Review of Black Diamond Distance 15 and Osprey Daylite Packs (for run commuting)

The Black Diamond Distance 8 and 15 packs recently came out. My first impression of the Distance 15 is that it could be a strong contender to de-throne the Osprey Daylite as a favorite run commuting pack. My first impression of the 8L was that it was obviously too small to hold a laptop and other stuff I need. I’m sending it back unopened.

About the Black Diamond Distance 8, I’ll briefly say this: It costs about the same as the Distance 15, it weighs about the same as the Distance 15, but it carries only about half as much. The Distance 15 comfortably handles with small or mostly empty loads. The Distance 8 is more of a single-use product while the Distance 15 while find users around town as well as on the trails.

Family-friendly, make-ahead recipes for family bike camping

When I’m packing two kids and myself on a cargo bike for our Mother’s Day Off bike camping trips, I often target the stove and tableware as equipment I can leave at home for a single overnight trip. The equipment can still fit with us on the Yuba Mundo, but simple is nice.

Here are some make-ahead, family-friendly recipes to save time and gear for camping trips.

These recipes and lots more tips and stories for family bike camping will be in my upcoming book Let’s Go Family Bike Camping. You can sign up to be notified when it’s released on the site.

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Cargo Bikes vs Bike Trailers

When we were planning our recent family bike tour, one of our big decisions was whether to use a bike trailer to carry one or two children in or to just use a cargo bike at home.

After seriously considering a bike trailer, we ultimately to just use a cargo bike instead. Here are some we considered in our decision.

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Building and Maintaining Back Health

I would not have been able to enjoy my recent bike camping trip if I hadn’t improved my back health. When my back health was worse, sleeping on a mat in tent each night made it worse. Multiple days of tent camping would only compound the problem.

Here’s my story of how I got bad sciatica then recovered and made some changes to keep my back healthy in the future.

 

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Counting Cows: Our Favorite Family Bike Touring Game

To pass the time while we were riding my wife taught the rest of us a car game she learned growing up in Vermont. The game involves counting animals you see along the road. The game itself is now near extinction as a car game with the amount of driving that now happens on interstates and in cities.

She knew the game as “Bury your Pooches” or just “Pooches”.

In her childhood version,

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Announcing “Let’s Go Family Bike Camping” Book

Saving turtles. Swimming in lakes. Sleeping in a tent. Seeing the countryside from the seat of your bike. Family bike camping trips can be positive and lasting experiences. “Let’s Go Family Bike Camping” is a book to help families get started. Half the book is full of stories and photos from my own initial trips with one toddler and later two kids aged 5 and 8. I share our failures and fears as well as our successes and joys. The second half of the book is full of tips with ideas for your trips. It includes tips on planning, gear, entertaining the children and more.

See the full list of planned chapters below. Not yet written chapters are marked as TODO. Feedback on tips to include or that you’d like me to cover are welcome. At the bottom of the page is a form to subscribe to email updates about the book— the list will only be used for that purpose.

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How my Marmot Precip and Membrain waterproof breathable jackets failed

I’ve been a loyal customer of Marmot’s waterpoof, breathable rain jackets for several years. I’m on my third (or fourth?) Marmot rain jacket currently and my wife and daughter have them as well. Everything wears out eventually. Here’s what happened to our most recent ones.

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Review of Extreme Bar Mitts versus original Bar Mitts

New for this winter bike commuting season are Extreme Bar Mitts. Like the original Bar Mitts the Extreme Bar Mitts are like mittens for your handlebars that stay on the bike. You operate the controls inside of them, possibly with additional gloves or mittens on.

dropping child off at day care by bakfiets, 35F and raining

I have long, thin fingers and tried many pairs of gloves and mittens looking for something that would keep my fingers warm for cycling. When I finally found Bar Mitts they made a huge difference for me, allowing me to ride at colder temperatures or with greater comfort than anything before. In typical winter conditions I could use lighter gloves– and sometimes no gloves– inside the Bar Mitts, allowing me to more easily and safely operate the shifters and brakes. I’ve been using the original Bar Mitts about four years.

Recently Bar Mitts sent me their new Extreme Bar Mitts model to try and it has finally been cold enough to put them to the test. I was concerned that Extreme Bar Mitts would be too warm, since I already found the regular Bar Mitts sufficient for me down to about 0F when paired with fleece-lined wool mittens.

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