Know Your Cycling Etiquette

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert cyclist, here are a few basic rules of the road:

Be Predictable

Nobody feels safe around the car that’s swerving, not using signals, and stopping suddenly. Ride as you would drive—as if you were trying to pass a driver’s-license test.

 

 

 

 

Stick to the Law

In most states, bikes are considered vehicles. When riding in the road, always signal, make complete stops at signs, and wait for red lights for your turn to ride through.

 

 

 

 

Ride to the Right

If there’s no shoulder on a two-way street, it’s always safer to stay a couple of feet out into the road. You’ll be visible and force cars behind you to move into the oncoming lane to pass you.

 

 

 

 

… Except When Turning Left

For this move, you’ll want to move from the right to the middle of the lane or merge into the left-turn lane if there is one. Check over your left shoulder for oncoming traffic and signal left before moving over.

 

 

 

 

Stay off Sidewalks

Lousy sight lines and people entering or exiting doorways and driveways make riding on sidewalks an accident waiting to happen. If you have to, and the city permits it, ride no faster than 6 to 8 mph—the speed most people jog.

 

 
Published in July 2014 issue of Bicycling magazine.

8 Items For Your Activity Checklist

Summer is officially here, and that means hiking, backpacking, and camping season. Every year brings new products that make your experience better, and we have picked the top items that will help you pack better, have more energy, and even keep your gear protected.

The North FaceThe North Face M’s Short Sleeve RDT Crew
$35

Revolutionary FlashDry™ fibers in this lightweight tee wick moisture away from the skin towards the fabric’s exterior during periods of high activity, making this shirt ideal for wear during strenuous hikes in warm weather, and is crafted to reduce shoulder chafing while hauling a pack across the trail.

 

 

Princeton Tec Vizz

Princeton Tec Vizz
$49.99 | available in red, black and green

Camping lights can be a pain, but the Princeton Tec Vizz is simple and has everything you need, all in 92 grams. It is feature-loaded with three distinct beam profiles easily accessed via a simple press, hold, or double press of the button.

 

 

Clif Shot Bloks

Clif Shot Bloks
$1.99 each | available in-store only!

These are primarily used by performance athletes – cyclists, runners, mountain bikers, triathletes, and adventure racers. However, any performance-oriented athlete needing a quick burst of energy can benefit from Clif Shot Bloks. 95% organic, 50mg caffeine, simple to handle and easy to chew!

 

 

Platypus SoftBottle

Platypus SoftBottle 
$7.95 – $11.95

Carrying water is always a battle for weight and space in your pack. If you don’t have the space or don’t want to deal with a water bladder, the Platypus SoftBottle can hold a liter of liquid in a flexible, BPA-free bottle that squishes flat when empty.

 

 

Gregory Miwok 24

Gregory Miwok 24 Pack 
$119

From peak-bagging to business travel, the Miwok 24 does everything a daypack should and more. Designed for the trail, this sleek, lightweight daypack has ample storage capacity for all-day excursions, plus an expanding front pocket to keep bulkier items like a jacket or helmet.

 

 

Sweetwood Beef JerkySweetwood Beef Jerky
$6.99 | available in-store only!

This jerky is flavored with a wonderful blend of brown sugar, honey, and spices for times when you need to eat on-the-go. Sweetwood uses premium beef, natural herbs, is gluten free and has no added MSG.

 

 
MSRMSR Pocket Rocket Backpacking Stove
$39.95 | available in-store only!

The MSR Pocket Rocket Backpacking Stove is the go-to for quick cooking in the outdoors. It weighs only three ounces and can boil a liter of water in less than four minutes. No need to prime or preheat; hook into any self-sealing canister fuel and adjust the flame at will.

 

 

Brunton

Brunton Heavy Metal 5500
$79.99 | available in yellow, white and black

Designed with the never-slow-down, everyday user in mind, Brunton’s Heavy Metal 5500 is robust, lightweight and always there when you need it. It is perfect for the truly power hungry, and charges a smart phone up to 5 times.

 

 

Weekend Trip: Stony Man Mountain

stony_man

Stony Man Mountain

Just about 2 hours west of the Washington, DC metropolitan area, raises Stony Man Mountain.

Perfect for a weekend trip; Stony Man Mountain boasts breath-taking views of the Blue Ridge Mountain range.

Eclipsing 4000 feet, Stony Man Mountain is Shenandoah National Park’s second highest peak. The mountain lends its name to the rocky cliffs that dominate the summit. Free of trees, the summit provides breath-taking views of George Washington National Forest and the Shenandoah River. Spend the day practicing your bouldering skills or simply taking in the moment. In addition, Stony Man provides home to various local wildlife including, Whitetail deer, black bear, turkeys, and bobcats. Don’t forget to pack the camera for this one.

Summit access is relatively easy. Little Stony Man Route will have you at the summit in about 40 minutes. An even easier hike, road access will get you with in a mile of the summit. The summit trails do not allow pets, so be sure to leave Fido at home for this one.  Stop by the Rangers Station for detailed information on trails, wildlife, and other local attractions/services.

stony_man_trail

Feeling adventurous?  Summit two peaks in one day.

Hawksbill Mountain, the park’s highest mountain, is just a few miles down the road. It is a short but steep traverse, as you will quickly gain 700’ of vertical elevation. The summit of Hawksbill has been developed by the National Park Service and with provided picnic benches along the route; be sure to take a lunch with you on this one. The summit of Hawksbill provides great views of yet another of Shenandoah’s pride and joy, Old Rag. The rockiest mountain in the park, Old Rag is another adventure in it’s own.

The Red Tape

Access to the Park requires a daily fee of $15 or an annual pass can be purchased for $30.

Directions

From Washington, D.C. area, take Interstate 66 West to US Route 29 south. Follow Route 29 to Warrenton where you follow signs for route 211. Once you go through town, you take a right to stay on 211, which is 34 miles from Skyline Drive via the Thornton Gap Entrance. At this point, pay the fee and head south passing mile marker 39, and parking at milepost 39.1 at the small parking lot on the right, which is named Little Stony Man Parking. Park here and follow the well-marked trail for about 1.5 miles to the summit.

Camping

Camping is permitted in the park if you decided to stay the night. Campsite information/regulations can be found here.

Stony Man Mountain provides the perfect opportunity to cross your first mountain summit off the bucket list. So, pack the car, hit the road and get outside!

Keep Your Cool

8 Easy Tips

Summer’s here and with it comes a lack of outdoor runners. The summer sun and hot temps send people straight to the air-conditioned gym! But you may want to reconsider. Here are couple tips we’ve come across from July’s issue of Women’s Running Magazine, and thought we’d share the useful information:

When you run in hot temps, your body learns to use oxygen and muscle glycogen more efficiently while improving your ability to regulate body temperature. Training outdoors when the mercury rises doesn’t have to be a dreadful experience!

1. Acclimate gradually. “You can’t beat the heat, but you can slowly acclimate to it and manage it as best as possible,” says Nashville-based masters runner Sonja Freiend-Uhl. A typical heat acclimation protocol comprises 10 consecutive daily exposures of running in a hot environment. These runs should be performed at your easiest pace possible, with walk breaks whenever needed.

2. Be realistic. The sun and heat can take a lot out of you, even once you’re acclimated. Adjust your pace accordingly, and don’t beat yourself up for going slow. “You’re working just as hard or harder than you would be at a faster pace on cool day,” says Amy Marsh, a four-time Ironman champion who trains in Austin, Texas. Professional distance runner Amy Cole agrees: “Have confidence that you are building fitness and will be able to run faster in cooler temperatures.”

3. Set your alarm clock. If you want to battle the heat, you’ve got to beat the sun. Cole begins most of her summer runs before 5 a.m. Have an addiction to the snooze button? Read on…

4. Call in reinforcements. Find training partners who will tackle the temps with you! The buddy system offers great accountability–you’re less likely to skip a run if you know someone is counting on you to show up.

5. Strip down. Summer is no time for modesty. Sweaty clothes can cause chafing, add extra weight and prevent additional sweat from evaporating. “Wear as little clothing as possible,” says Marsh, “so long as it’s legal!” Or if you’re more modest, go for loose, breathable tops in light colors and accessorize with a visor to block the sun.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!Check out HTO’s selection of Camelbak bottles to help you hydrate your runs

7. Map your run. Try to find shady places to avoid direct sunlight during your workout. If you haven’t tried trail running yet, summer is a great time to start. Forested areas can provide a respite from the brutal summer sun. Also, consider routes where you can refill your water bottles at public water fountains, gas stations or local run shops. You’ll be happy to have an oasis.

8. Chill, girl! “Don’t psych yourself out!” Cole stresses. “Prepare for the heat but don’t obsessively check the temperature before your run.” Don’t ignore your instincts either. If your gut is telling you it’s too hot, listen to it–and hit the gym instead.

How hot is too hot?


By Susan Lacke
July 2014, Women’s Running Magazine, pg 36-37

Solo Thru-Hike the AT: 500 miles in

ATHike Back in April, one of HTO’s own Outfitters, Neha Khurana, from Fairfax started her AT solo thru-hike. We have been keeping tabs on this young lady’s progress, and living vicariously through her adventure. Here’s an account of what she’s encountered this past month.

First Days on the Trail

Approach Trail

“I have covered about 37 miles plus 8.8 miles of the Approach Trail. It has been very busy! I stayed my first night at the Springer Mountain Shelter near the summit. The next day I hiked around 8 miles to Hawk Mountain, where I camped with 30-40 other hikers. The trail is packed with thru-hikers! Everyone is so welcoming and we had a bonfire that night.

Camping Blood Mountain

I woke up and hiked around 13 miles the next day to Preaching Rock. The hike was tough, but the view was incredible. The next morning, we reached the Blood Mountain summit before making it to Neels Gap.”

“The trail has been wonderful. My feet are sore, but the experience is so worth it.”

Of Trail Angels

“From Neels Gap I hiked to Low Gap shelter. And because of flash floods and tornado warnings, we caught a ride the next day from Unicoi Gap to Hiawassee early. That night was spend at a hotel and I took a zero day.

We hit the trail the following morning and hiked 13 miles to Deep Gap, then 15 miles through the Georgia/North Carolina border to Muskrat Creek Shelter the next day. After a couple more days, we reached the top of Albert Mountain and completed our first hundred miles! Upon arriving at our shelter, some of our group hitched to town and brought back 13 pizzas… Definitely the highlight of my day!

At the border PIZZA!The following morning, after 4 miles to Winding Stair Gap, we were met by some trail magic (1). The trail angel had spread out breakfast in the back of his truck bed for us. Afterwards, we caught a ride with Ron Haven (famous trail angel) to Franklin, NC.”

Damascus

Neha is currently in Damascus, VA, nearly 500 miles in. She is taking a few days off for Trail Days. We can’t wait to see what else the AT has in store for her. Keep at it, Neha!

(1) The term ‘trail magic’ was coined by long-distance hikers to describe an unexpected occurrence that lifts a hiker’s spirits and inspires awe or gratitude. ‘Trail magic’ may be as simple as being offered a candy bar by a passing hiker or spotting an elusive species of wildlife. (source: appalachiantrail.org)

The Updated Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag

Image

25 years of messenger expertise bring you Timbuk2′s updated Classic Messenger Bag. Designed in San Francisco with decades of user testing and consumer feedback in mind, the updated Classic Messenger features a new refined look, updated fit, and smarter organization. And it’s now available at HTO, in stores and online!

Check them out here: http://www.hudsontrail.com/timbuk2-classic-messenger-bags.html

Image

Don’t you need a new bag for all the activities you have planned this summer? Now’s your chance! Throughout this whole week, HTO will be giving away Classic Messenger Bags on our Facebook page, like us so you can keep up to date! It’s a classic reborn and ready to be worn for another century… we’d love for you to have one!

Solo Thru-Hike the AT!

Image

One of HTO’s own Outfitters, Neha Khurana, from Fairfax is starting her solo thru-hike of the AT on April 1! She began as the youngest employee in the company and shares our enthusiasm and passion for adventure and travel. Neha tries to get outside as much as she can and loves to hike, rock climb, and kayak. As a frequent world traveler, she will soon be majoring in Adventure Education.

Neha became entranced by the idea of thru-hiking when she read an article about the Appalachian Trail a couple years ago.

“I loved the idea of completely immersing myself in nature and living authentically. I didn’t want to put off such a valuable opportunity, so I decided to graduate school early and hike northbound this year.”

Image

This young lady is heading places and we are so proud to have her be a part of the HTO family! And did we mention she is just 17 years old?! Impressive!

What are you doing this summer? Ever wondered what it would be like to hike the Appalachian Trail alone? Here’s top 6 reasons why you should do it, as said by Zach Davis at AppalachianTrials.com:

1. Absolute Freedom

If you hike the trail by yourself, no one will be breathing down your neck. You will be able to escape and truly be free. I remember feeling so happy and free only to turn my phone on and have it blow up with messages from my parents asking me where I was and if I was okay. Although I knew they sent those messages out of love, it was nice to have my phone off and live without people on my case all the time. I couldn’t even imagine how awful the trail would’ve been if someone I started hiking with depended on me and had to always know where I was.

2. No one wanted to do it with me

Would I have started the trail with a friend if he or she wanted to hike with me? Definitely. However, in my case, no one I knew wanted to hike with me and I didn’t even try to find someone to thru-hike with.

3. I only had take care of myself

Trust me, on the trail this is a very difficult task. Thankfully, no one else on the trail depended on me to keep them alive. Looking out for myself was a big enough task, but if your hike is anything like mine, you’ll meet people who you want to watch out for and vice versa.

4. I made friends anyway

It’s very easy to meet incredible people on the trail. It was nice for me to have friends on the trail that were separate from my friends in “real life.” I think if I started out with “real life” friends, I would not have tried as hard to create relationships with other hikers.

5. I do what I want

The Appalachian Trail taught me that I can wake up every morning and do whatever I want to do. This is something that has stuck with my way past my thru-hike. Every morning when I wake up, I do what I want to do. Most of what I want to do is what I know will make me happy. With this philosophy I have picked up from the trail, I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.  If I were hiking with a group for the majority of my hike, I might not have developed such a significant lifestyle change.

6. Greater sense of accomplishment

I believe my summit of Katahdin was very different in significance than those hiking in a group for the whole trail. Although I did hike with other people along the way, I finished the trail exactly how I started it; alone and on my own terms. If I had hiked the trail entirely with someone else, or a group, I feel like my sense of achievement on Katahdin would be different. A lot of times on the trail, I had no one to help me through the hardest parts and had to overcome adversity on my own. I get that sharing achievements is a wonderful thing; however, I’m glad I got through the majority of trail because of my own abilities and not having to rely on others.

We will be keeping tabs on Neha’s progress this summer, so stay tuned for more updates! She will be back at our Fairfax store in September, so she will be a great resource for all future Appalachian Trail travelers. We wish her all the best!