How far do you walk in a day? How about in a year?
The average American takes 5,117 steps (or walks roughly two-and-a-half miles) each day. Multiply that by 365 and you discover that the average American walks 912.5 miles a year.Share on Facebook
How far do you walk in a day? How about in a year?
The average American takes 5,117 steps (or walks roughly two-and-a-half miles) each day. Multiply that by 365 and you discover that the average American walks 912.5 miles a year.Share on Facebook
Modern-day explorer and RailRiders travel-attire aficionado Julian Monroe Fisher writes: “Here I am in the Foyle Reading Room at The Royal Geographical Society in London on October 31, 2012, with David Baker, the Great, Great Grandson of explorer Sir Samuel White Baker. This is one of the guns that Sir Samuel Baker carried with him during…his 1862-64 expedition up the Nile River to meet Speke and Grant. Baker then went on to become the first European to see Lake Albert which straddles the borderline between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. During Phase two of The 2012-16 Great African Expedition RailRiders is one of Fisher’s sponsors) which begins in early January 2013, along with British filmmaker Jonathan Maguire, I will be retracing the actual route across South Sudan and Uganda that Sir Samuel Baker and his wife and fellow explorer Florence followed during their epic expedition.”
Watch his engaging TEDx lecture below on what it’s like being a modern-day adventurer, anthroplogist, and explorer. Fisher is an International Fellow with the Explorers Club in New York City, and has conducted expeditions in over eighty-five countries around the globe and has led six successful expeditions to the African continent, four of which were sanctioned Explorers Club flag expeditions.
Long-distance cyclist Terry Habeger, 67, writes: “I love my RailRiders Adventure Top Eco-Mesh shirts. They were my constant companions as I crossed the U.S. in four stages in 2007,08,09 and 2010. I rode this bike fully loaded from Astoria, Oregon to Bar Harbor, Maine. There was hardly a day without my RailRider Shirts as I pedalled the 4,649 miles in a total of 75 days.They were the envy of touring bikers I met along the
way, looking and feeling incredibly comfortable and different than the typical ‘biker’ shirt. The shirts performed admirably, enduring intense heat, sweat, road grime and the wear and tear of setting up camp on a daily basis. They gushed with ‘thank yous’ for the occasional rinsing out. These tops will forever be my mainstay as I continue to do a lengthy adventure tour every year. This past summer they experienced the circumnavigation of Lake Superior.”
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How can you not love those zany YouTube videos showing off the combustible mayhem when Coke Zero and Mentos come into crazy contact? The experiments are becoming ever more elaborate. The video here shows a “rocket car” that traveled 209 feet on soda pop highly and controlled fizz. Not very far, you say. Orville Wright’s first flight at Kitty Hawk lasted 12 seconds for a total distance of 120 feet.Share on Facebook
It’s not often that RailRiders trumps Hollywood. Several years ago, RailRiders customer John Hussey walked 600 miles along the historic–and extremely popular– El Camino De Santiago path. The journey by foot for most trekkers starts in the French Pyrenees and ends in Santiago de Compostela, but many pilgrims continue on from there to Fisterra, the “end of the world” as it was known in antiquity, on the Atlantic ocean. The Camino, which is also known as “The Way”, passes by Eunate, Spain, near a 1,000-year-old chapel built to protect Christian pilgrims.
For many travelers (and they come from all over the world), the pilgrimage is also about personal self-discovery. Hussey completed the walk in 45 days, and was always wearing his RailRiders! (See his slide show here.) In fact, Hussey is leaving for France next week to do the walk again! And get this– he will be wearing the same RailRiders shorts (and a new tan Eco-Mesh shirt).
Now, there’s a new film about the walk called “The Way,” which is directed by Emilio Estevez and stars his father Martin Sheen, who connects with his dead son’s memory and learns some startling truths about what it means to live life. Here’s the film trailer:Share on Facebook
Here’s a cool video (see url at end) of wipeouts at a hot surfin’ locale in Southern California known as the Wedge. Situated at the east end of the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, south swells during summer and fall can produce huge waves up to 30 feet high. Maverick’s up the coast in Northern California go higher, but the Wedge is as lethal due to a shallow beach. When the wave comes crashing down, it’s in water no deeper than one or two feet. According to a Wikipedia entry, “this condition causes uninformed and inexperienced swimmers to be at extreme risk of a spinal cord injury. If a person is to ‘go over the falls,’ (fall with the water in the crest of the wave), he will commonly strike his head on the sand below the shallow water. Lower Newport sees many spinal cord injury victims every summer who often end up as quadriplegics.” And fatalities. According to a 2009 L.A. TImes report on a body surfer who died after being rescued from high surf at the Wedge, this “mecca for body surfing also known for its potential dangers.Wedge veterans have left the beach with concussions, fractured vertebrae and broken bones. The Wedge can chew up novices, flinging them onto the hard berm of sand or sucking them back into the churning surf.” Watch video here: http://www.surfline.com/surflinetv/primetime/freeze-frame-at-the-wedge_56341Share on Facebook
Ross Wittgren , of Chicago, sent in this useful tip when it comes time to clean your RailRiders pants and shirts. My wife discovered this several months ago and it really is a great product. Safe for the planet as well as clothes. And, no dryer sheets are needed. No static electricity in the dryer. Start to finish the process takes 5 minutes
2 cups of 20 Mule Team Borax (must be the original)
2 cups of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (no substitutes)
1 bar of Ivory soap cut in small pieces
Mix all of these ingredients in a food processor until they become a fine powder. Use 1/4 cup per load of laundry. This is probably an old product used by our grandparents before the consumer products companies enhanced our lives with endless chemicals. Your great clothes deserve great soap…..Share on Facebook
It was the dawn of the automobile age, when a Paris newspaper issued this challenge in 1907: “What needs to be proved today is that as long as a man has a car, he can do anything and go anywhere. Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Peking to Paris by automobile?” Five teams accepted the challenge, and so began the storied history of the Peking to Paris motor race, a wild, globe-hopping contest that covered 9,000 miles of uncharted terrain and at a time when there were few roads. The winning car was an Italian-made car called the Itala with a seven-liter engine and oversized separate oil tank for the total-loss engine lubrication system.
A rebuilt version of the winning Itala participated in the 2010 race, along with just over 100 other classic cars — including a 1918 Stutz Bearcat, 1925 Ford Model A, 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom, 1935 Bentley, 1939 Packard, 1949 Cadillac, 1965 Aston Martin (James Bond’s car), and 1969 Volkswagen Beetle. Gernold G. Nisius, 51, a Mercedes-Benz restorer in Arundel, Maine, was the refurbished Beetle’s mechanic and navigator (though he also shared driving chores with the car’s owner Garrick D. Staples, who lives in southern California).
Held intermittently over the years with course routes determined by regional conflict and political tension rather than terrain, the 2010 Peking to Paris rally started in Beijing, crossed Mongolia and the Gobi desert, then followed a route that loosely followed the ancient Silk Road, including Kazakhstan, Uzbekhistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and finishing in Paris. France. There were mandatory rest stops each night. Mechanical break- downs were common, though about 90 percent of those cars that started P2P finished, including the durable Beetle that had modified Baja-like suspension. “This was a grueling event with no time to spare and can only be compared to doing the Paris Dakar without support vehicles,” says Gernold. Given obvious space limitations, he brought few personal belongings. “After 50 days on the road, all with two pairs of RailRiders VersaTac Light Pants, one Expedition Shirt and my beloved Equator-HT Shirt. The VersaTacs performed flawlessly.”
See interview with Gernold here in our Adventure Seekers section.Share on Facebook
Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of Gear Junkie— the popular, go-to product-review site for outdoor enthusiasts. He’s a tough, fair, astute critic when it comes to all types of gear; and he likes putting products to the supreme test–how they actually perform in the field. It also helps that he’s an experienced multisport and endurance athlete, along with being a seasoned adventure racer.
My quest to find the ultimate summertime T-shirt for outdoor activity has led down many avenues. This month, the route took a turn and accelerated when it hit upon a shirt made by RailRiders, a Belmont, Mass., company with roots in the world of sailing. Today, RailRiders is more known in outdoor-adventure circles, and its clothing — which I have worn for years — is touted as the “toughest on the planet.” The company’s Eco-Speed-T is advertised to be quick-wicking, sun protective, and durable in the outdoors.
I tested the shirt, which costs $36 and comes in men’s and women’s builds, in a recent six-hour adventure race. Temps peaked past 90 degrees and the sun blazed. I was soaked with sweat much of the day.The Eco-Speed-T at first might seem slightly too thick for hot days. It’s made of a nylon-polyester blend with a “waffle-weave” that gives it a tiny bit of bulk. But that’s where the wicking mojo comes from: Moisture and sweat are slurped off the body by this shirt and exposed to the air.
At one point in the adventure race, I jumped in a lake to cool off. An hour later, after two miles of running and then 20 minutes in the wind on a bike leg, the shirt was almost bone dry.
As an alternative to a cotton T-shirt, the RailRiders short-sleeve is an immense upgrade. There are mesh panels under the arms and up each side of the Eco-Speed-T for maximum airflow — a nice touch. The fabric is cited as offering UPF 20+ sun protection. The Eco-Speed-T also holds its own against some of my favorite hot-weather tops, including thinner synthetic and merino wool pieces that can cost twice as much. The thinner shirts at first feel airier than the RailRiders top, but in use they do not dry out as fast.
In my quest for the perfect T, the RailRiders “waffle-weave” shirt is now near the top of my list. It’s a good value, and in my hot-weather test it proved its propensity to perform.Share on Facebook
Look at this photo. Beautiful alpine lake. Gorgeous mountain backdrop. Nature’s very own picture-perfect postcard. But think again. Looks can be awfully deceiving. The small lake in this photo is Wilma, near the Pacific Crest Trail and inside Yosemite National Park. It’s also home to zillions of mosquitoes who breed in nearby marshes and swampy areas. Spring and summer months are wretched for hikers and campers. In a recent article for the San Francisco Chronicle, outdoors writer Tom Stienstra offered this assessment:
From 2 miles out on the Pacific Crest Trail, heading north, the mosquitoes start to buzz in your eyes and ears. With each step, more arrive around your head. When you reach the lake and the hordes from the bog on the far side pick up your scent, you might feel like the French looking across the Rhine and seeing the Wehrmacht attacking. Absolute nightmare. It’s a pretty lake and many Pacific Coast Trail hikers see it on a map and overnight here. Never again. The lake’s marsh and a few slime holes to the south turn the area into the Yosemite Mosquito Sanctuary. On an 80-degree day, we saw guys wearing full rain gear as armor to try to defend against the attacks. They failed. So did we. If you break camp after dawn, the mosquitoes will wake up first to ambush you.
As for the next worst place to hang your hat and hiking poles in Yosemite, according to Stienstra, it is Camp 4, which is located right in the Valley. Many great climbers call this small campground near the base of El Capitan their not-so temporary home away from home. And so do a lot of wannabe’s.
The original theory was to create a campground for the world-class rock climbers near the foot of El Capitan. But you can stake out a campsite and find a dozen strangers putting their bags down all around you. The sites are close together, and on many nights, it can feel like a continuous, amorphous blob of sleeping bags that span more than an acre. A lot of young campers will drink, talk and stay up late, killing the chance to sleep. This year the park will try to post a ranger at the camp to keep some semblance of order. The guy has no chance.Share on Facebook
Julian Jamison, who is a Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and Lecturer in the Harvard Economics Department, loves to travel–a function of his job and own personal passions. He often sends us short email dispatches and photos of him doing something out of the ordinary in RailRiders clothing –bungee jumping in Uganda is still our favorite, though this one here of him on a scooter sandwiched between a soldier and driver is a close second. We recently asked him what was his favorite truly off-the-grid, get-away place. He replied, “I like to travel. Indeed, I am typing this while on a plane from Brussels, Belgium to Kigali, Rwanda. I’ve been to over 60 countries, although the precise number depends on exactly how you define ‘been to’ (leave the airport? stay overnight?) and how you define ‘countries’ (Scotland? the Vatican? Hong Kong?). Not surprisingly, folks often ask me what my favorite place is, which is almost impossible to answer. However, I have an easy answer for the most unique and the most fascinating and the most picturesque and the most remote: Vanuatu. This archipelago of 80+ islands and around 200,000 people sits smack in the middle of the South Pacific, and indeed one of the prettiest islands (centered around an active volcano) was the inspiration for the musical of the same name. Another island was the origin of bungee jumping – still traditionally performed with vines!
What’s important about the history of Vanuatu is that there are hundreds of individual tribes, multiple ones sharing a single island, each with its own highly distinct language and culture. Two languages separated by 25 miles of rugged terrain here can be linguistically further apart than English and Russian. The closest thing to a common tongue is Bislama, which is a creole English that developed organically a century ago for trade between the islands and with Australia. For instance, in Bislama my height caused me to be referred to as the ‘long fella’ white man.
Many villages have adopted western-style dress, which often means incongruous excess t-shirts from the latest bombed pop tour or Vegas act, but some have maintained the traditional dress and behavior, known locally as “kastom” (i.e. custom). Adult males wear only a penis sheath and perhaps foot protection, so they carry a woven shoulder bag for small items. I would call it a man-purse, but the man in question is generally bare-chested, ripped, and never more than a few feet from his machete… so I think I’ll refrain.
“There’s a video about a 108-year-old Vanuata chief on YouTube — go here– that documents a truly remarkable individual from one of the kastom villages. To visit someplace like it, you will need to fly to Sydney; connect to the capital city of Port Vila; grab a small plane to the specific island, landing on a grass runway hacked out of the jungle. bump down a dirt road until that ends; take a fishing boat further down the coast; and then hike uphill for several miles. Once there, if you’re lucky, you can relax by downing some kava – the only legal narcotic in the world. The roots of this tuber-like plant are freshly dug and then pre-chewed by adolescent boys before being strained into coconut shells for drinking. I can personally guarantee that you will sleep well.
“I haven’t even mentioned the recurring stories of cannibalism, or the spiraling wild boar tusks that are worth more to them than medicine or money (what is there to buy?). All this and more may be lost and forever irretrievable, and the video alludes to the tradeoffs involved. The social scientist in me bemoans this looming loss but also appreciates the flipside of change and progress. Vanuatu is at the periphery of the world’s endemic malaria zone, so it is at the forefront of eradication efforts; I was there to study bednet usage and attitudes. One island is now completely malaria-free, which is a tremendous forward step. What are we willing to give up, or to ask others to give up, in order to achieve desired but conflicting outcomes? There are no easy answers, and relentless time rather than conscious human intentions may prove the deciding factor.”Share on Facebook
San Francisco Bay Area photographer Paul Kirchner mainly shoots still life in his studio, but he often spends a lot of time outside on assignment in vineyards. He explains: “I have worked for the oldest wineries in California to the newest, mainly in the Napa, Sonoma, Russian River Valleys and the Central Coast region. From wineries that put out a few thousand cases per year to ones that produce millions of cases per year. Two to three times a week found me before dawn waiting for the light somewhere and again later on waiting for the sweet light of the sunset. Some of the Napa vineyards are way back in the hills surrounded by the densest of brush and stickers and thorns, some are on the valley floor in more controlled situations.
This sort of shooting can be rough on equipment and clothes. I wanted to wear things I didn’t have to baby, would not shred when forcing my way through a few hundred yards of the stickers, would be cool in the afternoon heat, had plenty of pockets for stuff and be presentable for the fancy restaurants of Napa and still look good. I tried to destroy the Rock Jeans but failed. With the Expedition Shirt, no rips, no tears, no stains from six months of work.” Go here to read RailRiders interview with Paul Kirchner.Share on Facebook
The Dakar Rally, known worldwide as the ultimate off-road vehicle race, used to go from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal; but due to terrorist threats in Mauritania in 2008 (the race was canceled that year), the 2009 Dakar Rally was held in Argentina and Chile. And it’s where serious off-road action has been going on during the past week. As is often the case with this fast-and-furious race, fatalities do occur with a bit too much regularity. A man died at the Dakar Rally on January 13, when the small truck he was driving collided with a car in the race. The Rally is open to amateur and professional entries in three classes: bike(moto) class (including the quad bikes sub-class); the car class, (which ranges from “dune” buggies to small SUVs); and the jumbo-size T4 truck class. Most vehicles are heavily modified due to the tough driving conditions. American (“Baja”) style pro trucks have seldom won. The big boys in in the car class are Mitsubishi, Volkswagen and BMW. Amateurs typically make up about eighty percent of the participants. Some great 2011 Dakar video footage here.Share on Facebook
The 34th America’s Cup won’t happen for two years, but organizers have already begun its planning, which includes mapping out a spectator-friendly course. The international sailing competition will take place in August and September of 2013 and will last at least 43 days. A preliminary race course inside the San Francisco Bay was unveiled to the media this week. The 45-minute course will send 72-foot catamarans zipping from Crissy Field along the Embarcadero before they loop around and pass Treasure and Angel islands. The Golden Gate Bridge, Marin County, San Francisco and the East Bay hills will provide great television visuals. So how did San Francisco get to host sailing’s crown jewel of racing? Look no further than software billionaire tycoon Larry Ellison whose San Francisco-based BMW Oracle Racing team is the current Cup champion and was responsible for picking the venue.Share on Facebook
Love Letter from Doug White: “Hi Folks! And happy holidays to all of you at RailRiders Clothing .I just wanted to drop you a note to wish you all the best and tell you how much I appreciate the quality of your clothing. I may not be a professional athlete or have any other sort of fame that carries an influential name, but I am a dyed-in-the-wool adventurer. I am very hard on clothes, and the places I venture into tend to shred the more well-known, name-brand “fancy pants.” I began using your gear a few years ago, and now it’s the only stuff I wear when I head out into the real wild. It’s true quality!
“This past fall, I was in the Escalante Desert near the southern border of Utah and northern border of Arizona. We do a lot of backcountry trekking where no trails exist and few people venture. After days of scrambling in, over, and through rock of all sorts, I actually got my first tear in a pair of your Eco-Mesh pants. I was actually proud of this happening since I had never before torn out the backside of your pants. I almost took a picture of it to send to you, but my wife prevented that little indiscretion.”Share on Facebook
Associated Press newsflash headline for December 12, 2010 read, “Navratilova ‘Just Couldn’t Breathe’ on Kilimanjaro.” The short article went on to say that the 54-year-old tennis great had to be carried down from Africa’s highest mountain on a stretcher after her fluid-filled lungs forced her to abandon her attempt to climb 19,340-foot Mount Kilimanjaro. She was treated at a Nairobi hospital for high-altitude pulmonary edema, and was released after several days. The climb was to raise money and awareness for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
RailRiders asked long-time customer and outdoorsman Jonathon Schecter, a paramedic and naturalist living in Michigan and who had recently summitted Kilimanjaro, for his personal reaction to the Navratilova story. Schecter also writes a hiking column for The Oakland Press and outdoor safety and first-aid features for Woods N’ Water News. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Schecter emailed us the following:
Martina Navratilova followed the best possible course of action when she became symptomatic of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) near the 14,000-foot mark of 19,341 foot Mt Kilimanjaro, the tallest free standing volcano in the world. She followed the golden rule for treatment: IMMEDIATE DESCENT! Her emergency descent was facilitated by porters that carried her down on a stretcher with a big wheel, ending her attempt to reach the summit. Continue readingShare on Facebook
Thinking of traveling by car through northern Mexico over the holidays or anytime soon? You might reconsider, or at least, travel in a convoy. This is based on a recent safety alert issued by the Mexican government. The announcement, which is long overdue, comes as a response to the high number of robberies, kidnappings, drug cartel violence, and even murder along some border highways, especially in the states of Tamaulipas, Sonora and Sinaloa. The situation has become so dangerous that the U.S. State Department urges travelers to avoid driving on some of the roads: “Criminals have followed and harassed U.S. citizens traveling in their vehicles in border areas including Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, and Tijuana.” Furthermore, the State Department has prohibited its employees from traveling by vehicle across the U.S.-Mexico border. Drug violence in Mexico has claimed over 28,000 lives since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against the cartels four years ago.Share on Facebook
Endurance is something all hikers know about. Just ask those who devote up to half a year walking the length of the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail. But endurance is something even the casual weekend hiker has familiarity with. Our bodies are pretty good at providing sustained energy for up to three hours; afterward, the blood-glucose levels begin to plummet. Trail-mix keeps us going then. Yet did you know that you can train your body to tap into its nearly limitless supply of body fat for energy? Our body fat is a like an untapped reservoir of energy. Ultrarunners know this. So do cyclists and triathletes. The key is how to unlock this energy source. That’s one of the fitness messages addressed in just-published The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing, by Dr. Philip Maffetone, who was named “Coach of the Year” by Triathlete Magazine and honored by Inside Triathlon magazine as one of the top twenty most influential people in endurance sports worldwide. Continue readingShare on Facebook
A good friend of RailRiders is Dave Low, past winner of Hawaii’s Fittest CEO competition and 2008 Hawaii Ironman finisher ( 11:53). The 47-year-old CEO of Hawaii Capital Management, which is based in Honolulu, decided to take his bike training to an entirely new level: he went downscale, swapping out his expensive, tricked-out triathlon bike for a Walmart clunker. He also likes riding in an Eco-Mesh shirt for the airy, casual look rather than going all sweaty and hot in a Lycra bike jersey. To understand the logic behind his move to a department store bike, here is Dave’s rationale:
“It ain’t fun or easy getting older. Between workouts, rest days seem more important. Injuries like my nagging Achilles heel take longer to mend. I’m now pushing the aging needle deep into my upper 40s. Yet I still have plenty of athletic pride to contend with. Especially on training rides. One crafty way to survive riding with Honolulu’s young hotshot cyclists is to employ roadside reverse psychology. Which is why I decided to stop riding my $6,000 Cervelo, a time-trialist’s dream machine, and went shopping at Walmart where I plunked down $139 for a 40-pound 10-speed clunker.
“The Denali was the only bike I used for several months. I even kept the kickstand. I also bought a small bell and horn. Friends thought I was Pee Wee Herman. When the bike finally broke down after over a thousand miles, I bought another.
“I didn’t mind looking like the village idiot when I showed up for hammer sessions with my training buddies. Because I never got dropped! In fact, I actually got stronger on the heavier Walmart bike.Share on Facebook
Phil Maffetone, who lives in southern Arizona in the shadow of the Santa Catalina Mountains, took this photo of his AdventureTop getting some quick hang-time in his backyard. “I was amazed by how it dried in minutes,” remarked Phil, a legendary figure in the triathlon and running world, who is also the the author of the just-published, The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing. Several years ago, Phil took a sabbatical from training and coaching world-champion triathletes, such as six-time Hawaii Ironman winner Mark Allen, and took up songwriting– and began working with music producer Rick Rubin, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and some mighty talented Nashville studio musicians. (Phil also treated Johnny Cash and got him walking again.) Oh yeah, Phil created our two new RailRiders videos, featuring his original music. And if you want to see and hear something sweet, wonderful, soothing, and the ultimate mood-lifter, go here– an inspiring music-video homage to the innocence, dreams, and beauty of children. It’s of two families, seven children, one photographer Mike Cetta, with music by their grandfather Phil, and performed by his daughter Thérèse.Share on Facebook
Last spring, British explorer Ripley Davenport trekked 1,000 miles across the barren, eastern steppes of Mongolia and the Gobi desert. It was his intention to become the first self-supported individual to traverse the landlocked country that is sandwiched between Russia and China. His long walk clearly redefined the term “self-sufficiency” for the simple reason that he towed all his supplies in a wheeled trailer; its quarter-ton weight made walking extremely difficult over the brutal, unforgiving terrain. He named the trailer and his sole companion “Molly Brown.” Continue readingShare on Facebook