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1  Forums / Routes / Re: Bikepacking Western Ontario? on: March 15, 2019, 04:44:06 AM
Not as wild or remote as Ontario can be, but there are some options for primarily doubletrack routes in Superior (Minnesota) and Chequamegon (Wisconsin) national forests. I'm on my phone, but can dig up some route ideas if desired when I sit at my computer. I did 5 days between Bayfield and Hayward (and back) Wisconsin last year, and a couple overnighters in the Tofte Minnesota area the year before.

I would be interested in what you dig up in Ontario, though at a certain point, it isn't that much further for me to drive to Colorado, since I am in southern Wisconsin.
2  Forums / DIY / Make Your Own Gear (MYOG) / Re: XL DIY Framebag on: January 07, 2019, 05:18:00 AM
Zipper failure: I don't have nearly as many miles as many here, but I have never had a zipper fail. I have had the stitching of the zipper fail, some I was using too light of the on my first frame bag.

Roll top: I made my first roll top this year and used it for a week long divide-like trip. I really liked it, since my tendency is to overstuff my frame bag; it was no big deal. It also allowed me to see more inside the bag than a zipper would. Also, as I ate (I try to carry all my food in my frame bag), it snugged up nicely. That said, zippers are easier for quickly getting in and out of your frame bag. It depends on if you have a good place to carry stuff you need throughout the day.

Dividers: it depends how you pack. I found that the roll top allowed me to better stack things, so disorder was less of an issue.
3  Forums / DIY / Make Your Own Gear (MYOG) / Re: Sneaker Seatpost Bag on: January 03, 2019, 04:18:40 PM
Multi use gear; you can use your saddle holster as a camp shoe... Not sure what you will do for the second one, unless you devise a way to use that as a downtube splash guard 😁
4  Forums / Trip Planning / Need a partner / Re: South of the Great Divide on: August 26, 2018, 07:06:07 AM
What is the character if this route? Mainly doubletrack and unimproved roads, or is it heavy on singletrack? I bumbled my way through the linked page, and didn't see anything with respect to that, though my Spanish is pretty rough, since it has been a decade since I really have used it.
5  Forums / Question and Answer / Re: Bikepacking coffee? on: July 29, 2018, 03:54:58 PM
My last trip, I brought course ground coffee and a 4-cup reusable filter basket. Heat the water, throw the grounds into the water, sit for 5 minutes, then filter into my coffee cup. This does require a pot and cup, but since I was with two others, that was a non-issue. Weight penalty was less than an ounce for the filter plus whatever I carried in coffee.
6  Forums / Bikepacking / Re: Northern Wisconsin ride on: July 21, 2018, 01:45:09 PM
The last week of June, my dad and I did a loop/out-and-back in northern Wisconsin. We were joined for the return leg by my brother, who lives in Minneapolis. The route roughly follows a route created by dual sport riders and modified for a bikepacking race that ran for a couple years (maybe 2011 and 2012?), a route created by the Wisconsin Bike Federation (, and a couple additions of singletrack and several accidental detours due to navigation issues. A link to the route (with a few “jumps” due to patching together several routes) is at Overall, the route is roughly 10% paved, 15% singletrack, and 75% forest service roads that ranged from gravel to lose sand that required pushing (the latter mainly near the northern end of the route).

Monday, June 25 2018
Mount Ashwaby Ski Hill Trailhead (Bayfield) to Twin Lakes/Birch Grove NFS Campground (Washburn)
Overall mileage: 19.9
Daily mileage: 16.9 FS/paved + 3.0 Singletrack
Leave camp/trailhead: 2:30p
Arrive at camp/trailhead: 5:30p
Wildlife Observed:  Whip-poor-wills loud overnight at camp; one set up about 50’ away and woke both dad and me. Fewer common nighthawks as well. Lots of bear tracks on the road. Heard and saw loons at the campsite. Multiple flickers, and what was likely a 3-toed woodpecker.
Resupply Anxiety Level (1-10): 1-we just started, so plenty of food
Weather Anxiety Level (1-10): 1-it was not threatening, and while cool, the rain forecasted earlier was not materializing
Bike Condition: no concerns noted
Rider Condition: good
Trail Difficulty/Condition: Trail was good, not too hard even with loaded bikes. Roads had sand that required significant pushing.
Other Riders Spotted: None. Only saw 1 pickup truck on the road, and 1 bulldozer logging
Notable Events: It took a long time to load up the bikes, but we had a good place to do so at Roam, near Seely. I forgot my downtube water bottle cage, so I had to purchase one in Bayfield. I also had flipped the compression spacer on my crank, so there was play; we flipped around to Bayfield for that as well (Bayfield Bike Route aka Howl Adventure Center).

Starting on singletrack

Singletrack quickly gave way to sandy roads

The view from the campsite was quintessential northwoods lake.

Tuesday, June 26 2018
Twin Lakes/Birch Grove NFS Campground (Washburn) to Lakes Owen and Bass/Two Lakes NFS Campground (Drummond)
Overall mileage: 67.4
Daily mileage: 47.5
Leave camp/trailhead: 9:00a
Arrive at camp/trailhead: 5:30p
Wildlife Observed:  Eagle was sitting in a tree near the path at the water’s edge, wolf and bear prints in the sand. Mosquitos were bad morning, evening, and through the day.
Resupply Anxiety Level (1-10): 1-plenty of food
Weather Anxiety Level (1-10): 3-it sprinkled a bit in the evening, so I was concerned about keeping everything dry. Nothing major materialized
Bike Condition: Andrew’s front derailleur clamp came loose. Luckily, the shims did not drop out before he noticed. Shifting deteriorated through this and the previous day, due to all the dusty sand.
Rider Condition: Overall good. I started to get right inner knee tendonitis and dad Achilles tendonitis.
Trail Difficulty/Condition: Roads had sand but it was much more intermittent than the previous day; we spent significant time riding single file and punching through the sand. Major storms (5-15 inches over ~10 hours) had come through a week prior, and so we hit 3 roads that were marked closed. One had a 4’ deep washout running ~100’ on the one side of the road, and another had a 30’ wide wash across the road that was 5’ deep. The Wilderness Lake Trail between Delta and Drummond was not actually a singletrack trail, and at one point, had a giant puddle in it that we had to roll/carry our bikes through/around.
Other Riders Spotted: None. Saw a handful of cars, including one town road maintenance worker who stopped to complain about Harley Davidson moving manufacturing offshore.
Notable Events: The roads and trail were the most notable items. Also, we ate lunch at the Delta Diner, which was delicious. I had a PBLT (perch BLT with chipotle mayo) with fries, and dad had a black bean and wild rice burger, hashbrowns, eggs, also with chipotle mayo. Both were very good.

Started with a lovely sunrise over a misty lake

The roads necessitated pushing at times

Wednesday, June 27 2018
Lakes Owen and Bass/Two Lakes NFS Campground (Drummond) to Roam Basecamp (Seeley)
Overall mileage: 104.7
Daily mileage: 37.3 total, 5.9 which was on singletrack
Leave camp/trailhead: 8:30a
Arrive at camp/trailhead: 2:45p
Wildlife Observed:  Lots of woodpeckers (flicker, 3-toed, heard a pileated) in camp
Resupply Anxiety Level (1-10): 1-plenty of food for meals, though I did need to get 1 bar from dad
Weather Anxiety Level (1-10): 3-we kept hearing the sound of thunder while at our campsite in the evening, but it must have actually been trucks passing a certain point in the road, since radar and the sky suggested everything was clear.
Bike Condition: Andrew’s front derailleur shifting was off, but we mainly dealt with that by adjusting the limiters
Rider Condition: Overall good. Dad’s tendonitis went away by lowering his seat near the end of the day (Peter must have borrowed Dad’s bike and adjusted his seat height) and my tendonitis held steady or improved by raising my seat; I forgot to raise it after the singletrack on Monday (down ˝”)
Trail Difficulty/Condition: Highly variable. The CAMBA trails near Rock Lake were generally good for loaded riding. Patsy Lake trail was actually doubletrack for portions, while Namakogon Trail was more to our liking (flowy, but all singletrack). The short segment of technical trail (unnamed on the maps) required frequent pushing around rocks. Rock Lake road was beat up by ATVs with lots of loose gravel, and somehow, we got off by a road for a bit, and so we did not T into Telemark Rd. like we should have. That added another extra 2 miles or so, since we made a wrong turn as a result.
Other Riders Spotted: None.
Notable Events: It was good to get into camp early and rest, since this was our third day; we were both somewhat beat. Mosquitos were bad, so we ended up eating lunch while standing. Also, lunch (likely the apples that went with our PB tortillas) caused significant gas production. Peter joined us (in his car) about an hour after we arrived, and brought with resupply items (food, repair items, and cash, since Mom forgot to send cash with Dad and I forgot to pull more cash from the bank).

Throughout the trip, the bugs were pretty bad

Thursday, June 28 2018
Roam Basecamp (Seeley) to Perch Lake NFS Campground (Drummond)
Overall mileage: 137.7
Daily mileage: 33
Leave camp/trailhead: 9:00
Arrive at camp/trailhead: 4:45
Wildlife Observed: flushed a deer. Lots of bullfrogs in Perch Lake
Resupply Anxiety Level (1-10): 1 (plus we picked up chocolate milk; a quart is too little for 3 people)
Weather Anxiety Level (1-10): 3-there were some possible storms moving in that never materialized beyond a few drops
Bike Condition: Dad got 2 linear cuts in his front tube, either from the lose rim strip or the raised edge that contains the beads. While replacing the second tube, I bent the valve core; thankfully I had packed an extra one (or we could have extracted one from the flatted tube, but best that we had an extra). We ended up stopping at Start Line Bike Service Center, where the owner got the front wheel set up tubeless and we picked up a pair of sunglasses (dad forgot to put his back on after pausing at the North End Trailhead, and dropped them on the descent) and an extra tube.
Rider Condition: I had mild knee pain after getting back on the road, but was fine while on singletrack
Trail Difficulty/Condition: Lots of great flowy trail for the first 2/3 of the day. Chip & seal or paved the rest of the day.
Other Riders Spotted: Numerous riders out for the day on the Cable CAMBA trails. The shop owner’s wife was surprised that we were riding singletrack on loaded bikes.
Notable Events: Chocolate milk, bonus 1 mile of not-torn-up ATV trail heading out of Cable. Did I mention the great singletrack? No swimming at Perch Lake. Lots of downtime through the day due to Dad’s flats

Friday, June 29 2018
Perch Lake NFS Campground (Drummond) to Twin Lakes/Birch Grove NFS Campground (Washburn)
Overall mileage: 168.6
Daily mileage: 30.9
Leave camp/trailhead: 7:30
Arrive at camp/trailhead: 1:00
Wildlife Observed: Whip-poor-wills at Twin Lakes, some deer and bear prints.
Resupply Anxiety Level (1-10): 1
Weather Anxiety Level (1-10): 5-we got nailed with strong winds and a thunderstorm Friday night. I lost ~45 minutes sleep. I ended up placing a 6x6 tarp at the head end of our big tarp to keep out the blowing rain, and all of us pulled our sleeping bag/quilt away from the foot; I stuffed mine in my handlebar roll bag. At worst, we would have fled to the (new) pit toilets, and would have slept poorly.
Bike Condition: Dad noticed he had lost a cleat bolt; thankfully I had packed a few in the repair kit, so it was not big deal. The direct mount ring on Peter’s bike (my fatbike) started to loosen, so it creaked until we got back to the car and I was able to tighten it up. Dad’s front tire held great.
Rider Condition: I had mild knee pain throughout, but was planning to not take ibuprofen until I got bit by the dog.
Trail Difficulty/Condition: Sand was somewhat improved over the way south (we rode the same route north of Delta).
Other Riders Spotted: One road cyclist came through the lot at Delta Diner, and we ran into one of the folks with the Fat Tire Festival (traveling by pickup truck).
Notable Events: Started day with 6 mile pavement to the Delta Diner, where we overstuffed ourselves. The day started humid and cool, but started really heating up around noon. Thankfully, we arrived in camp early (planned) and were able to swim multiple times through the afternoon. We realized that something had caused the cap on the alcohol to crack, so we were unable to carry any for the following day, and some had leaked out that day. We made cold brew coffee as a result. In the evening, I got bit by one of a pair of dogs (not sure which one) while walking over to use the restroom. The owners did not respond right away when I started getting bit. They left when they learned we had called 911, though the one person did come over and offered to pay for Dad’s medical supplies.

The bug bivys I sewed worked out well

Saturday, June 30 2018
Twin Lakes/Birch Grove NFS Campground (Washburn) to Mt. Ashwaby Ski Hill Trailhead (Bayfield)
Overall mileage: 188.4
Daily mileage: 19.8
Leave camp/trailhead: 9:30
Arrive at camp/trailhead: 2:00 (then 3:45 after unloaded riding)
Wildlife Observed: Not much
Resupply Anxiety Level (1-10): 1
Weather Anxiety Level (1-10): 1
Bike Condition: The direct mount ring on Peter’s bike (my fatbike) was somewhat loose. I realized that my bottom frame bag mount bolt had rattled loose; it was in my bag (that is the only place for it to go).
Rider Condition: I had mild knee pain throughout. Dad was totally exhausted after climbing to the fire tower.
Trail Difficulty/Condition: Day started with lots of climbing (for Wisconsin) on the way to the fire tower. Sand was somewhat improved over the way south (we rode the same route north of Delta) due to overnight rain and because the deep sand was mainly on the downhills on the way north. Singletrack was fun for Peter and Andrew, but a drag for Dad since he was so exhausted; similar buff singletrack as before (a portion was the same as on the way south).
Other Riders Spotted: Talked with a few mountain bikers on the Mt. Ashwaby trails, especially while we rested and ate so that Dad would feel good enough to ride out.
Notable Events: Dad’s water bottle fell out on a decent, but he did not notice until later. We climbed up an ATV path up to the Washburn fire tower. This was on loose sand, and involved pushing nearing the entire way. This totally exhausted Dad, and Peter ended up returning to help Dad for the last 2-300 feet. The view was amazing, and it was somewhat misty in the morning, which added to the view. The fire tower has its ladder removed for the bottom 15’ and is marked no trespassing, but there was a really good view just to the west of the actual fire tower. After arriving at the car, Dad packed up his bike, and Peter and I unloaded, then went back and rode some of the trails; Hooten Hollow was a really difficult ride up, and a thrilling decent. Peter probably overcooked it, but managed not to crash. When we returned to the car, dad had a gallon of chocolate milk to share. It was very welcome as we were exhausted and very hot (~85F and humid). We ended up camping at the Washburn campground, eating at Patsys Bar and ice cream at North Coast Coffee. The following morning, we packed up quickly (40 minutes from when I got up, we were on the road), just avoiding a thunderstorm that was moving in from the south-southwest.

Feeling on top of the world after pushing up steep loose sand for a quarter mile

Yep, the roads near the fire tower were pretty sandy

Finished the trip with a few miles of singletrack


•   Singletrack near Cable
•   Interest in our ride, especially at Roam, but all along the way
•   The chocolate I packed along lifted spirits
•   Delta Diner
•   Traveling through storm-impacted areas was awe-inspiring
•   Washburn Fire Tower (once we were at the top)

Lessons/Changes to make
•   Ensure bolts are tight/Loctite as appropriate
•   Tubeless throughout
•   Better tarp skills (and pitch in a more protected area if it is going to storm)
•   Dad-lighter fork load (accomplished on the last day)
•   Maybe stake out bug bivy at head
•   Don’t overload handlebar bag; Dad had sagging that caused buzzing
•   Don’t overload seat bag; Dad and I both had sagging that caused buzzing
•   Make handlebar-mounted map solution
•   Use fender washers or the like on frame bag bolt mounts; perhaps velcro a neoprene pad over those to prevent wear on gear in the bag
•   Make sure all tubes are relatively new; this probably contributed to Dad’s tube failures.
•   Add a few extra chain links to repair kit
•   I forgot tape, and would have used it several times given the chance.
•   Dad would drink powdered milk if we brought it.
•   Perhaps substitute hot chocolate for mint tea in the evening
•   Navigation with paper maps that are stowed away is slow, and GPS (my phone) to locate us on the map is helpful. That said, navigation forced rest breaks more frequently, which was good for the muscles, but bad for the bug bites.

•   Getting into camp early to swim on the hot day
•   Selle Anatomica Saddle (though it stretched a lot for only 225 miles, it was comfortable, though I started to feel it the last day)
•   XR2 tires throughout were a good selection for this route, and the high volume was good for taking the edge off of things and handled sand; 2.6”-3” 29er is probably the best for rigid, though fat was supreme north of US 2, or maybe that was just because Peter was in the best shape of all of us.
•   Lumbar Pack instead of a backpack was a great compromise. When I tried lashing it to the bike, I felt that the handling was compromised, though it would have been workable, just more back work (my upper back started to complain, but improved after I moved it back onto my waist from the handlebars)
•   Separating sugar from electrolytes & hydration (Nuun vs gatorade) was great, as was some separation of sugar (Mike & Ikes) from fat & protein calories
•   Did I mention Chocolate?
7  Forums / Bikepacking / Northern Wisconsin ride on: July 20, 2018, 05:43:31 PM
Double-post while editing...see below
8  Forums / Bikepacking / Re: Alpine Style. on: July 20, 2018, 05:01:32 AM
"thanks for checkin' in"

Thanks for sharing, since the photos and the trip are both stunning. Though it does make my (and most people's) bikepacking adventures seen dull and tame...
9  Forums / Bikepacking / Re: Alpine Style. on: July 12, 2018, 04:55:41 AM
Dang... That last photo doesn't look like riding! Good stuff as always. Thanks for sharing!
10  Forums / Bikepacking / Re: Bikepacking in the Allegheny National Forest? on: April 05, 2018, 06:40:45 PM
A bit further afield, but you could check out the Virginia mountain bike trail. I wasn't into mountain biking when I lived in Harrisonburg, but I have hiked some of the northern portions of the route, and can attest that it is pretty country.
11  Forums / DIY / Make Your Own Gear (MYOG) / Re: DIY water bladder on: April 02, 2018, 04:38:13 AM
I think the hardest thing would be sourcing food grade materials. Otherwise, you could use pack raft supplies and construction.
12  Forums / Bikepacking / Re: Probably the craziest thing you will see bikepacking on: March 30, 2018, 04:19:15 AM
I will echo evdog; try to get some weight onto the bike. I have carried up to 45 pounds backpacking, and it didn't beat me up too badly. On the bike, I like to keep my backpack below 10 pounds, or my butt starts getting beat up within an hour or so.
13  Forums / Winter bikepacking / Re: water bottles on: March 11, 2018, 07:26:25 AM
What is the benefit of keeping a bottle upside down?

Ice forms most quickly at the air-water interface, plus (if stationary), water is denser than ice. Together, flipping the bottle minimizes the risk that you can't open and/or drink the liquid portion when ice has started to form.
14  Forums / DIY / Make Your Own Gear (MYOG) / PSA- Rochford suppy for Cordura on: February 28, 2018, 05:24:04 AM
I just ordered and received an order from Rochford Supply, and wanted to pass along my experience. They currently have Cordura 1000D seconds for $6/yd (firsts for $9) and nylon webbing for $6-10/roll (75-100 yds). The navigation is a bit wonky; I didn't see what all they had at first. They are mainly boat-focused, so the heavyweight fabrics are the best prices, and they don't really have much description on the fabrics. They accidentally sent some wrong fabric the first time, but had the replacement in the mail the same day I contacted them, and had me keep the other fabric. At any rate, thought I would pass this along since I only stumbled across them while looking for Cordura, but never had heard of them on this or other hiking or mountain biking forums. No affiliation besides a satisfied customer.
15  Forums / Routes / Re: Midwest trip recommendations on: February 12, 2018, 11:39:44 AM
Great idea, Iowagriz. Your comment reminded me that I sourced some ride ideas on the N Shore of Superior from a site that Surly and Salsa seemed to be using: Sure enough, a number of the Salsa Ride Camp routes are posted there. We certainly have some options, especially further inland (I would like to ride out to Lake Superior as part of this trip), albeit a bit more gravel-centric than I was hoping.
16  Forums / Routes / Re: Midwest trip recommendations on: February 11, 2018, 09:49:57 AM
Thanks again, all. Due to a change in my brother's employment, being close to the Twin Cities is good for logistics, so we are planning on a trip in the Chequamegon NF, which will incorporate some of the CAMBA trails. I plan on pulling in some of the info from a route featured on, the Trans-WI Race (second version) route, and will spend some time with WI Bike Federation maps and my Delorme atlas. I'm try to post up something once we have done the trip.
17  Forums / Routes / Re: Midwest trip recommendations on: February 08, 2018, 03:22:40 PM
Thanks to both of you.

I need to look over some maps; it's good to have some beta on the content of the NCT outside the Manistee.

As far as CAMBA, I will look over that option as well. We want to go somewhere, if that makes sense, so that is why the NCT was on my list; my impression is that the CAMBA trails are more of a "ride center" which I enjoy for a day ride, but less so for a multi-day ride. I may look over the Trans-Wisconsin route that ran as a race for a couple years; that may be fruitful if we do northern WI.
18  Forums / Routes / Midwest trip recommendations on: January 26, 2018, 05:30:05 AM
My brother, dad, sister's boyfriend and I are planning a roughly week-long trip. Dad is in Ohio, two of us in Wisconsin, and one will either be in DC or Minnesota. Our initial thought is the North country trail in the lower peninsula of Michigan. I would like plenty of singletrack, but probably not too technical given others' experience and the fact that our bikes are rigid. My dad and I have done day rides near luddington on the NCT, and it seems a good candidate.

Is there any other route we should be looking at? Any portion of the NCT if we stick with that? To my knowledge, the routes in the UP are mainly gravel and double track, or else that would be higher on my list Looking at moderately short days; maybe in the range of 40 miles per day based on what I have ridden of the NCT; not more than 8 hours riding per day. We can do out and back, loop, or set up a shuttle, since there will be two vehicles and four people, though loops are my ideal so long as the route is not half gravel as a result. Something drivable in less than 8 hours from everyone is bes, though there is wiggle room.
19  Forums / Bikepacking / Re: o.p.p. on: December 19, 2017, 05:40:57 PM
Thanks for sharing, Mike. It's easy for me to try to reinvent the wheel, though I can't say that I am always successful at such elegant solutions. I assume that the valve is inset inside the bars rather than sticking out the end? I'm thinking I have a new project, since I am something of a cheapskate, and already have some two part epoxy that I suspect is compatible with alcohol.
20  Forums / Bikepacking / Re: o.p.p. on: December 19, 2017, 04:06:49 PM
My handlebars not only allow me to steer the bike, they store the fuel I need to run my stove.

I remember that this was the case for one of your expedition rigs. The moots? How do you do this? Is this a retrofit to a standard handlebar (tapping both ends?), or is it a custom bar? I really would love to free up the space that a fuel bottle generally occupies (usually using denatured alcohol), especially since that bottle is pretty exposed and accumulates ice in sloppy conditions.
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