75 weight loss guide for bike touring and commutingClint's Ride to 75 Guide
"I created the Ride to 75 program to empower the everyday cyclist to health and happiness on two wheels. Join thousands of other cyclists and get the book free: Ride to 75: A simple 3 step approach to cycling for weight loss".  Clint Latham
With all the diet fads claiming to do this, that or the other for you we appreciate Clint's dutiful research which reveals that having a more simplified common sense approach to nutritional needs is much more effective particularly for bike folks in pursuit of a more active lifestyle.  

Click on photo at left to sign up for his free "Ride to 75" guide or read his very informative article here.  Links to the Bike a Latte site are also provided at the end of this post.  Enjoy.

Here's how a beginner cyclist lost two pant sizes in just 12 weeks.

By Clint Latham – BikeALatteCO.com - 'empowering the everyday cyclist' You're about to see how Elliot used my Ride to 75 technique to help him lose two pant sizes in just 12 weeks. And then I'll walk you through exactly how he did it, so you can potentially get similar or better results. If you are interested in bicycle touring or bicycle commuting you can use the same techniques as Elliot to help you lose extra weight in preparation for your long ride. When Elliot first approached me about cycling I could tell he was interested in the sport but didn't know where to start. We had been acquittances for some time as he worked at a local coffee shop that I frequent. He had just purchased his first bike and was concerned he would have to put 20 hrs a week in to see results. Elliot was interested in being able to complete longer rides, rides in the distance you commonly see in bicycling touring. We needed to develop a plan to help him build a base for longer rides without crushing his sole and excitement for cycling. He had 36 inch waist at 5'9” and weighted in at 195 lbs. He felt with his busy schedule he wouldn't have enough time to devote to riding to help him get the weight off. That's where I broke down the Ride to 75 concept for him.
Step 1: Ride to 75% of Elliot's maximum Heart Rate
The first step: To determine what Elliot's Ride to 75 heart would be. We used a simple formula to determine this number. 220 - Elliot's age (28) = 192 Elliot's maximum heart rate. Then by multiplying 192 x 75% gives us Elliot's Ride to 75 heart rate of 144. It was important for Elliot to use a heart rate monitor so that he can more accurately measure his level of exertion on each ride. Now he had a goal for each ride, to ride to an average heart rate of 144 bpm. We want the average of the ride to be 75% of his max. There are going to be times on Elliot's ride he may be above or below this number but his average level of exertion should be about 75% or 144bpm.

This accomplishes 2 goals 1) Pushes Elliot to towards the upper limits of his aerobic threshold. When our bodies are using the aerobic system we are able to use fat as one the primary fuel sources. If we push above this for our average exertion rate we rely more heavily on our ATP/CP system and the use of fat greatly decreases.

2) Elliot maximize the effects of EPOC. EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption) is the affect of our bodies returning to a state of homeostasis after a bout of physical activity. Research has shown that the primary fuel source used by the body during EPOC is fat.

Therefor my goal for Elliot was to burn as much fat as possible on and off the bike. By focusing on his Ride to 75 heart rate we were setting ourselves up for the best opportunity for success. The less weight we carry, the less effort required to propel the bike forward. When planning for bicycle touring one of the best things we can do is to decrease the load we have to carry on such a long journey. By focusing on fat burn, we are taking a systematic approach to decreasing that load.  
Step 2 : Ride to 75min min per week
Elliot's next goal was ride for a minimum of 75 minutes per week. Thats right, only 1 hour and 15 mins per week. If he could ride more, excellent, but we were shooting for a minimum of 75 mins per week. Research has shown that in order for a person to see all the health benefits associated with exercise they need a minimum of 75 mins per week at a moderate intensity. This research is supported by numerous studies including theAmerican Heart Association, the World Health Organization and leading obesity research scientists like Dr. Yoni Freedhoff. Furthermore, research has indicated that performing more that 75 mins per week did not create an increase in the health benefits associated with exercise. While fitness levels will greatly increase with more exercise, general health benefits do not. In some cases excessive exercising may increase health risks! Ever wonder why the Tour De France riders are so concerned with getting sick they wont shake hands with reporters? Their body fat levels are so low this puts them at an increased risk of infection.
“Extremely low levels of body fat increases cortisol levels, which in turn suppresses the immune system. Increasing your risk of bacterial infection or contracting the cold or flu virus” Georgie Fear, R.D., author of Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss
By focusing on Elliot's Ride to 75 heart rate we were meeting the intensity requirements; next we need to focus on the time requirements. Elliot needs to accumulate 75 mins a week with his Ride to 75 heart rate in any way he can. This means he can sneak in a 15 min ride here, a 20 min ride there etc. As diet & exercise research scientist Dr. Michelle Segar indicates; so many of us are conditioned into thinking that we need to exercise for at least an hour at a time saturated in sweat in order for the exercise to be affective. But this is not the case. Research shows that exercise's benefits are accumulative not consecutive. Therefor Elliot just needs to accumulate 75 mins per week. During Elliot's Ride to 75 training he would squeeze in 10 mins here and 10 mins there always working up to 75 mins a week. However, he found that as he rode more and began to build his base fitness the more he enjoyed being on his bike.This led him to find ways to adjust his schedule to fit in longer rides. He started getting up earlier to be able to ride for 30- 45 mins at a time. He began commuting to work rather than driving. Realizing that exercise benefits are cumulative and not consecutive. Elliot would choose to ride when ever he could, regardless of the ride duration. By the end of his 12 weeks some days he was riding for an hour and a half and was averaging 3.5 hrs a week. More than double the requirement.
Simple strategy for reducing calories
Step 3: Cut one food from his diet that would eliminate at least 7.5% of his calories Research shows us that diets don't work. Elliot didn't believe me, so I asked him to do a little research on the hit TV show The biggest Loser to see how the contestants faired after the show had ended. What did he find.... well most of them have put all if not a little more weight back on then where they started. Simply put diets don't work; so we were not about to put Elliot on a diet. However, as the old bodybuilding adage goes, “Abs are made in the kitchen not in the gym”. Therefor we needed to find a way that Elliot could easily lower his calorie consumption without shocking his system into thinking he was dieting. Resulting in a lot of the stress induced side affects of dieting. Our goal was to find one item that we could eliminate or reduce to cut 7.5% of his overall calories from his diet. With Elliot it was simple; he is a soda lover and soda contains a lot of empty calories. Now we didn't want to cut an item from his diet that he truly enjoyed as that would be considered dieting. So we looked to ways that we could reduce his intake of soda while allowing him to still enjoy a soda without it affecting his overall weight. Elliot on average would drink 3 sodas a day. 3 sodas a day equates to roughly 2,940 calories a week. Typically he would drink one with lunch. Have soda while cooking dinner, then one with dinner. Our goal was to cut his drinking down to just a single soda a day. We shifted his soda consumption to just before he was about to go for a ride. Then Elliot would be using the sugar in the soda to fuel his ride and help him burn fat. If you would like more science on why you should always eat before you ride see my article "Fasted Cardio Myth Debunked". So this seemed like a perfect adjustment. Elliot could still enjoy his soda while working towards his weight and fitness goals. This simple adjustment would cut his calorie intake by 33%; allowing for some flexibility to maintain our 7.5% goal.
Components of Training
One of the first concepts they will teach you in a cycling coaching program are the basics of training.

1) Overload and Recovery 2) Specificity 3) Individuality 4) Progression 5) Systematic approach

We already knew we would be overloading Elliot's system with an ample amount of time for recovery; as he was going to shoot for the minimum 75 mins per week and we wouldn't be to concerned with overtraining. We were specifying his training to maximize fat loss and most importantly KEEP IT FUN. We individualized his training by focusing on Ride to 75 when it would work with his busy schedule and by finding an easy way to reduce his calorie intake by 7.5%. Next we needed a way to measure his progress. At the start of the 12 weeks I had Elliot pick on of his favorite routes to use as a base line test. He told me that there was a local greenbelt that he liked to ride and it contained a 5 mile loop that would. We had Elliot go out and time the how long it took him to finish the loop. It took him on average 56 mins to finish the 5 mile loop. This provided us with a physical bench mark to measure against his fitness progress. We also included his pant size and weight as an easy indicator of his weight loss goals. Therefor we were are creating a systematic approach around his personal goals of weight loss; while allowing him to see the progression of his fitness level. Bicycle touring requires hours of riding at a sustained paced. Thus we need to increase Elliot's endurance for touring. The best way to do this is to increase the size of Elliot's engine. To build Elliot's engine we need to focus on mitochondrial density and growth. Mitochondria are the power houses of our cells and the only power houses that can use fat as a fuel. This is important because even if you are at a low 15% body fat percentage, fat is still the largest fuel source available in the body. By focusing on Ride to 75 we are placing enough stress on Elliot's body to stimulate mitochondial enzyme deposits which in the 24-48 hrs after exersice will induce mitochondrial growth and development. This will help Elliot to be able to ride faster and stronger at the same Ride to 75 HR.
The Results

At the end of the 12 weeks of focusing on his Ride to 75 Elliot went from a 36 inch waist down to a 32 and dropped 20 lbs. He even cut his ride time around his 5 mile loop by 11mins! Building a great base endurance. The most important part of all, Elliot didn't feel like he was working out. He was maximizing his time on the bike (to burn fat) and enjoying every minute of it. It was the enjoyment aspect that lead to him desire more and more time on the bike. He didn't feel like he was working out. Ride to 75 is simple; we take a scientific approach to training to empower the every day cyclist.

A key component of fitness is diet & nutrition. Ride to 75 just touches the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding nutrition. If you would like to understand why you should never diet again and instead focus on building a food relationship. Then sign up here to receive my exclusive 3 part series on "Building your Food Relationship".

Or for more scientific approaches to Cycling for Weight Loss see my FREE resource guide here.

Picture of Clint Latham's Bike a Latte logo
To learn more About Clint Latham and his efforts for fellow bike folks click on his site logo.
Most folks who enjoy and support the Bike Tourings' Site and Blog already know that we own an organic country store.  Just a reminder that this site and blog helps to support our efforts at Natural Living.  This is good timing as we are looking at the possibility of adding a juice bar cafe at our current store's location.  More information about that in a near future post.  Also, sign up for our newsletter at top right of this blog to stay up to date with our expanding opportunities and changes as we move forward with our diverse business ventures and adventures.  
<![CDATA[Bike Packing Is a Cinch With Dry Bags]]>Sat, 23 Jul 2016 20:57:14 GMThttp://biketourings.com/blog/bike-packing-is-a-cinch-with-dry-bagsHow to Use Dry Bags as Bike Packing Bags
Picture of mountain bike for touring and bike packing with DIY bags
DIY Bike Packing Bags with Roll Top and Compression Dry Bags
This is a quick post to share some helpful tips and suggestions for folks who are looking for some alternative bike touring and bike packing options.  All the equipment shown in photo does not jostle around and fits nice and snug for bouncing around on trails and such.  Note that this method is completely waterproof whereas some of the expensive bike packing specific products are not.  

While preparing both of my touring bikes for camping this summer I decided to remove the racks from the mountain bike and use the dry bags I use to pack in the panniers of my touring bike rather than investing in some new equipment such as a fancy new seat pack bag or frame bag.  As mentioned in my previous post regarding the use of these dry bags from Outdoor Research and Sea to Summit I decided to simply strap the bags to the bike as I didn't want to wait for the other equipment described in my previous post because it would have further delayed my vacation plans.  Photo shown above is of the Sea to Summit Dry Bag attached to the handlebars with some standard backpacking straps which I had stashed with some other equipment.  As a Seat Pack Bag is the Outdoor Research Lightweight Dry Sack also attached with some standard backpacking style buckled cinch straps.  

Rather than adding a frame bag I repurposed a rear rack bag for a folding bike and attached it to the top tube. A seat wedge bag is repositioned around the seat tube and top tube.  This packing method combined with a good quality ergonomically friendly hundred ounce hydration pack makes for some excellent bike packing options.    
Picture of Seat Pack Bag for Bike Packing using Roll Top Dry Bag
Outdoor Research Lightweight Dry Sack with buckle straps held in place by threading the strap through the seat rails and a second strap around the seat post.
Picture handle bar pack bag for bike packing with Compression Dry Bag
For a handlebar pack using the Sea to Summit Dry Bag and some straps cinched tight and rides excellent. Used for packing a tent, sleeping bag and pillow and can even fit my camp air mattress if need be.
Referring to the top photo of my mountain bike packed for trail touring that type of packing method can haul my Alps Lynx 1 Tent with poles stashed in my hydration pack, some extra clothes if I'd like. Either of the two dry bags mentioned are interchangeable as my handlebar bag can be used to attach the Outdoor Research dry bag with sleeping bag and pillow.  Seat wedge bag holds extra tube and some tools while the top tube bag stores some food, alcohol stove cook kit, etc.  

Anyhow, these are just a few practical tips and ideas to help with bike packing solutions.  
 Links related to this post
Packing kit List for Bike Touring
​Quintessential Touring Bike vs Bike Packing
Bike Packing Kit Made In USA