A tail of two tents

To adequately cover a gathered end hammock such as the blue sky (109″?), a hex cut (6 sided diamond) rain fly might have a centerline length of 144″; the several inches of overhang is actually tapered and thus less material than otherwise is used. But My Hennessy has more than enough sidewall length, which while making me feel completely secure from weather intrusion, also gates the wind and provides tremendous privacy. /from nearly all angles other than looking past the suspending trees like a barrel./ this of course requires
Staking out the wings or otherwise tying out four guy lines.

While I like a free standing tent, I have found too that the UL 2 must also be guyed down in windy conditions. A spring storm at Jenny lake in the Tetons brought 20-30 mph winds that pressed down the roof to on top of me, despite having all 6 lines guyed. In still conditions, this may not seem requires but given the uncertainty, guying seems cheap insurance.

So whether using a hammock tent and fly or ground tent with guy-able fly, I will be making 4 to 6 quick knots with near certainty and using grounds stakes as likely with each approach.

After several days of ground tent camping, you will find that there is no better sleep than in a hammock. like a puppy among litter-mates, the pressure on hips and shoulders is gone and there is no better rest. But what where their are no suitable trees, and can be the case with improved camp sites offering only a gravel pad and strict boundaries?

And what about moisture management without a ground cloth? Already a hammock tent collects moisture that will likely but harmlessly make it inside to the occupant. moisture will accumulate on the bottom even out west in dry conditions. As one shifts about on their sleeping pad and touches the outside exposed fabric, condensation may work it’s way in. Yet With a synthetic bag this presents no problem or discomfort. Products to insulate the outside of a hammock look to be over-kill, increasing weight.

So why not carry both a hammock tent and fly and ground tent with fly? Clearly the problem is redundancy increases weight. And sadly, the flys are not suitable for one another; the UL has interfered guy lines that attach only in conjunction with the fly and it is too short and misshaped to cover a hammock. The Hennessy fly would cover the UL but absent critical guying connection points.

One idea where there are no trees is to pitch the gathered-end-hammock on the ground such as a bivy under the hex tarp, but lacking a water proof tub, this seems ill advised. Atop a tyvek ground cloth seems more reasonable. Poles too would have to be used to support the hex cut flys centerline, along with four lines holding out the wings.


UPDATE!! THE SOLUTION IS HERE! order and licensing inquiries here: http://www.beaublessing.com/twotents/

Europe Cycling: North Sea (to Baltic Sea?) to Black Sea

The North Sea Cycling route circumnavigates the North Sea, appropriately, from the Shetland Islands (UK) south along the coast before hoping the channel for the Netherlands and running north along the coast of continental Europe another 3,000 some miles into Norway. An interactive map here: www.NorthSea-cycle.com

Edinburgh is the first international city intercepting the route going counter clockwise. Yet Glasgow (GLA) is less expensive and available direct from Florida. I spent $355 for the one-way ticket from Orlando (MCO) at the end of June, including a $95 sports item bike fee.

Edinburgh without a doubt is more tourist oriented than Glasgow, but the two cities are only 60 miles apart. A traffic-free barge towpath, making up the National Cycling Network’s Route 754, offers one day ride solution:

This route starts on Route 7 and uses the towpath of the Forth and Clyde canal from Bowling, through north Glasgow, to the Falkirk Wheel; and then the Union Canal towpath (joining Route 75) into the heart of Edinburgh. (http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/route-754)

“Route 754 is canal towpath, and much of the surface is unbound” but heading east to Edinburgh, it is after Falkirk  that several posters have complained of conditions. Yet NCN754 is still considered a nicer route than NCN75.

Thus, the moderator at SusTrans comments that “…from Falkirk you could leave it for Route 1 at Linlithgow (climbing over the hill to the coast at Bo’ness – stick to the coast on the new path to Blackness Castle – not yet signed as NCN 76.” One would rejoin the North Sea Cycling Route at South Queensferry.

There are ferry options to cross the channel before reaching London, including Newcastle to Ijmuiden, Teesport to Rotterdam and Kingston upon Hill-Rotterdam. There are also port destions further south, including Brugge. NOTE: Ferry route names may borrow from their origninating river more often than the town you’ll be looking to catch it.

Across Germany

From about Cuxhaven (Bremerhaven 43km away given as actual origin/terminus) to Dresden, the 850km Elbe Cycling Route “mostly runs on dedicated, asphalt cycle paths, often on or alongside the Elbe embankment. Mostly traffic-free. Asphalt is the predominant surface. Be prepared for headwinds when cycling downstream.” I plan to head upstream.


But off route at Travemunde on the Baltic Sea, several ferry options might carry one as far away as St. Petersburg (Russia) or Helsinki (Finland). Rostock, futher east, is another ferry port and beyond that few hundred km east is Barth, the site of a German Army WWII POW camp, though the structures are unrecognizable now, from what one gathers. A return towards Dresden and Prague beyond might included following the Oden (http://www.germany.travel/en/leisure-and-recreation/cycling/oder-neisse-cycle-route.html)

Prague (Praha) to Vienna (Wien) Greenway


Europe Cycling: Equipment

This summer I plan to follow the North Sea from Edinburgh, Scotland to Cuxhaven, Germany, then follow the Elbe for the Vltava and Prague. Next, I’ll roll southeast on the Prague-Vienna (Praha-Wien) Greenway, follow the Danube though Budapest, Hungary (and Bucharest, Romania just off route) for the Black Sea. One mid-trip option is to navigate to Barth, Germany on the Baltic Sea to visit where my grandfather spent nearly 12 months as “a guest of the German Army” in a POW internment camp. See Route information here.

REVIEWS TO FOLLOW! I hope to provide gear updates on each item on tour to see what works and holds up.


Marin Muirwoods: Steel frame 29er with 20mm Alex rims (32 spoke count), Shimano Alevo 8-speed 11-34 Megarange rear cassette, Hollowtech triple chain ring crankset (with 42, 32, 22 Shimano SLX steel chainrings), Tek mechanical disc brakes (168mm rotors), Shimano Doere long arm rear derailleur, and shimano alivo front derailleur. Not shown; new Continental Top Contact II 700×47 touring tires with Conti-tube 180 gram 700×47 tubes with 40mm metal Schrader valve.
Modifications: rerouted front derailleur cable to replace bulkier bottom-pull derailleur with lower profile, like-grade top-pull derailleur to increase rear tire clearance. Also, old-school bull horn handlebars and smaller diameter stem.


Rerouted cable to pull front derailleur from top in order to clear 2″ tires on previous trip. But with running Continental 700×47 thing tours, which is equal to about 1.85 inches, no long required but why bother switching back? Not sure what this part is actually designed for but a shout out to bike mechanic Glen for the hack.
VersaRack with Continental Top Contact II 700×47 tire 🙂





Planet Bike Versarack for disc brakes. Not heavy duty but we’ll see how it holds up.
Tektro Novela mechanical disc brakes are about the cheapest mechanical disc brakes out there and rumored to be on par with BB5’s. They came with the bike and stop the bike. I ordered new pads for $5.99 each on Amazon to replace the first set with many miles on them. But hey, they pretty much work fine.
Not so much a problem on the rear, the Tektro Novela’s can slip on the front disc brake mounts so that the rotor rubs the discs. The 4 or 5mm hex bolt must be loosed, the brake mechanism aligned and retightened. I’ve had this problem most often after transporting bike with front tire off; the brake strikes things.
Promax brake lever that came with the bike and works.
Promax brake lever that came with the bike and works.






































Rack: Planet Bike Versarack ($20)

Panniers: Orlieb Back Roller (not classic)

Other Packs/Bike Bags: Walmart Bell fuel tank bag with clear plastic touch-able top to hold iPhone 5 or SE in view for navigating ($15), Bell underseat bag for holding space tube, tire levers and patch kit ($10), Jandd frame pack ($34) with spare spokes, Alien tool, Leatherman, other.

Tires: Continental Top Contact II 700×47 (about 1.85″ wide). So sexy and exciting, first time I’ve ever had proper new tires 🙂 Tubes: 180 gram Conti-tube 700×47 40mm schrader. Metal stem protects against rim rub.

Pedals: flats with old school toe cages (toe clips)

Saddle: Adamo spit saddle Road Gel


Shoes; Merrell Moab GorTex

Puff; Outdoor Research Cathode Hoody

Pant: Prana Convertible Zion Pant

Shirts: Icebreaker Oasis 200 Bodyfit Graphic Long sleeve T’s (2), one short sleeve.

Socks; icebreaker wool hiker light crew, conti-wool bike sock

Cycling Shorts(2): Craft Puncheur shorts with pad, Nishiki shorts with pad


Sleeping Bag: Mountain Hardware synthetic hyperlamina Flame +20

Mattress: Sea to Summit Ultra Light air

Tent: Big Anges Fly Creek UL 2

Ground tarp: Tyvek housewrap

Hammock tent and fly? See article here soon.







Spare Spokes

Cassette Tool

Chain whip?