Jun 18

Trails in England

Lots of Footpaths in England…

Cotswolds Footpath

Footpath to Broadway


Cotswold Footpath

England is a hikers paradise. For someone from the United States or just about any other country, the mass profusion of walking trails in England is unbelievable. It is no exaggeration to say that they’re everywhere. Whether you’re looking at a local map or driving on one of the roads, you will see public footpaths scattered (in the immortal words of my grandmother) from hell to breakfast. It is so easy to find great trails in England, I won’t even try giving suggestions. It would be like standing on a bleak deserted island in the middle of the night, looking skyward and asking, which is your favorite star? There are just too many choices. Instead, I will provide you with the four most important pieces of equipment/clothing to take on your British footpath holiday:

  • a decent map is a must – Remember, the good news is… there are a lot of trails. The bad news is… there are a lot
    Hiking England

    Hiking England

    of trails. Yes, most of them are well marked… most of the time. But even the most seasoned local can get turned around & end up on the wrong footpath.

  • sturdy walking shoes – The vast majority of trails in England are NOT technical. But the terrain can be tricky and slicky; so have good shoes with good traction.
  • raingear – From my experience (four trips) in England, the whole rain thing is a little overblown. I have had wonderful weather on every trip. But I’ve also only visited in the summer. And even at that, I did encounter some rainy days. From what I’ve heard, the winter can be pretty darned soggy. So it’s best to be prepared for the famous England rain. Pack both a rain jacket and rain pants. Make sure you’ve got a decent waterproof hood on your jacket as well. Plus, you may also want some sort of rain gator for your hiking boots/shoes.
  • Plenty of water – This has nothing to do with England and everything to do with staying hydrated. No matter what

    Cotswold Hiking Trail

    the weather, you will need plenty of fluids to keep you happy and healthy. And water is still the best fluid for active travelers.

  • a camera – Even if it’s just your cell phone camera (also known as the only camera I ever use these days) you should be prepared to take lots of memorable shots. Whether it’s an adorable flock of sheep, a flower strewn field or a breathtaking seascape, you will never run out of scenic photo opportunities.

Now of course you will have plenty of other personal needs, depending on your own experience and preferences. Some of you wouldn’t leave home without hiking poles, specific trail snacks and maybe even little extras like a shirt and some underwear. But I’m going to assume you already have those bases covered.


Footpaths in England often cross scenic bridges & visit small villages.


Trails Near Ludlow, UK

Few Bike Paths in England…

A bike trail by any other name would smell as sweet. It may be a horrible Shakespeare paraphrase, but it brings up an interesting & frustrating point. Before you visit England looking for bike trails, it’s important to know that it’s nearly impossible to determine what is actually a bike path. For example, none of the following necessarily mean you will be riding on a dedicated bicycle trail: bike route, cycle route, bike path, cycle path or greenway; in fact even the phrase traffic fee cycle route is seldom really traffic free. England has a great organization, called Sustains, that promotes alternative transportation including safe bicycle routes. Last year, when  I was in England, I picked up a book entitled Sustrans Traffic Free Cycle Rides. Once I got the book home and started browsing through it, I

realized that few of the Traffic Free Rides were actually and completely traffic free.

On my most recent trip to England earlier this month, the only two dedicated, traffic-free bike paths I was able to ride while in England were both near Stratford-Upon-Avon. One of them was the Stratford Greenway path and the other was the Stratford-Upon-Avon Canal Cycle Route. The longest of these two cycle paths is only five miles long, so neither one can be considered a long-distance bike path by any means. However, after spending three weeks cycling on narrow British roads, I was happy for whatever bike trails I could find.

England bike trail

England Bike Path

It’s a bit of a mystery to me why England (Great Britain, UK) doesn’t have more bike paths. Many British people are avid cyclists and there are plenty of potential bike paths. Take a look at any detailed countryside map, and you’ll discover the place is crawling with abandoned (they say disused) railroad lines and canal towpaths. That along with the wonderfully communal property laws in England and the potential for oodles and boodles of awesome multiuse bike paths is tremendous. But for some reason, the bike trails are few and far between. And long-distance bike paths are nearly non-existent. That is truly a great loss for both citizens of the UK and her visitors. I wonder if British officials realize all the potential commerce they could generate if they developed more bike paths. Keep in mind, bicyclists need to eat, sleep somewhere, rent bikes, hire tour guide, buy souvenirs, etc.

I will be discussing more about British trails in a future Trailsnet blog post. But for now, a brief summary is as follows:

  • Public Footpaths – the best and most abundant in the world
  • Traffic-Free Bike Paths – so much potential, so little follow-through

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/06/18/trails-in-england/

May 14

Tucson Hiking Trails

Hiking in Tucson – 5 Awesome Adventures

Hiking in Tucson is arguably some of the best hiking in the world. From lush Sonoran Desert vegetation to picturesque

hiking Rincon Peak

Rincon Peak

mountain ranges it’s easy to see what attracts hikers to this corner of the world. As you gaze upon towering saguaros and beautiful sky island mountain ranges in the distance, you will understand why Tucson hiking trails should be on every adventurer’s travel bucket list.

I’m Mitch Stevens, founder and lead guide for Southwest Discoveries, a hiking and adventure company based in Tucson. Born and raised in New York City, I came to discover the great outdoors and fall in love with Arizona’s special places. My favorite hikes in Tucson include the following wondrous adventures, some of the most awesome treks in the southwest.

Mt. Wrightson – Hiking Tucson’s Loftiest Summit

snow on Mt. Wrightson

Mt. Wrightson

The spirit of the Boy Scouts lives on at Mt. Wrightson. A wooden memorial stands alongside the trail about halfway up to the summit. On November 15, 1958, three boys ages 12 to 16, were caught in a ferocious blizzard and died there. The normally mild weather of southern Arizona was interrupted by an arctic cold front, plunging temperatures below zero. The Boy Scout episode of 1958 caused the largest search and rescue operation in Arizona history, leading to the formation of search and rescue teams in southern Arizona and other locations.

But two summers ago when I led a group of hikers to the summit, the weather was benign. There was a slight chance of monsoon storms in the afternoon which never materialized. We started our hike on the moderate and well graded Old Baldy Trail, allowing us to achieve the summit in less than four hours. The trail originated at Madera Canyon, a world renowned birding spot. Hiking in the Santa Ritas enabled us to not only escape the summer heat but to take in exceptional mountain vistas.

Accompanying us was hiker extraordinaire Bill Bens; who had climbed the mountain over 130 times. He has walked these trails during full moon occurrences and after winter storms with the aid of crampons. The photos Bill shot on these excursions were stunning, resembling scenes more reminiscent of the Canadian Rockies than southern Arizona. He is just one of the many who has fallen under the spell of Mt. Wrightson.

About a mile from the top we reached Baldy Saddle, a great place to rest. Among meadows, spruce and ponderosa pine trees, we observed deep canyons, lofty ridges and sloping grasslands. The final ascent was steep and rocky but taking it slow and easy allowed us to reach the mountain’s glorious pinnacle, no worse for the wear.

The views from the peak were outstanding. They extended more than 60 miles into Mexico and encompassed much of southern Arizona. At Wrightson’s distinct rocky peak, elevation 9450, we peered off into the distance at other sky islands such as Baboquivari, Mt. Lemmon, the Rincons and dozens more.

There are two main Tucson hiking trails leading to the summit, and they cross each other twice, making a figure 8. On our descent back to the trailhead, we veered off on the longer and equally scenic Super Trail. It was there that we spotted a mother bear and cub bounding off into the woods, a bonus to an already exceptional and wonderful hike.

Redfield Canyon – The Place Time Has Forgotten

Imagine a secret place, a narrow red-walled chasm featuring tall cliffs pocked with eroded caves and strewn with

ruins at Redfield Canyon

Redfield Canyon

boulders. A place where deep within its heart exists a stone cliff house built into a cliff; lying in splendid isolation. Rumor has it that when they excavated it in the 1930’s, a mummified skull of a Native American infant was unearthed. The daughter of the family who lived in the cliff house brought the skull to school for show and tell!

In this spectacular canyon, hidden cascades and deep pools may be discovered in the side canyons while occasionally bighorn sheep and mountain lions are spotted on the canyon walls. Pictographs, petroglyphs, ruins of the ancient ones and pioneer relics are scattered throughout the canyon and the Galiuro Mountains, where Redfield is located. The Galiuros are made up of a network of peaks and canyons and are a great example of the fault-block development of the Basin and Range Province, stretching from southern Arizona to Oregon.

On a fine autumn day, our group drove the rough but picturesque Jackson Cabin Road eleven miles to the head of Swamp Springs Canyon. We parked our vehicles, unloaded our gear and began our two-day backpack. The trip proved most enjoyable when done as a backpacking trip because of the rugged nature of the terrain. The roundtrip mileage clocked in at approximately fifteen miles.

We scrambled seven miles down Swamp Springs to the confluence of Redfield Canyon. The canyon included beautiful riparian vegetation such as sycamore, cottonwood, walnut and oak trees as well as flowing water. In the distance, saguaros cactus and other Sonoran Desert plants held sway, clinging to steep cliffs flanking the canyon. The contrast between lush woodland, water and stark desert was fascinating.

After camping at the cliff house, the next morning our group climbed a steep route leading out of Redfield Canyon and hiked the Sheep Wash Trail. Riveting views of tree-lined Redfield Canyon from above and far reaching vistas of the Galiuro Mountains were the highlights. The meandering Sheep Wash Trail eventually rejoined Redfield Canyon after seven miles and a side route guided us to Jackson Cabin. After spending time exploring the cabin and pioneer relics, we followed Jackson Cabin Road three miles back to Swamp Springs Canyon where our adventure began.

Monsoon Magic on the Red Ridge Loop

Red Ridge Loop trail

Red Ridge Loop

Simply put, the Red Ridge loop is one of the most beautiful summer hikes in Arizona. In the middle of a desert summer, a group of us embarked on this 14-mile jaunt in the cool pines atop Mt. Lemmon, just north of Tucson. We dropped over 3,000 feet to the floor of the Canada Del Oro drainage. In the near distance stood Rappel Rock, Samaniego Peak and Cathedral Rock. These landmarks appeared even more mysterious and intriguing than usual because of a fine layer of fog which enveloped the mountain.

The route wandered through a landscape of lush forest, as well as burned trees, a reminder of the fires that raged through this area ten years ago. The forest has made an impressive recovery and in many of the burned areas there was beautiful new growth, including wildflowers. Many people hike Mt. Lemmon each year and explore the front side of it on trails such as Wilderness of Rocks and Marshall Gulch but few actually explore the northern backside. Here, where few hikers tread, the Canada del Oro canyon was lush and full of life with water running roaring through it. The splendor was mesmerizing.

Massive old Ponderosa Pines, Douglas Firs, Cypress and grapevines cloaked the creek bottom. The scenery was reminiscent of a blend between the Colorado Rockies and the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. A few storms rolled in but for the most part the rain was light and we stayed dry. However, nearby thunder was ominous. As we approached the Red Ridge trail junction the vegetation changed. We started to see more oak, juniper, huge sycamore trees and blooming yucca, an impressive succulent plant.

To the west rose tilted cliffs of granite known as Reef of Rocks. Tucked into a ravine in the rock face stood an impressive waterfall; an effect of over twelve inches of rain which had pounded Mt. Lemmon during the previous thirty days. Red Ridge is named for an iron bearing formation which gives off a rusty tint from the oxidation of iron during natural weathering. The final three miles to the Red Ridge trailhead is strenuous. In fact, the grade is steep and unrelenting at times. But if you pace yourself, before long you’ll be back in the cool pines and aspens on your way to the top of Mt. Lemmon.

A word of caution, this is not a hike for couch potatoes; it is long and strenuous. Drink plenty of water before and during this hike. Don’t forget the electrolytes and include lots of snacks. You’ll need it!

Rincon Peak – Of Dad, the Mountain and Life

With dad’s ashes, two days’ worth of water, food and gear, my pack weighing well over forty pounds, I trudged up the mountain, saving my energy for the big push near the end. My father asked me several years ago to scatter his remains on a beautiful mountaintop. He passed away three weeks prior to this trip and to honor him; I chose one of the best hiking trails near Tucson and most spectacular sky islands in Arizona, Rincon Peak.

The steepness of the trail and terrain was unrelenting but the views were outstanding. We started out in desert scrub and hiked through a riparian forest featuring huge oaks, cypress and sycamore trees. But there was no water to be found. It had been a very dry year and all of the springs and creeks had dried up. Despite the arid conditions, we observed colorful wildflowers such as blooming cacti and radiant coral bean plants in full blossom.
We ascended through junipers and pinyon pine trees, typical of mid elevation altitudes in southern Arizona. As we climbed higher, massive Manzanita shrubs flourished, some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.

As we climbed, my mind drifted once again to my dad. Towards the end of his life when he was fading in and out, he gathered his family around him and with tears in his eyes; he admitted that although my dad was difficult to deal with at times, he never meant it. To a man who hardly expressed emotion, this was profound. It was his way of completing and saying he loved us.

We reached the summit of Rincon Peak. Atop this isolated peak in southeastern Arizona, I gazed upon a landscape which struck awe, resonated beauty, and took in one of the most biologically diverse corners of the world. The landscape encompassed subtropical oaks, soaring pine-clad cliffs, and undulating hills of grassland and forest.

One hundred miles north of here, the massive Colorado Plateau and Rocky Mountains jut into central Arizona with their snow-clad peaks, thick forests and deep canyons. The Mogollon Rim lies at the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. In the opposite direction, 150 miles to the south, the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico, another great mountain system in North America, gives way just before reaching the Arizona New Mexico border. The ecosystem there is different from the sky islands, different from the Rockies, and adapted to warmer temperatures with strong connections to the tropical latitudes of the Western Hemisphere. The mountain ranges of the Sky Island Region exhibit the north south overlap of these two major mountain systems which span the temperate and subtropical latitudes.

From atop Rincon Peak, I released my dad’s ashes into the wind. His remains have melded with the elements of the ages, the rain, the earth, the wind, the water. Perhaps after good monsoon storms his ashes flowed through rushing waters down the mountain and eventually merged with the San Pedro or Santa Cruz, the Gila, the Colorado and into the sea. Storms will again rain on the land and the cycle will repeat once more.

Palisades Canyon – One of the Most Exciting Tucson Hikes

If you are looking for one of the best Tucson Hikes you can experience, you cannot go wrong with Palisades Canyon.

Palisades Arizona

Rappelling Palisades

Trekking it comprises one of the most exciting adventures in the southwest. This epic canyoneering trek originates on Mt. Lemmon and plummets 12 miles to Sabino Canyon. The trail starts out in a pine forest and culminates in the Sonoran Desert.

Palisades Creek and its tributaries tumble over polished stone into numerous pools and slots. It courses through hard Precambrian granites and gneiss which compose the heart of the range. The Santa Catalina Mountains, like a few other sky islands, were created by tectonic uplift deep within western North America’s crust. It is considered a metamorphic core complex, formed over fifty million years ago
by granite that has risen to the surface from great depths.

As if soaring cliffs, craggy peaks and stunning scenery isn’t enough, there are waterfalls, one of nature’s grandest spectacles. At Palisades in late summer, cascades are found in absurd abundance in all sizes and varieties. Sometimes, depending upon the angle and reflection of the sun, vibrant rainbows are created. Imagine rappelling into a rainbow!

The price of admission is high in terms of physical exertion, but the rappels are some of the best around. Palisades features seven spectacular waterfall rappels and some of the slickest rock in the state. Keeping one’s footing is of paramount importance; it is often easier to slide down the falls on your side with your feet dangling in midair. The hike itself is over 13 miles long with a total elevation loss of over 4,000 feet and a 1,500-foot ascent at the end. Therefore, this trek is recommended only for experienced technical canyoneers in good physical condition.

Those less than experienced in the rigors of technical trekking should tackle less challenging canyons and Tucson hikes before attempting Palisades. Canyoneering is the fastest growing alpine sport in the United States and for good reason. An intrepid backcountry enthusiast can access and experience amazing and remote places only seen by a few. Palisades Canyon is one of those beautiful and rarified places.

To safely descend this canyon, you’ll need a 200-foot rope and a 200 foot pull cord as well as harness, helmet, carabiners, quick links and about 140 feet of webbing. Wear boots with good traction and wetsuits come in handy in all but the hottest weather. Groups of five or less is recommended because of the time commitment involved, fourteen hours and a hike out in the dark. But if you are up to the challenge, the full descent of Palisades Canyon is a sublime journey indeed and, as we said, one of the best Tucson hiking trails you can experience.

Thanks to Mitch from Southwest Discoveries for  contributing this Trailsnet guest post.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/05/14/tucson-hiking-trails/

May 06

Haibike Electric Mountain Bike Review

Haibike xduro electric mountain bike

Electric E-bike

Haibike XDuro Electric Mountain Bike

Recently I had the pleasure of test riding a Haibike Xduro electric mountain bike. I was thoroughly impressed by its innovative engineering and functional versatility. Haibike has been around for awhile and they are one of the pioneers of the electric mountain bike. But they aren’t satisfied with creating a “decent product” then resting on their laurels. Their engineering team has continued to make groundbreaking improvements  on what was already an award-winning product.

ePerformance Biking

When you visit the Haibike website, you’ll notice a phrase you’ve probably never seen before: ePerformance Biking. The Xduro bicycle series is the pioneer of ePerformance biking world. Each component on the Xduro bicycle series is top-of-the-line. The list of unique or high-end bike components on a Haibike Xduro is extensive but to paraphrase Julie Andrews, “these are a few of my favorite things:”

monitor display for electric bicycle

Intuvia E-bike Display

  • Bosch Drive System: Haibike Xduros come standard with one of the best e-bike motors in the business. The Bosch electric motor provides ample and reliable power to this well-designed electric bicycle.
  • Bosch Onboard Computer/Display: I loved how easy it was to view and use the Bosch Intuvia Multifunctional Display and the accompanying “remote” (separate) control pad. The display pad is easy to read in all lighting conditions and the control pad is easy to use without the need to release the handlebar. The display shows the four electric motor speeds: eco, tour, sport & turbo.
  • Battery: The battery is an integral part of the any electric bicycle, and the Xduro ebike is no exception. The Bosch Li-ion 36 volt, 400@h capacity battery can last up to 109 miles in Eco mode under ideal conditions. Of course, I have seldom encountered “ideal conditions” while biking, but I was able to ride over 55 miles on the US 36 Bikeway into Denver and back for a quick “city trip.” I noticed, on the Haibike website, that the newer Xduros feature the Locked Powerpack which blends and attaches nicely to the bicycle down tube for a sleek and functional system that works as well as it looks. In addition, the battery weighs only 5.5 lbs and can be fully charged in 3.5 hours.
  • Pedal Assist – As with most European designed electric bikes, the Xduro comes with a pedal-assist system. Basically this means “no pedal – no power.”The Haibike pedal assist system blends smoothly with the Bosch motor to provide the added boost needed to power up tough hills and through persistent headwinds. But the pedal-assist means that riders will still get at least a minimum of exercise and can choose to ride without the motor at all, when wanted or needed. This system also makes the bike legal on certain trails that require functional pedals on ebikes.
  • Full Suspension – Going electric doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice mountain bike suspension. The Haibike Xduro electric mountain bike comes with a high quality front and rear suspension. This provides a comfortable and stable ride on multi-use bike paths as well as single track mountain bike trails.

    Haibike electric mountain bike

    Xduro by Haibike

Haibike Electric Mountain Bikes on Trails

The ebike by Haibike is a great choice for riding on trails of all types. Although the beefy suspension makes it a natural choice for single track mountain biking, it’s also a great choice for many other trail types and trail surfaces. I tested it on single track dirt trails, cement bikeways, packed gravel community trails and multi-use asphalt paths.The Haibike worked equally well and was equally comfortable on all the above mentioned trail types. Keep in mind that, unfortunately, the rules for electric bikes on trails vary greatly, and you may want to check into the rules on your local trails. It would be nice if I could say that the rules will be prominently posted or sensibly administered, but that is not always the case.

Electric Bike Suggestions

As with all Trailsnet product reviews, I like to end with suggestions for improvements or future product development. Since the Haibike Xduro electric mountain bike is such a well built and nicely designed ebike, the following suggestions are geared more toward the electric bicycle industry in general rather than just the folks at Haibike:

  1. Include lights, kickstands & USB outlet as standard equipment on most ebikes including electric mountain bikes: Since weight is slightly less of a factor when it comes to ebike accessories, the added ounces are less consequential. Plus, ebikes have a built-in power supply making them ideal for lights & device charging outlets. And since ebikes can be fairly heavy and prone to tipping over easier than regular bikes, kickstands are needed more than on non-electric bikes.
  2. Haibike and other ebike manufacturers should begin working together to standardize certain components such as batteries. Such a system would make it much easier to implement some sort of battery trade-in program that would promote long-distance ebiking for touring and commuting.
  3. Electric bike companies should also work together to promote standardized and inclusive rules regarding the use of Personal Transportation Vehicles (PTVs) on trails in the United States and worldwide. (Most European countries already have sensible rules regarding the use of electric bicycles.)

If you are one of the many electric bike critics out there, I encourage you to take another look at both the products and the people using those products. Electric bikes provide for a much more inclusive biking experience. I believe that everyone should try e-bikes, but they are especially useful for bicycle touring, bicycle commuting & leveling the biking field for those who may not be able to join in the fun of bicycling in general and/or trail biking in particular.


Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/05/06/haibike-xduro-electric-mountain-bike-review/

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/

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