Bingo! Top is Mosquito Gulch, just west of Mulligan Plains out in da boonies, bottom is that incredibly janky section of Sissy Pants in RAMBA in Ishpeming that I'm pretty sure only Danny can ride.
You're talking about my favorite flavor of "trail." Places that may have, at some time in the distant past, been a trail, or maybe a deer trail, or maybe a streambed, or maybe just a place with fewer trees. Places no sane person would try to ride or go for a walk with a bike. I love 'em.
^I have seen somebody ride this one, the trailbuilder. He builds things he wants to ride, and lets others try.
I believe that is the greatest series of "only pictures of my new bike," that has ever been taken.
I think the Appleman 2XR FIT Crank that Matt has on his site is going to be hugely helpful for a lot of people. Personally, I tried going to 165mm cranks from my usual 175mm, and it actually caused knee pain - it felt like there was extra strain right above the knee. But, I am tall (188cm) and have absurdly long calves and a short torso. My knee angle was at 75° with the 165mm cranks - even with 175mm, it's still 72.5°ish. It's definitely a what-works-for-you sizing, and I'm glad to see more options becoming available.
"If you're going to be dumb, you've got to be tough," is a motto I live by. It works outside of biking, too - when something goes wrong, something breaks, a situation doesn't go the way you wanted it to - it's a good time to swear quietly to yourself, take a deep breath, and go fix whatever needs fixing.
I say the same thing. At least when I run into a tree, it's my fault. Although there have been a couple close calls with deer, they must have been texting and grazing.
My assumption commuting is that drivers can't see me, and the ones that can see me are actively trying to kill me. Hasn't let me down yet.
I picked a reflective harness over a vest or a jacket specifically because it's very versatile - you can wear it over whatever clothes you already have, and in all seasons. T-shirt in the summer, puffy or rain jacket in the winter.
Lights are super important. I am also a big fan of the incredibly dorky reflective vest. I had to pick one up for a winter race (snowmobile trail, you will not win if you fight a snowmobile on a bike) and I've been wearing it commuting since. It's anecdata, but I feel like drivers give me more space when I'm wearing it, and it makes it obvious that you are a human and not a stealth missile. It weighs practically nothing and fits over whatever gear I'm wearing.
Totally anecdotal, but my butt has been very happy with Sagmas (the suspended version). I ride ultra endurance and I've sat on them relatively pain free for 36 hours at a time.
I agree changing bits is annoying, I find poking them out from the back with the pad of my thumb works well but I have slender spider fingers. I use it as a T-handle a lot too, but the ratchet is really nice to have sometimes (water bottle cage bolts & stem bolts mostly).
It's pretty smooth. There's some backdrag, so you can't install a totally loose screw, but it's pretty easy to either put your thumb over the ratchet mechanism so it can't spin backwards. Or, if you're using the extension, hold onto that. 97% of the time it works fine.
I have the Wera Bicycle Set 1, and it's my go-to for minor repairs where I don't want to lug the whole toolbox into the basement. Very similar to what you posted but it comes with the Hex Plus bits. Phenomenal for stems & bottle cages, too.
I have to tap out at 6" deadfall right now too, and that's usually attacking it from both sides. Bigger it is.
Reminds me of once when I was cutting out a section of log that was at perfect head-smacking height, not quite blocking the trail, and a guy came along... I thought he was going to stop and help, but instead he shoves his bike under the log - crawls after it - and asks me if I knocked the tree down?!? Maybe a bigger saw would also intimidate people into helping me.
I'm trying to talk myself out of it. My little 9" Fiskars works on 90% of the downed trees I come across... do I really need a bigger heavier saw for the other 10%, or can I just tell the trail boss about them?
Oh, who am I kidding. I need a bigger heavier saw.
My initial retrogrouch reaction is, "Back in my day, we had to steer the bike OURSELVES! None of this new technology for me!" and "who is this for, exactly? Aren't bikes complicated enough already?". But then I wondered - would this help with self-steer of certain tires (especially fat bike tires)?
It sounds initially like it's providing a solution no one asked for, but like you say, there are similar things for urban bikes. Somebody must be buying them.