Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Busy Not Riding

Well, my new brakes came in, but I haven't put them on yet, or even really thought about it. Nope, I've been spending most of my time in front of my sewing machine, with that pile of raw materials from the last post. It was definitely time well spent, because I have a sweet new hammock, that has all the features I want.

It's made out of two layers of 1.1oz ripstop nylon, which is very thin and soft, but plenty strong. It's suspended to the trees with whoopie slings (I'll detail those in another post maybe), connected to tree straps and toggles. There's an opening in between the two layers so I can slip a sleeping pad in there if I want, until I make an underquilt. The no-seeum bug netting is attached to the body with zippers along both sides. One side, the "back side," has one zipper pull unzipping from the top and stopping at the bottom. The front side has three pulls, so you can use the double pulls for entry and exit, and the third one unzips the full length to the bottom like the other side. This allows for a lot of versatility with the bug netting. And when it's zipped all the way down, there is a small stuff sack in the "peak" of the foot end that the net can go into so it's out of the way.

This was my first ever DIY sewing project. Hell, I just learned how to use the sewing machine a couple weeks ago. I'm obviously really happy with how it turned out.

On to the pics:










Off to Cincy for the holiday weekend. No time to do anything except run around and see people. But when we get back, the riding is back on. Seriously.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Riding Again.....Sort of

Heather and I headed to DuPont on Saturday for my first ride back from my back strain. We were both looking forward to getting out in the woods, but it wasn't to be. We got to the Guion Farms parking lot, and I unloaded the Lazer Cat, but something wasn't right. Somehow, my back brake was locked out, and the wheel would not move at all. I have no idea what happened; I guess the calipers got stuck out. So we headed back home, and I took the brake off. I cleaned it out, and tried to work the calipers in and out, but I couldn't get them to move enough to even get them back over the rotor. The brakes are Juicy 5's, are really old, and I've had a lot of problems with them in the past, so I now have some Formulas on the way. Bye bye Avid.

On Sunday, I dusted off the Vig, and hit the road on skinny tires. I've only ridden the road here a few times now, but I should do it more often. It really is a beautiful place to ride. I headed to the other side of town, and did a lollipop route through the French Broad River Valley. I only rode 25 miles, but it just felt good to pedal again, and my back felt fine.

With my lack of riding, I've really been looking forward to cooler weather, and doing some hiking and camping. I've lost the taste for sleeping on the ground, and have been a hammocker for a few years now. As I mentioned before, I gave my hammock to Heather, and it is currently having some mods done to it. I was going to get myself a nice new one, but instead, I've decided to make my own. Whether that's cheap or frugal, I just have a hard time paying over twice as much for someone else to make something I can make. The pieces all arrived this week.

New Hammock

It'll have an integrated bug net, a la the Hennessy I'm giving Heather, and the net will almost fully unzip and tuck into a small stuff sack at the foot end, just like I'm having the Hennessy modified to do. I'll post updates to the project when there's something to actually post about.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Yeah, I know. I haven't posted in a while, but I also haven't ridden in a while. A few weeks ago, I was doing yard work and was lifting garbage can full loads of crap I raked up from our yard that had been neglected for several years. They were heavy, and apparently I strained my back. I went for a ride in Pisgah the next day, and only made it up 477>Buckhorn Gap Tr>Clawhammer before I had to turn back. I got back to my car and I was bummed, so I hung out in the creek for a while.



The next couple of weeks, we did a lot of work on the house in preparation for a pseudo-in-law visit, so my back didn't really get a chance to heal. We got a lot of work done, though, and we're finally making the house our own. I also had some time to learn more about, and play around with, another passion of mine, hammock camping. I am bequeathing my Hennessy Expedition hammock to Heather, and getting a slightly larger one for myself later this month for my birthday. In preparation for the bequeathing, I have been trying to make the Hennessy as user-friendly as possible for her. I've been learning a lot of splicing techniques for rope, cord, and twine, and have made some pretty cool improvements for her. I'll do a post in a few weeks on it once everything is done. You'll just have to wait to learn all about whoopie slings and soft shackles.



On another note, I don't know what kind of spider this is, but these little bastards were everywhere last summer when I rode the Stonewall Falls trail in NE GA after taking the bar exam. I hit a web every 15 feet or so, and these guys were biting me. This one was in our front yard.


My back is feeling better, but I'm going to give it another week of rest. I had pains shooting down my right leg for a couple of weeks, and that has finally stopped. After another week, I think I'll feel OK about riding again.