Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekly Specials at AO for 11-24-08 through 11-30-08

The WEEKLY SPECIALS for Appalachian Outfitters on Orchard Park Drive are:

Take 25% Off Patagonia Reversible Snap/Zip Jackets!

Take 40% Off Special Edition Apex Bionic Jackets by The North Face!

Buy any 2 pair of Darn Tough socks and get 1 FREE pair!

Take 40% Off "Flight Series" Softshells by The North Face!

Please note: Discounts valid on in-stock items only; no special orders.

We look forward to seeing you soon, and are THANKFUL for 14 years of your support!

Monday, November 17, 2008

WEEKLY SPECIALS for 11-17-08 through 11-23-08

Sorry we're a bit late on updating the weekly specials. . .

Okay, here are the "Weekly Specials" for Appalachian Outfitters on Orchard Park Drive:



BUY ANY PAIR OF SHOES AND GET 40% OFF ANY SOCKS (Limit of 6 pair per person). . .&. . .


-Teva Ossagon (men's & women's)
-Dunham Oakdale Sport (men's)
-Any shoes by "The North Face" (men's & women's)
-All KEEN shoes/sandals in stock!

We look forward to serving you soon!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Okay Folks,
This week's "WEEKLY SPECIALS" are:

SAVE 15% OFF ANY SOFTSHELL JACKET IN THE STORE! (Appalachian Outfitters 96 Orchard Park Drive location)

SAVE 15% OFF ANY SHORT-SLEEVED T-SHIRT IN THE STORE! (Appalachian Outfitters West End--Your Life is good Genuine Neighborhood Shoppe)


Also, we've got several "gift with purchase" items:
--Buy any jacket or pullover in stock & receive either a FREE key-biner or zip-o-gage
--Buy any Mountain HardWear jacket & receive a FREE custom "Mountain HardWear" CamelBak BPA-free water bottle (we're the only store in the world that sells a "Mountain HardWear water bottle!!)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Gear Review: Granite Gear DryBlock Stuffsacks

For all of you who followed our trip via this blog will certainly have read that the Dutch weather was wet & windy. All of our gear worked very well, but one product in particular turned out to be worth its weight in gold: Granite Gear DryBlock rolldown stuffsacks! These are pictures of these awesome stuffsacks in action (it is the blue thing strapped to the top of my bike rack on a particularly harsh weather day). Diana and I both used these stuffsacks as external drybags and internal organizers; they performed beyond our expectations! We have a variety of sizes to choose from as well as an ultra-light version or a more rugged version (the ultralights are probably best-suited for use inside a pack, while the beefier version will work perfectly with your backpack both externally and internally). More reviews to come. . .

Three Cheers for a GREAT STAFF!

Diana and I cannot believe that we've been home for over a month. . .who would have thought going on vacation would have resulted in so much work upon our return! I guess that is the life of the small business owner. Actually our staff performed flawlessly while we were away and we sincerely thank them for all of their efforts; we quite literally could not have taken such a trip had they not been ready, willing, and able to step-up & manage things! It is wonderful to have such a talented and devoted staff. . .what can we say: WE LOVE YOU GUYS!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"truly difficult cycling conditions"

We rode out of Sneek on Thursday and pedalled across the aufsliutsdijk (30+kms on a dike).  The weather was absolutely perfect and sunny with light winds...that is until we turned south toward Hoorn.  A strong wind blowing directly in our faces brought driving rain and truly difficult cycling conditions.  A local cyclist saw us & asked us where we were going; when I said "Hoorn?", he paused and said, "Hoorn?...Sheet!...No, dis ees Medimblik".  We were wet & cold & we just wanted a roof over our heads, so we said, "Okay, Medimblik is good!". The local VVV (tourist information) booked a room at a local guest house & we went straight there.
  The next morning we began our ride toward Hoorn under dark skies, and the weather quickly deteriorated into driving rain with fierce headwinds.  After becoming thoroughly soaked and  frustrated by more rain, we turned the bikes toward Alkmaar to cash some Amex travellers cheques.  From Alkmaar, we headed toward Haarlem, but were forced off the bikes by more driving rain and dropping temperatures; we found shelter in a family-run hotel in Castricum.  We ate fried hamburgers and French fries for dinner (hey, we're on vacation after all).  The next morning we pedaled away from the hotel under ominous skies that began spitting rain within 15 minutes of our departure, and headed for Haarlem.  Diana found a fabulous B&B just out of town & we had a relaxing (read "warm & dry") evening there.  Today was spent seeing the sites of Haarlem, taking pictures, and drinkingcoffee & tea on the Grote Market in Haarlem-- it has been wonderful.
More pictures will be posted upon our return.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's Hard to Believe that it has been a whole week!

Pictures from our journey so far. We are in Sneets at a library which is about to close. We thought we'd share a few photos from the trip so far. We're having a wonderful time in the rain and the sunshine. It's a beautiful country with friendly, helpful people. We'll make more entries soon. So far all of our gear is working perfectly. Even on cold and rainy days we've been comfortable. Because of limited internet access, we will greatly enhance this blog and the photo album when we return. Thanks for following along...

This is how the bikes look before assembly


Outside the apartment in Amsterdam.

Traveling out in the country. Sometimes it rained!

NavigatingCranking over the bicycle ferry to cross a canal.

At the Kruller-Muller Museum.

Leaving our hotel in Ede. It started raining 5 minutes after this.

Heading out for dinner in Epe. More rain.

A typical sign post showing the numerous bike paths. These are handy when things get confusing.

Riding in the sunshine yesterday!

In Heerenveen on Tuesday. Walking along the canal.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tilting @ Windmills

We arrived in Kampen on Monday afternoon after enjoying mostly fair conditions through the day of cycling. We discovered the wind that turns all of these windmills. As we approached Kampen dark skies loomed. Just as we arrived the rain began and it poured for half an hour. We took refuge at the train station before entering into town. We stopped at the VVV information center and they directed us to a wonderful B&B. We toured the medieval streets and had a picnic dinner in the park.

On Tuesday the weather turned and we were treated with blue skies and warm temperatures. We cycled about 88 kilometers to Herenveen. Much of the afternoon we spent navigating rural roads and trails. Some of the trails were hard-packed single-track dirt and stone. This takes a lot of concentration on 28mm tires carrying 35 pounds of equipment on the bikes. It took about 5 and a half hours to travel and navigate.

Everyone we have encountered has been friendly. When we stop to check the map, strangers approach and ask if we are lost and offer assistance. Meeting the locals has been one of our greatest pleasures along the way.

Monday, September 8, 2008

And The Adventure Continues

Diana & I enjoyed our time in Amsterdam on Wednesday & Thursday, but were glad to get on the bikes and pedal toward Ede. We thought that following the numbered bicycle paths would be a piece-of-cake, but we soon came to realize that the entire country is covered with paths, some with numbers and some without (and some numbered paths that seem to evaporate into nothingness when we enter a town). The first day of cycling was 118km in length, but because we became lost about a dozen times, the ride took 9.5 hours to complete. Saturday we visited the magnificent Kroller-Muller museum near Appeldoorn. Yesterday we rode 87kms in the rain and wind. Discovered a quaint hotel in the town of Epe & took refuge from the foul weather. Today we head toward Kampen via Zwolle--we hope the sun decides to join us!
More to come...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

We made it to Amsterdam!

Diana and I made it to Amsterdam yesterday & we love this place! We spent yesterday recovering from the interminable flight over, re-assembling the bicycles, taking a 2-hour nap, walking & cycling through Vondelpark, drinking coffee & tea, and generally exploring a small section of this huge city. The weather here is unpredictable and changes several times throughout the day. It is very similar to late fall weather in Greenville, but there is much more WIND!!
To say that this is a bicycling-based culture is an understatement. Everyone rides bikes here. . .we mean everyone--schoolchildren, pregnant women, businessmen (in their suits), fashion models, folks going to the grocery store, young and old, etc. Every single person we have met here has been friendly and helpful; the Dutch are wonderful! Tomorrow we get on our bikes and pedal toward Ede on the first leg of our tour. Safely getting out of this bustling city with fully-loaded bicycles will certainly be an adventure!
We have attempted to use the "Spot" GPS device & we hope that it is working. We will turn it on as we leave in the morning.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gear Review: Ritchey BreakAway Cyclo-Cross Bikes

Anyone that knows the two of us can attest to the fact that at our core, we are gearheads! We just LOVE trying out cool stuff. During the course of this Netherlands trip, we'll be publishing gear & clothing reviews. We feel that when it comes to discerning the merits of a particular technical product, there is no substitute for using that product in real-world environments. For those readers who don't care a whit for product reviews, look for our normal blog entries which (depending upon the availability of the internet in our specific destinations) should be posted almost daily.

For those of you who have never heard of the Ritchey BreakAway line of bicycles, here's a brief overview of why they are so incredible.

The frame actually breaks into 2 pieces that allow the traveling cyclist to pack his/her entire bike (including both wheels, seat, etc.) into a 26"X26"X10" case. The bike is a normal bike with 2 frame unions that are ingenious! The first picture shows what the top frame union looks like (basically the seatpost acts as the stress-bearing member & the two frame pieces-- 1 grey & 1 orange-- are secured to the seatpost using pinchbolts).

The second picture shows the bottom frame union (it is secured by the black split-clamp immediately above the bottom-bracket on the downtube).

If you are an avid cyclist & want to take a top-shelf bike with you on your travels, take a look at the Ritchey BreakAway series! We chose the steel Cyclo-Cross model because it was the best frame for carrying panniers & able to withstand the stresses of loaded touring. The cyclo-cross model also allows you to use fatter 700c tires that make you more stable when navigating rough roads. I (Jonathan) have already logged more that 2600 kms this year on mine, and I love it! It rides just like a normal bike, and in a 60cm frame size weighs in at just 21 pounds! Not too shabby for a bike that fits in airline regulation luggage. Check 'em out at:

Friday, August 29, 2008

Our Basic Itinerary

Here's our basic itinerary:

Wednesday 03 September
Arrive in Amsterdam. Re-assemble bicycles & prepare them for tour. Test-ride bikes. Walk around city. Re-pack our panniers. Check out Vondelpark.
Thursday 04 September
Check out museums in Amsterdam. Anne Frank house? Double-check bicycle operation. Find the best route out of town.
Friday 05 September
Leave Amsterdam & cycle toward Ede/Arnhem area (about 100km). Spend night at Hotel en Congrescentrum deReehorst in Ede (telephone: +31-318750300).
Saturday 06 September
Spend day in the National Park De Hoge Veluwe & National Park Veluwezoom (the Kroller/Muller Museum). Return to spend night at Hotel en Congrescentrum deReehorst in Ede (telephone: +31-318750300).
Sunday 07 September
From Ede, cycle towards Arnhem & Nijmegen (oldest city in the Netherlands & home to bicycling museum). Turn north and begin heading toward Deventer.
Monday 08 September
Continue heading north through Zwolle, Kampen, Meppel.
Tuesday 09 September
Explore Friesland.
Wednesday 10 September
Explore Friesland.
Thursday 11 September
Explore Friesland.
Friday 12 September
Ride across 30km dyke (the Afsluitdijk—it turned the Zuiderzee into the Ijsselmeer)
Saturday 13 September
Explore Noord-Holland
Sunday 14 September
Explore Noord-Holland.
Monday 15 September
Finish exploring Noord-Holland. Return to Apartment in Amsterdam. Clean ourselves & clothes. Continue exploring city.
Tuesday 16 September
Re-pack everything & continue exploring city.
Wednesday 17 September
Fly back home.
Thursday 18 September
Return to work.

Just a couple of days before we go!

As most of you know, we leave for the Netherlands on Tuesday 02 September for our long-anticipated two-week (that's completely unheard-of for 2 work-a-holics like ourselves!) vacation. Diana and I thought that all of you following this little adventure might like to know what we're packing in our bicycle saddlebags, so here's Jonathan's packing list:

Bicycle Clothing
3 pr Pearl Izumi cycling bibs (
3 s/s Pearl Izumi jerseys (
5 pair Thor-lo socks (
Pearl Izumi Arm warmers (
Hincapie Sportswear Knee warmers (
2 pair cycling gloves
Full-fingered gloves
Patagonia Capilene 1 t-shirt (
Toe covers
Pearl Izumi Optik Vest
Mountain HardWear Butter Beanie (
Marmot Rain shell (

Technical Travel Clothing (Lightweight, Wicking, Fast-Drying stuff!)
Mountain HardWear Canyon shirt (
Columbia Silver Ridge shirt (
1 SmartWool Polo shirt (
4 short-sleeved synthetic t-shirts
1 pr Outdoor Research nylon shorts (
1 pr Outdoor Research nylon pants (
1 pr Royal Robbins convertible pants (
Patagonia Powerstretch Jacket (
Patagonia Baggies shorts (
Marmot PreCip Cap (
6 pair Patagonia underwear (

Bicycle Gear
RudyProject "Rydon" Cycling Glasses (
Timex Heart Rate Monitor (
Specialized Cyclometer (
Specialized Bike Helmet (
Pearl Izumi Cycling Shoes (
Tool Kit
2 extra tubes
1 extra tire (
Planet Bike Fenders (
Blackburn Rear Bike Racks (
PlanetBike Mini Bike Lights (
Long Bike Cable Lock
Energy Food & Drink
Baker’s Breakfast Cookies (
CamelBak Elixir (
Hammer Heed (
Honey Stinger Gel (
Hammer Bars (
Jelly Belly Sport Beans (
Bike Pump
Water Bottles
Ortlieb Waterproof Saddlebags (
Ortlieb Waterproof Handlebar Bag (
Ortlieb Waterproof Underseat pouch (
Several extra nuts, bolts, screws, washers, etc.

Other Items
SPOT GPS Tracking Device (
Telephone (courtesy of Heath Quinnelly at Sprint/Nextel) THANKS MAN!
Cameras & Waterproof cases
Small Compass
Emergency Whistle
Maps & guidebooks
Charging devices for everything
Several GraniteGear Drysacks (
Aloksaks for document protection (
Eagle Creek Security Travel Document Holders (
The North Face Spectrum 33 tent (
Cocoon Air Pillow (the best we've ever seen!) (
Marmot Lightweight sleeping bag (
Big Agnes Aircore sleeping pad (
Silk Sleeping Bag Liner (
Emergency Blanket (

Obviously, Diana's list may look a bit different, but just realize that we'll be carrying everything we need for two weeks on our bikes. Since the country is quite windy and it rains more than 300 days-a-year, our outerwear will assuredly be put to good use.

Look for more updates in the next few days.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Getting it together

As all of you know, planning, researching, and packing for an adventure is half of the fun. This weekend was spent installing bike racks, stuffing clothing into dry sacks (the Netherlands receives over 300 days of rain per year), discussing clothing and outerwear choices, developing a nutritional plan, looking at maps, and noting the items we still lack. With just over 7 days before we leave, we're really getting it together.

Diana and I have been training for this trip all year, and are in relatively solid shape for it. We plan on averaging about 50 miles a day while we're there (which isn't bad if you consider that we have all day to ride). While the Netherlands is pancake-flat, there's a reason that it is a land of many windmills. . .IT IS WINDY! Several weeks ago, a woman who lived there for many years was in Appalachian Outfitters and was telling me that the wind direction there is the stuff of legend--no matter which direction you're going, it feels like you have the wind in your face. As any bicyclist will tell you, that's like climbing a slow hill!

On another note, this trip could not have been possible at all without the following folks really coming through for us:

-all of our employees who not only are willing to work while we are gone, but actually pooled their money and are funding accommodations for several nights while we are there! We're sending out a big THANK YOU to all of our INCREDIBLE STAFF (you guys are like family);
-the helpful crew at Sunshine Cycle Shop in Greenville who built our bikes and have provided invaluable advice on service, spares, and bicycling accessories;
-the folks at Ritchey Logic who make one of the neatest, best-riding travel frames on the planet that actually fit into a regulation-sized, hard-sided travel case that won't incur airline overcharges;
-Ortlieb USA for making some of the most well-thought-out bicycling gear we've ever seen (panniers, handlebar bags, seat pouches, etc);
-Rob Robinson, our CamelBak sales-rep, who provided us with CamelBak Elixir tablets for our electrolyte replacement;
-Hammer Nutrition products for making some of the best energy replenishment exercise products money can buy;
-Erin Baker's Breakfast Cookies (great energy, great taste, organic, not too much sugar) and;
-OmniMap resources for making the finest maps available to us.

Later on this week, we'll publish our packing lists on this blog so you'll know what's going with us. Obviously, all of our clothing came from Appalachian Outfitters, but there are several items in particular that we REALLY LOVE. More on that to come. . .

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Two weeks to go!

Diana and I leave for the Netherlands in two weeks & we can't wait! We've been training for this vacation all year & we know it will be an incredible experience. For those of you who do not know about the trip, we'll be bring our incredible RITCHEY BREAK-AWAY BICYCLES to Amsterdam, re-assemble them, install fenders, rear racks, panniers, etc. and set off on a 550+ mile bicycle tour of the Netherlands.
If you are interested in following us while we're there, stay tuned to this blog for regular updates.