What to do with your spare tube this summer

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My favorite thing to do after a good ride is enjoy a cold beer; my second favorite is to jump in a body of water.

Shortly after our return from Spain, we snuck up to the Tsali wilderness for a quick couple of days of riding and commeraderie with friends. For those unfamiliar, Tsali is kind of the classic North Carolina mountain bike trail destination. It has now been slightly overshadowed by greats such as Dupont, Pisgah, and Warrior Creek, but it still has its charms. The trails are fairly easy, flowy, and fast tracks that swoop through rhododendron forests and drift around the beautiful and remote Fontana Lake. Tsali is nestled within the Nantahala National Forest and has an adjacent campground with easy access to the lake.

My favorite thing to do after a good ride is enjoy a cold beer; my second favorite is to jump in a body of water. So as we were finishing the 23 mile IMBA Epic (Right Loop and Left Loop), it dawned on me that both could be done simultaneously… with a little help from a commodity in my hydration pack, which rarely gets any use. There was one member of our party who doubted a bicycle tube would be sufficient to comfortably float a human. It turned out that a 29er tube provides the perfect amount of floatation for absolute relaxation. There was just enough buoyancy to keep you semi-submersed with your head resting on the top of the tube and allowing a beer to be gently held above the water’s surface.

So if you are near a lake after a ride, try it out. You’ll thank me later.

Camping at Tsali - Mountain Biking

It took a while to get a fire going, but once it did, it wouldn’t quit… even after a torrential downpour.

Voodoo Headbadge

I have always liked the Voodoo head badge.

Camping at Tsali - Mountain Biking

What happens when you bring a couple of ladies into manventure territory…

Camping at Tsali - Mountain Biking

… you get pancakes on summery plates, with a tablecloth.

Camping at Tsali - Mountain Biking

A Tsali Campground totem.

Tsali - Mountain Biking

I didn’t get too many riding photos. The trails are too fast. But there are a couple of hills and I waited for this one.

Tsali - Mountain Biking

Somebody left a message for us.

Tsali - Mountain Biking

A nice collection of bumper stickers.

Fontana Lake - Floating on Bicycle Innertubes

The copper colored water of Fontana Lake, created by the Little Tennessee River and the Fontana Dam.

Fontana Lake - Floating on Bicycle Innertubes

Maiden voyage. FYI, a 29er tube works the best. I think a 3″ Surly Toob would be even better.

Fontana Lake - Floating on Bicycle Innertubes

Our own private cove on a wilderness lake.

Fontana Lake - Floating on Bicycle Innertubes

Fontana Lake - Floating on Bicycle Innertubes

Probably not too smart to take my X100 out on a lake with a bike tube.

Fontana Lake - Floating on Bicycle Innertubes

Gin picking up other people’s trash on the walk back.

Fontana Lake - Floating on Bicycle Innertubes

Dustin basking in a relaxed state.

Fontana Lake - Floating on Bicycle Innertubes

Sunset on Fontana. Dustin and I ended up coming back later that night and floating around in the star-lit blackness of night… wonderful.

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  • Amy

    that was an awesome day made even better by the tube floating. I gotta hand it to you.

  • http://www.pedalingnowhere.com/ Logan

    You bet. The shot of Gin riding it wasn’t nearly as much fun. I gotta hand it to you!

  • reverend dick

    Good one. I can testify that the 3″ toob is THE WAY, but any float with a cold beer is very nice.

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