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Bike Tourings' Chef Jeff gathering fresh ingredients from Natural Living Co-op Garden
Our friend Louie at WhatShed has thoughtfully put together a nice introduction followed by an infographic on the health benefits of gardening.  This was his way of helping us promote our efforts at Natural Living Co-op and Garden.  Thanks Louie!  Click on photo at right in blog sidebar for more information about supporting our Natural Living Food Co-op and Cafe.
Bike Tourings' with bike and trailer for deliveries, where to next?
Now we know that you may be wondering why exactly Bike Tourings’ have developed a set of green thumbs. But as well as getting out on the bike and encouraging you to do so, we are also all about that natural living and making sure you guys are taking care of yourselves. That is why we have teamed up with the people at WhatShed to share with you just how good gardening is for your mind, body, and soul. Plus the healthier you are the more years you are going to be able to spend getting out and about on your bike.

The stats when it comes to gardening do not lie. In terms of exercise, just a few hours of gardening is the same as working out in the gym! Only you have more fun, get some tasty food because of it and get a bit of mud on your face! Gardening is a great form of exercise and regularly tending to your plants, food and just pottering around the garden helps you reduce the risk of heart attacks and will in general help you live longer. The healthier you are, the more years you are going to be able to keep getting out on that bike of yours.If you find yourself stressed out from work, family life or whatever. Gardening has been proven time and time again as being a real stress reliever that can help you get your mind straight and make you happy. Being happy is the goal in life and gardening is a really productive way for you to achieve that. Gardening really is great for your mind and body.

​Plus if you have been inspired by our blog post on having a touring bike that can be used for local food delivery, you can even make a little extra money by growing your own food, selling your own food, delivering it on your bike and then having more money to spend on your bike or your next biking adventure!
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Or Simply Use a Folding Bike for Travel
Click on photo for detailed instructions and how to videos for packing your bike to take with you on for travel by plane
This guest post from David Bender, an avid cyclist who has travelled to more than ten countries with his bike. describes some methods of packing your bike to affordably take with you on a plane.  He writes a lot about bikes at his blog.  When not attending to his blog he enjoys riding around the neighborhood.     
How to Fly with a Bike the Cheap and Easy Method
If you are a fervent mountain bike rider, at some point your adventures may include international travel with your beloved bike. You may be bringing your bike along during a holiday vacation, participating in a bike tournament abroad or simply looking to experience the thrill of exploring new, foreign trails. Transporting a mountain bike is regarded as an immensely tedious and costly undertaking by several mountain bikers but it needn’t be this way. This post will pilot you through the ins and outs of bike packing and show you the most affordable, safe and hassle-free way to fly with a bike.
Preparing to fly with a bike
Your flight’s success will be determined majorly by the way your precious bike will be handled in transit. You can improve the chances of having a successful plane trip with a bike as luggage by preparing adequately. As you plan your journey, be sure to include the following:
  1. Look into the various airlines’ bike-luggage policies to identify which one best suits your needs. You may want to consider their weight and size allowance alongside luggage charges. A majority of international air transport service providers agree on general baggage allowance of below 50 pounds weight and 62 dimensions size
  2. Decide which method of bike packing aligns with your preferences and prepare it in advance. You’ll need to purchase your bike’s packaging with its corresponding provisions including duct tape, wrapping twine and bubble wrapping
  3. Acquire a set of bike tools like Allen keys and hex spanners for use during partial bike disassembly prior to air travel and re-assembly after arrival
  4. Measure and record all adjustable bike parts like handlebars and seat-post height before setting out to disassemble the bike- this will save you substantial time when tuning them to your liking after reassembly.
How to pack your bike for air travel
Today, most airlines require that all bikes be partially dismantled and packaged for cartage although they only recently allowed them to be wheeled right into plane’s luggage bays in polythene bags. Airlines relay numerous reasons for these require provisions including:
  • It’s necessary to reduce the size of the bike so that it easily fits on airports’ luggage conveyor belt systems
  • Packaging will help protect the bike from damage and theft of some parts
  • Boxing up your bike ensures it doesn’t interfere with or destroy other luggage
  • Wrapping up the bike aids in easing its transport by luggage-handling crew
There are various ways of packaging your mountain bike for a flight. While the easiest and most cost-friendly are using cardboard boxes and clear plastic bags, the more costly ones are by use of bike cases and bike travel bags. Admittedly, the latter are also safer thus more reliable than the former. However, this doesn’t mean packing your prized mtb in a clear plastic bag or cardboard box is a trumpet call to have it mishandled en route- on the contrary, your bike is actually handled more delicately when in clear wrapping or fragile cardboard boxes. Nonetheless, you’ll need to go the extra mile in using extra padding like bubble wrap if you choose to pack your two-wheeler in a soft box.
Whether yours mountain bike or the most costly cycle dragon in the market, airlines will require you to adhere to their strict luggage weight and seize restrictions otherwise they’ll be glad to charge you heavily for excess baggage. You should do the following to stay within package size boundaries:
  1. Disengage the front wheel to reduce the length of your bike then screw back the axle into the forks to shield them from warping
  2. Unfasten the stem and push the handlebars down to reduce your ride’s height. Further, turning them parallel to the frame will lessen the width of the bike
  3. Unhinge your bike’s pedals or twist them inward if they are foldable. This will also condense your bike’s width.
  4. If your bike has disc brakes, be sure to unfasten them and secure the brake pads with padding between them to prevent scraping
  5. Disconnect the rear derailleur from the frame to protect the two from damage in transit. You can also secure the derailleur with duct tape or bubble wrap for added protection
  6. Partially deflate the bicycle’s tyres as required by several airlines. This is supposed to shield your tubes from rupturing at high altitude
  7. Lowering the bike’s seat-post before packing aids in reducing its height to the required 1m or below
  8. After packaging, ensure the box, bag or polythene is carefully labeled with your name and address (home or destination) to streamline customs clearance as well as aid in convenient shipment in case it’s lost.
Post-packing tips
Once it’s handed over to the luggage-loading crew, there’s little you can do for your precious cargo but cross your fingers and hope the baggage handlers will be careful. However, you can take pre-flight precautions to safeguard your bike from avoidable damage by ensuring it’s packed with sufficient padding to absorb and transmit most of the shock of impact. Further, it’s imperative that you ascertain whether the airline’s luggage insurance covers damage, loss or theft of bikes in transit.
Final words
It’s clear from this post’s coverage that international air travel with sensitive luggage can be a tricky undertaking. Still, we are optimistic this post has presented practical tips on the easiest and most affordable way to fly with a bike without compromising its safety.
RockBros Folding Bike Carry Bag 16 inch to 20 inch Cycling Carrying Travel Case
My previous post I touted the benefits of having a folding bike for travel and there is no better example of how convenient it can be than if traveling by plane.  That post doesn't mention or describe my favorite travel bag for stashing the bike because I didn't need to use it on our road trip.  After reading the information presented above consider this from a reviewer of the Rock Bros Folding Bike Carry Bag.  
"​Great folding bike bag! Best I have ever owned. Intelligently designed to include a comfortable lightweight matching backpack which can be used when traveling to hold the folded bike bag: get off the plane get bag at carousel unpack and unfold bike and fold bag into backpack and bike away. Backpack also has velcro so it can be used as a handlebar bag".

Learn more about David and his relevant content for mountain biking enthusiasts at his site Best MTB Gear.
Or visit him at Facebook or Twitter
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The 7 Most Technically Challenging U.S Mountain Bike Trails of 2017
After reading about the technical difficulty of some of the trails described, I prefer to walk : )
Hopefully all you folks who enjoy our site and blog are finding ways to beat the heat while still getting out and riding.  It's summer vacation time for many folks, so here is a timely guest post from the team at Mountain Bike Vacations (MTBV)  Enjoy and hopefully get some inspiration for your next bike tour adventure.  
"We earn our turns mountain biking, and we earn our skill level. What looked frightening to us as a beginner, calls out to be ridden on the weekly ride, or added to the to-do list as a destination ride. However, there will always be trails that even the best riders struggle with. Trails that we never truly feel comfortable riding.Here are six of the most technical challenging rides across the country that we think are worthy of your attention." MTBV (Mountain Bike Vacations)
Folks at Porcupine Trail, Moab, UT
1. Porcupine Rim (Moab, UT)
If you haven’t heard of this one, where have you been? Porcupine Rim has been a bucket list experience for mountain bikers across the world for decades. Whether you start at the tippy-top of Burro Pass, or enter just off Sand Flats Road, you’ll be thrust into a ride that guarantees at least 3,000 feet of descent through ledgy, rocky, sandstone.

The riding is technical. You’ll want to at least have broken your legs in a little bit for the season, and logged some miles in to prepare your body for a few hours in the desert. The reward comes early though, with breakaway views of Castle Valley that give you a chance to let your hands rest from charging through rocks.
Technical terrain of Farlow Gap
2. Farlow Gap (Pisgah Forest, NC)
Farlow Gap has been gaining notoriety as one of the most difficult trails around Pisgah, if not the most. There are spider webs of roots, and the steep boulders will have you going over your bars quicker than a pelican dive-bombing for fish.

The trail is tight and off camber in some sections and to make it even tougher there are a few tricky climbs right in the middle of the descent. It’s scenic as hell though, and it opens up in a few segments so that you can hold some much-earned speed.
Carrying your bike is common at Psycho Rocks
3. Psycho Rocks (Crested Butte, CO)
When you see Psycho Rocks from the chairlift at Crested Butte Mountain resort, you’ll either want to ride it as soon as you get off, or re-visit the idea in a year or two. From above, it looks like the trail builders threw down some wooden planks across a giant pile of talus to play connect-the-dots, but it works. The beginning has long, swoopy wooden features that lead you into the massive rock garden. Psycho Rocks is spooky, and confidence inspiring at the same time.

For more information on Crested Butte, check out our guide to mountain biking in Crested Butte.
4. Dakota Ridge (Morrison, CO)
Dakota Ridge sits on the edge of Metro-Denver and between Golden and Morrison. It’s a short climb up before it flattens out and then drops you into one of the most technical sections on the Front Range of Colorado. The off-camber slabs of lime and sandstone are what make Dakota Ridge tough, especially in the flatter sections where a lack of momentum makes it harder to get your bike through.
Once you’re through the slower moving first half of the trail though, get ready for a lot of flow mixed in with steep slabs of chunk that will have you flying over rock gardens with your bike underneath you. It’s only a two-mile road ride back to the top if you want to do it again.
Extrem portions of Bootleg Canyon Trail, wear a helmet.
5. Bootleg Canyon (Boulder City, NV)
Las Vegas is one of the last locations most people associate with mountain biking, and that’s fair. You might get a warm welcome when you plop down in front of a slot machine, but Bootleg Canyon is a different story.

The trails are hot and technical, the rocks are sharp and abrasive, and in some places, it’s just scary. That being said, the trail system here has quite a bit to offer and it’s not every day that you get to ride that same trails that Aaron Gwin races on. Riding Bootleg Canyon is kind of like living in New York. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.
Narrow Gauge trail of The White Line at Sedona
6. The White Line (Sedona, AZ)
Okay, we’re getting kind of crazy here, but hear us out. It’s you, all alone, out on the white line trail in Sedona, and a dozen people toward the bottom cheering you, watching you, and hoping that you don’t die. It’s a novelty trail and it’s probably cooler telling people that you’ve done it, than actually doing it, but sometimes that’s the point of technical riding.
It may not be overly technical in that there aren’t any rock gardens, but the exposure is as high as it gets. If you do ride it, get a video, because that’s the only way your friends will believe you.

In the process of planning your trip? Come explore our Sedona mountain biking guide to help you get started. You can take our word for these trails, or you can go find out for yourself. We recommend the latter - just make sure to log some miles before jumping into any of these trails. Keep those skills sharp and follow us on Facebook or Instagram for more insight on trails we love.

Mountain Bike Vacations was developed by a team of mountain bike enthusiasts to share their insights on how others can make the most of their mountain bike adventures. For more, you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
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New Bike Touring Fund Raiser for our StoreReturning after a six month hiatus
It has been six months since my previous blog post so where have I been?  Our little store was in trouble and I had to go help after the business owner who shared the lease with us decided to suddenly quit without notice.  
Working at Granny B's Herb Shed in New Mexico
The case of the missing juice bar.  Being a small business owner, entrepreneur or any type of self employed venture can at times feel like a test of endurance.  It's important to take some time off, retreat, recharge and refresh.  So, late last summer while making an effort to do just that I planned a nice little getaway to New Mexico, visit family and do some bike packing or mountain bike touring.  Instead I took care of some much needed maintenance around Granny B's mini pecan grove, herb garden and while doing so discovered a major gas leak to the house.  

Then I received a phone call that the owner of the Juice Bar back home in League City, Texas decided she was done with her business and was shutting it down.  Unfortunately our store depended on the Juice Bar paying half of the lease for the newly acquired commercial space.  So, did it feel like I went on a nice vacation to refresh and recharge?  Absolutely not!  As soon as I could I was forced to pack up all my bike touring gear and return home to help find a solution to keeping our six year strong organic food co-op business going.  There's a reason our little store has been so successful for the past several years and that reason's name is Lisa Piper.
Store owner Lisa Piper sitting outside of what is now the Natural Living Cp-op and Cafe
Took down a dead tree threatening to fall on power lines
Before coming up with solutions for funding a rather large buy out of the former juice bar I had to process some much needed frustration.  Luckily there was a dead tree threatening to fall on my workshop and power lines that the city wouldn't have taken care of unless it fell onto the power lines.  There's no metaphorically speaking mumbo jumbo I was just glad I could vent a bit and do something productive at the same time.  : )

It was difficult to not be angry with former juice bar owner's sudden decision after attending a week long spiritual retreat where it seems that she "drank the kool aid" and the lack of consideration of her effect on her business lease partner and family.  So, yeah I was pissed off and after the saw dust settled Lisa told me about her solution to help cover the lease by renting out the commercial kitchen to our local vendor product suppliers.  But we still had to figure out a way to make use of the rest of the old juice bar space.  
Old juice bar tables used for wood crates
So, this is how I helped to handle the situation in an effort to benefit our little store's efforts in our community.  Firstly, I took the old juice bar table tops which had sayings stenciled on them like "Go Ahead and Tease Me". "Feed My Soul" and "Let go and let Smoothies" and cut them into useable sizes for much needed wood crates that would help our staff with maintaining our weekend farm and garden sales table. 

Photo at left shows the stackable creates in the bike trailer (which I got a lot of use from for these tasks) and can be used to fit inside of coolers to store and keep produce fresh overnight.   By the way, if you're looking for some cordless power tools for around the house or even somewhat industrial use I have a huge fond appreciation for any of the Milwaukee M12 line of tools, especially the recently acquired hammer drill after burning out the chuck and motor of my old drill. 
Rustic pallet wood table top ready for use
After cutting up the old tables for crate use what would we do for tables then?

I replaced all three poorly made tables from particle wood and cheap trim with some elegantly funky upcycled pallet wood.  

After I got them all installed for use in the newly acquired cafe space we received a lot of complements from folks who probably got tired of reading those previously described silly messages on the old tables.

While putting this post together first thing this morning I received a call from the store that another one of our staff has had to give her two weeks notice as she simply needs a better wage.  It's just a reminder of how the inconvenience of the former juice bar owner's behavior and the forced buy out effected our funds in such a way that we are unable to offer better pay to our much valued staff.  So, with that I can make first mention of our fundraising bike tour with a link to our GoFundMe page.  

It's important to mention that given the angst created on behalf of other folks' decisions and actions the former juice bar owner continues to be a loyal customer and supporter of our business.  It wasn't about us or our business why that person made the choices she did.  And all the while Lisa received many complements over the past several months in regards to how well she has been handling it all.  I will be conducting a nice long bike tour visiting organic farms, gardens and co-ops in an effort to raise funds for our store's co-op garden and cafe.  I have just recently put together a GoFundMe Campaign for our store's continued efforts to serve the community.  For more information about all that the Natural Living Country Store and Cafe does here use any of the underlined links in this post or use new widget below. 

Looking forward to honing my bike and blog skills as a means of providing a meaningful and significant contribution to our Store's funding effort.  So far I have been realizing how much work it is to put such a campaign together and the logistics of bike touring while working.  Very different than simply putting together a bike touring vacation where it's much more of a recreational activity than an electronic gadget filled effort of blogging and posting to social media.  Anyhow, look forward to more posts regarding bicycle touring route and establishments along the way.  I have no doubt despite all the hard work and effort I will still be able to enjoy myself.  : )
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Travel Ideas for Bike Friendly Las Vegas
Backpacking and MTB tours abound just outside of Las Vegas
Hundreds of vendors at Interbike
When bike folks think of Las Vegas and bikes their first thought is of the largest annual meeting of bicycle industry leaders known as Interbike.  “The annual Interbike International Bicycle Exposition is where the bicycle industry gathers to celebrate, educate and conduct the business of cycling.  Bicycle retailers, media, importers and distributors can discover the latest in bicycle technology, including bicycle demos at the largest 2-day demo event for the trade – OutDoor Demo”.

​Yeah, pretty awesome whether you’re a customer or a vendor it’s considered the most exciting event the bike industry has to offer.  However, Interbike is held only a few days out of the year so is there any good reason for a bike travel enthusiast to want to visit what has been dubbed “Sin City”? This article highlights just a few reasons that hopping on a bike and touring around Vegas could be one of the most fun and rewarding travel ideas many bike folks wouldn’t consider.
Twenty five miles of paved bike path at Las Vegas
Las Vegas is Bike Friendly?  Bicycle repair author, frame builder and regular Interbike attendee Lennard Zinn has been riding the twenty seven miles from Las Vegas to Boulder Canyon's outdoor bike demo for the past ten years and says "every year it gets better".  Why?  Because nowadays there's a twenty five mile paved bike path from Vegas to the River Mountain Loop Trail where the Interbike Outdoor Demo takes place.  "What's not to like about a shaded, tree-lined trail along a railroad in a sunbaked city? Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com" 
Mountain Biking at Bootleg Canyon, near Las Vegas
Of course, if you're looking to get off the pavement and onto some dirt the coordinators of Interbike have selected some of the best mountain bike trails in the country for their annual display of bike industry leaders wanting to show off their latest and greatest rides.  

Want to simply grab your bike and leave for Las Vegas without making a whole lot of travel and activity plans?  Guided mountain bike tours are available like that pictured at left of McGhie's Las Vegas Mountain Bike Guided Tour.

There are also many hotels and bike shops that rent bicycles for you to conveniently get some exercise while visiting Las Vegas.  Visit Vegas.com to search those types of specal offers and deals.
Pedego Henderson E Bike rentals and bicycle tours
I know that some folks, bike enthusiast or not just want to see Vegas from a unique perspective that can add to their vacation enjoyment.  From a photographer's point of view I wanted to know just how bike friendly Las Vegas is.  Well here's a nice tid bit of information Las Vegas increased its bike network by more than 23 percent to 444 miles of bike lanes and 102 miles of paved off-road trails and installed bike parking racks throughout downtown.  The League of American Bicyclists awarded both Las Vegas and Henderson with their bronze award in recognition of the closely knit communities efforts to encourage bike enthusiasts to visit the tourist based area.  

That's what I like to hear when considering a bicycle touring or bike travel destination, particularly when planning logistics for photography opportunities.  I have found getting around town by bike is the most versatile and efficient methods of transportation regardless of what town it is and more often than not offers picture opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise considered or seen if I was in a motor vehicle.  Businesses like that of Pedego Henderson understand this and offers electric bike rentals and tours of Henderson, Las Vegas, Lake Mead and Boulder City.  

Whether you're interested in epic mountain bike rides, long, scenic road touring or just want to get out on the bike while playing in Las Vegas there is a bike and terrain for your every whim.  Visit Vegas.com for more information when planning your next bike touring adventure whatever that means to you.

escape adventures' variety of bike tours in las vegas
Escape Adventures offers a variety of mountain bike tours, road tours and many other options for bike touring enthusiasts of most all skill levels providing many ways to see the sights of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas.  Click on photo for more information and if you plan on going to Vegas to party and exercise you might consider stopping up on some healthy performance supplements like that from redace organics where our visitors can now get an additional fifteen percent off their purchase.  
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