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  1. #1
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    Man vs Inchworms

    I'd really like to ride right through Spring and summer but the inchworms and black flies make it unbearable for me. I'm in New England.

    My friends can deal with it, but not me. So, I'm looking for a solution and came across custom shields made with products like the ones in the bottom picture. Has anyone ever used these? If not, how do you protect yourself from these bugs during their onset mid-May?

    The black fly type bugs are especially bad as they fly in clusters right in front of my face. Very annoying.

    How about Permethrin coated clothing for the inch worms? Will that stop them from climbing up your shirt and reaching your neck?

    [img]Man vs Inchworms-inch-worm.jpg[img]
    [img]Name:  black fly.jpg
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    [img]Man vs Inchworms-face-shield.jpg[img]
    Last edited by jscott36; 02-11-2018 at 10:31 AM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
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    Move to another state like the dry climates of the west.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Move to another state like the dry climates of the west.
    No thanks.

  4. #4
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    Maybe just some goggles and protective clothing?
    The biting black flies in the NE can be brutal. I always just kept moving and dealt with it.

    Permethrin supposedly works really well for mosquitoes but I have never used it.

    Just a PSA:
    Permethrin is extremely toxic to dogs and pets. Don't let your dog anywhere near you or your clothing with Permethrin on it. It will last on your clothing for many many (up to as much as 30) wash cycles.

    Inchworms or totally benign and kinda cute
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  5. #5
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    Grind those bitches up.
    Man vs Inchworms-s846228649490507285_p11_i2_w702.jpeg
    Keep trying to do the awesomest thing you've ever done.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jscott36 View Post
    No thanks.
    Not many other solutions. Iíve lived in both regions and the bugs back east are relentless. I lived in upstate NY which borders your area. Moved out west and a whole nother bug and humidity hassle free world opened up to me. I canít talk you into it, then you could wear a painters suit and spray sock over your head and shield like your prototypes.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  7. #7
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    Thanks guys. One thought I just had was to pickup a lightweight full-face helmet (DH) and custom make a lens and breathing mesh for it.

  8. #8
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    I've dealt with black flies. Not really much you can do except move away from NE, or outride them. I've found a wide-brimmed hat soaked in DEET to be mostly effective for keeping them out of my face when working in the woods. But that's obviously not very practical on the bike.

    Permethrin is also not a repellent. It's a contact insecticide. Maybe you'd wind up killing the caterpillars before they got to your exposed skin, but that's doubtful. They move a lot faster than ticks (which is what Permethrin is really ideal for). And since you're not exactly taking steps to cover up all exposed skin when biking, they don't really have to travel far in most cases. The caterpillars, you're just going to have to get over.

    Permethrin is actually only toxic to mammals when it's wet. So yeah, don't apply it inside the house with pets (I've always applied it in the garage). But after it dries out, you will not kill your dogs or cats by bringing it inside. This strategy is vetted by my wife, who is an ER veterinarian, and tends to have an excess of caution with regards to toxins and our pets.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Permethrin is actually only toxic to mammals when it's wet.
    What if you have applied it to your kit, say pads and shoes, and it rains? Is it toxic if it is washed onto your skin after it has dried?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    What if you have applied it to your kit, say pads and shoes, and it rains? Is it toxic if it is washed onto your skin after it has dried?
    No. I do not have the reason why at hand, but with some google sleuthing it won't be hard to find.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

  11. #11
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    Try Southern WV - by August it's mosquitoes, huge horse flies, fast deer flies, spider webs every twenty feet, poison ivy, nettles, greenbrier and snakes.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
    Try Southern WV - by August it's mosquitoes, huge horse flies, fast deer flies, spider webs every twenty feet, poison ivy, nettles, greenbrier and snakes.
    Everything you described is in the OPís territory as well. Those horse and deer flies bite upon landing. Before you can swipe them off they have taken a bite. Within seconds youíve got a huge red welt. I donít know why Iím telling you this, you live it.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  13. #13
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    Or just act like a man and ride your bike, keep your mouth closed so as to not swallow any flies and enjoy that nature is interacting with you
    Quote Originally Posted by jscott36 View Post
    Thanks guys. One thought I just had was to pickup a lightweight full-face helmet (DH) and custom make a lens and breathing mesh for it.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Everything you described is in the OPís territory as well. Those horse and deer flies bite upon landing. Before you can swipe them off they have taken a bite. Within seconds youíve got a huge red welt. I donít know why Iím telling you this, you live it.
    And it's a hard mountain bike life to live sometimes, but we press on. The late summer spider webs are a sight. When I get back from rides, the webs are literally hanging from my bike and body. I've become a good one handed rider from swiping at insects and pulling webs from my face.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
    And it's a hard mountain bike life to live sometimes, but we press on. The late summer spider webs are a sight. When I get back from rides, the webs are literally hanging from my bike and body. I've become a good one handed rider from swiping at insects and pulling webs from my face.
    One of the few advantages of always being the slowest rider - the webs have been cleared by the first riders. Yellow jackets on the other hand are all riled up and looking to kill.

  16. #16
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    Trail Sweepers

    Buy them a beer.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigCreekRider View Post
    One of the few advantages of always being the slowest rider - the webs have been cleared by the first riders. Yellow jackets on the other hand are all riled up and looking to kill.
    I would rather take spider patrol over being the target of hive of pissed off yellowjackets.

  18. #18
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    Yellow jackets and wasps etc. have exploded in the Cascades as of late. Other than that we generally have it pretty good.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigCreekRider View Post
    One of the few advantages of always being the slowest rider - the webs have been cleared by the first riders. Yellow jackets on the other hand are all riled up and looking to kill.
    I remember riding really fast on my motorbike along a German road out in the countryside once, following my friend who was just in front of me. I saw a cloud of something suddenly appear in front of him, and he created a bike and rider shaped hole in the cloud that I aimed for right after him. Turned out they were bees, and we were going so fast I only clipped a few. His bike was covered in bee bits tho.
    It's all Here. Now.

  20. #20
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    Man vs Inchworms-16602709_1248622618518100_722050515454958796_n.jpg
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  21. #21
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    Permethrin details...

    Not so much in response to the OP, but to other posts.

    OK in dogs but toxic to cats.

    Some brand name "flea dip" uses it as a primary active ingredient.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K9_Advantix_II


    Bugs are real bad here in the NE. Black flies in early season, deer flies late. You can out run the black flies but are in trouble if you get a mechanical. Can't out run deer flies, but deer fly patches work great. I buy them in bulk.

    Inch worms - hmm. Interesting. Never was accosted by an inch worm. But, will keep an eye out. Can never be too safe you know.

  22. #22
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    Here in Florida I regularly end up with a face full of spider web. Beyond that, yep, horseflies , mosquitoes, ticks, wasps and I once got hit by an eastern diamondback. The inch worms look like they wouldn't taste very good.

  23. #23
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    Don't give those worms an inch...they'll take a mile!
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  24. #24
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    OP, New England where? MA has mosquitoes and deer flies, black flies ? Put on some deet, pedal, don't stop.

  25. #25
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    Due to some childhood trauma I have a bit of a caterpillar phobia. I know it's unreasonable but hey, phobias are like that.

    While on a ride last summer I brushed up against some bushes, looked down, and much to my horror saw that my entire body was covered in caterpillars.

    This photo shows just my sleeve (after I shook off about half of the worms) but I was covered from head-to-toe. I hit the ejector seat and did a funky dance while trying not to pass out.

    Man vs Inchworms-19665353_10213325566916921_2550096353646195373_n.jpg

  26. #26
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    A lady that rides with us sometimes, who is quite slow, yet will ride literally ALL day, often wears a hair net stretched over her helmet (you can't even see it), long sleeves (lightweight breathable), long pants, high socks, gloves, her prescription glasses, and once in awhile a bandana over her mouth. I get a kick out of it because she is fighting a bunch of allergies and bugs and poison ivy, yet she still goes. Sometimes we'll be back at camp and her husband will look her up on a phone app just to make sure she's still moving, but she always makes it back with a smile on her face. We get flies, midges, moth larvae, inch worms, horse flies, deer flies, mosquitoes, ticks, ground hornets... it comes with the territory. I'm sure I've eaten at least one of each of those except the hornet and the tick.

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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Due to some childhood trauma I have a bit of a caterpillar phobia. I know it's unreasonable but hey, phobias are like that.

    While on a ride last summer I brushed up against some bushes, looked down, and much to my horror saw that my entire body was covered in caterpillars.

    This photo shows just my sleeve (after I shook off about half of the worms) but I was covered from head-to-toe. I hit the ejector seat and did a funky dance while trying not to pass out.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    ...and then kept on riding.

    (actually, that sounds horrible, but glad to hear you still ride anyway)

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Due to some childhood trauma I have a bit of a caterpillar phobia. I know it's unreasonable but hey, phobias are like that.

    While on a ride last summer I brushed up against some bushes, looked down, and much to my horror saw that my entire body was covered in caterpillars.

    This photo shows just my sleeve (after I shook off about half of the worms) but I was covered from head-to-toe. I hit the ejector seat and did a funky dance while trying not to pass out.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	19665353_10213325566916921_2550096353646195373_n.jpg 
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    Awe man!
    Hopefully none of the eggs made it anywhere near your ear canal. They're prolly getting ready to hatch any moment. Most gypsie moths are GMO btw.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  29. #29
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    Dammit man! Now Iím all itchy.

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    I honestly thought this thread was going to be about slower riders ahead of you on climbs.

    Following that full face helmet idea, you can get helmet skirts - this is not the right name of the product but I forget. They are for noise reduction and inclement weather and they are elastic fabric around your neck and the lower edge of the helmet. https://www.amazon.com/WINDJAMMER-RE.../dp/B003FHLNVK

    Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I'll go eat worms...

  31. #31
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    To keep the inchworms out of your hair just affix a ram scoop to your mouth and enjoy the steady trickle of free protein. It's uncanny how they always manage to dangle at face height, it's as if they want to be eaten.

    I used to be plagued by thunderbugs in hot, humid weather but these (and other insects) seem to be going through a steep decline here in the UK. While it's nice not to have dozens of wriggly little insects stuck to my sweaty arms I can't help but to feel sorry for the frogs and suchlike who rely on them for dinner.
    Hose me down till the water runs clear.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Move to another state like the dry climates of the west.
    Quote Originally Posted by jscott36 View Post
    No thanks.
    you'll be glad ya did, otherwise suffer with dem bugs stuck in your throat..

  33. #33
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    I use DEET on exposed skin and permethrin on riding and hiking clothing to keep mosquitoes and ticks off. They work great for that purpose. IDK about biting black flies and horseflies. I ignore non-biting black flies flying around my face and inchworms or gypsy moth caterpillars. Black flies and buzzing mosquitoes are great motivation to ride faster. It's trudging and sweating pedaling up hill where they are the most troubling.
    Do the math.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Move to another state like the dry climates of the west.
    this as long as you can handle cholla.
    Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

  35. #35
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    Burn dem bagwurms...

    Man vs Inchworms-chupacabra.jpg
    Stick around if you're housebroken...

  36. #36
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    There was a huge inchworm infestation in central NY's Ontario County Park in 2016. If you stopped to listen, it sounded like it was raining in the woods from their droppings hitting the leaves. And the trees looked cloudy from all the silk. You encounter hundreds of them every few feet.

    And my surprise, they actually bite. Sure, you get a few on you, you don't get bit. Sure, you get 20 on you, you may not get bit. But if you get dozens, or a hundred? You get bit a few times.
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    Surely you are trolling?

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    you'll be glad ya did, otherwise suffer with dem bugs stuck in your throat..
    I'll take bugs over cactus and heat stroke.

  39. #39
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    Bugs over cactus any day.
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by no one in particular View Post
    There was a huge inchworm infestation in central NY's Ontario County Park in 2016. If you stopped to listen, it sounded like it was raining in the woods from their droppings hitting the leaves. And the trees looked cloudy from all the silk. You encounter hundreds of them every few feet.
    Here in CT, the last few summers we have gotten hit hard with Gypsy Moth. They start out in late May early June as caterpillars that take over parts of the forest by the millions. They are leaf eating machines and you can hear the constant pitter-patter of their droppings hitting the forest floor. Certain areas of forest begin to look like winter because ALL the leaves are gone. It's really amazing the damage they do. The also create stringy webs all through the trails. When it rains the trails become like GREASE from all these droppings.
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  41. #41
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    Just a suggestion..

    Goggles for the eyes, and a mesh face shield like we use in Airsoft for the lower half of your face. Like:

    https://www.evike.com/products/63277/

    Good luck.

    Steve Z
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    And paddling when it's wet

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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    Bugs over cactus any day.
    Bzzzt. . if you can avoid the cactus, pretty simple. Iím voting for cactus over bugs any day. One canít avoid bugs, cactus is pretty simple to avoid if you have your witts about you. If we are talking the outcome of the two in an occurrence, then yes, bugs over cactus.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  43. #43
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    Snakes over mosquitoes. Snakes want nothing to do with you. Mosquitoes want to eat you.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  44. #44
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    Generally, bugs over cactus for me. There are some occasions where I would def take cactus over bugs, though.

    I lived in the desert for a season, and I actually got tired of it. Not green enough, honestly. The bugs come with that territory, and I will gladly deal with them.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

  45. #45
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    I ride in an area where an inordinate amount of people disappear. Many a year. Whatever it is I want nothing to do with it.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  46. #46
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    The inch worm looks like an "Elm Span Worm" Back in 1970 or so, the span worm population went bonkers. They were everywhere hanging from every limb. I remember shaking trees over Miller's Pond in CT and watching the water boil with small fish as the span worms hit.

    The span worms aren't poison and don't have irritating hairs like the gypsy moth caterpillars and eventually all the birds, squirrels, etc found out how good they tasted and how easy they were to eat. The infestation disappeared in about one week! That was just in time for a very big hatch of gypsy moth caterpillars!

    Here in the west we have our own pita bugs. Gnats are coming out now and no-see-ums will follow. The skeets come out with warm weather and will follow the rapidly melting snowpack up hill through July. Like everyone, we have the European yellow jackets here too. You do not ever want to PO a nest of those suckers. They are probably the most dangerous wasp in the Grand State of Confusion. However, you haven't seen anything until you've seen a truly huge hatch of Mormon Crickets. I've seen highway 50 in central Nevada so slick with crushed crickets that I had to slow down to 60 mph or so. When they mature, they are almost the size of a twinkie! In the Ruby mountains, I pointed out the abundant huge black crickets to Woody, the golden retriever, to see what he would do. He ate them immediately in quantity and seemed to love them. Of course, Woody, a very serious eater couldn't make even a dent on the ones in our campsite!

    Tonight, I'm looking at a very swollen arm and a growing black spot where I pulled out a tick nymph this morning. Looks like the doc tomorrow.

    All of this emphasizes how great August, September, and October are!
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    Black fly's - Cutter Backwoods.
    Horse fly's - Hawaiian Tropic on the back of your neck.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by telemike View Post
    In the Ruby mountains, I pointed out the abundant huge black crickets to Woody, the golden retriever, to see what he would do. He ate them immediately in quantity and seemed to love them. Of course, Woody, a very serious eater couldn't make even a dent on the ones in our campsite!
    Haha...love that!
    Great post, I really enjoyed it!
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  49. #49
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    Bugs over cactus sounds like good eatin'

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    Thanks guys! I appreciate all of the helpful comments, advice and links. It's great reading your stories too.

    I got a new idea. This is after I researched "Amazon Bug Protection". Not sure how I ended up with this but here it is...

    I could possibly take one of the face shields I have pictured in my original post, cut out a section for breathing, and keep some of the clear polycarbonate for an eye shield. From there I could simply get a bug net people use for hiking so it covers everything else. I would just need to trim it around the eye shield and glue it somehow along the bottom.

    Still working on this but whatever it takes to keep me riding at least a couple of times a week during the Spring and Summer.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by jscott36 View Post
    Thanks guys! I appreciate all of the helpful comments, advice and links. It's great reading your stories too.

    I got a new idea. This is after I researched "Amazon Bug Protection". Not sure how I ended up with this but here it is...

    I could possibly take one of the face shields I have pictured in my original post, cut out a section for breathing, and keep some of the clear polycarbonate for an eye shield. From there I could simply get a bug net people use for hiking so it covers everything else. I would just need to trim it around the eye shield and glue it somehow along the bottom.

    Still working on this but whatever it takes to keep me riding at least a couple of times a week during the Spring and Summer.
    Attach a frickin laser.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  52. #52
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    Love my cactus and heat stroke. Makes for trails relatively free of traffic.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by berkshire_rider View Post
    Black fly's - Cutter Backwoods.
    Horse fly's - Hawaiian Tropic on the back of your neck.
    Fly is what?


    See, Finch. I can't help myself.

  54. #54
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    there isnt that much cholla out on some of the trails so I dont worry too much. just keep you arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.

    Man vs Inchworms-cholla.jpg
    Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
    Frank Lloyd Wright

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
    Bugs over cactus sounds like good eatin'
    MA has winter moths in late November or so. Flying slowly in the woods of my back roads commute. Attracted to light, go figure. Helmet light did not help. Had one fly in my mouth and stuck to the back of my throat. Wings still flapping. Not good. At all. Quite disturbing, hacking and gacking. Shut off my helmet light and closed my mouth after that.

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