Personal Items for my CO GAP Bike Tour

Personal Items CO GAP 2017


This post I will discuss the personal items for my first bike tour. This is first aid,  nutrition, hydration, clothing.

First Aid

I’ve made a mini first aid bag to carry. This has tape, bandaids, alcohol pads, gauze bandages, sting kills (for bee stings), diphenhydramine for allergic reactions, Tylenol, Tums, Imodium AD. I’m a former ultra runner so this is similar to what I would carry for an ultra.  This is not that I am anticipating an injury, but this could help out someone else on the trail.

First Aid in Vehicle-I will also have a bigger kit in the vehicle, mainly because I can have it, full of more miscellaneous first aid items.


This is probably the less thought out portion of my daily ride. I tend to not remember to eat while biking. There doesn’t seem to be that many places to easily get food without going off the trail, so I want to make sure I have food. This is where ultra running history comes into play.

I will probably carry a sandwich with me, along with various foods to nibble on, such as crackers, cookies, foods with a high caloric count.


I have Tailwind left over from my last training days as a runner. I’m going to carry a bottle of Tailwind powder to dump into my water supply.  This has electrolytes and calories in it.


Ultragen is a recovery supplement. I just bought a new vat of it, yummy Orange Cream flavor-tastes like Orange Creamsickle! I’m planning on having a serving of this daily as soon as I finish biking for the day.


My clothes are pretty simple. Bike shorts and running tops. I have normal socks. I don’t have to worry about washing clothes on tour, I have enough clothes where I can just discard into the dirty clothes pillow case for the day.  Well, I do have to wear my bike shorts for two days in a row, I don’t have enough to go around.

Waterproof Clothing

I will have available my good Marmot Precip jacket, which I won’t carry unless it looks like rain in the forecast. I will carry my emergency poncho with me.  I don’t have waterproof pants that currently fit.  I am biking in August, it should not be that big of a deal.  Of course, having the SAG wagon lets me bring more clothes items, like long sleeves and pants if needed.


Of course there are electronics! I will be carrying my camera, phone, and Zune. I like to take pictures with my camera. The phone is more of a communication device (I know, call me crazy) to keep in touch with my husband, not to surf Facebook or post pictures on Facebook or Instagram.  The Zune is my old MP3 player, to listen to when I want on long stretches on the towpath. I have bought a little portable speaker called a Boombotix

(Affiliate link, it will take you to Amazon where I get a few pennies if you buy one) that I have not used on a bike ride yet, but if I am all by myself I may play some music out loud.


This is my first bike tour, so it’s all an experiment of one!

Any items I am forgetting?

Bike Gear for my CO GAP Bike Tour

Bike Gear for CO GAP 2017


I’m bringing my bike! It’s the only bike I have. It’s a Specialized Myka hybrid bike.

Myka Bika

Mile 77 on the GAP Trail, my recon in June

Bike  Stuff

(there are affiliate links below. If you click on a pic, it will take you to an Amazon link for the item, where I may earn a small amount of money, just need to let you know!)

I bought Ortleib waterproof panniers for the rear bike. When I was shopping, I thought I was doing the camp-hotel-camp routine, so I was planning on carrying much more stuff.

I needed something to mount the panniers to, I bought a Top Peak Bike Rack:


I needed a water bottle mount, similar to this one:

There is the bike repair stuff:

The bike pump. I have finally figured out how to use it

My multi tool:

A spare inner tube:

Bike Tire Levers to get the tire on and off. I will carry three with me.

Spare Shimano Cleat Screws-I’ve already used!

I will also carry some zipties and duct tape. Also the number of bike shops on or near the towpath on the section of trail that I am on.

Bike Bag I have a smaller version of a bag like this for my front handlebars. It will hold my camera and cell phone

I have another smaller bag to affix to the down bar. Being that I have a female bike, I don’t have the long pole to hang other things on. I may wear my SPI Belt to keep my money and ID in, so I don’t forget to take it with me when I hop off the bike.

Bike Lock-I will take a bike lock with me, it’s not quite a six foot long one like this I hope where I am going bike security won’t be that big of a problem. I’m not planning on stopping long on my bike tour.

Another note: my husband will be driving the SAG wagon, (support and gear) where I will meet up at the end of each day. This gives me the luxury of having spare items in the vehicle for further back up.

What did I miss? What did you carry for a supported daily tour?

Biking the Wheeling Heritage Trail

I wanted to get one long last ride in before my CO Gap Adventure. I decided to travel to Wheeling West Virginia to ride on the Wheeling Heritage Trail.

Wheeling Heritage Trail

Wheeling Heritage Trail

The Wheeling Heritage  Trail consists of two trails, the Wheeling Creek Trail and the River Trail. I parked at Elm Grove, an easy to get to lot, and started biking west. The trail is right beside the highway, a bit noisy.

Wheeling Creek Trail

There are signs telling you what section of Wheeling you are travelling through.


The tunnel was pretty cool to bike through. hempfieldtunnel On the other side of the tunnel,  you end up in South Wheeling. This is a poor neighborhood.  The trail just merges on to the streets.

There is poor signage through here. The only signage is a bike and the words “BIKE LANE” stenciled on the street. Most of these are very faded. As I bike through this sketchy neighborhood, I keep looking for these stencils.

I get to the downtown area and the stencils have disappeared. I know the bike trail continues as the “River Trail” so I take a leap of faith and just bike to the riverfront area. Now there is an asphalt bike trail again.

River Trail



If you are riding the River Trail, I wouldn’t recommend biking south, unless you need to get the miles in. It is an industrial area and not very attractive. You do go by the Mailpouch Factory, which explained the Snuff Building.  Snuff BuildingYou don’t see that every day.

It’s only a few miles south and I reach mile 0.0. MileZero




I bike past  the little downtown riverfront. There are not many people around. Mini rant: It must be a thing in this area not to say hello or acknowledge a human being. In passing or encountering people, I always say hello.  I would guess I got an acknowledgment of about one person in thirty. It was like I was invisible. 


The River Trail was much better to bike on. It alternated between a semblance of rural and then biking right beside a road, then four lane highway.


I did pass the Pike Island Dam and  Lock. I guess there is no unfettered traffic on the Ohio River.

The highlight of the bike? The deer encounter. I rode right up on her. I starting calling to her, wanting to scare her left back into the woods rather than out on the road.


Success! She’s safe for this hour! Yay deer!

The RIver Trail ends with no fan fare, there is no signage up at the north end of the trail. The  Brook County Trail begins. This is a 7 mile trail which will end in Wellsburg. I don’t go that far, when my watch clicks off 20 miles I decide to turn around. I will end up with about 40 miles.



Gear Crisis Averted

I’ve been having trouble clipping out of my right shoe. I stop and take the shoe off. For the third time, I’ve  lost a screw and now the cleat is sideways.

Success! I have brought my spare cleats AND the hex key to use. I center the cleat, use a  new screw, crisis averted! Bring your tools and equipment on every ride!

Back in the downtown area, I again follow the almost non existent bike stencils past the now open soup kitchen. The signs completely disappear, but I remember the funeral home on the corner and make the correct turn.


Things I learned today

Mailpouch was made in Wheeling.

There are locks on the Ohio River.

Other than this, I see no reason for a revisit for the Wheeling Heritage Trail. I did get in about 37 miles, my last long ride before CO GAP 2017!


Big Miles

Holy smokes, my big ride, my CO GAP 2017, is happening in about one month!

Big Miles

I need to get some miles in!

Sippo Valley

Mileage Plan

I parked at Fort Laurens, biked thru Bolivar, and then took the Ohio-Erie Towpath North.

Bike Trail Route


When I got to the break in the trail-which is just over a bridge-I decided to take the Sippo Trail, which goes west to Dalton. It is ten miles long, which makes another twenty miles under my belt.
Turn Around Trail

After a fairly sketch first half  mile, you exit the city area and are into the suburbs and country life.

Sippo Valley Trail


After a few miles, the asphalt turns into limestone trail. The Sippo Trail is pretty tree covered.Sippo Valley Trail

Sippo Valley Trail

Sippo Trail

When I got back to the Ohio Eric Towpath, I decided to just head back south. I meant to ride 60 miles, I rode 52 miles instead.

Longest Ride to Date!

Big Miles

I did really well on this bike ride eating and drinking. I had to hop off the bike a few times because of hydrating a little too well! It was interesting to see the differences between 7 hours running and 7 hours biking-you just are not beat up the same way as running.

Time Factor

I am a bit concerned about the time factor. This was seven hours of pretty much biking. I did stop once each hour to get my butt off the saddle, stretch, drink, eat.  I will be stopping much more on the C&O Towpath to take pictures, etc.

Fast Forward my Bike Ride

The more I think about it, I realize this is my bike tour. I can do whatever I want. My first day of touring will be 59 miles. I may bail out at fifty miles and call my husband (who is driving a vehicle and coming along) to cut the day short. Maybe. There is no DQ or Bike Police out there to dictate the terms of my ride.

I still need another long bike ride, preferably two back to back long rides. The clock is ticking!


My Biking Mistakes

My Biking Mistakes

Biking Mistakes

Read  What I have Done Wrong So You Won’t Make These Same Biking Mistakes

Buying an Inner Tube with a Presta Valve

Did you know there are two types of bike valves? Me neither. There is the “normal” one, called a Shraeder valve, which is on your typical bike and all your vehicles.  Then there is the “Presta” valve which apparently is used on mountain bikes and What else I don’t know.

The problem is, everything is made for a “S” or Shraeder valve which makes sense. You then have to buy an adapter to work with your Presta valve.  The Presta valve is also tricky to use. You have to unscrew the little metal top to be able to pass air into and out the inner tube.

Conclusion: Read the label on the inner tube box and don’t buy a Presta valve.

Brake Pad on Backwards

Inspect your bike before riding.  In one of my tire changing epic moments, when I got the brake pads back on the bike, I flipped one upside down. It still worked. I didn’t notice this until I was changing the next tire on the bike and adjusting brakes.  I should have noticed this sooner.

Conclusion: look your bike over now and then, make sure your brake pads face the right direction, tighten up any loose screws.

Adjusting Brakes-it’s called a quick release

Getting my rear brakes working again after changing a tire has been a challenge. I discovered that there is something called the “quick release” so you don’t have to fight your bike to remove the tire to change a flat.

Conclusion: Understand the quick release on  your rear brakes.

Using An Allen wrench the long way

I even know the name “Allen Wrench” now. Sigh. I did not set out to become a bike mechanic, but if I am going to ride my bike, I am going to make sure I can fix some things on it.

You can turn things much easier using the allen wrench like this  |______   rather than like this

Conclusion: Have a collection of allen wrenches. But don’t call them allen wrenches. The correct generic nomenclature is “hex key”.  You’ll be a more cool rider when someone asks for a “hex key” and you know what they are talking about.

Make Sure Your Cleats Are TightGoing Clipless

If you are using clipless shoes, make sure the cleats on the bottom are tight on your shoes.  If they are not, you may find yourself unable to remove your shoe from the bike. When you are doing the little twisting action to release your foot, the cleat simply moves around.

If you can get your foot out of the shoe, and the shoe off the pedal, that’s great. I had to watch numerous You Tube clips and remove the pedal with the shoe and take it off to the vise.

I was able to successfully FINALLY remove the cleat from the pedal. I had lost one of the screws from the cleat. I then had to buy more screws from Amazon for my shoes.

Conclusion: Make sure your screws are tight on your shoes. Buy and have available spare screws-I have already somehow lost another screw, glad I had a stash of screws. Carry your allen wrench. Carry your hex key.

You Tube Videos

You Tube Videos are the bomb. Just type in something close to what you think you are trying to accomplish, you will either see a video or something suggested to get you closer to what your true problem is.

What’s your Newby Biking Mistake? Please share so I can avoid another one!



Micro Adventure: Visit a New Town: Dayton

Greetings reader, as I stated in my last post, do something new this summer, visit a “new-to-you” town within your own state. We had a micro adventure, visiting a local town on the other side of the state, Dayton Ohio.

Daycation Vacation

Daycation Staycation

We decided to head over to the western side of Ohio, Dayton.  I have not been to Dayton since my college years of visiting a friend’s home, this was all new to us.

What To Do in Dayton

There is quite a bit to do in Dayton! First, it is the home of the Wright Brothers, printers, inventors, successfully launched the first flying machine. There are five Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Parks in the Dayton area.

Parachute Museum

The Air Force Museum is located in Dayton.  There is the Carillon Historical Park, which is a museum complex with more Wright Brothers history, the history of Dayton and of cash registers. Does anyone remember NCR-National Cash Register?

There are tons of outdoor activities! Kayak on the Miami River,  hit up a bike trail, or go hiking. Dayton is an authorized “Trail Town” by the Buckeye Trail Association, meaning it is friendly to hikers and has great amenities for your hike.

Antique Malls on the Way

We traveled west on I-70 to Dayton. There are three big antique malls to hit up on your travels if you are into that sort of thing-we are. I scored some new political buttons, and a new set of Staffordshire Spaniels!

Air Force Museum

If you are interested in history AND aviation, you have come to the right place! There are four hangars full of planes to marvel over. These are not small hangars either. Be prepared for LOTS of walking. Perhaps plan out your visit.

air force museum

This could take you four to six hours or two days in case you end up watching a movie while you are there.  But you know what? Admission is free, so take two days to take it all in!

Wright Brothers

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park


Wright Brother Quote

Parachute Bear

Anniversary Dinner

We wanted to go to a good restaurant that was not a steak house in Dayton! (It seemed the restaurants with the best reviews all were steakhouses.)  We went to Kitchen Corner in the Oregon district, and had the tasting menu.  I thought it was very good, my husband was not that impressed-except for his addition of poutine-that was really tasty!

Aviation Day

It was a fun weekend out of town, we left Saturday morning at 8 am and returned home about 5pm on Sunday. Even though it was just one night out, it did feel like we had “gotten off our hilltop” and had a small break in the regular schedule.

Have you gotten out of town for a small staycation?

Summer Reading Top Picks

My summer reading top picks are books about the outside! Of course! Pick up any of these for some summer reading pleasure!

Summer Reads

(If you click on a picture, it is an affiliate link, which will take you to Amazon via my affiliate link where I may get a few cents if you buy a book! Thanks!)

The Tower

Famous climber Cesare Maestri with his partner claimed first ascent on Cerro Torre, a beautiful ice capped peak in Patagonia in 1959.  His partner died on the descent.  Many world class climbers attempted to climb this route in the years following but never were able to duplicate the summit, with the rumor that Maestri did not make the summit. Maestri always insisted that he had done it. But did he?  Kelly Cordes explores this fascinating mystery. Even if you are not a climber, it’s a well written interesting read.  Did he make the first ascent?

Lost in the Wild

This book is two stories: two separate people who became lost in the woods. Spoiler alert, they do both live. It’s a very interesting story to see what little, small mistakes can turn into HUGE problems when you are in the woods alone.  Even though I knew the men were rescued, I was literally on the edge of my seat when the rescuers almost missed him.

Tales from Out There: The Barkley Marathons

If you are an ultra runner or KNOW an ultra runner, you may have seem the documentary “The Barkley: The Race that Eats it Young”.  This book is the history of The Barkley written by Frozen Ed Furtaw. If you are thinking of running The Barkley, you need this book. If you are just interested in Barkley lore, you need to read this book.

Deep Survival

Yes another survival book. They do interest me!  This is a compilation of stories. It goes into the psychological side of survival, meaning why do certain personality traits help you to stand fast and get out of your situation, when other people may simply cave and die?

Micro Adventures

You can have an adventure in your backyard.  Alistair Humphreys shows you how in this simple book to have an adventure in your backyard or the next town over.   Keep your adventurer close to home!

Everest: Expedition to the Ultimate

Maybe your adventurer is fascinated by Mount Everest. There’s many books on Everest.  I have a few others than could be considered favorites, but Reinhold Messner was the first person to ascend Everest without supplemental oxygen.

Be Brave Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide

Jill Homer is a writer and adventurer. This is her adventure as a bike rider in the Tour Divide, which is riding your bike-across mountains-from Banff, Alberta to the Mexican Border of the Untied States.  By herself.  (She rode with other bikers at time.) Jill rocks!  I’ve read this book several times over.

The Last Season

Eric Blehm

A comelling narrative about a back country ranger who worked for the National Park Service for 28 years-and just abruptly disappeared one summer. A very interesting read.

What is on your summer reading list for this fleeting summer?