Tag Archives: biking

Adventure Cycling Bike Events

Spring and summer bring about an increase in organized cycling tours, which can be found across the country, as well as National Bike Month each May. But in addition to the already existing events, Missoula, Montana based Adventure Cycling is working to create a few more national bike holidays.

Cycling.

Just imagine what awaits you out there. [Image: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/548102217121796509/]

If you’re looking for an opportunity to connect with other cyclists and rejoice in the joys of bike riding (because who doesn’t want that?), these are some of the upcoming days to celebrate.

Bike Travel Weekend, June 3–5

Bike tour.

Make sure you pack all the essentials! [Image: http://kidproject.org/]

In just a few weeks, you can celebrate the first annual Bike Travel Weekend with your cycling loved ones. Whether you want to commemorate riding 100 miles over the course of two days or you just want to take a brief 15 mile ride around your local city and camp out nearby, there’s no wrong way to celebrate. It’s the largest weekend of bike overnights across the U.S. and Canada. It’s a way for new and seasoned riders to get outside and get riding!

You can check out their interactive map to see if there’s an organized ride happening near you, or you can officially register your own overnight ride for the weekend.

Montana Bicycle Celebration, July 15–17

This event may be a bit easier to attend if you’re close to Missoula, but maybe after getting more information, you’ll want to plan a vacation that lands you in Montana between July 15 and 17! It’s going to be a bike-filled weekend, including rides on the Bitterroot Trail, a ribbon cutting ceremony to announce a new section of the same trail, a bike expo at Silver Park, and much more. There’s also the chance to win a Salsa Marrakesh touring bike if you buy tickets!

Head to Adventure Cycling’s site to obtain more information about this upcoming event.

Bike Your Park Day, September 24

Friends biking.

Friends that bike together…are probably in amazing shape and have seen some really beautiful sights…together. [Image: http://www.colorado.com/]

This is an event that we can especially get behind! It’s your chance to join thousands of other cyclists and explore your favorite state park from the comfort of your saddle. This event celebrates multiple milestones in one day: the National Park Service’s centennial, Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary, and National Public Lands Day. Again, the best part of this event is that there aren’t very many requirements—you can bike as many miles as you want with as large of a group as you want. It’s your day to play around in a park, so don’t let it pass you by!

Learn more information about Bike Your Park Day here.

Friends biking with their helmets in the air.

Throw your helmets up and c-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-e! [Image: https://www.tripadvisor.com/]

With these events to look forward to, your summer is sure to be full of biking and outdoor fun. With that in mind, don’t forget to bring our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps with you on those ventures. Happy cycling!

Celebrate National Bike Month

Spring means an influx of cyclists on city streets and in state parks, and who could blame them? It’s a truly magical experience to enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of a saddle. With this in mind, it only makes sense that May is the most appropriate time to celebrate National Bike Month!

National Bike Month.

Get on your bike this month! [Image: http://lacrescent.lib.mn.us/]

The League of American Bicyclists created National Bike Month back in 1956 as a way to highlight the many benefits of regular cycling (a form of regular exercise, environmentally friendly, and a great way to see the outdoors to name a few!). Since its foundation, National Bike Month has grown immensely popular, increasing by more than 62 percent between 2000 and 2013.

There are many events to take part in this month to celebrate National Bike Month. Here are just a few to keep in mind.

Bike to Work Day

Bike commuters.

This is our type of traffic jam. [Image: http://www.bloomberg.com/]

Probably the most well-known facet of National Bike Month is Bike to Work Day, which is a part of Bike to Work Week (currently going on at the time this article was written, May 16–20). Bike to Work Day falls on Friday, May 20 and is exactly what the name describes—it’s a day for people to ride their bikes to work as a show of unity among the cycling community as well as a way to raise awareness to the many benefits of riding a bike.

Different cities across the nation have different ways of celebrating the day. In May 2010, 43 out of 51 of the United States’ largest cities hosted Bike to Work Day events, with Denver clocking in with the highest rate of participation that year. In 2012, Boulder, Colorado had free breakfast available from 11 organizations to its more than 1,200 participants; Bethesda, Maryland unveiled 100 new bike racks; and Chicago offered free tune-ups and balaclavas to riders. San Francisco also makes a huge event of the day every year as they have a humungous cycling community.

Bike to School Day

Kids cycling.

You can go to school AND have fun getting there—who knew, right? [Image: http://www.secondglass.net/]

The first Bike to School Day was in May 2012, and since then it’s become an increasingly popular event. It was inspired by the already popular Walk to School Day, which is typically celebrated nationwide in October. Instead, this event calls for students to hop on their bikes and ride to school on a day in May.

This year’s Bike to School Day already passed on May 4, but 2017’s is already scheduled and will be on May 10!

CycloFemme

Cyclofemme.

Just a bunch of awesome lady cyclists, no big deal. [Image: http://www.wellandgood.com/]

Although this event has also already passed (hosted on Sunday, May 8), it’s worthy of mention regardless. CycloFemme is a day of cycling in recognition of the powerful women in our lives that opted for the freedom to be different and wear pants and ride bikes and break down barriers like a bunch of admirable badasses. It’s a way to empower women to get outdoors and ride their bikes while also getting rid of the stereotypes within this male-dominated sport.

Local Events

Biking.

Now go ride off into the sunset, you bike lovers! [Image: http://www.cyclingespana.com/]

There are many events that can found locally within your own cycling community, too. And if you’re having trouble finding one, then you can plan your own event. It’s a great way to kickstart a cycling fervor in your area (if there isn’t one already slowly building).

As with all your outdoor adventures, make sure you bring our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps with you to enhance your journey. Happy riding!

Let Thermacell Up Your Mosquito-Repellent Game

As avid outdoors people, who hate being mosquito candy, we at Pocket Ranger® are pleased to announce our new sponsor, Thermacell®!

Thermacell logo.

Image: www.thermacell.com/

Thermacell is, of course, an incredible mosquito-repelling technology that bears a 98 percent effectiveness rating. It is used by governmental agencies, on military bases, and by civilians in their yards and in swamps, meadows, and any outdoor space across the U.S. where mosquitos lurk. The product is vetted and championed by campers, hunters, hikers, boaters, and anyone else who’s used it where flying, biting insects attempt to invade our personal space.

Camper with mosquito-repellent lantern.

This camper, right in the thick of the mosquito’s native habitat, opens his tent flap wide. Why? Because of those awesome Thermacell® mosquito-repelling lanterns he’s using to clearly excellent effect! [Image: www.thermacell.com/]

Thermacell’s Patio and Outdoor Lanterns, Torches, and “Repeller” Appliances all create the same noninvasive and virtually odor-free area of protection for stationary uses and mobile ones. “How does this work?” you might ask. Well, the (easily-researched) secret ingredient in Thermacell’s mosquito repellent is allethrin, a synthetic form of the insecticide that occurs naturally in chrysanthemums. Allethrin is essentially odorless and works in Thermacell devices through butane-operated diffusion. There’s no oily topical application or the usual bug spray scent, and the effect covers anyone within its 15’ x 15’ area of protection.

Hikers that AREN'T itchy!

Look at these guys! Taking a placid, dimly lit walk without worrying about the meal that would no doubt be their exposed arms and calves, were it not for that shining Thermacell lantern! [Image: www.thermacell.com/]

The lanterns and torches have a convenient base or attach easily to a pole while emanating enough light to allow one to rummage through a fishing tackle or play a card game. The repeller devices easily attach to belts, backpacks, or a pocket for portable and hands-free protection against the bugs that pester even the best prepared hikers among us. If you’re changing the oil in your car, relaxing with friends around a bonfire, spending your day as a professional or recreational landscaper/gardener, or are just anyone who enjoys being outside as much as we do, this is the device for you. No more hovering pests looking to make a meal of you!

Grow food, don't BE food!

Here’s a representation (with some graphic embellishment) of how nice it can be to grow food and not BE food. Note: The svelte device working hard to keep the gardener’s hands free to work their green-thumbed magic! [Image: www.thermacell.com/]

Perhaps best of all, each of the repellent devices is designed to be lightweight and portable and are powered by AA batteries. So you don’t have to worry about cords or charging, and least of all, wrangling bulky lighting gear and bug spray out to your favorite campsite, tree stand, or fishing spot. It’s all compact and conveniently located within a single device!

To hunt and not be hunted.

Fun fact: Thermacell’s Earth Scent Mosquito Repeller is the only butane-operated mosquito repellent that doubles as a mask for human scent, which is as good a combination a hunter could hope for to keep the focus on hunting rather than being hunted. [Image: www.thermacell.com/]

If you think we’re stoked about our new sponsor, you’re right! We’re all about getting outside and doing what we love, and this device definitely adds to the quality of outdoor adventure. If you’re curious, you can find out more about this wonderful mosquito-repellent technology by visiting the Thermacell website here. You’ll learn about how the devices work, what they’re guarding against, and how to get your hands on your very own Lantern, Repeller, or Torch! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to use your favorite Pocket Ranger mobile apps to plan a perfect trip to give those mosquito repellers a whirl!

An Ode to Nature

With the passing of Earth Day, we’ve become introspective, and our appreciation for this beautiful world around us has flourished. We look around and marvel at Mother Nature, and especially so as trees bloom and spring wraps us in its warm embrace. So here’s to you, Earth. This post’s for you and all that you do for us on our good days (and even the bad).

Mother Nature.

Mother Nature, you crazy beautiful. [Image: http://hdwallpaperbackgrounds.net/]

Thank you for supplying us with your far-reaching and entrancing beauty.

Some days when life feels difficult or a day just seems to drag on, the best medicine tends to be a trip outdoors. With the sun warming our faces, the rain patting us on the back, or the breeze gently encouraging us along, it’s easy to find some kind of calming reassurance outside.

Thank you for introducing us to plenty of fun creatures to look upon (but not touch!).

Bear mother and cubs.

Peek-a-boo. [Image: http://www.shanemcdermottphotography.com/]

The wildlife around us is astounding—look up, look down, look left, look right, and you’re sure to see something wriggling about. On top of all the glorious animals we come across in our travels, we also get to see plenty of breathtaking wildflowers and trees. Living, breathing, and with tops pointed up toward the sun, it’s easy to admire the magnificent flora covering our world.

Thank you for making it so easy to explore your seemingly endless acres.

Whether it’s by hiking to new heights, swimming to dark depths, camping out under the stars, climbing a mountain on two wheels, or scaling a rocky surface, there’s so many ways to explore in the great outdoors. If you see something that intrigues you, there’s probably a unique way that you can become acquainted with it.

Man swimming near underwater bench.

There’s much to discover out there. [Image: http://www.agapevoyage.com/]

With so much around us to take in, it feels like there’s really no reason to not spend every free moment outside! If you’re interested in helping to preserve this beautiful world of ours, look into volunteering opportunities in a state or national park near you. Then make sure you bring our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps with you to enhance your outdoor experience.

Essential Tools for Every Bike-Venture

Mistakes happen, and cyclists know this better than anyone. Riding over a piece of glass in just the right way so that it punctures your tire multiple times, or maybe hitting a rock that you didn’t notice until the last moment that sends you sprawling as your bike flies off in another direction. At one point or another, you’ll probably crash or fall—it’s practically part of the mantra of learning how to ride a bike. A child learning how to ride without training wheels experiences it and pushes past, and as you grow as a cyclist, you’ll undoubtedly see a few scratches again (especially if you decide to make the transition from regular pedals to clipping in!). Here are some handy tools to have on you in case of a crash, fall, or accident.

Woman mountain biking.

It’s great weather for some mountain biking, but make sure your bike is prepared. [Image: http://www.bikerumor.com/]

Patch Kit

Nothing puts a damper on a ride quite like a flat tire, and with that comes the responsibility of figuring out how you’ll make it back home. Depending on the severity of your puncture, a patch kit is a very helpful item to have with you on a ride. Patch kits come with sandpaper to smooth out the area of the offending hole and glue to secure the patches. Some kits have levers as well, which maneuver the tire off so you can get to the inner tube. It’s a great temporary solution for fixing up your bike so you can at least finish your ride.

Bike Pump

Always check your tires before heading out, even if it’s just for a short ride around the block. You can do some serious damage by riding a bike that’s too low on air, and skipping the few minutes it takes to inflate your tires isn’t worth having to buy a new wheel. A bike pump also goes hand-in-hand with a patch kit as you’ll be able to re-inflate your tires after fixing any holes in the inner tube.

A boy with a flat tire on his bike.

A totally reasonable reaction to a flat tire. [Image: http://ironmandad.com/]

Spare Inner Tube

In case you do get a puncture in your tube that is either not responding well to the patches or is simply not worth patching, a spare inner tube is your next necessity. As mentioned earlier, some kits have levers (but if they aren’t included, make sure you get some!) so you can take the tire off to get to the inner tube, and you’ll need a pump to inflate the tube. Make sure you carry the right size tube with you because you’ll be a little more than disappointed if it doesn’t actually fit.

Chain Lubricant

A clean bike is a happy bike, and frequently lubricating the chain is important (especially for mountain bikes). It helps your bike perform better overall and will prolong the lifespan of the chain and sprockets. Do some research beforehand, though, because over-lubricating your chain can be equally as damaging as not doing it at all.

Multi-tool

A multi-tool is a great item to have on you in case a bolt or nut starts to loosen on a ride. Many aspects on your bike can be fixed with a torx or hex key, and it’ll make all the difference on a ride if you feel a piece wobbling or have knocked something loose.

Woman ready to bike.

What else are you waiting for? Get out there and use those two wheels for exploring! [Image: http://bicycletimesmag.com/]

Learning how to maintain your bike offers a more personal relationship with it; it’s not only an item used to get from point a to point b, but by learning the fascinating intricacies of your bike, you dive headfirst into understanding how all the pieces fit together. Workshops are available where you can learn more about bike maintenance, but if you don’t find anything nearby, you can probably reach out to a local shop and ask them for some tips and techniques. Once you’ve learned how to maintain your bike properly, download our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps so you can head out to a local state park and explore!

Ten Fabulous Ways to Peep a Leaf in New Hampshire’s White Mountains

Mt. Washington Valley, located in the heart of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, says hail to the “peep” each fall as Mother Nature provides a spectacle of color unmatched anywhere else in the U.S. Offering not only spectacular foliage but also a wide variety of ways to enjoy the harvest hues of nature’s artistry, this region offers plenty of great ways to enjoy fall foliage throughout autumn. Here are some conventional and a few unconventional suggestions for viewing Mt. Washington Valley’s fall foliage. Simply click on the links below, or visit www.mtwashingtonvalley.org and click on EVENTS for a complete list of fall events to augment your leaf peeping itinerary.

New Hampshire's White Mountains.

Image Credit: Dan Houde/Wiseguy Creative

From the Seat of a Train

Mt. Washington Valley offers a host of train rides year round; these fall rides add that spectacle of color in September and October. Book a seat on the Mt. Washington Cog Railway, and take this famous train ride to the top of Mt. Washington, the tallest peak in the Northeast. Or enjoy fabulous scenic tours to Conway, Bartlett, and Crawford Notch on the Conway Scenic RailroadClick here for a complete list of Mt. Washington Valley’s trains and attractions.

From the Top of the Notch

Scenic drives through Crawford Notch to Bretton Woods or Pinkham Notch to Gorham offer everything from ridge top vistas and rock formations to moose sightings. Be sure to have the camera ready because there’s a new surprise around every turn.

From the Moose Van

Take a ride along the picturesque Androscoggin River and into the 13-Mile Woods area, or travel into “Moose Alleys” in other parts of the Valley on a choice of spectacular and scenic Moose/Wildlife Tours. As many as 23 moose have been spotted in one tour! Tours also includes folklore and historic features of the region. Choose from three different tours, including Dan’s Scenic Tours, Gorham Moose Tours, and MWV Moose Bus Tours/Moose Safari. The Omni Mt. Washington Hotel also offers moose tours from the hotel.

From a Gondola, Chairlift, or Zipline

Fall is the time of year to take in the spectacular vistas from Mt. Washington Valley’s mountaintops. For those who’d rather not hike up, take the lift! For a truly “zipalicious” view of foliage, try the zipline at Wildcat, the Canopy Tour at Bretton Woods, Soaring Eagle at Cranmore Adventure Park, the high ropes courses at Monkey Trunks, or the new ZipTour at Attitash (the longest single zipline span in the East!).

From the Pumpkin People Tour

A highlight of foliage season each year is “The Return of the Pumpkin People”, which is now in its 28th year. Businesses throughout Mt. Washington Valley create whimsical displays of pumpkin people, the only requirement being that the heads are made of pumpkins. Take a self-guided tour of at Settlers Green Outlet Village where 20 of the pumpkin people can be found, and vote on your favorite from Oct 1st-31st.

From the Seat of a Car

Mt. Washington Valley is renowned for its fall foliage scenic drives, including the Kancamagus Highway, the country’s only scenic byway loop. Take a Sunday drive through the mountains any day of the week and discover picnic sites, swimming holes, wildlife, and family attractions along the way. Make sure you vote for the Kancamagus Highway through September 28th in USA Today’s 10 Best Scenic Autumn Drives contest.

From the Seat of a Golf Cart

Many of Mt. Washington Valley’s golf courses remain open throughout October, offering golfers picturesque holes and challenging courses. This is the time to enjoy golf at Mt. Washington Valley’s 11 courses, which are all within a 45 minute drive from North Conway, NH. Go to www.Golfmwv.com and check out profiles of each course, including lists of the most picturesque holes on each golf course. You can imagine with fall foliage in the background how gorgeous these spots are for putting and peeping!

From a cozy B&B, Inn, Motel, Hotel, or Family Resort

Mt. Washington Valley is well known for its wide variety of lodging. More than 50 country inns and B&B’s offer cozy and romantic retreats while the region’s motels, hostels, and campgrounds provide additional options for those seeking getaways on a budget. Family resorts, condos, vacation rentals, and timeshare properties round out the offerings so there’s something for everyone. Many of these lodging properties have packages and itineraries for fall foliage getaways.

From the Seat of a Bike

Mt. Washington Valley offers ideal biking terrain, ranging from gentle back roads that go through covered bridges and past farms and meadows to extreme off-road slick tracks. In fact, New Hampshire was recently named among the most cycling-friendly states in the country. There are even inn to inn biking tours offered throughout the fall.

From the Table in the Dining Room

Mt. Washington Valley offers more dining with a view than any other New England destination. Whether it’s overlooking North Conway with Cranmore Mountain front and center from the White Mountain Hotel’s dining room or a fabulous view of the Moat Mountains and Presidential Range from Darby Field Inn, you’ll find spectacular dining with a view throughout the Valley.

Whether you put your foot to the pedal or the metal, don’t forget to bring a camera because the foliage in Mt. Washington Valley is arguably the most exquisite in New England. For all your fall foliage planning information, visit www.mtwashingtonvalley.org or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364) for help in planning your getaway. And be sure to check out www.VisitNH.gov for all the resources you need to explore New Hampshire this fall.

What Kind of Cyclist Are You?

Two cyclists biking on a path enjoying themselves.

Get out this May for National Bike Month! [Image: www.mauterndorf.at/en/summer/activities/cycling-mountain-biking.html]

Cycling is a great source of exercise and an exciting way to explore your surroundings. And in honor of the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Month, we want to start off at the absolute beginning and help you figure out what type of cyclist you might be. Depending on what your surroundings are like (Is it more of an urban setting or are there frosty mountaintops as far as you can see?), you’ll want to take this short list into consideration when deciding on what type of bike will make your time spent outdoors more enjoyable. It also depends on what type of riding you want to do—whether that’s race, leisurely explore, or head off-trail.

Road Biking

Three men on road bikes on a paved course.

Road bikes are great for long distance touring and races on paved roads. [Image: fashions-cloud.com/pages/r/road-biking]

If you’re surrounded by lots of paved roads and bike lanes, like those typically found in a city setting, a road bike might be your best choice. The options are pretty endless with a road bike: You can head out for a short trip through your neighborhood, go on long distance tours, or even race. For instance, the Tour de France is a road bike race, and fixed-gear bikes are particularly popular for urban, closed course criteriums and circuit races. Road bikes have light frames and thin, high-pressure tires, making them easy to ride for long distances at higher speeds. Touring, recumbent, hybrid, and fitness bikes all fall under the category of road bikes. Typically road bikes have multiple gears, but fixed-gear and single-speed road bikes exist as well.

Mountain Biking

A man mountain biking on a cliff with the sun setting in the background.

Mountain bikes are made for exciting off-road adventures. [Image: enduro-mtb.com/en/riding-with-the-don]

If you’re looking for more of an off-road, bumpy ride then a mountain bike makes the most sense for you. Mountain bikes are most notable for their thick, grooved tires, shock absorbers, and suspension systems. A thicker tire leads to a generally easier and less bumpy ride, which is ideal when you’re traversing uneven terrain. Fatbikes are especially popular for those looking to use their bikes to explore on an unstable surface, such as the sand or snow. These are fantastic bikes for a winter biking adventure, and are commonly used for sub-artic racing in Alaska or deserts tours in New Mexico.

Bicycle Motocross (BMX)

A group of BMX bikers on a closed dirt path.

BMX bikes are durable enough to withstand stunts and off-road competing. [Image: www.tntmagazine.com/london/events/bmx-badass-keelan-phillips-to-open-bmx-stunt-show-in-shoreditch]

If you’re looking for a more playful type of ride, a BMX bike is a great idea for you. They’re known for their small size, single speeds, and wide, grooved tires. BMX riders often compete in off-road and stunt races, and these are the smallest bikes used in competitive cycling. BMX bikes are incredibly durable, which makes sense within the context that they’re used.

No matter what your preferred method, hop on your bike and explore a bit for National Bike Month. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, look up what day is Bike to Work Day in your local area, and head into the office on two wheels. Don’t forget to stop at our Gear Store to pick up any last minute bike gear first!