Let’s do some climbing!


GPSies claims at this is an easier ride than my typical South Park loop, with a climb index of 44.65 versus about 49 for the standard South Park 11 mile loop.  But somehow I’m not usually tempted to bail on my South Park ride at mile 8…

At any rate, no times over the bars, because when you’re always climbing it’s hard to pick up enough speed to do something stupid.

GPSies - Mingo Creek Small Loop - 08/04/2012Click here for the full GPS Track and statistics


Rare bit of flat terrain


Take a rest


Random picnic table in the middle of nowhere


Creek bed silt


Posted in Mountain Biking, Outdoors, Ride Reports, Riding, Uncategorized by with no comments yet.

DIY Xterra Interior Bike Rack

Nissan's Interior Bike Rack

When I bought the Nissan Xterra heavily advertised is a neat little item: an interior bike rack. It mounts into the rails in the back and has a quick release skewer that mounted the front fork.

Big problem: no one bought them.  Nissan had only 4 of them in their inventory nationwide, and the total cost to get one to Pittsburgh was about $450. Fuck that.

So instead, I made a simple one out of Thule and Yakima parts (pics below). Here is how:

With the exception of the hardware, I got all parts from eBay.  You’ll need a saw of some sort with a metal blade (I used a Sawzall), and a drill with a 3/4″ bit to drill 2 holes per bike mount.

The process was simple…

Get a pair of 50″ Thule square crossbars and cut to fit the interior.  I believe I my final length was 46″.

Then using a Yakima Blockhead as a template, drill two 3/4″ holes in the crossbar.  Line the holes up where you’d like the bike to sit in the truck.  The car is wide enough to accommodate two, possibly 3 bikes depending on how you space them. Best bet it to put one behind the drivers seat and one behind the front passenger.

Once the holes are drilled, mount the Blockhead to your crossbar with 3/4″ bolts.

Thread two 6mm x 50mm bolts through the bolt holes of 2 Yakima 4H mounts.  The ends of these bolts will thread into the metal track bolt that came with your rear net mounts.

Thread the large holes of the 4H mounts of your cross bar, insert the track bolts into the tracks in the rear of the car, then tighten them down.  Viola, you’ve got an interior bike rack.  Remove your front wheel from the front fork, and latch your front fork into the Yakima quick release.



 Parts List and Approximate Costs

Part New Used Link
Yakima Blockhead (9mm Skewer, nonlocking) $30 $20 to $30  Link
Yakima 4H Mounts $35 for 4 $20 for 4  Ebay
50″ Thule Square Crossbars $80/pair $20/pair  Ebay
2  6mm x 50mm bolts $2
4 3/4″ x 2″ nylon bolts/nuts $2
Total $150  $64



Bike Rack1

Interior Rack



Skewer & Fork

Interior Rack

Posted in Mechanical, Mountain Biking, Outdoors, Riding by with 10 comments.

Second Real Ride of the Season

Second real ride, managed not to embarrass myself in front of the folks play cricket, which is always a plus. On the lookout for wildlife to take pictures of, but the best I could come up with was a squirrel, who was very wary of being a photography subject.

Ride Sequence:
VIP Loop (warm up)
Catfish Run
Gauntlet Loop
Panic House Loop
Gauntlet Loop (again because it’s fun)
Technical Section

OTB: 1
Squirrels Terrorized: 1
Total Climb: 1250′

GPSies - 05/19/2012 (Duration: 02:01:21 )Click here for full stats and GPS Track


Squirrel isn't real sure



Getting ready to bail






Catfish Run (stink creek)



Catfist Run (stink Creek)

Posted in Mountain Biking, Outdoors, Photography, Ride Reports, Riding, Wildlife by with no comments yet.

Venture North Carolina

On our way to find the Fort Fisher Hermit Trail, we stopped at a small guide shop and asked a bit about it. WWII bunker was home to the hermit Robert Harrill for 17 years until he was murdered in June of 1972. More info here The Fort Fisher Hermit

Excerpt from the site:

“Asylum escapee Robert E. Harrill, who became known as the Fort Fisher Hermit, lived for 17 years under the stars, living off the land and the contributions of visitors who came by the thousands every year to meet “The Hermit.” A misnomer from almost the beginning, “The Hermit” treated anyone who came by with a warmth and friendly appreciation that was contagious. Life wasn’t so ideal, and in the end, the questions surrounding his death created an even more compelling story.”

We were told not to go there, because mountain bikers were not allow off roads or off of designated paths. We were also warned that if we were going to go there, to take mosquito protection.

So we set out down Kure Beach, past the aquarium and down to the fishing wall that connects Kure Beach to Zeke’s island. It was built as a barrier to keep the Confederate Navy from running the blockade during the Civil War. The wall is mostly deteriorated, and the internet tells me that Zeke’s Island isn’t accessible via that wall any more. Which I can believe, after coming upon several holes in the wall that could easily swallow a bike and rider whole.

On the way back we investigated a mysterious trail head, which had a cement marker, but no signage. We ignored the guide’s warning (foolishly) and plunged into the woods.

The trail itself was a little boring. There was dense low vegetation, and it was mostly flat. The defining feature of the trail was the standing, mossy water which served as a turbo-charged breeding ground for mosquitoes. Alexx got bit up quite a bit, while I didn’t. After exploring a few of the offshoot paths and coming to dead ends, we decided that this indeed was not the Fort Fischer Hermit Trail, and bailed.

However, once I uploaded this track to GPSies, and looked at it a little more closely, we were indeed on the Hermit Trail, and if had plowed through the vegetation wall on the most distant dead end, it would have broken through into Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, found the Hermit Bunker, salt marshes, and been a quarter of a mile from Zeke’s Basin.  Oh well, the more you know.

Sadly, I neglected to take pictures of any of this.

OTB: 0 — Miles: 12 — Time: 1:17 (which is not bad for a mountain bike speed run)

GPSies - Kure Beach, North Carolina For Fisher Hermit TrailClick here to see the full ride statistics

I took no pictures of all of this,  so here are some other people’s:

Hermit of Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher Hermit Bunker

Taken by seancarr54 on Flickr

Fort Fisher Sunrise

Sunrise over Fort Fisher Battlefield

Taken by Civil War Trust on Flickr

sea wall

Fort Fisher Sea Wall

Taken by my moustache on Flickr


People on the Wall

Taken by Stubabes0137 on Flickr

Posted in Mountain Biking, Ride Reports, Riding and tagged , , , by with no comments yet.