Archive for the ‘bikepacking’ Category

Dad and Daughter Bike Camping

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

I’ve wanted to share my bikepacking / camping experiences with the girls for some time… and we finally made that happen last weekend. We planned a 2 night trip, but Ava was keen on not skipping out of her theater camp a couple of days early – so we did a 1 night trip to a nearby state park. We covered ~20 miles the first day from home to the state park. Most of the trip was on the Island Line trail, which is our local lakefront multi use path. The balance was on quiet dirt roads, with a couple sections of pavement.


We took the Local Motion Bike Ferry to continue on to Grand Isle, and stayed in Grand Isle State Park. Its a typical tent / lean to / camper / RV style park on Lake Champlain – so this was a ‘suburban’ style camping excursion. I picked a lean to / tent site that was isolated from the other sites. We used the lean to for cooking and hanging out, and slept in our tent.









We played in the park a bit before dinner, and while I cooked the girls ran back and forth to the drinking water spigot to top off our water and fill up the Sea to Summit Kitchen Sink (which worked great!!).




We ventured out after dark to take in the blue moon over the lake… and then tucked into bed for the night, where we had a good rain storm (my seam sealing worked!).

I attempted to make pancakes for breakfast while the girls played cards (hard to make pancakes in a tiny Ti pan… next time I’ll bring my older, larger cook kit). We then packed everything up, took a short swim in the lake, and headed home.




The trip home turned into a mini adventure. At our snack spot we heard thunder, and the girls asked me to ‘drop the hammer’ to get us home. I rode as hard as I could muster with 440 pounds of bike, gear, kids and dad rolling down the road… and we outran the storm by the time we got to the ferry….


…only to get stuck waiting for the next boat as the next wave of lightning and thunder rolled over us.

The girls were nervous and a bit scared, but we got away from the docks and few trees on the causeway, sat on our sleeping pads and hugged while snacking. The boat finally made it back and we all got on to sit out the wall of water and the front that blew through. Once the weather settled the ferry disembarked the original passengers, and we loaded up our bike for the final ~6 miles home. We were dry in our rain coats, but got splashed by the wind driven waves and lingering showers for a bit. After about 20 minutes the sun came out and I ditched my coat to cool off.






I’ll add another post with all the gear and bike geek stuff…

Moosamaloo Overnight

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

I snuck out on the IF for an overnight last weekend. Burlington to Shelburne and Charlotte on Spear, then dropping down to Vergennes and off to Middlebury on the backside route, staying to pavement most of the way down to Middlebury then up to Moosamaloo. Return route included Steam Mill and Natural Turnpike and some new (to me) dirt roads near Monkton.

The ADKs from Vergennes

The ADKs from Vergennes

Crossing the tracks on the Trail Around Middlebury

Crossing the tracks on the Trail Around Middlebury

Crossing the tracks on the Trail Around Middlebury

Crossing the tracks on the Trail Around Middlebury

I had a late lunch in Middlebury and then connected the TAM to skip some busy roads, only to find a construction detour that put me right back on Rt. 7 south out of town. In East Middlebury I hunted for a decent beer at the gas station / convenience store but nothing sounded good – so I topped off on a snack or two and water and headed up up up VT 125. The climb up 125 took forever. I was pretty cooked from the ride, and I walked the first steep pitch just out of town, pushing the bike uphill until I reached a pull off where I collected myself, hydrated, and then pushed on for camp.

At FR32, Goshen Ripton Rd. I turned onto dirt. This was about ~52 miles into my ride, and I found myself off the bike and pushing for a stretch to give the quads and lungs a break. FR32 is one of my move favorite places to get to on a bike.

FR 32

FR 32

My plan was to arrive around dinner time, setup camp, then make dinner while shooting a time-lapse sunset from the Voter Brook Overlook. I pulled into the Moosamaloo Campground at about 6:30, found an open site, dropped some $$ into the deposit box, and setup my Tarptent Moment.

Tarptent Moment Setup from Mike Beganyi on Vimeo.

The Voter Brook Overlook is a 5 minute ride further down the access road. It was a bit underwhelming with regards to getting a good sunset time-lapse – but I tried out the GoPro and made dinner.

Setting up the GoPro

Setting up the GoPro

Voter Brook Overlook... last frame from an unimpressive time-lapse.

Voter Brook Overlook… last frame from an unimpressive time-lapse.

Dinner, Voter Brook Overlook

Dinner, Voter Brook Overlook

Voter Brook

Voter Brook

After dinner I rolled back to camp, did some bike and gear adjustments, bear bagged my food and kitchen, and planned to turn in for the night. After I played with the long exposure settings on my Canon G12.

Bike, Tent, Lights, Night

Bike, Tent, Lights, Night

Self Portrait, lit by Tent

Self Portrait, lit by Tent

Morning found me up early, with the other campers still sound asleep. I made breakfast and broke camp, and headed for Steam Mill and Natural turnpike, 2 of my other favorite places to be in VT on a bicycle. Both of these roads are up up up… so I started the day with a good deal of climbing.



Camp road, morning light.

Camp road, morning light.

I stopped at the Robert Frost trail to adjust some clothing, and take advantage of the restrooms at the trailhead, from there I found Steam Mill Rd.

Robert Frost trail sign

Robert Frost trail sign

Steam Mill Rd.

Steam Mill Rd.

FR 59 Sign and IF

FR 59 Sign and IF

Wetlands, Natural Turnpike

Wetlands, Natural Turnpike

End of the World

End of the World

From high up on the Natural Turnpike I dropped into Lincoln, then Bristol for an early lunch / second breakfast at the Bristol Cafe and Bakery. A large group of GMBC cyclists congregated while I was enjoying my food. They were on a Sunday ‘touring’ ride. I chatted with a few before they left, then rolled out myself for home.

Bristol Bakery and Cafe

Bristol Bakery and Cafe

I picked a few new roads on the run back from Bristol… and the route pretty much did me in. I struggled from Monkton to home, but the roads I did choose are sure to be additions to future routes… especially if I route them to be downhill. Piney Woods Rd. is a lovely lane and a half (at most) of dirt… and it is steep as it follows the creek. Plank Rd., North Rd., Parks-Hurburt Rd. and Old Stage Rd. are also nice alternative routes (dirt) for going north / south and connecting into Bristol from Chittenden County.

No problem. I was slow enough at this point...

No problem. I was slow enough at this point…

Creek on Piney Woods Rd.

Creek on Piney Woods Rd.

Piney Woods Rd.

Piney Woods Rd.

From Monkton I followed familiar roads back into town, struggling with the heat, and feeling a bit dehydrated. I returned home about 30 hours after I left.



Clement MSO 32s in their natural habitat

Clement MSO 32s in their natural habitat

Almost home - barn on Baldwin Rd.

Almost home – barn on Baldwin Rd.

Day 1
~62 miles
~5926′ climbing
Pavement with a bit of dirt and trail

Day 2
~57 miles
~6220′ climbing
Dirt with pavement

SPOT Stalking

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Wil attempted the not quite ready for prime time XVT – a 300+ mile single track and dirt road route from Canada to Massachusetts a few weeks ago. He was carrying my SPOT and GPS, so Justin and I SPOT stalked him down in the Moosamaloo area…



I brought a thermos of coffee and a bagel for a very glad to see us Wil. Was fun riding with him – we met up with him on a trail above Goshen Dam and then rode with him into Silver Lake.



Wil headed south on Chandler Ridge and I took off down the Falls of Lana trail to find some food near Lake Dunmore. I rounded out my ride by having to ride back up VT 125 – I parked up at the Broadleaf Campus… so I had a long slog of a climb back to the car.





Spring Overnight

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Took off with Wil to meet up with some usual suspects at Little River State Park. Dirt road, trail, pavement, mud road, some single track. A true S24O as I returned to the car 22 hours after I left.

Down Governor Chittenden Rd. and across Johnnie Brook:



Things got muddy along the Winooski:



Met up with Greg in Waterbury and climbed to Little River State Park:



The reservoir and some more climbing on snow and ice:





Tested out the new 0dF down sleeping bag – my feet were steaming when I woke up in the morning. I am close to having a gear range to go from 60s summer nights to low teens, zero degree winter nights. Temps got into the 30s overnight. The lean to blocked the wind and everyone was cozy:



Rolling out in the morning – we split up, and made our way to home / second breakfast and some nice riding:





Bikepacking Mike

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Photo of me, from Greg on our recent trip.


Bikepacking Groton State Forest

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Greg, Wil and I did a S24O to Groton State Forest last weekend. Rain, sleet, some snow. Temps in the 30s during the day and 20s overnight. Dirt road, single track, double track, and forest ‘roads’, with a bit of pavement in the middle. About 16 miles each day, we started late on Saturday due to everyone’s family commitments, and we actually, for the first time in my S24O history made it to camp with daylight left over. Which was needed – as we rode in the rain / snow on and off through the afternoon and needed a good place to camp, and to build a fire to ward off the chill.

We rolled out of Greg’s place and tackled Jerusalem Rd. This started out as dirt road, then went to Class 4 road, then went to double track filled with rocks. Great fun, even going up and over. Near the top there was some recent logging, so the ‘road’ was in better shape, and we enjoyed the descent to Marshfield Pond.




We had snow and sleet up top, and at our next intersection we snacked a bit, enjoyed the view from the pond, and took off on RR East – a road / trail along the old Wells River railbed. We had 2 trucks pass us, a hunter, and another out for a ‘smoke’. Was interesting riding up in no man’s land.




We eventually dropped onto VT 232 for about a half mile of pavement to Kettle Pond. We thought about walking back into a lean to for camp – but with daylight left and the rain and snow only a minor nuisance we decided to press on to Osmore Pond, via Telephone Line trail – a ‘multi use’ path – but really a leaf covered slippery single track. We spent about half an hour actually finding the trail – but once located we made quick work of the climbing to the northern end of Osmore Pond.



Eyeing a picnic shelter with a huge fireplace, we called it a day, and began collecting wet, soggy wood, and changing into dry gear. Fire ensued, and after some careful stacking, lighting, and fussing, we had a roaring fire to warm us as we ate dinner.



Wil brought a bivy, I had my 30d down bag and e-bivy, and Greg brought his ancient synthetic winter bag. We all had insulated sleeping pads. The concrete of the shelter was damned cold though – even seeping through my riding shoes. Greg and I decided we would sleep atop picnic tables, and Wil quickly joined, moving his bivy and bag on top in the middle. We then tipped up the remaining tables in the shelter to block what wind we could… which worked for the most part. We stoked the fire and stocked it up late (for us, on a cold, wet night – until about 9pm), then turned in for the night.


I lent Greg my e-bivy as he was worried about being cold, and I have had successful nights with my gear down into the low 20s. I slept cold, a bit too cold that night, and I regretted a bit handing over my gear – but Greg was comfortable, which means he’ll keep pushing into shoulder seasons with us. The fire was glowing coals in the morning – and with Greg working a bit we had a warm fire to eat our breakfast by.





We rolled out the dirt access road, found a short cut trail, and did a few miles on pavement to connect to RR East. From there it was a mellow, but scenic and mostly downhill run into Plainfield, where we had designs on second breakfast some 16 miles later.






For an overnight, pushing the boundaries of weather, cold, and new gear – it was a great time. There is a ton to explore in Groton State Forest and surrounding central Vermont, and I can’t wait to get back. The Krampus, with its Revelate kit performed flawlessly. Even in the wet the tires gripped when needed, and the 3″ Knard softened my ride and had me rolling up and over all the obstacles the trails through at me. I have some ideas on streamlining my kit further – primarily dealing with GPS, camera, and my yet to be built dyno / charging switch. I also discovered that the matches in my waterproof kit that have been tucked away for years in my kitchen bag were all duds, likely just aged out… thankfully my fire starter and my stove allowed us to get the fire going without incident.


Tuesday, October 14th, 2014





Nothing more to say at the moment. Had a blast in the woods this afternoon. The Fargo will need to be put up for sale…


Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Descending a portion of Chandler Ridge, into Silver Lake. Wil took this photo of me.


Bikepacking Gear

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

My 2012 Gen2 Salsa Fargo has gone through a number of changes, most recently swapping the Woodchippers (which I really like for dirt road / gravel / mild single track) to a Jones Loop bar, which so far has proven comfortable, and more capable riding rocky, rooty single track while loaded.

The bike is a medium and I’m running my old (pre-Revelate, long live Epic Designs!) front harness and pouch and seat bag, which were made custom for my Surly CrossCheck and IF Ti Club Racer. Once I got the Fargo I added a full frame bag, gas tank, jerry can, and feedbags. I have used the Salsa Anything cages, but don’t run them often, except when I need extra carrying capacity, or want to carry insulated Nalgene bottles up front. I run a Shimano dyno hub to power an Exposure Revo and Redeye and need to wire up the USBWerk for topping off a battery or running my Garmin, and it will keep a FenixUC40 USB topped off. In testing the USBWerk works great, and I would love to have this integrated into my kit for longer trips.

Cockpit with Salsa Woodchipper (46cm bar)


The updated cockpit is the Jones Loop bar with chunky grips (after some use I need to tape the rest of the bars). X9 trigger rear, Friction front, on a Paul Thumbie pushing a X5 triple derailer (cheap!). Garmin eTrex20, hydro tube connected to a Showers Pass Veleau reel (last way longer than the ID badge reels), feed bag (most times I run 2), Avid Speed Dial Levers (need to find something with the pinch bolt in a more comfortable location…). Gas tank with my Canon G12 and spare AA and AAA batteries. Custom harness and pouch made back in 2008 or 2009 for a dry bag.


Front is my sleep kit and sometimes camp clothes tucked into a dry bag in harness. The dry bag pops out easily and gets tossed into my tent for unpacking.

Pouch contains personal items I might need easy access to – glasses, eye drops, meds, toiletries, first aid kit, etc.


Rear bag contains tent, cook kit, clothes, food, etc.

Frame bag contains spare tube(s), tent poles, hydro bladder and Sawyer inline filter and misc stuff in the thin side pocket.


My current kit, for 3 season riding used last weekend:

(This is bordering on a luxury list for me… I brought a pillow – something that doesn’t go on longer trips as I use the space for food / extra clothes)

(no food or water included in weights)
Fargo naked with Revo and Redeye lights, dyno wheel, etc. 29#
Fargo 35.2# with GPS, hydro hose, Revo, Redeye, Lezyne pump, and on frame bags as noted below:

On bike frame bags, feed bag, gas tank and jerry can 6.2#
Frame bag
Arm warmers, gloves, folding camp saw, knife, Fenix LD22 (for helmet, night riding headlamp), vest and woolie, tent pole, tent stakes, spare tube, empty bladder, sawyer mini inline with hydro bladder

Jerry can with tools, multitool with pliers, 1 brake, 1 shift cable (tucked into sides of bag stiffener), der hanger, patch kit, fiber spoke, tire levers, spare master link

Feedbag(s) with hand sanitizer (no food for weights, but generally my road food goes here)

Gas tank with Canon G12 camera and batteries (4aa and 4aaa)

Front harness and rear saddle bag 14#

Front bag 8#
Sleeping pad, sleeping bag, pillow!, personal stuff, water purification, toiletries, headlamp, showers pass crossover tucked into harness (need to change this – lost it after this photo)

Rear bag 6#
Tarptent Contrail, cook kit (Snow Peak 700 pot, double wall mug, fuel canister, Gigapower stove, matches, silicone bowl, Ti spork, bear line, carabiner, stuff sack), camp clothes (MUSA knickers, boxers for camp, Patagonia puffy jacket).



Total Kit without food / water 20.2#
Total rig without food / water 49.2#

On person – wallet, cellphone, SPOT tracker, cycling cap

Bikepacking List Fall (3Season)

Glasses in case with cloth cleaner
Contact Case eye drops
Maps / Cue card
Knife (in mesh in Feedbag)

GPS Garmin etrex 20 on bike
Camera canon g12
Batteries AAA and AA
Headlamp Princeton tec small thing
Fenix flashlight for helmet
Revo dyno headlight
Redeye dyno tailight

First aid kit
Tiny travel towel

Cook Kit:
Snow Peak Ti700 Pot
Snow Peak double wall cup (if ‘luxury’ camping…)
Ti Spork
Snow Peak Gigapower stove with Piezo ignition
MSR fuel canister
Bear (critter) bag and line with carabiner

As req’d

Water bladder(s)
Aqua Mira drops
Sawyer mini inline filter
Nuun tabs for flavor, electrolytes

TarpTent Contrail
Sleeping bag big agnes fish hawk 30d down
Sleeping pad big agnes insulated air core

Bike Mech:
Patch kit
Tire boot
Tire levers
Derailler hanger (if Fargo)
Brake pads (1 set)
Zip ties
Electrical tape
Chain Lube
Shift cable
Brake cable

Dry gloves
Dry Socks
Patagonia puff
Rain pants or MUSA knickers
Showers Pass jacket
Thin ibex woolie

On body:
Cycling shorts
Shoes Pi x alps pro
Rapha jersey (got to be fashionable)
Thin cap
Wallet / iphone
Cycling gloves (if dirt road / single track)

Silver Lake Early Fall

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Wil, Greg and I did a S36O to Silver Lake. Road, dirt road, trail, and single track to Lake Dunmore, then we found the Minnie Baker trail and connected to Chandler Ridge. We rode the ridge as the sun was getting low in the sky, and made it to camp at dusk.



Our plan was to camp and then ride out exploring some VAST and MTB trails that connect up to Brooks Road and then ride the high dirt roads to Lincoln and Bristol. That plan changed when I realized I lost my brand new Showers Pass Crossover Jacket somewhere on the ridge trail. We checked my camera to verify I didn’t leave it in the truck, and found a spot where we thought it might have ejected. I opted to leave it, not wanting to alter the trip, and I wasn’t confident we would find it. The boys voted to not let my jacket remain lost in the woods.


The change of plans had us riding more single track out – the Leicester Hollow trail. Wil move on ahead and ditched his camping kit and blitzed the south end of the ridge trail, back to where I thought I lost it. He found it far far away from where I thought it would be – but returned with it tucked into his jersey.


We then opted to roll into Middlebury for breakfast / lunch and not try to regain the high ground and ride our original route.


Even with the changes we had a great time. Covered ~74 miles with plenty of climbing, roots, rocks, dirt and a beautiful sunset.