AEP decision another blow for struggling Westmoreland

first_imgAEP decision another blow for struggling Westmoreland FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Struggling coal miner Westmoreland Coal Co. disclosed that a major Ohio customer will stop buying its coal at the end of the year.A subsidiary of American Electric Power Co. Inc. declined Westmoreland’s bid to supply coal to units at the generator’s Conesville power plant after the current contract expires Dec. 31. That contract represented 14% of the consolidated revenues of Westmoreland’s master limited partnership, Westmoreland Resource Partners LP.American Electric Power spokeswoman Melissa McHenry said the company has secured another supply of coal for Conesville and is not planning to retire the plant at the end of the year.According to S&P Global Market Intelligence fuel supply data, in the first few months of 2018 the plant primarily bought coal from Westmoreland’s Buckingham Mine No. 6 and Rice No. 7 strip mine operations. The company’s website says coal from Buckingham is shipped by rail to Conesville, and federal fuel contract data does not show deliveries from that mine to any other plant.Buckingham produced 232,727 tons of coal in the first quarter with an average employee count of 153, according to U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data.S&P Global Ratings recently downgraded Westmoreland Coal after the company entered into a forbearance agreement with senior secured debt holders, noting that a default by the master limited partnership is “a virtual certainty.”More ($): Westmoreland loses major coal contract in Ohiolast_img read more

France to build 1GW of new wind capacity off the Normandy coast

first_imgFrance to build 1GW of new wind capacity off the Normandy coast FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:France wants to construct a wind farm off the coast of Normandy as the nuclear-dependent nation moves to expand power generation from renewable sources, the energy ministry said on Monday.The planned 1-gigawatt (GW) wind farm could have up to 80 wind turbines of around 12 megawatts each, in an area where wind conditions and the seabed are very favorable for offshore wind power at a competitive price, the ministry said in statement.France is racing to boost the share of renewable generation capacity in its energy mix and reduce its dependence on nuclear energy. It plans to shut down old nuclear plants and will phase out coal-fired generation to curb greenhouse gas emissions.The ministry said it plans to boost the share of renewables in the French energy mix to around 40% by 2030. Nuclear power from its 58 reactors currently covers around 75% of French electricity needs.Although France has one of Europe’s biggest coastlines with good wind speeds for viable wind farm projects, it is lagging its European peers in developing offshore wind projects. The government announced in June that it will double its target for developing offshore wind projects to 1 GW per year from 500 MW. It currently has no offshore wind farm in operation.More: France plans new 1 GW offshore wind farm in Normandylast_img read more

Renew Estate gets final approval to build 300MW solar farm in Queensland, Australia

first_imgRenew Estate gets final approval to build 300MW solar farm in Queensland, Australia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:Construction of Renew Estate’s 300-MW Rodds Bay Solar Farm in Queensland will kick off this year after a “notice to proceed” was issued to the local transmission company.The developer said in a press release on Thursday that the project has passed all tests related to system strength and generator performance standards. Its construction will be launched by the third or fourth quarter of the year according to the connection agreement with Powerlink Queensland that was signed in January.The Rodds Bay Solar Farm, with a given capacity in direct current (DC), will be installed on grazing land near the town of Bororen, south of Gladstone, and will become one of the largest solar parks in Australia. The project was granted planning consent by the Gladstone Regional Council in the summer of 2018, which also allows the developer to couple the power plant with an 82 MW/164 MWh of battery storage capacity.According to the project’s website, the solar park is expected to generate up to 625 GW of electricity per year, or enough to cover the consumption of around 88,000 homes.Sydney-based Renew Estate is a joint venture between Wirsol Energy Pty Ltd, whose parent is Germany-based Wircon, Energy Estate and Beast Solutions.[Veselina Petrova]More: Notice to proceed issued for 300-MW solar farm in Queenslandlast_img read more

Congratulations Asheville on Bikes

first_imgCongratulations Asheville on Bikes who have not only worked hard to get greenways in Asheville, but have inspired hundreds of people to ride.The Bike of the Irish this past weekend boasted hundreds of green, tutu-clad riders of all ages and abilities to cruise our fresh bike paths and greenways. Every holiday we can count on meeting in front of city hall for a group ride. The costumes are a lot of fun, but it sure is great to have a traveling boom box to groove us along.While people are paying good money to run 5ks, we are making the porch sitters grin as we wind our way through neighborhoods with The Wedge as our final destination. I’ve learned that you can do anything when there are cold beers waiting at the end.My 8-year-old was ok with wearing green, but he wasn’t going to have a shamrock painted on his face. He also enjoys riding sweep, causing everyone to shout much encouragement up the hills. His game of “I don’t know how to pedal a bike” inspired me to take the steep route, up Hazzard Street and over Beaucatcher Mountain on the way home.“Mom…can I walk my bike?” he asked.“No way, duder!!” was the reply he knew was coming. “We’ll take a break at the top!”The ride there was magnificent as we cruised down the mountain into town. My 4-year-old was on the tag-a-long, which is his new favorite bike, except for how the seat hurts his bottom. If only his legs were a couple inches longer…and if he pedaled once in a while. Thank goodness he only weighs 30 pounds. He has a penchant for speed though, which really makes my heart smile. I wait for his cue, “Mommy, go fast!” and then let it fly as he screams, “YAHOOOO mama! Yeahhhhh baby!”I knew this would be the shining moment of the entire ride and dreaded the inevitable fit soon to come. It came just as the bike parade took off. First I helped a beautiful, butterfly wing-clad damsel in distress change her flat tube. We needed to speed off to catch the group, but little Mr. Four decided that he could no longer ride the bike and expressed it with screams and tears as passersby looked admonishingly at me. A few moments on the bench alone impressed even more onlookers, but finally he was ready to ride.It’s amazing how hard it is to find 200 people riding bikes in a small town. At least pedestrians knew what we were talking about when we asked if they’d seen a pack of riders. We caught up in Montford where just as we stopped to rest the crowd took off once again.The greenways were beautiful in the way they followed main routes far from the reach of angry motorists. By the time we rolled up River Road and across the tracks my little tag-a-long was making noise again. “Mamaaaaaa…I want to go to sleeeeeep!” he said as I watched the crowd heading up steep Waynesville Avenue. So I headed three blocks over to The Wedge instead, waiting for the crowd to return, never really finding all of my friends who thought I didn’t make it. Little man bumped his butt along the gravel until we parked and as soon as I took his helmet off, he fell asleep in my arms. The next 90 minutes was bliss as I drank cold beers in the shade while he slumbered. Beer and naps after a ride. How much better does it get than that?Well I’ll tell you. Because as soon as he woke up he was ready to ride again. He just wanted to be home. So back on the bike, and across town we went as he cheered me on, his brother keeping up without too much begging from me. Thank goodness we had bike lanes to follow. Thanks Asheville on Bikes. Thanks Claudia Nix.last_img read more

Video: Road Trippin

first_imgSummer is finally beginning to take hold here in the Blue Ridge and that means one thing, the open road. The kids are out of school by now and if you have not already signed them up for one of those 2 month summer camps, you’ll probably be tearing your hair out in a matter of weeks. There is a cure, however, and it’s a good one: the Road Trip.Our July issue will feature five of the best weekend road trips in the Blue Ridge, from epic mountain biking to fishing to climbing, we can help you get your summer plans dialed. Below is a smattering of images from the “research” I did while on assignment as a little teaser of what’s to come.Road Tripping from Summit Publishing on Vimeo.And now a little history.When I was a kid, my parents packed my four siblings and me into a 1986 Chevy Beauville 12 passenger van and took us across the country not once, but twice in a period of 5 years. I was too young to be involved in the planning or execution of these trips, but I do have vague memories of lines on maps and hushed talk of “scheduled stops” and things of that nature. My parents were very into letting things do what they do and not interfere too much. They were certainly not headband wearing hippies, not at the time at least, but you could definitely see that side of them.When we went to the Grand Canyon on the first trip, my parents let my 15 year-old brother lead my 14-year-old sister and 11-year-old me on an overnight hike down into the canyon. We slept with no tent on top of a picnic table because we were scared of scorpions.The whole family took a 10 mile hike from the rim to the base of the canyon, on a quest to find a cool waterfall my dad had heard about. It turned out to be this, regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world and the coolest place I have ever been to. We then proceeded to climb up and impress even the local tribe with our brave teenage rock jumping prowess.We camped every night, ate lunch from a cooler at rest stops or random small towns, and played silly word games during the long stretches of straight highway. Of course, this wasn’t some 12-seat utopia; we bickered and whined just like normal kids, but we also treated each mass van exodus like we were bursting onto a new playground, a place we had never seen or experienced before that was ours for the taking.This youthful exuberance is had to rebottle once we know the stresses adulthood, but that’s the beauty of a road trip. You’re mobile, away from normal life, experiencing new and exciting things you may have never experienced before. Who has time to worry about whatever it is you usually worry about? You can leave your cares and worries behind because this is supposed to be fun, damnit.So let us help you plan a road trip this summer. Keep a lookout for the feature in our July issue.last_img read more

Weekend Picks: YogiBoardHHI debuts March 22 to set world SUP Yoga record on Hilton Head Island

first_imgYogiBoardHHI – March 22, 2014 – Hilton Head Island, SCThe Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, Outside Hilton Head, and BIC Stand Up Paddleboards are partnering together to set the world’s record for the largest in-water yoga class on a stand up paddleboard.An internationally recognized, world-record keeping company will be verifying the event.“SUP Yoga is the poised, direct descendant from the beginner-friendly sport of stand-up paddle boarding,” said Amber Shadwick, SUP Yoga Instructor with Outside Hilton Head and a BIC SUP Ambassador. “It captivates focus, balance, connection, freedom, and a feeling of a rejuvenating inner youth on the water. It’s the perfect sport and exercise combination for all levels of enthusiasts. SUP Yoga revitalizes by assisting with improvements in core strength, balance, mindful movement and functionality.”According to Gail Wargo, Director of Sales and Marketing for The Westin, “YogiBoardHHI will be such a fun event with opportunities for all levels of enthusiasts to participate. We want to invite the community and Island visitors to come out and try standup paddleboarding and SUP yoga and help the Island set a world record. Even if someone has never tried it before, there will be plenty of experienced instructors on-hand to demonstrate how to do SUP and yoga on the board and you can wear a life jacket if desired.”“The timing of the class has been scheduled where the tide at Shelter Cove Marina will be perfect, and the water there is very shallow and should be very calm, facilitating easy to learn SUP for beginners. The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa partnered with Outside Hilton Head on-site last year with rental equipment, beach yoga classes and guided, kayaking and boating tours,” Wargo said.YogiBoardHHI Event Details:Date: Saturday, March 22, 2014Location: The Outside Hilton Head Outpost at Shelter Cove MarinaSchedule of events:10-11:30 a.m. Intro to SUP11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Check-in and Late On-Site Registration (limited board rental availability)2:00 p.m. Participant Meeting2:15-3:15 p.m. “YogiBoardHHI” World record-setting SUP yoga class. Celebration on wharf to follow class, with great raffle prizes available!Costs:                         Intro to SUP session Special rate for YogiBoardHHI participants: $15Board rental for YogiBoardHHI class: $15YogiBoardHHI class admission fee: $5Proceeds from the event will benefit The Outside Foundation, a 501-c (3) non-profit organization benefiting outside programs, with the mission dedicated to getting kids outside and protecting our local environment.For registration and information visit and follow the registration link to YogiBoardHHI.Shadwick_7J3A2162The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa will have several great weekend packages available for participants and guests including:$125 per night plus resort fee and taxes and no minimum length of stay.10% off services at The Heavenly SpaFree shuttle to and from the Outside Outpost at Shelter Cove Marina from The WestinFree one-hour yoga session on Sunday Mar 23, 2014 at 9 a.m., beachside at The WestinHilton Head Island Resort & Spa–Mention YogiBoardHHI promotional code when making a reservation, call (843) 681-4000 or visit their website. Located within Port Royal Plantation, The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa is an AAA Four Diamond Award-winning resort overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with 416 guest rooms and suites.SUP offers a fun, relaxing way to play on the water with a minimum of gear and no waves required. It delivers a full-body workout and has become a popular cross-training activity. It also provides unique views of everything from sea creatures to what’s on the horizon. SUP Yoga is inclusive of individuals of all ages and abilities in a practice that not only embodies mind, body and spirit — but also the surrounding environment and its full existence.Shadwick_7J3A2268last_img read more

Brand New Old Time: The Rise of the Lumbersexual

first_imgTwo framed, black and white photos hang on my office wall. In one, my paternal grandfather, Odus Wiley Cash, kneels with his two brothers, Freeman and Muriel, in front of their parents’ home in the Appalachian foothills of Cleveland County, North Carolina. The photo was taken in the 1930s when my grandfather was in his early twenties. In the other photo, this one taken in 1923, a group of ruddy-faced farmers and smirking farm boys pose alongside stoic women of all ages on the wide, dusty steps of an old house not far from where the photo of my grandfather was taken. My paternal grandmother, Lucille Adeline Edwards, is a newborn baby asleep in her mother’s arms. When I’m writing at my desk, I often gaze across my office and consider my grandparents’ lives and the lives of their families.Scan_FIXODUS WILEY CASH KNEELS IN THE FAR RIGHT.My first novel, A Land More Kind Than Home, is set primarily in 1986, but it regularly flashes back to rural life in pre-World War I Appalachia, drawing heavily from the region’s folklore, religion, and isolation. I’m currently at work on a novel about a 1929 textile mill strike in my hometown of Gastonia, N.C. Both novels are populated by characters who look, speak, and live like the people in those framed photos looked, spoke, and lived. For some reason, I’m drawn to portray the people of that era much more than I’m drawn to portray my own life or the lives of my parents, and I’m not the only one who’s inspired by the Depression Era South. A wave of twenty-, thirty-, and forty-somethings – from writers and musicians to craft brewers – are looking back to old-time practices to garner the inspiration to move forward.To get a historical perspective on the phenomenon, I reached out to Dr. Dan Pierce, Professor of History at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, and asked him why so many people of my generation are returning to traditional ways of viewing and portraying the world.“One reason to reach for the past is because you think it was so much simpler,” Pierce said. “There’s also the issue of authenticity: We want to say this is the real thing.”Pierce pointed out the recent explosion of craft moonshine as an example.“In Asheville, people expect authentic moonshine to be organic,” he said. “Well, most of the moonshine that was made over the last hundred years was vile stuff. They were running it through car radiators, putting whatever they could put in it to make it look like it was higher proof, but a lot of it was poisonous.”Pierce went on to say that moonshining is “the hipster thing to do in Brooklyn,” and then he introduced me to a term I’d never heard: lumbersexual.“Apparently it’s a new way for men to act,” he said. “Wear flannel, grow a beard, pretend to be outdoorsy in a hipster way.”I was too embarrassed to confess that he’d just described me to a T.Acting. Is that what I do when I sit down to write about the generations before mine? Am I searching for authenticity while fetishizing an idyllic past that never existed? With these questions in mind, I reached out to two friends I consider luminaries in their respective fields and people who rely heavily on history: Amy Greene, bestselling novelist and author of Bloodroot and Long Man, and Ketch Secor, fiddler, raconteur, and front-man for the Grammy Award winning band Old Crow Medicine Show.For Greene, whose most recent novel is about a small town that is flooded by the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1936, writing about the past is an attempt to preserve a history that is always on the verge of being lost.“Your first compulsion to tell the story is something you’re not sure of,” Greene said, “but when I write I think about my grandparents: people who lived quiet lives and passed away without anyone knowing their names. The people I come from are people who worked hard and died, and it haunts me. East Tennessee has shaped me because of the tradition and the oral history that have been passed down. It’s almost as if I can’t help but write about the past because I view everything through that lens.”Like Greene, Secor can speak to the pull of both the region and its past, even when neither is necessarily your own.“If you live around east Tennessee or where all these Appalachian states come together then you’re exposed to a pathway where tradition passes from generation to generation. I didn’t come from that region, but I moved there because I was inspired by the music,” he said. “Something came into my being that made me feel like a link in that chain.”While he embraces the pull history has on our generation, Secor is skeptical of those who scour the past in search of authenticity.“We’re surrounded by mass production,” he said. “So we tell ourselves, ‘There are too many Targets and too many Wal-Marts, and they make everything feel the same.’ Then we hang out in Asheville and buy hand-knitted clothing for our children because we don’t want to go to Target anymore, but Target is right next door to the strip mall where they sell hand-knitted athletic tracksuits for our kids. Is it a true revival of folklife pathways, or is it a charade that makes everybody feel better about the fact that folklife pathways may be gone?”Scan-1_FIXLUCILLE ADELINE EDWARDS-CASH IS THE NEWBORN ON THE FRONT ROWLUCILLE ADELINE EDWARDS-CASH IS THE NEWBORN ON THE FRONT ROWPerhaps that’s what compels me to stare at those old family photos when I sit down to write: the fear that the past may be gone and forgotten, buried by the Tennessee Valley Authority, mass marketed next door to Target, covered over by flannel and facial hair.My great-grandparents were farmers. My grandparents fled the farms for life in the mills. My parents were both born in mill villages and saw the suburbs as their salvation. But I’m still stuck in the suburbs, and, as an artist, it feels as if the only sure step I can take is the one that takes me back.last_img read more

Shenandoah Valley Winter Giveaway

first_imgRules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning date. Entries must be received by mail or through the contest sign-up page by 12:00 Midnight EST on February 17, 2016. One entry per person. One winner per household. Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older. Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors are not eligible. No liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled, mistranscribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the sweepstakes, entrants agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and their promotional partners reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information and offers. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes. Winners agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash, or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply. Selection of winner will be chosen at random at the Blue Ridge Outdoors office on or before February 17 6:00 PM EST 2016. Winners will be contacted by the information they provided in the contest sign-up field and have 7 days to claim their prize before another winner will be picked. Odds of winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received. PLAY. EAT. STAY. SHENANDOAH.Load up your brand new backpack and get ready for a weekend of adventure in Shenandoah County, Virginia!PLAY• Two free passes to Bryce Resort – Choice of Bike Park or Ski Passes• Two free passes to Shenandoah• $10 Gift Card to All Things Virginia at The Farmhouse• Two free passes for a 3-hour kayak trip with Route 11 OutfittersEAT• Buy One Tasting, Get One Free at Swover Brewery• Buy One Tasting, Get One Free at Woodstock Brew House• Free bag of locally roasted Cabin Creek Roasters Coffee with visit to store• Free Brunch at Joe’s SteakhouseSTAY• Two-night stay at the Comfort Inn in Woodstock**certain blackout dates may apply on lodging First Name: Last Name: Address: City: State: ALAKAZARCACOCTDCDEFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPARISCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYZip Code*: Phone: Date of Birth: Email*: I would like to receive weekly BRO updates straight to my inbox.* denotes required fieldlast_img read more

In First-Ever TV Ad, Patagonia Advocates for Public Lands Ahead of National Monument Decision

first_imgIn its 60 years as one of the leading apparel companies in the outdoor industry, Patagonia has never run an advertisement on television.That changed a few days ago when the company purchased a 700,000 TV spot, featuring the company’s founder and staunch public land advocate Yvonne Chouinard.In the one minute video, Chouinard reflects on the important role that public lands played in the founding if his now thriving business empire and laments about the threats facing America’s public lans in the current political climate.“Public lands are under threat now more than ever because of a few self-serving politicians who want to sell them off and make money,” Chouinard says in the video. “Behind the politicians are the energy companies and the big corporations that want to use up those national resources. It’s just greed—this belongs to us—this belongs to all of the people in America.”The ad was released in anticipation of tomorrow’s national monument deadline, which will require Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to submit his recommendations for the future of 27 national monuments across the United State—stretching form California to Maine.At least 15 of the monuments are considered vulnerable to revision, reduction or even complete reversal.last_img read more

Best in Bike Gear

first_imgGiant Contact Switch Dropper – $168 “I grew up riding bikes up and down the street as every kid does,” racer Andy Beckman said. “It all progressed from building little ramps in the driveway and just having fun with friends.”  The enjoyment of riding continued through childhood and far beyond. In middle school, Beckman started racing, mostly mountain bikes but some road here and there, and continued to race through college. The importance of protecting your head while biking cannot be stressed enough. Look into different styles and brands and try some on at your local shop. A helmet that fits the right way, and comfortably, is the key to maximizing this crucial safety feature. For cruising around the hills of Western North Carolina, Beckman turns to the stylish but highly protective Chronicle MIPS helmet. 1.  Use your head…wear a helmet. Chronicle MIPS helmet – $100 Ridge Solstice Hoodie, $80 Average adults should consume anywhere from 2.7 to 3.7 liters of water per day, and even more when participating in physical activity like mountain biking. Being properly hydrated starts before your ride even begins, but to quench your thirst as you go, Beckman recommends the M.U.L.E. 100oz pack by Camelbak. Even at full capacity, this pack is comfortable and rugged, all while providing plenty of liquids for the long rides ahead. Hydro Flask National Park Foundation Collection Wide Mouth 32 oz Water Bottle, $49 Camelbak M.U.L.E. 100oz Hydration Pack – $110 Ultra-lightweight and minimalist, the Flight 30 is even slimmer and more streamlined; it shed 4 ounces in its newest version. For long-distance hikers, the Flight 30 is small and compact, but can still carry enough to travel several days between resupply.  Nowadays, Andy calls the rolling hills of Western North Carolina home, citing his love of biking as one of the main motivators in deciding where to live. “There’s a great selection of trails around here and this is an amazing community for mountain biking.” From the countless trails throughout Pisgah National Forest to lesser-known spots in the Asheville area and his local park here in Boone, Beckman still rides with excitement that began nearly three decades ago. This high-performance shirt is built for biking, but our wear-tester ended up wearing it off the bike just as often. Polartec side panels provide active cooling, and the lightweight breathable fabric keeps you cool, dry, and comfortable. 5. Come ready for the ups and downs. We’ve all heard it before: “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.” Things go wrong, especially when it’s least expected, which is why Beckman urges all riders to carry a quality multi-tool. Something like the Crankbrothers M19, which comes stacked with a chain tool, hex wrenches, screwdrivers, a spoke wrench and more, is ideal for its variety of tools but also for its compact size and lightweight.  Grounded to those pedals that is! When it comes to riding in comfort, one of the most important pieces of gear you can have is a good pair of shoes. Known for their durability and sticky grip, the Five Ten Freerider Pro shoes are some of the best in the game. This lightweight, synthetic shoe offers top of the line protection and weather-resistant materials to maximize its capabilities as a first-rate riding shoe. Five Ten Freerider Pro – $150 Pro-Lite Gloves – $29.95  center_img 4. Stay grounded. With that much time spent on the trail, Beckman has picked up a tip or two when it comes to the best gear to have and why. From helmets to hydration to tools on the go, the gear you bring on your rides plays a part in their success. Here are Andy’s go-to pieces of gear for every ride: Andy Beckman’s must-haves for mountain biking Crankbrothers M19 Multitool – $33.99 Built using a bombproof polycarbonate shell, the carry-on 22” Quadro Pro combines absolute gear protection with Gregory’s expert-level design. An ActiveShield compartment separates dirty gear from clean clothes in a fully removable vapor- and odor-resistant compartment.  Mountain biking is an inherently dangerous sport and inevitably ends with a crash here or there. For general protection, Beckman suggests a solid pair of gloves, which helps with both deflecting debris and limbs as you ride while also protecting your whole hand in case of falls, and a quality set of knee pads that serve that same purpose. Both of these items depend on personal preference as they are sold in a wide variety of styles, so head to your local shops to try some out. Whether he’s running laps in Pisgah National Forest or taking his sons to the local downhill park, Beckman suits up in his Fox Launch Enduro Knee Pads and a pair of Pro-Lite Gloves. 2. Hydrate or diedrate! Six Moon Designs Flight 30 Pack, $190 One of the most important innovations in mountain biking came in the early 2000s with the automatic dropper seatposts. With the simple push of a lever, you can adjust the height of your seat to best suit that moment’s riding. By allowing you to sit high and pedal hard on climbs to dropping the seat, and thus lowering your center of gravity for downhills, dropper posts allow you to be an efficient rider on different terrain while saving you time in the process. There are lots of options to choose from on the market, but Beckman is steadfast and happy with his Contact Switch Dropper Seatposts made by Giant Bicycles. 3. Be prepared to make fixes on the go. 6. No more bumps and bruises. Lightweight? Sun protection? This simple styled hoodie gives you both. With a natural UPF of 25+ and a longer hem in the back for more coverage, the Solstice Hoodie is the perfect layer for long days spent in the sun.  Photo by Jess Daddio Gregory Quadro Pro, $199 Fox Launch Enduro Knee Pads – $59.95 Durable yet easy to carry, the National Park Foundation Collection features double-wall insulation to keep beverages ice cold for 24 hours or piping hot for up to 12. Proceeds benefit the National Park Foundation.  Kitsbow Cyclone Tee, $79 More Gear More Biking in the Blue Ridge from our September Bike Issue Herelast_img read more