All posts in Gear Reviews

Altra Lone Peak 3.0 & Kokopelli Trail

The Altra Lone Peak 3.0 is a trail specific shoe that boast many attributes as a light hiking shoe. When I decided to go for comfort on my trail hikes I was in the market for something with a nice wide toe box and comfort that can sustain itself for hours on end. I was already running and walking in the Altra Instinct 3.5 which is a very light weight shoe with a wide toe box. If you know Altra, you know that they produce a natural foot designed shoe that gives your feet a good splay in the toe box. This is pretty much how I discovered Altra. I needed a shoe that would aid my toes to splay better over time in the shoe. This will eventually help with posture, your stride when walking, and over all comfort and healthy feet. Talk about embrace the space, they provide comfort, zero drop which in respect is a barefoot styled shoe with cushioning.

My first Altra shoe was the Instinct 3.5. I used this shoe for everything from runs to bike rides along with long day hikes. I wanted something for mountain bike trail rides, bicycle touring and hikes. It had to be something that can meld to me feet and active lifestyle, rather then having melding to it. The Altra Lone Peak 3.0 was the answer. When I first got these shoes I put them on a trail run. Now I’m not a trail runner at heart, but I was stunned at how comfortable they were. Over roots and rocks they over delivered. My next test was to take them on an upcoming trip on the Kokopelli Trail for a 5 day bikepacking trip. They did everything they needed to.

I used platform pedals for the ride which makes it easier to get on and off the bike. The ridged sole gripped the pedals effortlessly. I was surprised to see how well they gripped when we had to cross over wet rocks and other rough terrain. With 6 to 9 hour days of riding, these shoes were so comfortable that I would forget they were even on.

To Sum It Up:

If you’re looking for a shoe that’s extremely versatile, light weight, stylish and sporty, and easy to get on and off. Go for the Altra Lone Peak 3.0. They’re a many color options available for men and women to meld to your lifestyle. Check out the link below to view the shoes we have in stock.

Surly Orge Bike Check with Mickey Cheng

If there’s anyone who is down to take off for an adventure it’s this guy right here Mickey Cheng. Mickey’s one of the most versatile riders I know. He has a big background in MTB racing and can crush it on a road bike as well. Last summer we went on a 5-day bikepacking trip together in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains where he rode the Surly Pacer camping, climbing and catching picturesque views. You can read more on that story following this link here.

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Mickey recently built up a Surly Orge and swapped some of the stock parts with his preferred custom components. The Surly Orge is one of those 29er’s that will do it all from commuting, bikepacking, expedition touring, and singletrack. When I took it for a ride I couldn’t help but notice how comfortable and well it handled. It’s siting on 2.1” tires, which in turn make up for it not having suspension. The fork has a very wide clearance and fitting up to a 2.5” tire shouldn’t be a problem. The bike is well made for adventure.

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I’ve learned a thing or two from Mickey on choosing bike components. So I trust his recommendations for parts I use for my rigs. One of the parts he recommends is Paul levers, and when you first ride them you will understand why. They’re lightweight and can be adjusted easily for a 3-2-1-finger pull deal. They also spring back very nicely compared to my avid levers on my Surly Long Haul Trucker. He also talked about the Spyke Mechanical Disc Brake which have dual pistons and stop on the dime. They have a really clean design with a very easy setup compared to single sided mechanical discs.

Enough with the chatter, now, Let’s get to the bike!

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Surly Long Haul Trucker

Transformed from last years setup, the Surly Long Haul Trucker is the “Ultimate Machine.” The bike was recently out on a 5 day bikepacking trip in Virginia and over delivered as expected. Check out this video with the new components that were added to the bike.

5 Day Minimal Gear Packing List

Last year I brought the entire kitchen sink for a 75-day trip across country. This time around, I’ll be going minimal and wanted to share what I’ve packed for a 5-day bike packing trip on Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Blue Ridge Parkway meanders for 469 miles from Virginia to North Carolina. We’re planning to start East in Lynchburg, VA to Sparta, NC, and hope to cover somewhere around  200 miles. There are several grades especially when traveling from the east, so swapping my platform pedals for clipless pedals is a must. My camera gear would be the heaviest in my arsenal but I look at this as a necessity. Aside from that, this is a very light collective of gear packed for the terrain we’ll be covering.

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I’ll also be carrying Voltaic’s V72 battery that will keep my electronics charged throughout this trip.

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In terms of food, I’ll be keeping it simple and light with the exception of a couple of cans of beans and corn. Other foods will include pasta, trail mix, small loaf of bread, peanut butter, jam, apples, avocados, a couple packs of ramen and candy.

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In addition to my two 21oz water bottles these two 40oz Kleen Kanteens will house my water for the entirety of the trip.

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Nights will be spent getting cozy in my REI Radiant 650 down sleeping bag. It’s rated at 20 degrees for 3 seasons. I often find myself keeping it halfway open if not sleeping on top of it during the fall season inside my Akto

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Packlist:

Camera/Lighting
DSLR, GoPro
Headlamp
Front/Rear Lights
Batteries

Clothes
Shorts
Thermals
Puff Jacket/Rain
Jersey/ 2 shirts
Bib/Underwear/Socks
Cycling shoes/ Sandles

Tools
Compass
Pump/Tube/Patch kit/Tire levers
Allen key set
Bungie/rope
Knife

Housing
Hilieberg Akto Tent
REI Radiant Plus
Sleeping pad

Misc
Toiletries
Map
Journal

The Ultimate Machine: Surly Long Haul Trucker

I’ve received a lot of emails asking about the gear I used and how my bike held up during my summer U.S. bicycle tour. I initially wanted to do infield reviews while out on the road but only had the opportunity to squeeze in a few videos but nothing in depth. However, since my trip is completed I can nip this in the bud and give you my perspective on the bike and gear I traveled with. This gear review will be broken into two parts, one with the bike and lastly the gear which you will find in a second post. Stay tuned for that as it will be featured in the gear section and blog. Continue Reading →

Surly Long Haul Trucker Bike Check

While racking up miles and being in different locations daily. Everyone ask how my bike performs and some of the parts I currently run. So I put together a quick bike check video on my Surly Long Haul Trucker while based in Vesuvius, VA for a couple of days about a week ago. For the most part the bike is stock with a few add-ons from my other bikes in the garage. Check it out!

Gear for East to West United States trip

Just a few days away from my trip, here goes a line up of the item’s listed left to right:

Schwalbe marathon folding tire, tripod, camp stove/pot/pan, spork, bowl/ fuel, solar panel, Konovo slide cam, flannel shirt, thermal pants, jeans, bib shorts, Continue Reading →

Solar Power

During this tour I want to be able to produce video, photography and other related media while in locations that may not provide me with A/C power for my gear. In order for this to happen solar power would be my best bet. Voltaic Systems makes several systems that suit your needs. I went with a 17 watt solar panel coupled with their V72 battery that has a 72 watt hours which is enough to power my gear. Continue Reading →

Surly Long Haul Trucker

The Surly Long Haul Trucker is a touring bicycle highly regarded among touring cyclist. My decision to get the bike was based on many conclusions. I wanted a bike that’s versatile across a variety of terrains, can take a beating and customizable with my choice of components. Continue Reading →