Tuesday, October 24, 2017

This Fall Unleash The Adventurer

Remember when we were in our teens and it seemed like we'd live on this earth forever? The years eked slowly by and the Summers were endless. As I've grown older, along with learning that life is indeed very short, I've also come to realize the importance of seizing the moment. I love to push myself. I love the feeling of facing something that seems absolutely crazy to accomplish and then completing the task, if for nothing else than just to say, "I did it!". Anyone else out there like me? This Fall I challenged myself (and dragged my husband and some friends along with me) to bike 60 miles of the C&0 Canal. Thanks to some amazing companies that helped along the way, and provided me products at no cost to facilitate this post, I finished the adventure; but not without a few bumps along the way!

Me, the hubby, and Tommy & Chris - they are the only ones so far who I can talk in to coming along my crazy adventures.
 First of all, can I say that aside from a few bike rides with my daughter around the neighborhood, this was the first time I had ridden a bike in probably 10 years, and the same with Ben. Work, family, life, things just got busy and before we knew it we weren't getting out there and making time for ourselves or hobbies we once enjoyed. So, if we can do it, you can do it! I knew I'd have a much harder time reaching the end of the trip without some gear to make it easier and boy did I find some real gems in the biking industry that I know you'll find equally as exciting!

How To Haul That Gear

We planned to camp overnight on the trail and so along with our bikes, we also had to carry everything we needed for a night under the stars. Lucky for me, I found some top notch companies that made hauling gear one of the easiest parts of the adventure.

Green Guru

Upcycle materials into great products, provide recycling source for adventure sports, and create tangible environmental awareness.

Tubular Insulated Can Sleeve The Tubular insulated can sleeve is the best way to carry beverages or even gear along the top of your bicycle. It attaches easily with 3 velcro straps and has a carrying sling for use off the bike.

  Hauler Saddle Bag The Hauler Bike Packing Bag is a convertible saddle/messenger bag that is lightweight and versatile for each rider. It’s an easy way to carry a substantial amount of cargo to keep on your bike without wearing a pack and can be used as a messenger once you’re off to work, school or play.

  Hipster Hip Pack A versatile hip pack for riders who want to stash their keys, wallet and protein bar, the compartmentalized Hipster hip handlebar bag can attach to your waist, handlebars or backpack.

  Gripster Frame Bag With its unique triangular shape, the Gripster fits nicely into a corner of your bike frame to store a light jacket, some tools or snacks. It mounts securely with straps to your frame and is basically the width of your frame making it non-obtrusive, but easily available when in the saddle for quick access. Made from upcycled industrial tent fabric, it is water resistant and made to last.

 I cannot say enough about Green Guru! I was impressed with everything about this company from their customer service to the quality of their products. If you enjoy biking or the outdoors at all, you need some Green Guru in your life! I'm avidly looking for any way I can use their Hipster Fanny Pack because it's just that awesome! I attached mine to the front of my bike and carried the necessities (cash, Chapstick, ID, rechargeable batteries for my phone, etc). I appreciated the fact that I could easy take my valuables from off my bike and strap the Hipster around my waist. We didn't take any soda along for our ride but we did carry a lot of waters and having the Tubular Insulated Can Sleeve kept two extra water bottles nice and cold. The Hauler Saddle Bag is incredibly easy to attach directly to the back of the bike seat which means no rear rack is needed. Looks can be deceiving as this pack holds an enormous amount of gear and is secured just like you would a dry pack.  I knew I was going to need some snacks to keep my going on the trail and the Gripster Frame Bag solved that problem. This bag carried 4 power bars, one small bag of jerky, and two small bags of dehydrated fruit and there was still room left over! With all of their products made from "upcycled" outdoor gear, durable is an understatement! Sign me up and give me the T-shirt, I am a Green Guru fan for life!


If you have been biking, especially with gear for any length of time you've probably heard of the name Topeak before; and for every good reason! Topeak let us try out their Quick Track System which proved to make loading and unloading gear a snap! Combining their specialized racks and bags means you simply slide on and off for an easy pack and go experience and like Green Guru I was astounded at the amount of gear their trunk bags could hold!

  Uni Super Tourist (Disc) For 24”-29” & 700C Wheels w/ Disc Brakes This one-size-fits-all aluminum tubular rear rack is equipped with adjustable legs to fit most 24” to 29” wheel MTB and 700C touring bikes with disc bakes. This durable tubular rack is designed for running errands in town or long distance touring. The MTX QuickTrack™ plate is compatible with any Topeak MTX TrunkBag, MTX rear basket, and most other rack packs and panniers on the market.

  MTX Beamrack (A-Type) For MTB or heavy commuting use. QR mechanism is secure and easy to use. 9 kg (20 lb) carrying capacity. Compatible with all MTX TrunkBags. Includes two rubber bungees and safety reflector.

  MTX Beamrack (E-Type) For MTB or heavy commuting use. QR mechanism is secure and easy to use. 9 kg (20 lb) carrying capacity. Compatible with all MTX TrunkBags. Includes two rubber bungees and safety reflector.

  MTX TrunkBag Exp Large capacity MTX TrunkBag containing one main divided compartment with two expandable pannier side panels and rear water bottle holder. Our unique construction process provides rigidity and water repellency. Compatible with all MTX QuickTrack™ racks with attached side frames. MTX Dual Side Frames are required when using side panniers on MTX BeamRacks.

  Whitelite & Redlite Aero USB 1W WhiteLite™ Aero USB 1W Light up your ride like a thunder bolt! Brand new optimized optical lightning design by COB LED provides ultimate brightness output to 110 Lumens. The slim, aerodynamic shape fits aero or fork blades perfectly. Rubber strap allows tool-free mounting and removal. Top of the line bag, organizer friendly, and easy, mountable gear is probably the best way to describe Topeak. Our trip started off with car trouble and then Tommy had trouble getting some of his gear (not featured in this post I might add) mounted on his bike and so we ended up leaving on our first night much later than anticipated.

This is us, biking in the darkness to make it to a campsite. We truly put the Topeak lights to the test and even though they are designed mainly for safety from other vehicles/riders on the trail, the certainly lite up our ride just fine and we rode for over an hour in the dark!

How To Stay Energized


 I was already pushing myself to bike 60 miles in two days, why not shoot for the fence and also eat some crickets? I first heard about eating crickets months ago I was watching an episode of Shark Tank and was somewhat intrigued. I found Avail (a different company than on Shark Tank) and figured I'd give it a shot! Avail sent a mixed box of their Workout Hard Protein Bars and their Digestive Ally Protein Bars, both made not with whole crickets mind you, but with cricket flour.

Work Out Hard "Brownie Chocolate Chip" Protein Bar  Our WORKOUT HARD Protein Bar is packed with the perfect mix of protein and carbohydrates, just what the body needs after a grueling workout. The recipe was increated in unison between a nutritionist, food scientist, and recipe development specialist and formulated to help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), combat muscle fatigue, increase strength, and improve overall health. High in protein, low in sugar, this bar is the optimal post-workout supplement. Click on the link above for ingredient information.

Digestive Ally "Banana Ginger" Protein Bar Our DIGESTIVE ALLY bar was designed for those with food intolerances - this bar is peanut, dairy, soy, and gluten free, does not contain artificial sugars or preservatives. The recipe was increated in unison between a nutritionist, food scientist, and recipe development specialist and formulated with ingredients to reduce inflammation and promote stomach health. This bar is also high in fiber, as fiber is critical to good digestion. Listen to your gut! Click on the link above for ingredient information.

When I saw all of the health benefits of Avail Protein Bars I was sold. I was even more sold when I tasted them. The chocolate was definitely my favorite, but both had excellent flavor. I couldn't believe I was eating cricket flour! Our group would stop every 10 miles or so and throw back a bar. It was easy to feel how well they worked to sustain and give me energy for the next leg of the trip. I always had a hard time swallowing protein bars but the Avail bars made it easy!

Meadowlands Chocolate

If there's two things I have to have with me no matter where I am it's coffee and chocolate. We didn't have a lot of room to pack dessert but these chocolate bars were gourmet and easy to pack. Six-Pack of 1-oz. Bars, one of each variety. 70% Cacao, Fair Trade, Organic Chocolate.Tanzania, Peru, Dominican Republic, Venezuelan, Dominican Republic with Nibs, and 55% Milk Chocolate made with cocoa beans from Peru and organic, whole dried milk.

 These chocolates brought us all a welcome smile and pick-me-up as we sat around the campfire after our first day. We all enjoyed not only the sweet treat but loved being able to sample all of the different chocolate flavors and notes from so many different countries. We may have been camping outdoors but our taste buds were traveling the world!

How To Keep Warm Overnight

I knew we were going to be camping along the trail. I also knew we had limited space to carry gear. Luckily two great products came to my rescue and proved to be both packable and warm!

Honcho Poncho

Ready to be king or queen of the campfire? Part of our Camp & Comfort Series, the Honcho Poncho offers extra warmth and water resistance for a variety of adventures from camping to outdoor sporting events, and it doubles as a blanket! With 37.5insulation, and a breathable, water-resistant shell, the Honcho is as technical as it is fun.

 Lucky for us we didn't run into any rain on the trip but if we had I would have been able to stay drive and warm, even in the rain with my Honcho Poncho. It looks heavy but it is surprisingly lightweight! I was dreading the though of hauling a sleeping bag but this versatile product made for a great blanket to cover up with and sit on around camp!

Adventure Under Quilt

Made just for hammock camping, the Adventure Under Quilt hangs under your hammock to insulate you from the cold and to block wind.

 Last October, Chris and I camped overnight in Pennsylvania in our hammocks and though my hammock was comfortable and my sleeping bag warm, my butt was frozen! I must have been up five times that night because of of the cold. I didn't want to repeat that same experience and lucky for me, Go Outfitters came to my rescue with their Adventure Under Quilt.

Ben and I hammocked together to cut down on the amount of gear we had to take and believe it or not we were both literally sweating, sleeping outside in October, in our Adventure Under Quilt. It was keeping us so warm that we decided to take it off for a bit and cool off! We put our Adventure Under Quilt back on in the early morning hours and were both so grateful to have such a warm and toasty piece of gear. Our rear ends were certainly happy to not be frozen! It was incredibly easy to hang and can be used with most outdoor hammocks (though Go Outfitters has some incredible hammocks of their own available and I've got their newest one for a review coming soon!). Ben and I could hang it and pack it up in under 3 minutes flat making it perfect for hiking, biking, or any outdoor adventure you have coming up this Fall!

How To Accessorize

It's the little odds and ends that make a difference on a 60 mile ride. Having a handy place to keep your phone and water bottles were a top priority for me! Bikase and Elite came to the rescue with everything we needed!


By mile 50 it was all mind over matter. My backside was killing me, and by that I mean it felt like someone had taken a bat to my hind end! It was being able to play and listen to music on my phone that kept me going and gave me something else to focus on other than the pain. Bikase made it possible to keep my phone (and my water bottle) always within reach!

  CoolKASE The CoolKASE is a soft cooler that that is mountable to the front or rear rack of a bicycle, ATV’s, scooters, kayaks, and other forms of transportation. The CoolKASE is a great way to store drinks and food for a picnic, day of fun in the sun and camping! You pick the adventure, the CoolKASE is always ready to GO!

  Handy Andy The Handy Andy 5 is perfected.  Fits iPhone™ 5, 6, 7 and 8 (with or without case). The Handy Andy 5 also fits Android phones such as the Samsung Galaxy™ series, LG and others.  Easily mounts to bike with two military grade straps made of Hypalon that will never break.

  Beetle Phone Case Mounts on top tube or stem. Fits iPhone™ 5, 6, 7 and 8, along with Android-based devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S series. Storage space underneath phone compartment for energy bar, wallet, keys, or tools. Mounts securely to the top tube using Velcro straps and shock cord around stem.

  ElastoKASE The ElastoKASE is a completely universal phone holder for any brand of phone, any size of phone and any size case on the phone. The handle bar bracket works on any style handle bars from 24mm up to 31.8mm. With a simple 10 o’clock to 12 o’clock turn the ElastoKASE is securely mounted to the handle bar bracket and the reverse will easily remove the ElastoKASE.

  Happy Can The Happy Can from BiKASE is a convenient handlebar/stem mounted drink holder or general purpose stash sack. Using a few hook and loop straps, the Happy Can mounts between your handlebar and stem so you have easy access to your beverage or other items.


Cannibal Bottle Cage

  • Bottlecage in fibre-reinforced material (FRP) side entry
  • Simple and quick Insertion/removal of your bottle from front or sides
  • Compatible with all frames, ideal for sloping tubes or small sizes


A stylish reinterpretation of the classic ‘tool bidon’ as used by many pros when training

  • Keeps your tools, tubes, keys and phone safe and dry whilst out on a ride.
  • Innovative divider allows you to keep your personal effects separate from your tools and spares
  • Standard diameter (ΓΈ 74mm)

Elite also has a wide variety of water bottles for every situation. Our Elite water bottles are easy to clean, lightweight, and hold plenty of water! The cages are extremely light and easy to mount in a matter of minutes.

How To Dress


Having never done this kind of distance biking before I had no idea what to wear. Shredly couldn't have come at a better time because not only did their clothes feel great and fit perfectly, they made me look like I'd been riding for years! Talk about a confidence booster!

MTB Shorts

  • Internal waist adjustment system
  • Relaxed yet flattering fit
  • Lightweight, durable and slightly stretchy fabric
  • Contoured waistband for extended coverage
  • Gusseted crotch for ease of movement and extra comfort
  • Invisible zipper thigh vents
  • Side pocket to stash your essentials
  • Length falls just above the knee
  • Chamois liner sold separately

Honeycomb Cargo Tank

  • Moisture wicking, quick-dry, buttery-soft fabric that feels as light as air next to skin
  • Sweet honeycomb-design mesh back maximizes breathability
  • Comfortable yet flattering fit with a gentle boat neckline
  • Slightly longer in back offering the perfect amount of coverage


  • Low-profile, high-performance chamois liner
  • 8-panel articulated design
  • Low-rise, thick elastic waistband that doesn’t cut into places it shouldn’t
  • Leg cuff that keeps things where they’re supposed to be offering breathable, comfortable stability
  • Anti-microbial pad designed to provide breathable comfort even on longer rides (click here for technical details)
  • Compression fit, if you do not prefer a tight fit we recommend ordering one size up!

 Truth be told I never would have made it without Shredly. I truly had no idea how bad your bum can hurt after even just the first 10 miles and without their Yogachams I would have reached levels of desperation I never dreamed possible! My MTB Shorts fit perfectly and (speaking from someone with large hips and a small waste), I really appreciated that they had the elastic adjustable waist band. I was especially thankful that the Honeycomb Cargo Tank was a longer length and very breathable. Shredly is functional fashion in ever sense of the word!

This adventure has been one for the books but I'm proud to say all of us finished what we set out to do! The last two miles of this strip was probably the longest two miles I've ever traveled in my life but it showed me again what I'm capable of if I'm willing to push through a little pain, remember my goal, and never give up till the job is done. We all loved the experience so much that we're heading out early next month to do the last 3rd of the trail (55 miles) from Brunswick to Washington DC - and who knows, we might even go for the whole 180 miles this Spring!

 If you've ever thought about unleashing the own adventurer in yourself, don't wait any longer! Pick and adventure, grab a few friends to encourage each other along the way, and go see what you're capable of! And if you're ready for your own Fall Biking adventure, I've got everything you'll need:



One lucky reader will win this entire Adventure Bike Giveaway including gear from Green Guru, ThermaRest, BiKASE, Go Outfitters, Topeak, Shredly, and Meadowlands Chocolate. To enter, just use the Giveaway Tools form below. Giveaway open to United States, ages 18 and up. Ends 11/8/17 at 11:59pm EST.

Disclosure: I received the item pictured above in exchange for facilitating this post. Our Southern Style and Thrifty Nifty Mommy are not responsible for prize fulfillment. One winner will be randomly selected using the Giveaway Tools random selector and notified via email. Once notified, the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google. Void where prohibited.


  1. I would use all this gear to go for a family bike ride in Duluth MN!

  2. We have a 26 mile trail near our home that I would like to challenge myself to complete. Gotten to the 15 mile mark but not beyond.

    1. You can do it Mia! Take a friend and conquer it together!

  3. We would use the gear for hiking and camping. We have beautiful forest and trails everywhere here in the Northwest and some go for quite a ways. The campgrounds are pretty scenic as well. My hubby and I would choose a trail or campground and have an adventure for a few days.

    1. A couple days adventuring sounds awesome to me!

  4. We have SO many amazing trails in Wisconsin that I honestly don't even know where we'd start!! Id love to ride Devils Lake because Its GORGEOUS!! Id also love to go up to Door County and explore there!!

    1. I wish I would have done more biking when I lived up that way. I love all the wooded areas of Wisconsin! It always reminded me a little bit of home when I lived in Minnesota!

  5. I would love to win this for my son. He loves biking, hiking and camping. He could so use this. He would probably take a weekend with friends and get out to enjoy this. Thank you so much for sharing. God Bless

  6. I would use this great gear on a bke trip with my grandsons in Minnesota.
    thanks for the chance to win this great package!
    Faythe M.A (GrammyMouseTails)

  7. I would use this gear to hike a local trail

  8. These would be great with our new hiking backpacks we just got! Hubby and I have been wanting to have an adventure in BC. :)

  9. We are just entering our lovely Winter here in Arizona. The perfect time to use this gear!

  10. The Handy Andy for a campout.

  11. I would like to win this for my son who would use it for weekend adventures on the California Coast. He is a college student that gets out on his bike to clear his body and soul.

  12. I'm trying to get my wife into bikepacking, this would be perfect to get her off to a great start!

  13. I would use this gear for camping and hiking with my husband

  14. We cycle a lot and this would make our rides even more fun

  15. I would use this to go hiking on a trail that I have not yet conquered.