I enjoy finding products that are good for me and that actually work as intended. Natural Living provides several products that are just that, healthy products that get the job done without compromising health risks. Such as Deet in bug spray for example, or a perspiration and water resistant sun screen where you can actually read the label without feeling the need to be a chemical engineer to understand the ingredients.
Last summer I headed out on a fifty mile bike ride to camp on some remote Gulf Coast beaches. Approximately five miles or so into the ride wind picked up so intensely it was difficult to maintain a steady course. I managed alright despite twenty mph plus gusts that slowed my pace considerably adding to my time on the saddle. Only problem I had was as I departed I couldn't find my bike gloves so I decided to ride without them. After thirty miles or so and three hours in hot baking sun my hands were becoming sunburned and I put on a long sleeve shirt to protect myself from getting sun burned anywhere else. I found some shade at my forty mile mark which was close enough to where I wanted to be and now I have a very good quality sunscreen from Natural Living to keep in my goody bag.
Natural Living is a small family owned business for several years with an internet based store as well as serving their local community's organic food co-op and organic gardening practices. Owner Lisa Piper has a wealth of knowledge regarding nutrition and more.
Visit Natural Living's fun, down home style for information on what products and knowledge is there for you.
Alright now here's another goody bag goody, particularly for mosquito infested summer climates, bug spray! Regarding last summer's ride once I reached my destination and was relaxing on the beach taking in a beautiful sunset the bugs began introducing themselves. Not to worry, that was in the goody bag and I was able to send those bugs away with Natural Living's Essential Oil Bug Spray.
So my fellow bike touring folk, if you're looking for healthy ways to protect yourself from summer discomfort visit Natural Living for an assortment of organic, healthy products to improve your bike travel experience. Click on any of the links provided or Click here for more information.
Top of the Line Products and Information at Bicycle Touring Pro
Darren Alff out bike touring.
Back in the day as they say, Portland, Oregon was not the bicycle capital it is so well known for today. In the mid to late 80's I was biking around downtown as a commuter and weekend racer. There were a few devoted shops but the popularity of bicycle commuting had not yet shown itself. When the internet launched itself onto the world a few bike touring afficionados were telling about the disappearance of the touring bike from retail bike shops.
Today of course bicycle touring and commuting have found resurgence and popularity of both is astounding. A bit more than ten years ago the popularity of steel frame builders found success in a touring market demanding to have its needs met. Business oriented folk without much interest in bicycling itself have even found an interest in what was once mostly considered to be a hobbyist or "for the love of it" type business. No more, with a proliferating production of accessories today and bike folks wanting to do more with their bikes than ever before, the market has opened up for capitalization.
What's the point here other than a itty bitty nut shell history story? Well, the buying options can be overwhelming. Making educated buying decisions by way of understanding what is absolutely necessary and where to compromise on certain components, etc. One does not have to be exceedingly technical or proficient in all the bike jargon to feel confident about their purchases. For bike folk, bike folk to be or bike folk wannabe's who are not familiar with Darren Alff, he is considered to be a leader for "the new generation of bicycle touring". His expertise from years of touring and travel are invaluable in learning about gear, equipment, accessories, etc. This "blog about" is an introduction with links to his informational site.
"Bicycle Touring Pro is the world’s most popular bicycle touring website. With a community of readers in just about every country across the globe, Bicycle Touring Pro is the leading international resource for cycle touring information across the globe. The information you will find there has helped thousands of people just like you plan, prepare for, and execute their very own bicycle touring adventures".
There is so much good stuff available at Bicycle Touring Pro, click on either of the images provided for more information, the dude would not "steer you wrong" so to speak.
ESSGE Pletscher Swiss Made Kickstand Reviewed
A few years ago I stopped in to visit one of my favorite bike shops in Durango, CO where I like the bike tech. Their shop had a new mascot in the form of a basset hound named "kickstand". Some irony when the tech took notice of my kickstand and wanted to know more information about it. For that reason I thought it would be a good idea to give the Pletscher kickstand a "blog about."
Looking for a stable way to load and unload your bike panniers?
Maybe you want to be able to have your bike supported while you clean the chain or perform some routine maintenance while touring. For the convenience of being able to do those types of things for your bike the most practical and quality assured method I have found is to install an Esge Pletscher Two Leg Kickstand or Pletscher Double Leg Center Mount Bicycle Stand, same thing with a different descriptive name.
Ease of installation combined with Swiss made quality makes the Pletscher quite possibly the best kickstand on the market. I have been using this kickstand for several years now completely hassle free. It does everything I need it to do and has provided such smooth handling while loading panniers and or a trailer. I don't imagine being without it. I have even used it as a stand for the bike which provides the ability to attach a rain tarp from my bike to the ground as a simple lean to type rain cover.
It is particularly nice when using a cargo trailer. I have read forums, heard people complain about fumbling around trying to put a loaded trailer onto their bicycle. What I prefer to do is put the bike up on the kickstand, attach the empty trailer, then load the trailer. I have sold this kickstand to several customers and the only time I heard someone complain about it is after they had decided to cut the 320mm legs shorter (don't do that) and then it wouldn't work as well on soft ground such as grass or sand where the extra length acts as stakes holding your bike steadily in place.
I wouldn't suggest using this for intense trail riding without securing with a small velcro strap or the like. However, I have gone up and down curbs, light trail riding and other so called stress tests and it maintained the riding position without dropping due to a very strong spring which snaps the kickstand into position for riding. After almost ten years of use it shows know indication of wear. Click on image to enlarge and see that it installs just like a regular kickstand.
For more information click on the image of the Pletscher above to purchase, read product reviews, etc. Get one and enjoy the ease of balance provided by this excellent product.
Bike Tourings is now working with Jenson USA in promoting specific products, discounts and special offers. Some of the harder to find parts and accessories for bike touring and commuting can be found at Jenson USA's online supply shop and orders of $50 or more ships free.
With over 20,000 items in stock, expert customer service, and a state-of-the-art 74,000 sq ft facility, Jenson USA prides itself on being the best place for cyclists to buy from, vendors to sell to, and employees to work for.
Although Jenson USA has changed a lot over the years, it’s still very much grounded in the basic philosophies and ideals upon which it was founded. “We’re first and foremost a bicycle company that’s passionate about the sport and the people who enjoy it, our customers are everything.” comments Mike Cachat, CEO and founder. “We’ve built this company with integrity, dedication and a foundation of ethical business policies.
In 1991, Mike envisioned his future as a professional mountain bike racer. In order to support that dream, he got his first job at a local bicycle shop in Brea, California. “I was really kind of a shop rat, building the low end bikes and doing whatever chores needed to be done. At $4.25 an hour it paid enough to help support a portion of my racing and I learned a lot about the business. I eventually started my own bicycle tune-up business on the side and then formed Jenson USA in 1994 while I was still in school. I soon discovered that selling bicycle parts and accessories was a preferred business model compared to the tune-up business.”
Jenson USA is one of the original online bike shops and has been selling complete bikes, bicycle parts and accessories on the internet since 1996. Particular item categories and weekly sales events links are provided for shopping convenience at the Cycling Resources Page.
Looking forward to sharing specific product reviews, parts and accessories here at Bike Tourings.
An Affordable Touring Bike Build
Unique Bicycle Work Shop with Geodesic Frame Style
While considering where and how to provide myself with a work shop we decided on going with a 16 foot diameter dome kit from Pacific Domes in Oregon. The family owned company has been providing these unique structures since 1972.
I find it interesting how this dome came to me. While working with a client in Colorado I realized we were having some communication issues. Due to the fact she was from Spain at times her English was a bit odd and she did not like being corrected or criticized so I did my best to try and understand what she was trying to say sometimes.
A very eccentric sort she had purchased a dome kit in preparation for Y2K and wanted to be prepared for that crisis which of course never happened so this is why the dome kit I have is so old. More about that later. Years later the female client and her brother came to visit me in Colorado while I had since moved away I happened to be in town visiting my property there. During our visit I learned she had been battling with dementia for several years. She has since passed away and I was very sad to hear that news as she was a unique and authentic individual with a beautiful sense of humor.
Her brother offered this dome kit to me for helping him get some things moved out of her storage shed. However, we couldn't find the frame pieces. We ordered the replacement parts when it came time to build with what we had, which was an outdated cover we were able to make fit without too much trouble.
I designed the floor plan to be portable measuring sixteen feet square and built dome on top of the plywood I had painted with floor paint from the hardware store.
While attending bike mechanic school I had an opportunity to meet with the owner and got a tour of their production facilities and some of the domes which were sold locally. What a wonderful bunch of folks with positive attitudes and lots of energy. I learned that Pacific Domes provides disaster relief, provides large domes for concerts and events and so many other uses for their structures.
It is a very interesting design and I have been enjoying the work space for approximately eighteen months now. I was able to build in these work benches with shelf storage underneath and a drying rack between the two work benches. With drying rack positioned directly beneath the ventilation fan.
Twenty years ago I was working on becoming a professional photographer and spent a lot of time with much older accomplished and successful photographers. During our coffee chats I used to suggest the idea for a coffee table book of picturesque alleys. Well, I'm not as serious a photographer as I was back then though I very much enjoy biking around with a camera. While visiting bicycle friendly Flagstaff, Arizona I decided to hop on the bike for a tour of the city's bike friendly alley ways. I like the photo essay theme, check it out.
Fun stuff, enjoy, Cheers!
Wild Women Saloon & Grill, Overgaard, AZ
Alright, we decided to travel to the Heber-Overgaard area of Arizona. I had never heard of the area but when I saw how much cooler the weather was compared to Phoenix, yee ha.
Arrived at the beginning of monsoon season, rolled in at night following the curving mountainous two lane highways while the girls complained of feeling car sick.
Although we only stayed one full day before setting out to Sedona I was able to ride around town and get in some trail riding. Situated atop the Mogollon Rim on the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau at approximately 6,500 feet making the area fun to ride and explore.
First point of interest was the Wild Women Saloon and Grill where the food and service is excellent.
Wasting no time I headed out on Hwy 260 where I had been told was an interesting wood working shop. Just off of the highway is some of the most interesting wood working done in a variety of styles, most of which is hand crafted right there at their store. Wild Woods Gifts and Rustic Furniture is quite a sight with massively made pieces wooden furniture, humorous chainsaw carvings and other exquisitely made pieces.
Mountain Bike Trails at Tall Timbers Park
I had set out to ride some trails without any maps or information about the area. Trails are easy to find like the one pictured here at Tall Timbers County Park. Some fast single track, tough climbs and pretty technical rocky terrain makes for fun mountain biking whatever your riding skill.
What a fun area and cool way to beat the Arizona heat as temperatures are routinely up to thirty degrees cooler than Phoenix and an approximate two hour drive. Besides mountain biking winter offers skiing and other year round activities. For more information visit the Heber-Overgaard Chamber of Commerce. Well, I'm headed for Sedona and on to Flagstaff.
Bike Tourings' Blog
Product Review Blog for Bike Touring and Commuting Accessories, Components, Equipment and Gear. With many how to and repair tips. Go to my Photography Blog. Or use the search box provided below to search this blog.