Saturday, November 28, 2015

First Elizabeth Furnace Ride (With Dylan & Ian)

This was my first ride at Elizabeth Furnace...
Ian (left) & Dylan (right) getting ready to ride the Massunutton west ridge.

This was the only downed tree we ran into.

Dylan & Ian had to wait for me through the hidden rock minefield (the rocks were under leaves).  Being on a hardtail with narrow tires (2.0") pumped up 30psi (higher than normal to avoid flats because I was running tubes) wasn't forgiving.  Thankfully most of the the technical sections were not leaf covered so I had a chance to navigate around rocks.

Lots of hunters out (right) & hikers too.

Just filled water bottles from natural spring (on left, out of frame)
Dylan on Single Nob fire road.

Ian sporting his G-Form knee and elbow pads.

Dylan didn't care about getting his feet wet.

Top of the Single Nob trail climb; Ian pointing out an interstate bridge. 

Picture of Dylan before he rode away from Ian & I.

Lots of Walking

Wet/ slick rocks

Dylan waiting for Ian & I again.

Even Dylan had to walk some sections.

On the way down Bear Wallow (to the parking lot) I had become separated enough from Dylan and Ian (Dylan in front and Ian behind)  that they were both out of eye site.  I took a few wrong turns, backtracked a few times and eventually found the parking lot.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Bike Rafting Test #2

I am Continuing to fine tuning the bike /raft system.  I wasn't too happy with the way the raft preformed on the first test.  I tried to fix some of the issues.

Everything unloaded from the bike trailer
Letting electric air pump pump fill raft while I assemble the kayak paddle.
I used a stadium seat (cheap Coleman one) to give myself a back rest.  I had modified the seat to have a sleeve in the bottom and top portions to slide in a pieces of plywood (for extra support).  I bunggeed a folded up foam yoga mat to the bottom to lift me up higher.
I used the empty duffle bag to lay over front of boat to protect it form sharp bike parts.
As I started to push the boat off the dock the things I had already put in almost fell out.  I guess I need to load it while it's in the water.
I bungeed corded the bike and bike trailer wheels together in one bundle to lay on front of boat (also had a bungee to attach the bundle to the boat)
Front view
Side view
Rear was running a bit low
Top view (without trailer and bike)
Drying the raft with a washcloth
The raft had two fishing pole holders that stuck up 4".  I cut them off; they were in the way of the kayak paddle.
I put duck tape over the area that I lay the bike trailer over to protect the boat from the sharp edges on the trailer.
I removed the oar holders (with a box cutter); they had also been in the way of the kayak paddle (I tied a loop of paracord to what was remaining as a place to attach a bungee to for strapping things down to the raft).
Test # 2 complete

*  The stadium seat was a big improvement however I did have some issues with it.  I needed to me careful to have the foam pad arraigned just right underneath or I would find myself leaning too far back or forward.

*  Cutting off the fishing rod poles and oar holders had several benefits; I could use the kayak paddle easier (didn't have to lift my arms as much to get over those obstacles), because my angle of paddling didn't need to be as extreme I got less wet from kayak paddle drip than last time and I was able to roll up the raft smaller.

*  Duck tape seems to stick well to the vinyl material.  I doubt it would stick to areas that get wet but on top it seems fine and saves me from needing to carry and extra towel or foam mat to lay over the boat.

*  This time I took apart bike and bundled it together that worked well to keep it all small and at the front of the boat giving me enough room to spread my legs out (much more comfortable than last time).

 Things I still need to fix...

*  The raft was running a lot lower in the rear; most of the weight is back there and the backrest acts like a lever pushing down rear edge of the raft.  I think if I put a spacer of some sort between me and the back edge that would move my weight forward a bit and improve the weight balance.

*  Not something I need to fix but a realization.  I don't think there is going to be a way for me not get wet getting in and out of the boat (unless there is a dock).  It seems I need to first put the boat in the water then load it.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Bike Rafting Test #1

Decided I would try bike rafting while there were still a few warmish days.  I plan to use the raft in some rivers (wide slow moving ones) next summer using a bike to get to a starting point and get back home.  I am testing it now in a pond  before I'm floating down a river with no way back up again and committed to my destination down river.

Pond dock
Bike/ bike trailer with raft, paddle, ect
Did some jerry rigging to make the trailer into a back pack (for technical trail, stairs, ect)
Boat rolled up/  foam yoga mats I use to set over the top of the boat to prevent a puncture it with bike or trailer.  Towels would probably work but foam is also feels better on my back (in backpack mode).

Took about 10 min to inflate the boat (with an electric pump).
Dissembling bike trailer

Climbing in boat with everything loaded

In action


Rolling the raft up
Things I learned...

*  It's hard not to get wet when using kayak paddles (even with the collars on).  I them down part way (4 section kayak paddle) and use them as oars.  Using oars I could paddle more with less energy and I got less wet but with the boat full there wasn't enough room for my hands to do a rowing motion.

*  With the kayak paddle the boat would rotate a bit with every paddle stroke; less noticeable when it is full. 

*  Without something to lift me up its hard to have the right leverage and angle to paddle.  Also it's hard to get comfortable without a back rest.

*  Didn't feel like I had a place for my feet.  Arranging things so I have more foot would be more comfortable.

*  I should bring a towel to dry off boat so I don't need to roll it up wet.