Oct 17

Virgin River Trail in Utah

Virgin River paved bike Trail in Utah

Virgin River Trail

Paved Trail in Southern Utah

When I first got the idea for Trailsnet, one of the early trails I rode was the Virgin River Trail in St. George, Utah. In fact, I rode it so early, I hadn’t even gotten the website up and running nor had I started using GPS to record trail information. So I never did get the Virgin River Trail entered onto Trailsnet, despite the fact that it is an absolutely classic paved trail.

No Motor Vehicles on Virgin River Trail

So on the way back from a recent Trikke Academy in Las Vegas, I got the opportunity to ride the Virgin River Trail again. Only this time, I was on a Trikke instead of a bicycle. Halfway through the Trikke

shadow of trail rider

shadow of Trikke rider on trail

ride, I noticed a sign that said, “No Motorized Vehicles.”  Oops. I swear, I wasn’t actually using the motor on the Trikke Pon-e. (very much)

Classic Southwest Trail

The paved river trail was just like I remember it. It followed the Virgin river as it meandered through St. George, Utah. Along the way, I say jackrabbits and lots of lizards. The only think missing was the beautiful roadrunner that I saw, for the first time, on my earlier Virgin River Trail journey.

trail through golf course in Utah

covered trail on golf course

Trail Through Golf Course

I was pleased to see, on both trips down the Virgin River Trail, that they did not let a golf course stop them from building the trail. Instead of stopping short of the course or trying to go around it, they just built a mesh barrier over the trail and went right through the golf course. I love to see that kind of trail building attitude. Damn the torpedoes and get the trail built, no matter what’s in the way. This was a win/win situation for golfers and trail-users alike.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2012/10/17/virgin-river-trail-in-utah/

Oct 09

iZip Zuma Electric Bike Review

Currie Technologies

Zuma electric bike

Currie Technologies makes a wide range of electric bikes from affordable models with lead-acid batteries starting just below $1,000 to higher end electric bikes with Lithium-ion batteries that sell for around $4,000. Currie Technologies sells two lines of electric bikes: the iZip electric bike (reviewed here) and the eFlow electric bicycle. Currie also carries a line of more funky electric personal transportation vehicles such as scooters and the e-Zip TriRide on their eZip Electric Powered Vehicles page. From what I’ve seen, no matter which lineup of Currie electrics that you choose, you’ll be getting a quality electric powered vehicle with great backup service.

iZip Hybrid Electric Bicycles

Currie announces their bold vision of being “the U.S. E-Bike Industry Leader” not only in their brochure but also in their style of doing business. Electric personal transportation vehicles are in an exciting time but also a tumultuous time. Although there are many excellent ebike companies out there, it is likely that some of them won’t be around for the long-haul. As soon as the Currie Technologies rep pulled up to my house in the big iZip van, I had a hunch that this was a company that was in it for the long-haul. It was clear that iZip planned to be a big dog in the electric bike kennel.

iZip Style

The first iZip feature that grabbed my eye (after the monster van) was the style of the iZip bikes. It seems like the engineers took the best features of the leading comfort bikes, then tweaked each of those features for practicality and performance. The handlebars were the first modification I noticed. Instead of swooping out into the classic cruiser bullhorn style, the iZip’s handlebars swooped back toward the rider rather than sticking straight out to the sides. The iZip rep explained that this was so the bikes took up less real estate on the trail. It made perfect sense. If you put two of the bullhorn style handlebars side-by-side, they hog the entire path. Not so with the iZip handlebars.

iZip hybrid electric vehicles van

Next I noticed the placement of the battery. Rather than sitting on top of the behind-the-seat rack, the battery nestled inside the rack where it looked like an integral part of the bike frame. In addition to looking good, the battery locked securely into the rack structure for security and safety. The particular model that I got to test-drive was the E3 Zuma. Currie even made the tires look classic with an eye-popping red wheel rim.

Currie Electro-Drive

The folks at Currie are especially proud of their Electro-Drive system. The Electro-Drive allows riders to effortlessly switch between human-powered and electric power without missing a stroke. With the flick of a toggle button, riders can alternate between Pedal Assist (PAS) and Twist-and-Go (TAG) modes. This is especially good for first-time electric bike owners who aren’t used to the subtle but powerful boost provided by the Pedal Assisted power. Since most people have ridden some type of throttle controlled vehicle, they can easily catch on to the Twist and Go system, then gradually convert to the Pedal Assisted mode. Pedal Assisted mode allows the bike to be powered by a combination of human-power and electric power. And since the iZip has 5 boost levels, the harder you pedal, the more power you get from the electric motor. So you control your speed and thrust with your own pedal-power.

iZip Zuma Specs

iZip electric bicyle

The electronic wonks love this stuff, but if you’re more of an “I just want to ride the damned thing” type of a person, your eyes may glaze over at this point. Either way, here are some important facts & figures from the iZip files:

  • Top Speed: 20 mph/ 32 km/h
  • Range: 20 – 30 miles / 32 – 48 km with normal pedaling
  • Battery: Lithium ion 36Vll.4Ah 410Wh, rechargeable cells, Advanced BMS (whatever that means)
  • Price Range: The Zuma model ranges from $2099 to $2199.

Best for use on: Concrete & paved trails or roads, Gravel trails, Level to moderate trails

Best used for: Commuting, Recreation, Exercise, Short excursions, Daily chores

Final Zuma iBike Notes

If you want to use the iZip for commuting or daily chores, they make an iZip Commuter Case that would look and function great on a Zuma.

And for the folks at Currie Technologies, here’s your warning: You’ve got me hooked. I want to try your eZip Scooter, your Tri-Ride, your iZip Ultra, or Metro, or Path, or Trailz or…

Trailsnet readers have a right to know about your awesome lineup of electronic personal transportation vehicles. You guys rock!!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2012/10/09/izip-zuma-electric-bike-review/

Oct 06

Fall Colors on the Trail

Fall Leaf Viewing by Trail

beautiful fall foliage along trail path

View fall colors from a trail.

It’s time for our annual list of great autumn leaf viewing trail choices. First we’ll start with the benefits of viewing fall leaves from the trail rather than the road.

  1. Slower pace allows for much more relaxed viewing.
  2. Less hectic means less dangerous.
  3. Get your exercise while viewing the fall foliage.
  4. It’s the environmentally friendly way to view mother nature’s fall colors.

List of Great Trails for viewing Autumn’s Color Display

 

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2012/10/06/fall-colors-on-the-trail/

Oct 05

Essential Clothes for Surviving Outdoor Emergencies

glove in snow beside trail

Trail preparation pays off.

Outdoor Survival Tips for Trail, Road & Home

When it’s time to hit the trail, always plan for the worst while enjoying the best. Even if it’s sunny and warm when you leave the trailhead, there’s no guarantee it will stay that way. And it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Here are some great emergency survival tips from guest-blogger Johnny Rogers.

There are many reasons to have the right clothing to survive an outdoor emergency, and just as many ways to make sure you have enough. For instance, you should always have a bag in your car when you leave the house. Similarly, you should have preparations while on the trail or within your own home. The philosophy should generally be layering, because it takes into consideration a large range of temperatures and conditions. Here’s what you should know.

Materials
You should always consider the material of the clothing you choose. Lightweight wool slacks and a shirt work should be staples, because they keep you warmer than jeans, and they are tolerable during very hot temperatures as well. Wool has the ability to resist wetness (because of the lanolin), so it’s also good in rain.

Clothing
For any emergency situation you should be sure to include a long sleeved shirt, two pair of pants and an extra pair of underwear, as well as socks. A wool sweater or a down vest is also good to have. If it gets cold, you need to be concerned with hypothermia, and that down vest could save you. You must plan for the extreme!

Other Items
A pair of work gloves are handy, in case you have to work with debris. Furthermore, a pair of worn-in boots are good, in case you have to walk long distances or hike. A belt can be helpful for many things too. It can act as a tourniquet or rope, and can even be a place you have to hang survival packs on. A floppy hat is good to prevent your head from burning, in case you are out in the sun a lot. Also, every survival kit should have a bandana. It can be used as a hat, a neck protector, a signaling device, a dust mask and many other useful things.

Basic Clothing Needs
You have to protect yourself from intense cold, as well as heat. Make sure your head is always covered, because you can lose lots of body heat (up to 45 percent) with a bare head. To keep warm, everyone should keep their clothes clean, avoid overheating, and keep clothes loose and layered.

Survival Clothing
If you find yourself in circumstances that don’t allow for planning, there are still some things you can think of. Sleeping bags can be used as a coat alternative, while socks are good for keeping hands warm. Garbage bags can cover your legs, and be used like snow, or even a raincoat. If you are caught in the cold, then stuffing a shirt with dried weeds, ferns or anything will help. You may be itchy, but it will keep you warm.

Never forget that it would behoove you to be as prepared as possible, because getting caught in an emergency situation can be life threatening.

Johnny Rogers is an avid outdoorsman.  He loves camping and hiking year round, even in the winter when most people opt to stay indoors.  He seeks adventure and uses www.termlifeinsurance.org to keep his family protected and ready for the unexpected.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2012/10/05/essential-clothes-for-surviving-outdoor-emergencies/

Sep 26

Don’t Own a Bicycle? Ride a Boris Bike.

London's Big Ben Tower

London by bike

Biking in London, England

If you’ve ever wanted to take a bicycle ride on a Thames River bicycle path or an urban bikeway through the heart of London, you don’t have to worry about bringing your own bike with you to England. Thanks to a forward-thinking London mayor and a community that’s supportive of alternative transportation, you can rent bicycles once you get there and enjoy British sight-seeing from the vantage point of a bicycle seat on an urban bike trail. So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to this week’s guest blogger, Chiara Fucarino.

London Bike Scheme

If you’ve watched an old Hollywood movie sometime in your lifetime, you’ve probably seen the whole “steal the bike from a kid” move during a chase sequence. If such a film took place in today’s London, there wouldn’t be a kid shouting after a grown adult who has taken his bike. Instead, you’d see the adult fishing a key out of his pocket and scrambling to unlock a Boris bike at a docking station before taking off with it.

 

What is a Boris bike?

It’s the nickname for the bicycles used in the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme and named after Boris Johnson, the mayor of London. Boris bikes are public bicycles that can be hired and used by anyone. There are thousands of docking stations all over London, precisely the central, North Shoreditch, Tower Hamlets, and Shepherds Bush neighborhoods. There are plans to expand the cycle hire scheme into West and South London in 2013.

 

Boris bikes are high-quality and more advanced than regular street bicycles. They have a lot of nifty features, including:

 

–          Dynamo-powered flashing front and rear lights

–          A bell on the left handlebar

–          A small carrying rack in the front, complete with a elastic cord

–          Mudguards

–          Puncture-resistant tires

 

How does the scheme work?

 

The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme is a successful public solution for those with insufficient means of transportation. Anyone who wants to ride a Boris bike frequently can register on the Barclays Cycle Hire website and pay an annual access fee of 45 pounds and 3 pounds per key. Up to four keys are then sent to the new Boris bike scheme member, and the member could then use one of the membership keys to unlock a Boris bike at any docking station.

 

If a person doesn’t use Boris bikes frequently, s/he doesn’t have to register at the website. The person can just pay with a credit or debit card at the docking station. It costs more, and it takes a bit more time to obtain a bike, but it’s the perfect solution for anyone who doesn’t want to pay the 45-pound annual fee.

 

Whenever a person, whether a registered member or not, wants to hire a Boris bike, s/he still has to pay a usage charge. The charge is based on how long the person needs to have the bike. If it’s under thirty minutes, it’s free. If it’s an hour, it’s 1 pound. Three hours, 15 pounds. Twenty-four hours, 50 pounds. You can see the pricing chart here.

 

Boris bikes can be ridden to any docking station within the city. The user just has to make sure that the bike is returned within the specified time frame.  If there’s a fault with a Boris bike, the user can drop it off at the nearest docking station, press the red ‘fault’ button, and then take out another bike at no extra cost.

 

Where do I sign up?

 

Right here! You have to be 18 or older and you have to have a UK postal address that matches your billing address. Good luck, and let us know how you like being part of this cutting-edge cycle hire scheme!

Don’t Own a Bicycle? Ride a Boris Bike. – written by Chiara Fucarino. Chiara is regularly writing on behalf of Cruiser Bikes, a cheap cruiser bikes shop on the web.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2012/09/26/dont-own-a-bicycle-ride-a-boris-bike/

Sep 24

Ridekick Electric Bike Trailer

ridekick electric bicycle trailer

Ridekick electric trailer

Make Any Bike an Electric Bike

If you’d like the benefits of an electric bike while still retaining the benefits of your regular bike, then the Ridekick is the perfect solution for you. Ridekick is an electric trailer that you hook to your bike; the trailer then pushes your bike whenever you need a little extra help or a little extra speed. It’s the perfect solution for people who don’t want to invest in yet another bike but who want to have an occasional electric bike experience.

Benefits of the Ridekick Electric Bicycle Trailer

I was a big fan of the Ridekick from the moment I first heard about it. What a great idea!! If you’re anything like me, you already have a favorite bike or two. You probably also have limited storage space. (Which may be a good thing or we’d have our favorite two dozen bikes.) The Ridekick allows you to hang onto your old bike while still adding the convenience of an electric bicycle to your stable of personal transportation vehicles. So here are some of the other benefits of the Ridekick Electric Bicycle Trailer:

electric bicycle trailer by sidekick

Ridekick storage

  • The Ridekick doesn’t take up a lot of space in your garage, house, apartment or patio.
  • The Ridekick allows you to carry items like groceries or work supplies.
  • The Ridekick fits on most bikes, tandems, & recumbents.
  • The Ridekick can be interchanged between several of your personal transportation vehicles.
  • Purchasing the Ridekick to add to your current bike is less expensive than buying a new electric bicycle.
  • Since the Ridekick has extra storage space, you can carry along extra batteries; this provides you with a longer powered ride.
  • The Ridekick is quiet.
  • The Ridekick allows you to power up hills and do battle with nasty headwinds.
  • The Ridekick allows you to ride at up to 19 miles per hour.
  • The Ridekick can be installed in under 15 minutes. Subsequent installations can take just a matter of seconds.
So now that you know how awesome the Ridekick is, here are some basic Ridekick facts:
  • Ridekicks start at around $700 for a basic unit with the lead acid battery.
  • Ridekicks can be purchased with either a lead acid battery or a lithium battery.
  • The Ridekick has a range of about 10 – 12 miles with the lead acid battery and 25 miles with the lithium battery.
  • The Ridekick provides a weather-proof storage case with a built-in combination lock.

    Ridekick battery and display panel

    display panel & battery

  • Allows you to turn your bike into an electric vehicle without actually modifying your bike.
What is the Ridekick good for? Let us count the ways:
  1. commuting
  2. recreation
  3. touring (I would love to take this on a long-distance rail-trail)
  4. showing off
  5. school trips
 One of these days, I hope to take the Ridekick on one of my trail tours. When that happens, I’ll give you a day-by-day report of the trip. The only question is which trail will I ride? Any suggestions?

 

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2012/09/24/ridekick-electric-bike-trailer/

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