Ruffwear Gear Review Numero Dos!

Written by Patrick on . Posted in Blog

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Since our last Ruffwear gear review we have traveled an additional 800 miles via bicycle through Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon, and various places in between. Avenue and I watch as the gear from Ruffwear arrives new and clean then gradually takes on the character and  colors of the open road; a little dirt to show a touch of love is what we are all about. Similar to our past Ruffwear gear review, we will provide a comprehensive and unbiased look at the new gear we have explored.

Back on the bike!

Written by Patrick on . Posted in Blog

Back on the bike. Since I last wrote a significant post, Melissa and I were on the West Coast. Many events have transpired since then. For one, Melissa has arrived to Thailand and I have entered the Grand Canyon region. I will briefly touch base on what has happened in these few short months and promise to write at least a post a month from here on out. Hmmmm, where to begin. Nearing the end of the tour with Melissa, we bike south towards Oakland in four straight weeks of rain. EVERYTHING was wet, damp, or moldy. My paper notebook was covered with smelly mold, the tent was in a constant state of grossness, and many of the packs on my bike were in need of some dry, sunny weather. My spirits were even damp…it’s crazy how much the weather can affect ones soul. But, through and through, day by day, we shortened the distance to Oakland.

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Bike Touring with Your Furry Four-Legged Friend: Gear Essentials

Written by Patrick on . Posted in Blog

A few years ago I came across some images online of people touring with their pets and before I got Avenue, my pup, I knew I would end up down the same road. Sure the weight adds up, but having company on the road is awesome. The downside to traveling with a pet is that you are limited on places you can travel. For instance getting on a plane or train is not as easy as a hop, skip, and a jump. Since traveling with Avenue, I am more aware of regions which are not appealing…for instance tick infested areas. I for one hate burning ticks out of me…who knows how many would venture onto Avenue while she is out roaming the woods. Below I have listed all the pet essentials I carry in order to take my pup safely along for the ride. I would not do it any other way. I feel safer at night while camping in random places alongside the open road because she always acts as my first alert system and don’t let me deter you about the extra weight either. When we hit a hill I hook up Avenue to my leather belt with an oversized carabiner and my speed always doubles, making my life a lot easier on the rough assents. The company of an animal on the road is truly amazing. Click the image below to see an enhanced version. Read on to hear a brief review of the products as well as a homepage link and purchase link for everything listed below. Also be sure to check out my previous post [HERE] which details the pros and cons of all the Ruffwear products I own. The previous post is dedicated to the amazing people at Ruffwear for making the best dog products I have seen on the market. http://worldsbetweenlines.com/ruffwear

 

The Bike Tourist’s Kitchen: Cooking Essentials

Written by Patrick on . Posted in Blog

Cooking on the road can be difficult. After countless hours of cranking up giant passes or cycling into gnarly headwinds, exerting energy at the end of the day to cook just isn’t appealing. I prefer taking it easy during the rides so I can enjoy a nice warm meal at the end of the day. Eating warm food rejuvenates the soul so making time to exercise cooking, for me, is critical. Since I am not the lightest traveler when it comes to bike touring I pack for two. Having the option to share during meals is worth the extra few ounces in weight. Below you will see a detailed image of all the kitchenware I carry while touring. Click the image for a larger enhanced version. Below the image I give my personal review of the gear as well as purchase links and home page links to the gear’s corresponding website.

Working While Touring: Cords and Chargers

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While I build my entire gear page I would like to compose a series of posts dedicated to the gear I use while touring. This post is dedicated to CORDS AND CHARGERS.

Click the image below to see an enhanced version of the cords and chargers I use while bike touring. Every item depicted below has a purchase link below the image as well as a brief review.

 

 

Stan Burns: Canada to Mexico

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During our time on the road we have met many amazing people. Few have been bike tourists let alone bike tourists we rode with. Stan Burns was an exception. We met Stan while resting along side a mountain pass. From the moment we met Stan there were series of events which only reinforced the knowledge that the universe works with you, not against you. Stan and us immediately started sharing stories about our crazy adventures from the road. He is a real-estate agent in Canada. One day it popped into his mind that he needed to get out of the box and do something interesting and exciting. Bike touring he thought and from that initial moment it only took him five days to purchase a bike, gear, and set off into the open world. Stan is truly remarkable, a child in a grownup body. I feel the need to express his writing because it is transformational. You can see his perspective blossom as he progresses deeper into the world of cycling. I know I can speak for him when I say he will be forever changed. His writing is simple, true, and vivid so I would like to dedicate this next post to you Stan, it was more than a pleasure running into you!

Worlds Between Slacklines, Border Lines, and Emotional Lines.

Written by Patrick on . Posted in Blog

The most important part about bicycle touring is always being content with “not ideal” situations, limited access to basic daily needs, and swimming in sometimes socially uncomfortable situations. We all have our biases towards our fellow human being from time to time and these compulsions are perhaps just conditioned and not a reflection of our true nature. Compassion is key. You never know who will appear out of the darkness to save you. Harness these thoughts and judgments into positivity. This takes more than simply thinking you are okay with “ghetto” towns, “redneck” cities, and “slightly stupid” individuals, but living in observation of it all without analysis. The outside world has much to offer and one who holds fear, judgment, or resistance only blocks the possibility of experiencing life for what it truly is. Most of us who live in the rarified atmosphere of “modern” don’t live in tents nor travel the world at 10 MPH; but for the few who cycle and live the touring lifestyle, I am sure you can equate your experiences similarly to what I have described above. One thing to take away from living an intentional life is no matter what you look at, who you look at, or where you look, you are always looking directly into yourself. Your world is your creation and how you judge it, is how it judges you.

Ruffwear Product Review

Written by Patrick on . Posted in Blog

I left on my first bicycle tour in March of 2009. I strapped a 60 liter travel backpack to my bicycle rack, bought $30 panniers and never looked back. I didn’t look into gear too extensively nor did I want to, it was about learning as you go and taking the punches as they came. After arriving home 4,300 miles later I can definitely tell you there were many things I learned about myself and more importantly about my gear. Many items became obsolete and others became essential. This time around after 2,000 miles lugging my 40lb pup across the open expanse of America, I have a new found perspective and respect on quality gear. The first harness I purchased for Avenue, my 21/2 year old Australian Shepard/Blue heeler mix was from Ruffwear, my initial impression was the higher than average price. I looked into similar products at Petsmart, Amazon, etc. Most looked like they would do the trick but something about the quality, or lack there of ultimately led me to purchase from Ruffwear. Looking back this was the best purchase of my life, and hopefully Avenue’s as well. I contacted Ruffwear about 1000 miles into the tour I am currently on. I requested some kind of sponsorship for the tour and within days they had sent a slew of products to Avenue to test out. This post is dedicated to the amazing people at Ruffwear and more specifically to the amazing products that have stood the test of 2,000 miles of non-stop bicycle touring. Many thanks to Susan and Vince for supporting Avenue and us as we meander the world on our cycles.

Glacier National Park: Two Views, Two Worlds, One Gigantic Climb

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We left Missoula eager to get to the mountains. Nature has a way of signaling you like the internal clock of a morning roosters crow. As the city faded south we cycled deeper into the wheat fields of Montana. Glacier National Park was 130 miles due North, 130 miles until my 26th birthday. The open scenery with the occasional farm silo was surrounded by creamed colored hills rolling seamlessly into the horizon. At the end of a full days ride we were met with what looked like a “small” climb so we decided to hold camp and venture on. As we slowly banked around the curve of the road it became clear, this…was no small climb. The cars appeared like micro machines towards the top. The only visible part of the car besides the glob of pigment on the horizon were the beams of light bouncing off the windshields. As the cars grew larger we consummated the summit and what we saw was nothing short of amazing. Vertical rock mounds cut high through the skyline like lightening launching horizontally thousands of feet above the valley floor. Both of us could feel a literal flood of gratitude flowing through our bodies at the sight. These mountains which have seen thousands upon thousands of years have stood there, waiting, for this very moment.

The Bear and the Bozeman

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The miles to Bozeman proved to hold their fair share of mountain terrain, lush with full forest sounds and the smell of fresh pine. The Gallatin Road weaves in and out between Wyoming and Montana before launching up into the open sky of Montana. This particular stretch of asphalt we dubbed “cross canyon” due to the number of road-side crosses which memorialized lost loved ones. It was also paralleled by one of the worlds premier fly fisherman rivers. Camping the S-curved canyon held its fare share of excitement. The time finally came to exercise our “bear aware” skills by bundling our food panniers together in the evening, clipping them to ropes, and hurling them into the trees. The christmas bells lazily drooping below to sound the alarm of any would be intruders. The preparation was work but any load of work sounds better than waking up to a wet hungry nose attached to a one ton belly. Our wet and hungry nose, however, did not come during the resting hours of the night. Our bear adventure occurred in the morning…while packing, tent half down, food bags out, and not the slightest clue it was a stone throw away from entering our camp. 

Yellowstone, the Disneyland of the sacred

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We broke down our bikes just in time for the storm. The brand new motorhome gleaming with new paint and shinny lights would be our personal traveling bus as we navigated towards Yellowstone from Jackson Hole, WY. My mothers face was illuminated with a giant happy glow as we shoved everything into the bins and locked our naked bikes to the rear bike rack. This 25 foot shelter was definitely an altered style of traveling in comparison to our three man tent. But this is what my mother wanted. A simple way to visit us while we live our lives spanning the distance of the united states on our 35mm tires. What can I say, the bike tour needs to be accompanied with some family from time to time so sharing in our time with the fam was a delight for everyone.

Slotoja (Salt Lake to Logan to Jackson)

Written by Patrick on . Posted in Blog

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Our first entry will cover our going away party all the way up to Jackson, Wyoming. We have been on the road for a little over three weeks and it has definitely been a rocky and rather an interesting road. To extreme heat and freak thunder storms, we have both kept our sights on the horizon. Avenue has loved trailing along in her trailer
and still will not take a five minute break from standing in the trailer with her head cocked out sniffing every bit of air we pass through. Perhaps a little more time balancing from left to right will eventually render her tired so she can lay down for a break.


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