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The Pedalshift Project 066: Bike touring locks and America’s longest rail trails

Kicking off 2017 with a bang, we cover lightweight bike touring locks, the longest rail trails in the US and an overview of what’s to come on the show in 2017!

The Pedalshift Project 066: Bike touring locks and America's longest rail trailsHey it’s the direct download link for The Pedalshift Project 066: Bike touring locks and America’s longest rail trails (mp3)

Reach out to the show via email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to join the newsletter too.

Have some bike touring or overnight stories to share? Send your pics, audio or a quick tweet – all welcome. Email the show at pedalshiftproject@gmail.com or call the lightly-used Pedalshift voicemail line at (202) 930-1109.

Happy New Year!

2017 is going to be a great year for Pedalshift… a few things:
– Last year we had more shows than ever. This year we’ll top that. My intention is to have the 2017 Holiday Spectacular be Pedalshift 100.
– That means we have to have 3 episodes per month, SO…
– The Pedalshift Project will continue as is with episodes every other week, and
– There will be a 3rd episode every month on one of the off weeks covering a single topic… sometimes gear, sometimes tips, but always something useful… whether you’re a beginner or more seasoned.
– I’m also going to try to expand into more interviews… last year I did more than the year before, and I hope to do the same this year.
– Pedalshift, like bike touring, is an escape from the rest of the world… what would you like to hear? Shoot me ideas and topics to pedalshift@pedalshift.net.
– Oh yeah, new logo too! Seems to be tradition around here to update the look every year… still orange. Because, of course.
What about 2017 touring?
– 2017 will continue 2016’s emphasis on shorter, more accessible tours.
– I hope to mix in a few new spots this year (more on that in a bit)
– A longer (more than 1 week long) ride is hopefully in the cards, but I don’t want to plan anything substantial this winter so I can spend my time more flexibly later as opportunities firm up
– I’m definitely going to integrate Pedalshift Tour Journals and maybe Pedalshift AM into the future rides… more to come when those get going later this year.
– I hope to interview more people who are tackling bigger, more adventurous rides so we can all learn from those too

Gear Talk

Did you get anything good this holiday season? If you got loaded up with gift cards or cash and want some ideas, go check out the holiday gift guide… I listed a lot of my favorites in case you’re in the market for some new gear.

Lightweight bike touring locks

I tend not to tour in spots that have high security needs, so the locks I use in DC don’t tend to come with me. Still, I like to have the peace of mind to lock up outside grocery stores and other spots when I’m leaving my bike outside.
Some people are good with just cable locks on tour… I used to be ok with them, but I think they’re SO easily defeatable with simple tools that I prefer something more secure.
No lock is foolproof… all can be defeated. The trick is to find the right risk management.
New folding lock styles are interesting. I really like my Inbike folding lock as a touring lock option. Only downside is TSA sees it as a multitool every time so you should pull it out of your carry on separately or risk the (often lengthy) wait. Better yet, check it.
I have a new lightweight cinch lock on the way I’m excited to test out (Ottolock) – I hopped on their Kickstarter so hopefully should have it soon. May be a great touring option.

The Journal

Here are the longest rail-trail conversions in the US, as calculated by Rails to Trails Conservancy:
1. Katy Trail State Park — Missouri: 286 miles
2. John Wayne Pioneer Trail — Washington: 253 miles
3. Cowboy Trail — Nebraska: 195 miles
4. Great Allegheny Passage — Maryland & Pennsylvania: 150 miles
5. Soo Line Trail – Northern Route — Minnesota: 148 miles
6. Columbia Plateau Trail State Park — Washington: 130 miles
7. Paul Bunyan State Trail — Minnesota: 121 miles
8. Flint Hills Nature Trail — Kansas: 117 miles
9. Soo Line Trail – Southern Route & Saunders State Trail — Minnesota & Wisconsin: 114 miles
10. OC&E Woods Line State Trail — Oregon: 110 miles
11. George S. Mickelson Trail — South Dakota: 109 miles
12. Blue Ox Trail (Voyageur Trail) — Minnesota: 107 miles
13. State Line Trail — Michigan: 107 miles
14. Wild Rivers State Trail — Wisconsin: 104 mile


The Pedalshift Project theme is America courtesy of Jason Kent off his self-titled solo album. Check out his band Sunfields‘ latest release, Habitat, wherever cool music resides. And a little birdy tells me Jason’s recording some new music. More when I know…

Bike Touring Gift Guide

The Pedalshift Project 058: Bike touring across America

Ever wonder what it’s like to cross the US by bike? On this episode of the pod, we chat with a guy who’s done it not once, not twice, but three times! Michael Riscica talks about the highs and lows of bike touring across America, including what it’s like to transition to the real world back home. Plus gear talk and more!

Hey it’s the direct download linkThe Pedalshift Project 058: Bike touring across America: The Pedalshift Project 058: Bike touring across America (mp3)

Reach out to the show via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Don’t forget to join the newsletter too.

Have some bike touring or overnight stories to share? Send your pics, audio or a quick tweet – all welcome. Email the show at pedalshift@pedalshift.net or call the lightly-used Pedalshift voicemail line at (202) 930-1109.

Gear Talk

Touring Brompton specs: “The Pedalshift Touring Brompton”

Touring Brompton specs
– Boo: no orange for Bromptons! H/T Anna at Clever Cycles for letting me in on that.
– A few things to add: I really like the Brompton toolkit (ingenious storage in the tube) and the third party Off Yer Bike handle. For a lock, I’m experimenting with a folding version that’s a knockoff of the ALBUS ones and I just supported a Kickstarter campaign for a cinching lock by a Portland company called Ottolock. Super lightweight and fairly resistant to cutting.

Bicycling with your dog followup

Based on the advice of fellow dog biker and follower Jim in Louisville, I asked for Outward Hound’s Pooch Pouch backpack for my recent bday… both pups fit in it, Belle Starr a little better than Mookie. Looking to a fall overnight with her to test it all out!

The Interview: Bike touring across America with Michael Riscica

mr-sidebarMichael Riscica is a Licensed Architect in Oregon. He grew up in the New York City Area and moved to Portland by bike in 2007. A veteran of three cross-America bike tours, Michael rode the Transam in 2005, the Northern Tier in 2007 and returned to the Transam in 2016… all east to west, like a boss. He writes at YoungArchitect.com and coast2coastbikeride.com. He’s also on Instagram & Twitter [@BikeTouring999].

  • What was your inspiration to move across country by bike on your first cross country ride?
  • You strike me as a pretty laid back guy, but critics of your ride, your gear or your style, and even how you wrote your blog got under your skin. Frankly as a reader I felt the same way. What’s your take on “backseat bicyclists”?
  • Your dog patiently waited for your return and you could tell you missed her a lot on the ride. Would you consider bringing her along on a future ride?
  • How challenging was it to do work on the road? Was there ever a point when you needed internet or cell signal and didn’t have it?
  • What’s the one thing friends and family got consistently wrong about your rides that you always felt you needed to correct about bike touring across America?
  • What’s the best advice or assistance you got on tour?
  • Favorite gear?
  • You’ve done the northern tier and the Trans Am now twice. Are you thinking about trying the southern tier ride at some point?
  • Three cross-country rides in… what’s changed with riding across country?
  • Did you have a tough time transitioning back into reality when you got back? What tips do you have?

Pedalshift Society

A big thank you to all of the monthly supporters of the show! If you like what you hear, you can help me keep the show listener-supported while expanding the offerings. A buck, two bucks or even 5 helps with the costs of hosting the podcast and the website, plus the  Pedalshift Society allows me to do cool new things I’ll be rolling out in future shows. AND brand new by popular request… one-shot annual support and “choose your own adventure” one shot support if you’re not into the small monthly thing. Check it out and join at pedalshift.net/society. On to the Society!

  • Ethan Georgi
  • Matt Buker
  • Kimberly Wilson
  • Caleb Jenkinson
  • Cameron Lien
  • Andrew MacGregor
  • Michael Hart
  • Johnny K
  • Josiah Matthews
  • Keith Nagel
  • Brock Dittus
  • David Kolb

Thank you for supporting the show!


The Pedalshift Project theme is America courtesy of Jason Kent off his self-titled solo album. Check out his band Sunfields‘ album, Habitat, wherever cool music resides.  I heard Jason’s new album in January and it is AWESOME. More info when that drops!