Apr 15

Pannier Backpack Convertible

Pannier Backpack Convertible

Pannier on E-bike

Pannier Backpack Convertible by Two Wheel Gear

The folks at Two Wheel Gear have made my job easy. After spending a half hour with their Pannier Backpack Convertible I was blown away by all its amazing features. This awesome product speaks for itself. It is incredibly useful and incredibly well built. I wish I had a pannier like this back when I commuted to work. On the other hand, now that I don’t have to commute to work, I have even more time for bicycle touring, and the Pannier Backpack Convertible is also a great bike touring solution. Although the Pannier Backpack could be used for many different purposes (bike camping, shopping, mountain biking, picnics, etc.) I would say the two best uses for it are:

Bicycle Commuting and Bike Touring

Pannier Backpack Convertible by Two Wheel Gear

Pannier Backpack

During your commute or tour, the pannier easily attaches to a bike rack. Once you arrive at your destination it readily converts (thus the name Convertible) to a handy daypack thus allowing you to easily schlepp your stuff from bike to office or hotel. (or wherever) And the folks at Two Wheel Gear obviously spent some time at the drawing board making sure that both the backpack and pannier were well equipped with all the conveniences of the best portable cargo systems. Here are some of the best features of the Pannier Backpack Convertible:

 

Pannier Features

easy install mounting hooks

center lock hook anti bounce

bottom rack strap

Backpack Features

padded straps

chest strap

adjustable strap

Common Features

rain cover/fly

laptop sleeve w/ Velcro strap

two bottle holders

Pannier Backpack on Trails

Pannier Backpack Convertible

Happy Trails

The Center Look Hook mentioned in the first column above is a simple yet ingenious device. It serves to hold the pannier in place, even on slightly bumpy terrain. For this reason, the Two Wheel Gear Pannier is one of the few panniers out there that might actually work in some mountain biking conditions. However, this pannier (and most others on the market) is more suited to the following types of trails:

  • urban trails
  • multi-use paths
  • rail trails
  • canal trails
  • river trails
  • asphalt trails
  • cement trails

Active Travel Tips

If you are planning to rent a bike or use a tour company bike on your next active travel tour, you may want to contact the touring company or bicycle rental shop and ask if their bikes have rear-mounted racks that would support a pannier. If so, it is likely that the Two Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack Convertible will fit nicely. I tried the pannier on numerous different bike racks, and it snapped nicely in place on each one of them and held firmly. And it is likely a much more sturdy, attractive and versatile pannier than the one that may or may not be included with your rental or tour bike.

2 Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack Convertible

Multi-Purpose Pannier

Suggestions for Two Wheel Gear & Their Customers

For the first time ever, I’m at a loss for improvements that could be made on the actual Pannier Backpack Convertible. They’ve done a wonderful job of anticipating the needs of bike commuters and bicycle tourists. Obviously the folks at Two Wheel Gear have done their homework. But I do have some general suggestions for Two Wheel Gear and their customers:

  1. Two Wheel Gear may want to consider marketing this to bicycle tour companies and bike rental shops. This would allow them to sell the Pannier Backpack in larger quantities and would expose the rental/tour customers to their great product.
  2. For those of you who commute to work, you may also want to check out their flagship product, the Garment Pannier.
  3. If you have a business needing exposure (especially in the outdoor clothing or recreation industry) or employees you’d like to reward, you can cobrand with Two Wheel Gear to have your company name added to your Pannier.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a Pannier Backpack Convertible for free from Two Wheel Gear as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/04/15/pannier-backpack-convertible/

Apr 02

Group Bike Ride Etiquette on Trails

Group Rides on Trails

We’ve all seen the group rides on roads. It seems like there’s no rhyme, no reason & no rules. Cyclists riding double, triple & quadruple file spilling out into the road & completely ignoring the bike lane. But on trails, it’s essential that bicyclists heed the rules, both written & unwritten. So what are those rules?

  1. Watch Your Speed on Trails

    Trail etiquette for group rides

    Trail Ride

Save your racing for the race tracks, not the bike paths. Remember that you’re sharing the trail with walkers, strollers, wheelchairs, runners & other bikers. You should not be racing or speeding on the trail. It’s dangerous, & it’s rude.

2. Ride Single File…

… whenever you’re in the presence of other trail users. Yield to hikers, bikers, baby-strollers and… well pretty much all other trail users. Most people enjoy trails for scenery, relaxation & a slow pace. Don’t spoil that by riding in large packs that take up the majority of the trail. And, whatever you do, don’t expect others to step off the trail so your group can go by. There’s usually plenty of room if you stay single file.

3. Be Polite

Sometimes it’s easy, when you’re in a group, to forget the other trail users or to assume they know you’re in a group. It’s kind of a pack mentality. There’s nothing wrong with riding in groups, but it’s a good idea to try and be extra polite to other trail users. As you’re passing other trail users, be sure to signal your presence and then let them know that others will be following. So say something along the lines of, “On your left. There are five more behind me.”

4. Don’t Hog or Clog the Trail When Regrouping

It’s pretty typical for groups to stop every now and then to get organized or wait for others to catch up. Whatever you do, don’t clog the trail when you do this. EVERY member of the group should get as close to the edge of the trail as possible, in a single file line rather than in a big cluster. This is important and should be done each time you stop. Make sure to share this rule with your group at the very beginning of the ride and remind them as frequently as necessary so they don’t block the trail

If you keep these four simple trail etiquette rules in mind, your group ride should be pleasant for both your fellow riders and for other trail users. We all deserve to enjoy the trail as individuals and as groups, but it takes a little effort and cooperation.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/04/02/group-bike-ride-etiquette-on-trails/

Mar 23

Homemade Backpacking Food & Trail Snacks

Budget Trail Snacks & Outdoor Food

trail workers on the Colorado Trail

Trailside Snacks

We all love our trail snacks and it’s nice to splurge on pre-packaged freeze dried backpacking meals every now and then. Nothing’s better, at the end of a hard day on the trail, than a quick & easy meal of turkey tetrazzini or beef stroganoff. But it can get kind of expensive trying to purchase three meals per day of name-brand freeze dried camping food. Not to worry, though. It’s easy & inexpensive to supplement your store-bought trail meals with homemade backpacking food. You just have to know where to look for trail food recipes & backpacking meal suggestions.

Benefits of Homemade Backpacking Food

  • Less expensive
  • More trail snack & backpacking food options
  • Better portion control
  • Control for dietary restrictions & food allergies

Where to Find Trail Food Ideas

Here are some good websites to help you prepare lightweight meals and snacks for this upcoming backpacking season:

Benefits of Prepackaged Freeze-Dried Foods

  • They’re easy.
  • They’re quick.
  • They usually tastes pretty good.
  • Fairly wide variety of options

Trail Snacks & Backpacking Meal Ideas & Trail Food Reviews

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/03/23/homemade-backpacking-food-trail-snacks/

Mar 20

C2 Performance Tights Product Review

Stay Warm on the Trail This Spring

leg warmers for active lifestyle

Activewear C2 Tights

It’s that time of year. At the beginning of your ride, hike or run, it’s freezing cold, and you want to bundle up to stay warm. But half-way into your activity, you’re becoming overheated and uncomfortable. Should you wear shorts and a t-shirt or full-length pants and a sweatshirt? I’ve recently found a way to have the best of both worlds. Of course I’ve long known about the benefits of layering. And that works fine on my top half. I don a light t-shirt covered by a warm long-sleeved shirt. Then when the weather gets warmer, I shed the outer layer. But it’s always been a little trickier on the bottom. Full-length pants don’t fit well over a pair of shorts, so I was always left deciding whether to wear shorts and freeze for half my workout or wear sweats/pants and bake for half the workout. Then I discovered C2 Performance Tights.

C2 Performance Tights

I recently discovered the warmth & convenience of Performance Tights by C2. Performance tights fit snugly so they don’t have that awkward bagging appearance of most full-length bottoms. So they’re ideal for hiking, biking, climbing and running. Yet they’re also incredibly comfortable and snug. They keep you warm when there’s a chill in the air, yet they don’t bog you down like other pants products. Worn under a pair of shorts, they’re easy to shed when/if it starts getting warm outside. And they’re easy to store in a pannier, daypack or backpack. I find them especially handy for spring bike rides. They fit just tightly enough so that I don’t have to worry about getting them caught in my bicycle chain.

C2 Performance Tights Helpful Tips

Performance Tights are a great clothing product to add to your trail supplies. As with most Trailsnet reviews, I have enclosed a couple of easy-to-follow lists of reasons why I like this particular outdoor product and ways to fully benefit from your C2 Performance Tights.

These are a few of my favorite C2 Performance Tights qualities:

  • warmth
  • comfort
  • versatility
  • looks
  • made in USA
  • high quality
  • moisture wicking (comfortable in light rain showers or snow flurries)
  • great for active lifestyle or lounging around the house/tent/trailhead

 

C2 Performance Tights are good for:

  • running
  • Stand-Up PTV activities
  • camping
  • kayaking
  • après ski or après any activity

C2 Performance Tights not recommended for:

  • strenuous activity over 50°F
  • moderate-to-light activities over 60°F
  • swimming
For Performance Tights and other outdoor clothing products, visit the C2 website.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Performance Tights for free from C2 as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/03/20/c2-performance-tights-product-review/

Mar 10

Find Destination Trail Accommodations

Trail Lodging Now Available on Trailsnet.com

screenshot of Trailsnet trail page

Trailsnet Trail Page

Trailsnet is one of the leading websites for finding destination trails and active travel vacation destinations. Now, in addition to pointing you to the best long-distance trails in the world, Trailsnet can also help you find trailside accommodations. We have partnered with Booking.com to provide hotel, guest house and bed/breakfast opportunities near each of the trails and trailheads on our website. This will make it much easier for trail travelers to find lodging near trailheads or in convenient locations along longer trails. So when you visit any of the trails featured on Trailsnet, you will see a banner just like this:

 


   
    Booking.com

Book Your Next Active Travel Accommodations With Trailsnet & Booking.com

Booking.com offers the lowest prices on lodging worldwide and, if you book your next accommodations from the Trailsnet website, you’ll get that same low price and be helping support Trailsnet and our goal of being the best trail website on the Internet. So you get a great price on your hotel, and Trailsnet gets a small affiliate marketing fee for each room booked. So whether you are going on a trail trip, a business trip or any other travel situation, please visit Trailsnet and start your lodging search right here using our new Booking.com link.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/03/10/find-accommodations-near-destination-trail/

Jan 12

Trail Advocacy and Involvement

Promote Trails by Getting Involved in Trail Advocacy

family on bike trail

Family on Trail

According to numerous bumper stickers, SH*T HAPPENS. Unfortunately, trails don’t just happen. You must contact local regional, state & national representatives. You must serve on Boards. And, if possible, it would be ideal if you could volunteer to work on trails. But this trail blog post is about writing to local officials to promote new and connected trails.

North Trail Study Area

I was recently contacted by a prominent and wonderful local mountain biking advocacy group. They wanted me to contact local officials to encourage an alternative trail plan rather than the two proposed trail plans. Of course, being a mountain bike group, their proposal was specifically for more mountain bike trails. That’s not surprising and commendable that they are getting involved. But that is not exactly what Trailsnet is all about. Trailsnet is indeed about mountain biking trails but also about walking trails, rail trails, commuting trails, recreational trails, etc.

Letter to Open Space, City Councillors & Trail Decision Makers

So I utilized the basic ideas presented by the mountain bike advocacy group (more trails), but heavily revised and edited it so that the emphasis was on more trails in general rather than just more mountain bike trails. Following is the letter that I sent to city, county and open space officials. I hope it serves as a model for your future trail advocacy and promotion:

 

Dear OSBT Members, City Councilors, & OSMP Staff:
Thank you for considering more trails in Boulder County. I’m sure you are receiving lots of emails from my friends at Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance; and they have some good ideas. But this is NOT one of those form letters so I ask you to please read my entire email and consider it carefully.
Unlike BMA & other similar groups, I am not advocating for the interests of any one group. (mountain bikers, equestrians, pedestrians, etc.) Instead, I am advocating for all people who are willing to utilize non-motorized transportation for either recreation or transportation. Therefore, I ask you to consider each of the special interest groups but in the long run to choose a plan that benefits all of them rather than just one group. More than anything, I ask you to implement a plan that provides a vast and accessible network of trails all throughout Boulder County. It is essential that these trails are accessible and connected rather than disparate trails scattered indiscriminately about.
We are incredibly fortunate to have the resources and community interest to make such a plan happen. Unlike the recent Folsom Street incident, a bike (equestrian, pedestrian…) trail is the opposite of disruptive. It is separate from the sights, smells, pollution and (most of all) dangers of the road. It is accessible to people of all shapes, sizes, interests & abilities. I encourage you to consider:
1) A regional multi-purpose trail  on the west side of US 36 to provide a high quality user experience to Lyons & Heil Valley Ranch (Ideally this trail would be concrete or asphalt but could also be hard-packed gravel or dirt.)
2) Access & interconnectivity to as many of the major local trails in the area including Boulder Creek Path, Foothills Parkway Path, LOBO Trail, the new Boulder-to-Lyons Trail,  Marshall Mesa/Doudy Draw Trails, Coal Creek Trail, etc.)
3) The reclamation of unused roads & rail lines into multi-purpose trails
4) Building completely separate but parallel trails along roads rather than just bike lanes
5) Work w/ CDOT, RTD & Denver to insure that the new US36 Bike Path runs all the way from Boulder to Denver as originally promised.
6) Continue promoting the idea of a multi-use path that completely encircles Boulder and ensure that the path is suitable for all non-motorized users and is surfaced for all weather conditions so that commuters & recreationalists can utilize it year-round.
Thank you for working toward a goal of making Boulder County a leader in safe & accessible non-motorized recreation & transportation in the NTSA. A comprehensive, connected & accessible network of trails in Boulder County is a realistic and laudable goal and one that will be beneficial for the environment and health of all Coloradans and county residents.
Sincerely,
Kevin from Trailsnet.com

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/01/12/4503/

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