Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Firefly LDG Bulb promises to 'change the camping experience for good'

Here's an interesting product that claims to be a better alternative than nightlights, and promises to change the way we go camping. 

The Firefly LDG Bulb for Camping

Need to light up your campsite or tent without disturbing your neighbors? Ever feel like you are living out the tent shadow scene from Austin Powers? The Firefly LDG Bulb will soon be your new best friend! Thanks to the blue laser technology in the LDG Bulb "Destination Lighting" is sure to change the camping experience for good.

The LDG bulb is a blue laser night lamp that completely revolutionizes the way you think about lighting. After successfully raising $500,000 on Kickstarter the team has launched a new Indiegogo campaign to meet growing demands.

The Firefly is excellent for lighting the inside of tents. It lights up the tent 180 degrees and takes up very little room. Treat it the same as you would any electronic device, and protect it from humidity. To protect your Firefly simply use a clingy, kitchen plastic wrap over Firefly and use it that way. This solution will not in the display or coolng when appropriately stretched. Optionally, Firefly can be transported and stored in a resealable freezer bag. This will prevent your optics from getting moisture behind them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Michigan DNR offers mother/daughter kayaking and hiking workshop August 2 in Marquette

Class size is limited; register by July 28

The Michigan Department of Natural ResourcesBecoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program is offering a mother/daughter kayaking and hiking workshop at Marquette’s Tourist Park, Saturday, Aug. 2.

The program is designed for mothers and their daughters (10-17 years old) to learn side-by-side the outdoor sports of kayaking, hiking and backpacking.

The event will run from 9:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., with each class session lasting approximately two hours. Registration fee is $20, which includes lunch and the use of all necessary equipment. Class size is limited to 10 mother/daughter groups; registration deadline is Monday, July 28.

More information about the workshop and registration materials can be found online at www.michigan.gov/bow, and registration can be paid online at www.michigan.gov/estore. The event will take place rain or shine. For further details, contact Sharon Pitz at 906-228-6561 or pitzs@michigan.gov.

BOW is a noncompetitive program in which each individual is encouraged to learn at her own pace. The emphasis is on the enjoyment, fun and camaraderie of outdoor activities, and sharing in the success of one another. To learn more about the DNR’s BOW program, visit www.michigan.gov/bow.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Wisconsin state park, forest, trail events and nature programs calendar available

MADISON - People now have an easier and more convenient way to find activities, events and nature programs at Wisconsin state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas with a new mobile-friendly events calendar on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website.

The new calendar has several user-friendly features including being able to search for events by date, property, or type of activity. The calendar shows event location information including contacts and maps and has links directly from event locations to park campsite reservation system. It also has an "add to your calendar" function that allows people to add event reminders to their personal electronic calendars.

The new calendar also includes a RSS feed so that a new Wisconsin State Parks and Forests mobile app that will be available later this summer can pull in event information directly from the DNR website.

The new calendar can be found by searching the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for keyword "Get Outdoors."

Monday, July 21, 2014

Videos: French Lick, Indiana and Minnesota by Motorcycle



Enjoy this 31-second video from Visit Indiana as they take us on a Road Trip to French Lick.



Enjoy this 31-second video from Explore Minnesota asking us to "Explore Northeast Minnesota by Motorcycle."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Western River Expeditions rafting guru shares 10 curious Grand Canyon factoids

Enjoy this guest post from Western River Expeditions.

The lure of a Grand Canyon raft vacation on the Colorado River has lots to do with the lore.

One Grand Canyon guru guided on the river for some 700 days before leaving the rapids to join Western River Expeditions as website and online marketing director.
 
But Kamron Wixom can’t leave the lore alone. Here are 10 of his favorite facts and trivia about the world’s grandest canyon: 
  1. The first known exploration of the Grand Canyon by boat was in 1869, the John Wesley Powell Expedition. He was the first to use the name “Grand Canyon”. By 1969, fewer than 100 people had his followed by boat through the remote gorge.
  2. Outside of the occasional dust storms and forest fires, the Grand Canyon is home of the some of the cleanest air in the United States.
  3. The Kaibab Tree Squirrel, a unique species that lives only on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, was separated from its South Rim cousins millennia ago.
  4. An estimated five million people view the Grand Canyon annually from the North and South rims. Only 20,000 see it by river raft or dory. (Western River Expeditions is the leading outfitter, putting some 4,000 guests through the Canyon each year.)
  5. Grand Canyon was named America’s 17th National Park in 1919, following in the footsteps of, among others, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Crater Lake, Glacier and Denali.
  6. Senator Bobby Kennedy took a highly publicized Grand Canyon rafting trip in 1972 and the popularity of rafting in the Grand Canyon suddenly skyrocketed.
  7. Grand Canyon still uses a scale of rapids from 1-10, a system that was grandfathered in before an international system scaled rapids from 1 to 6. A 10 is like a 5 on the international scale; a 6 on international scale cannot be navigated.
  8. Because they couldn't afford a boat, two swimmers in 1955 swam the entire length of the Grand Canyon, a distance of 288 miles.  (see: http://www.amazon.com/We-Swam-Grand-Canyon-Vacation/dp/0963405594)
  9. The Grand Canyon National Park has recorded more than 4,800 archeological sites and has surveyed just 5 percent of the park’s 1.2 million acres.
  10. On June 30, 1956, two planes flying from Los Angeles to Chicago, a United Airlines DC-7 and a TWA Constellation, had a mid-air collision over the Canyon and all on board perished. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was created in 1958 as a result of this accident. 
“There’s a synergy between a human being and a canyon. We get possessive of it; it’s our canyon. It’s so huge on one scale but so intimate on the other scale that it becomes our own. When people talk about their experiences in the canyon you have an instant bond with each other but at the same time you’re possessive of it. This contrast is indicative of nearly every experience you have in the Grand Canyon,” says Wixom.

After some 700 days in the Grand Canyon, what was his most satisfying moment?

“As a guide, it was the last night of the trip. I walked down the beach and saw a guest staring at the sunset with the canyon walls and river flowing through the foreground. I asked how she was doing. She turned and it took a few seconds for her to say something. Her Zen moment was happening. I was privileged to be the guide who helped her get to that moment,” he says.

Western River Expeditions has guided more guests through the famous gorge over the last 53 years than any other outfitter - and the word has gotten out.  “It’s an absolutely inspiring adventure,” says Brandon Lake, CMO of Western River Expeditions.

Annually, by the start of spring, Grand Canyon river trips for the upcoming summer season are usually sold out, notes Lake.  However this year the company has openings on a few departure dates on their signature six-day journey: July 22, 23, 24, 29, and Aug. 13, 21, 26, 27, 30, 31.

For a copy of the 2014 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669), or visit: http://www.westernriver.com/.

Western River Expeditions
Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).

Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah rafting, and Idaho rafting trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the "Best of State" award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for nine consecutive years.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Two videos from RV Education 101 on 'Installing a Ceiling AC Unit' and 'DIY Kitchen Tile Project'



How To Install a Deluxe Free Delivery AC Ceiling Assembly -RVDIYChannel.com.

In this RV "HOW-TO" video Mark Polk, with RV Education 101, demonstrates the features & benefits & installation of a Deluxe Free Delivery AC Ceiling Assembly designed for use on most Coleman Mach RV air conditioners.



RV DIY Kitchen Tile Project

In this premier RV How-To video Mark Polk with RV Education 101 demonstrates how you can upgrade your RV kitchen at an affordable price by adding some attractive peel & stick tile. 

Adding the look of tile to your RV kitchen, bathroom or wherever you like is a fun weekend project and a simple, lightweight design solution to update the look of your RV.


RV Education 101 e-book series
As I've said many times, Mark Polk is my favorite RV expert. I'm pleased he and his wife, Dawn, have allowed me to sell his RV e-book series. E-books (electronic books) are immediately downloaded to your computer after you make the purchase. The RV Education 101 e-book series includes:
  • "The Original Checklist for RVers"
  • "The RV Book"
  • "RV Campground Basics"
  • "101 Tips for RVers"
  • "RV Care and Maintenance"
  • "Insiders Guide to Buying an RV"
  • "Winterizing & Storing your RV"
  • "RV Awning Use & Care"
  • "Deep Cycle Battery Care & Maintenance"
  • "RV Buyers Survival Guide"
  • "Complete Guide To: RV Towing, Weights, Hitch Work & Backing"
  • "Pop-Up Basics 101"
  • "Dinghy Towing"

Friday, July 18, 2014

Missouri's Current River State Park to hold kayak clinics on Fridays, including today

Current River State Park in Missouri will be hosting a series of free kayak clinics during the months of July and August. Sponsored by Missouri State Parks, the clinics will be held on Fridays from 10 a.m.to noon and will be taught on the park’s lower lake. The first clinic will be held today (July 18) and the last clinic on August 15.

Kayaks will be provided, and visitors will learn about kayak safety and skills. Topics covered include kayak equipment, basic paddle strokes and maneuvers, river safety and basic rescue techniques. Clinic instructors are certified by the American Canoe Association.

Sessions will be limited to 12 participants and advanced reservations are required. Reservations can be made in person or by calling Current River State Park at 573-858-3015.

Current River State Park is located 25 miles south of Salem or 15 miles north of Eminence on Highway 19. For more information about the clinics, call the park at 573-858-3015.  

For information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Two Oakland County (Mich.) Parks Campgrounds offer Wi-Fi hot spots

The waterslide at Groveland Oaks.
Campers coming to Oakland County, Michigan in Metro Detroit can now continue to reach out to the world while enjoying the great outdoors through the new Wi-Fi hot spots at Addison Oaks and Groveland Oaks county parks campgrounds.

Wireless network will be available in Section C (restroom area) at Addison Oaks and at the concession/bath house/beach area at Groveland Oaks.

“We understand that, while it is great to be able to get away from it all, sometimes you have to keep in touch,” Oakland County Parks and Recreation Executive Officer Dan Stencil said.

The hot spots will allow laptops, smart phones and any device that uses wireless connections access to the Internet.

The new service comes just in time for the Oakland Parks Foundation’s inaugural “Pics of the Parks" photo contest. Youth and adults can now submit digital photographs right from the park based on the following themes: Historical Photos, Nature Photos, Capturing the Experience, Selfies and The Park Beneath My Feet. All photos must be taken at the Oakland County Parks. The entry fee is $15/image. Individuals are limited to three submissions. The contest runs through Sept. 13 and is also sponsored by The Oakland Press. Noted performer, visual artist and humanitarian Tony Bennett will select the grand prize winner. A list of requirements to enter the contest is posted on DestinationOakland.com

Both parks provide cabins, yurts, individual and group sites. The award-winning Campground Recreation program includes crafts, games, music, theme weekends, mobile recreation unit visits and live entertainment. Dogs are allowed on a leash.

The campgrounds offer recycling containers for paper, plastic and tin. Both have sandy beaches, laundromats and modern washrooms and showers. Addison Oaks has bike rentals, playgrounds and a 24-hole disc golf course. Groveland Oaks has a waterslide into the lake, boat/pedal boat rentals, an 18-hole miniature golf course and a skate park.

Call 248-858-1400 to reserve individual campsites.

For more information, visit DestinationOakland.com, Facebook and Twitter @DestinationOak.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Michigan DNR adds 'featured species' approach to habitat management

The Karner blue butterfly, a Michigan threatened species, is a
featured species in the Department of Natural Resources’
management of prairie habitat. (DNR photos)
From pine barrens to oak savannah, prairie fens to young aspen, state-managed land in Michigan offers a vast array of ecosystem and habitat types, which all call for differing approaches to habitat and wildlife management.

To best manage these various habitats, the Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Division has adopted guidelines that put the focus on "featured species" found in each ecosystem or habitat type - a management style that improves the department's ability to effectively measure outcomes and better engage the public in discussing and developing plans and goals.

To make featured-species management a reality, over the last five years the Wildlife Division has been compiling a list of featured species to guide its management practices. With 42 statewide species and a handful of regionally featured species, the list is designed to help guide DNR habitat work and provide a framework for measuring the impacts of that work.

“We used to talk about ecosystem management. The problem is that the term is so overused that it has no clear meaning,” explained DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason. “More important, it isn't measurable. Ask 10 people what ecosystem management means and you’ll get 10 answers.”

The featured-species approach is not a return to long-ago, single-species management, Mason said. Instead, featured species are representative of groups of species with similar habitat requirements. Besides providing a way to measure the effectiveness of habitat management, the featured-species concept is easier to explain. Stakeholders and partners get a better idea what management is about.

“If we clear-cut a stand in the Upper Peninsula, we can easily explain the 'why' – benefits to deer, ruffed grouse, woodcock and golden-winged warblers, for example,” Mason said.

“Ecosystems are poorly understood because they are enormously complicated,” he added. “Instead, we manipulate specific features for measurable habitat and wildlife outcomes. What's different today is that we're being explicit about it."

The American woodcock is one of the Michigan DNR’s
featured species for early successional forests.
DNR wildlife biologist Kerry Fitzpatrick designed the process for identifying featured species and writing habitat guidelines for them. 

“When I came to the department I was hired to work on habitat management,” Fitzpatrick said. “There was a focus on natural communities and ecosystems, but it was hard to easily describe what we were managing for.”

Need an example? Fitzpatrick said restoring an oak barren is a good one.

“The thought was, we restore a habitat and everything else will take care of itself,” he said. “Well, how are we going to measure it? As a wildlife division, shouldn’t we be measuring our success by wildlife’s response to management activities?

"Most of our stakeholders are not familiar with terms like oak barrens or pine savannahs. They don't usually think or talk in ecological terms. But, when we start talking about the animals that depend on barrens and savannahs, they understand. We need to be able to communicate our plans clearly."

The Wildlife Division started by asking questions internally, compiling a list, taking it to stakeholders in meetings across the state for feedback, and then revising and presenting again to stakeholders – to make sure the division got it right, Mason said.

Black bear is among the species that
the Michigan DNR will use to gauge
habitat-improvement projects statewide.
It seems the Wildlife Division is in good company with this featured-species approach.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is following suit, developing lists of what they’re calling ‘surrogate species,’” Mason said. “They’re adopting the featured-species concept as well. It’s an effective and clear way of being able to not only explain what we do – but also quantify what we do – on the landscape.”

As Fitzpatrick explains it, when habitat work concentrated on an ecosystem approach, the only way the division could quantify what it accomplished was by acreage. But what if those acres weren’t of high quality for the creatures that use it? By seeing a response in a featured species, wildlife managers can tell whether the work is having its intended effect.

Fitzpatrick said the idea of manipulating habitat to produce feature species prompted the Wildlife Division to ask four questions:
  • Where are we?
  • Where are we going?
  • How are we going to get there?
  • Did we get there?

"By looking at featured species, we can answer those four questions," he said. 

Not all Wildlife Division staffers were on board when the process began. Mark Sargent, then the private lands specialist, said he had grave concerns at first, but as he thought more about it, he became convinced that this route was the way to go.

Volunteers helped the DNR restore a large grassland near Lake
Hudson as part of the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative.
"When I went to college, they stopped holding waterfowl management class and started having wetlands management class," Sargent said. “But we manage habitats for critters and we can’t really know what we’ve done until we put a critter in there and we can evaluate it. Should we spend money restoring a habitat if it doesn’t benefit the critters and the people who like them or want them? Restorations are more valuable if we restore a system that also benefits wildlife.

“It doesn’t mean we’re not managing for a whole suite of species at the same time,” he continued. “When we do grassland management for pheasants, we can do that in a way that also benefits meadowlarks and bobolinks.”

Simply developing the featured-species list was challenging, Sargent said.

“In order to make the list, a species had to have two characteristics – it had to be valuable and it had to have habitat needs that we could address,” he explained. 

“Like woodcock – we know what they need and we know what we can do,” Sargent said. “But other species – like loons, for instance – didn’t make the list. That doesn’t mean they don’t have value. Loons have value.

“There are featured species for most habitat types – species that represent fens, or prairie or old growth,” Sargent continued. “If you’re looking at a particular habitat, you have several featured species associated with it. Generally, there are three or four species that you can manage for at a specific game area or habitat type or vegetative system. We can identify our management activities when we frame them with a species because that’s the output product.”

Trends in ring-necked pheasant populations will help the
DNR determine if its grassland-habitat projects are successful.
Fitzpatrick uses grasslands to illustrate this point. A vast expanse of manicured short grass may be good for a species such as robins, but does nothing for species that need tall grass – like pheasants. And even a vast tract of tall grass isn’t optimal for pheasants if it doesn’t have a winter-cover component, too.

“We have to look at the primary limiting habitat problem – wintering areas for pheasants or deer yards for northern Michigan whitetails – then identify treatments,” he said.

Al Stewart, the DNR’s upland game bird specialist, said the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative is a prime example of managing for a featured species.

“We’re looking at it at a broader landscape level,” he said. “We’re looking at the life requirements of a particular animal within that unit. It helps us be more focused on what we want to accomplish and why.”

The 42 species on the statewide list include game animals, furbearers, nongame animals, threatened and endangered species – even insects. The list includes everything from black bear to massasauga rattlesnakes to Karner blue butterflies.

For more information on the DNR’s featured species and how the department manages habitat, visit www.michigan.gov/wildlife.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Wildflower Hike at Missouri's Prairie State Park July 19

Missouri DNR photo
The prairie is ablaze with color at Prairie State Park. Sponsored by Missouri State Parks, guests can join a park naturalist on Saturday, July 19 at 10 a.m. at the Nature Center for a walk among green grasses and colorful flowers to learn more about the amazing prairie ecosystem.

It is suggested that visitors dress for the weather and hiking across the prairie. Long pants and sturdy shoes are recommended as well as insect repellant. The hike will last about two hours covering 1.5-2 miles.

Prairie State Park is located at 128 NW 150th Lane, Mindenmines. For more information about the event, contact Prairie State Park at 417-843-6711. For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Prairie State Park offers a small number of basic campsites and a backpack camp. These basic campsites will accommodate groups of up to 20 people. Current nightly camping fees can be found through Camping Fees on the right or by clicking here.

Potable water is available on the south side of the shop building before you enter the camping area. A vault toilet is the only amenity that serves the campground and backpack camp. Campfires are prohibited at the backpack camp. Please contact park staff at 417-843-6711 for more information.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rollin' On TV Show takes a look at proper hitch setups, fish tacos and navigation without electronics



Enjoy the latest episode of "Rollin' on TV."

In this episode:
  • What's involved to properly set up your vehicle for towing. 
  • Evanne Schmarder from the RV Cooking Channel shows us a great fish taco meal.
  • And a look at how to find your way without a smart phone, iPad or GPS.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Three videos from RV Education 101 on Deep Cycle RV Batteries, Tire Inflation, and Drinking Water



RV Education 101 e-book series
As I've said many times, Mark Polk is my favorite RV expert. I'm pleased he and his wife, Dawn, have allowed me to sell his RV e-book series. E-books (electronic books) are immediately downloaded to your computer after you make the purchase. The RV Education 101 e-book series includes:
  • "The Original Checklist for RVers"
  • "The RV Book"
  • "RV Campground Basics"
  • "101 Tips for RVers"
  • "RV Care and Maintenance"
  • "Insiders Guide to Buying an RV"
  • "Winterizing & Storing your RV"
  • "RV Awning Use & Care"
  • "Deep Cycle Battery Care & Maintenance"
  • "RV Buyers Survival Guide"
  • "Complete Guide To: RV Towing, Weights, Hitch Work & Backing"
  • "Pop-Up Basics 101"
  • "Dinghy Towing"

Friday, July 11, 2014

South Higgins Lake State Park reopens today with new boat launch, boat wash and roadways

DNR photos
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Higgins Lake Foundation (HLF) has announced that South Higgins Lake State Park will host its official grand reopening today (Friday, July 11). A public celebration will be held in honor of the park’s new boat launch, boat wash and roadways, which park visitors began using in mid-June.

The day begins with check-in at 10 a.m. and an optional site tour at 10:15 a.m. A ribbon-cutting ceremony follows at 11 a.m.

“We are pleased to complete these needed improvements to this heavily used boating access site," said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. "Higgins Lake is an iconic place that makes for Pure Michigan outdoor recreation experiences.”

Funding for this project was provided by the Waterways Fund from boating registration fees and a portion of the fuel taxes. In addition, the new boat wash was funded by more than $70,000 in donations from the Higgins Lake Foundation and the EnTrust fund.

“The foundation is committed to preventing the spread of invasive species,” said HLF Chair Vicki Springstead. "We're pleased to sponsor this landmark structure which will help protect the natural resources in one of Michigan’s most popular state parks.”

Boaters are encouraged to use this boat wash to clean, drain and dry their boats before and after launching. The boat wash will be free and available to the public on a seasonal basis.

Dale Shagena, supervisor at South Higgins Lake State Park, said some finishing touches (including final grass seeding and stairway handrails) are still in progress but will be completed soon.

South Higgins Lake State Park is located at 106 State Park Drive, in Roscommon, Michigan. The park contains almost 1 mile of shoreline along the clear waters of Higgins Lake. For camping reservations, visit www.midnrreservations.com or call 1-800-44-PARKS (1-800-447-2757).

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bicycle Adventures’ Todd Starnes Puts Lifetime of Experience behind Tips For First Timers Considering Bicycle Vacation

A former bike racer and coach with an MBA and Sports Science degree, Todd Starnes knows something about cycle touring. In 2009, following a career in sports science and marketing which took him touring throughout the U.S., South and Central America and Europe, he and a partner acquired Bicycle Adventures and today he serves as company president and visionary.

Now considered by those in-the-know as the leader in North America bike tours, Bicycle Adventures http://bicycleadventures.com/) is attracting more and more first timers on their tours.  Starnes and his staff have developed a number of useful tips and strategies they like to share with anyone considering their first vacation on a bicycle seat.

If this is the first time testing the waters of a bicycle vacation, Starnes suggests choosing a fully supported tour.

“Instead of camping and carrying related gear, a supported tour allows you to focus on enjoying the ride, landscape, lodges and, of course, well-earned food,” he says. “You save yourself a ton of pre-trip legwork and a fair amount of suffering this way.”

Starnes, who has been leading bicycle tours for over 10 years, says the first thing in advance of a first bicycle vacation is shopping.

“Nothing says commitment as much as putting your money on the line. But it’s not just the money – it’s money with a purpose.  Padded shorts? I know what you are thinking -- those tight-fitting spandex/lycra shorts with ‘monkey-butt’ padding.  This may be what the guy in the office recommends, but don’t listen to him.  There are several better options that look like regular shorts, so you won’t be embarrassed to be seen in them. Ditto with the cycling top; there’s no need to buy a cycling jersey that has your favorite beer, sponsor or the logo for something you don’t understand. Just spend a few bucks to get a quality product that is comfortable both on the bike -- and off.”

Next, says Starnes, ride a bike.

“This doesn’t mean start training; just ride with purpose to help get in better physical condition for your tour. Think back to those days as a kid with wind in your hair (but please wear a helmet). Think about the freedom, the separation and distance. There was always a reward at the end of my rides.  As a kid it was riding with friends to the A&W for a root beer, or riding to a friend’s house to play, or riding to practice.

But I was never riding to train.  Ride for the enjoyment; minimize pressure on yourself. The distance and pace aren’t really important. Your guides will help you through the trip and get you just the right number of miles and difficulty for your level,” he says.
 
His last tip: ask for help.

“This is the most important and maybe the most difficult. Find a friend, mentor or spouse who will go along for the ride. Preferably it is someone who embraces the joys of riding a bike. They’re not going to try to impress you with their abilities on that first little incline or race you to the destination. They’ll actually ride by your side, chatting and stopping to smell the roses.  If you can’t find someone to ride with, call us and we will guide you every step of the way so that when you arrive for your first bike tour you’ll be confident, excited and ready to get the most out of the experience.”

Starnes notes that most large cities have bike clubs with novice classes and groups. But again, his advice is to ask lots of questions and just ride for the pleasure of it.

“Make sure they understand you just want to go for a bike ride and enjoy the experience,” he advises.

There are still a number of tours ideal for first time cyclists with good space remaining for the 2014 season. For more information, availability and reservations contact Bicycle Adventures by phone: 800.443.6060, email: office@bicycleadventures.com or visit online at: http://bicycleadventures.com/.

About Bicycle Adventures
Scenic byways, four and five-star accommodations and local dining and visits to National Parks are trademarks of Bicycle Adventures, founded in 1984.  Types of tours include Classic (25-50 miles a day), Classic Plus (50-60 miles a day) and Epic (70+ miles a day with the most demanding terrain). Value-driven Casual category trips offer budget-conscious lodging and meals, with the same full van support.

Pre-set and custom tours embrace the Pacific Northwest into Canada, California and the Southwest, as well as Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, New York, Hawaii and New Zealand. Excelling in its own backyard the Issaquah, WA-based company also conducts tours into Washington State’s wine country.