Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 review – Full-Suspension – Mountain Bikes

Canyon’s previous-generation Torque was one of a dying breed of long-travel 650b-wheeled bikes.

It’s been reworked substantially this year, with new frame details, revised geometry and bigger 29in wheels at each end.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 frame and suspension

Canyon relies on its familiar four-bar suspension design on the new Torque.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

In common with other new Canyons, the Torque’s low-slung frame has good standover clearance, rocks some pretty slick lines and is better finished than ever.

Out back, there’s the tried-and-tested four-bar suspension design we’ve come to expect from the German brand, plus a SRAM universal derailleur hanger, which will be easier to replace if you damage it hucking off cliffs away from home.

The new Torque is also available in carbon fibre, with adjustable geometry (via a flip chip at the tip of the seatstays, which isn’t on the alloy version) and 29in, 650b or mixed (MX) wheel sizes.

Cables are routed into the chunky aluminium frame.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

This, however, is the seriously robust-looking aluminium chassis, with big, beaded welds on the compact front triangle.

The old shock yoke is gone, with the air-sprung Fox Float X2 damper now attaching directly to the seatstay tip, and the smooth-edged rocker link wrapping around the curved seat tube to meet the stays further down.

There’s (finally) room for a water bottle on the curvy down tube. The pivot hardware uses steel inserts for durability, but the frame is still said to be 200g lighter than the previous generation.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 geometry

Geometry is pretty standard for a bike of this type, with the effective seat tube angle 78 degrees.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

This aluminium Torque lacks the geometry-adjust feature found on the carbon version.

Instead, Canyon has split the difference, giving the AL version the head angle from the slack setting (63.5 degrees) and the effective seat tube angle of the steeper setting (78 degrees) as found on the carbon frame, along with the 30mm bottom bracket (BB) drop.

These angles are pretty normal for a ‘bike park’ machine nowadays, and Canyon has stretched the latest Torque’s (carbon and aluminium frames) sizing so it’s in line with many contemporaries.

The large frame tested here has a 485mm reach (the key indicator of distance from hands to feet). While this sounds roomy, it’s actually 5mm shorter than the reach on the carbon 29er and doesn’t leave the frame feeling massive.

This is something to be aware of, because loads of rival mountain bikes with marginally shorter claimed reaches on paper feel bigger than this.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 specifications

Fizik’s Gravita Alpaca X5 sits on an own-brand dropper post.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

It’ll be no surprise to hear that Canyon has nailed the component choices.

As one of the biggest brands, it’s at the front of the line for the best parts in times of supply issues, and by selling direct to the customer and delivering in a cardboard box, its prices are roughly 25 per cent better value than shop-bought rivals.

Highlights include stiff and strong DT Swiss freeride FR 2070 wheels with 30mm-wide (internal) FR 560 rims that are hard to dent and damage. These are shod with arguably the best Maxxis tyre combination – a 3C MaxxGrip-compound Assegai up front and faster-rolling MaxxTerra Minion DHR II at the rear, with EXO+ and DD casings, respectively.

The choice of Maxxis front and rear tyres is spot-on.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

The trade-off for the strong wheels is more weight to lug uphill, and the workhorse drivetrain and brakes weigh marginally more than pricier kit, too.

However, Shimano’s SLX kit is perfectly sorted and reliable, providing wide-range gearing to winch up the steeps and powerful enough four-piston calipers and Ice-Tech brake pads that really bite on fast descents.

While the Performance-level Fox 38 fork and Float X2 shock have reduced adjustment and a slightly less refined ride quality than the brand’s priciest Elite and Factory kit, you can still add low-speed rebound and compression damping at both ends, via countable-click dials and a sweeping compression knob on top of the oversized fork leg.

Canyon’s own bar, stem and dropper seatpost are well-finished, a sensible shape and function well, plus the bike comes with a bottle cage installed to save you some money.

Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 ride impressions.

Climbing performance

This is not a bike designed primarily for climbing.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

With a frame construction rated ‘Cat 5’ by Canyon, the Torque shares the same bombproof build quality as the Sender DH rig raced at World Cups, which gives you a clue as to the major intentions here. Basically, this thing isn’t designed to win any climbing competitions.

That said, it pedals fine, with minimal bob (no matter which sprocket you’re in on the cassette), smooth turnover and a good seated position, which places your hips over the cranks and never tips your weight too far back, even on the steepest pitches.

Being built like a DH tank, the limiting factor to climbing speed is the Torque AL’s weight. At over 16.5kg, it’s a noticeable chunk of bike to lug uphill for extended periods.

Add to this the designed-to-last wheels being heavy and the sticky/grippy front tyre being painfully slow-rolling on tarmac and smooth fireroads, and climbing can be a bit of a drag. Don’t expect to get anywhere particularly fast uphill or over undulating ground.

This is all typical for the category, although there are a few bikes – such as Propain’s Spindrift – that defy expectations of how sprightly and frisky a super-long-travel enduro mountain bike can pedal and climb. Those bikes are way faster under power and quicker to accelerate than the new Torque.

Descending performance

Point the Torque 29 AL 6 downhill and it really comes into its own.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

With 29in wheels and 170mm of travel, you’d expect Canyon’s rig to thrive downhill with minimal drama and maximum speed, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Pretty much nothing unsettles the wheels on the ground or scrubs the edge off its pace, and the suspension at both ends feels deep and fluid enough to iron out creases on seriously rocky and rooty terrain.

The large size has stacks of stability and a calm ride. It trucks on down everything from raw, loamy enduro tracks littered with natural obstructions and blown-out holes, to faster baked-hard, big-bermed DH or bike-park style terrain.

The suspension is well tuned and not so numbing or isolating that you can’t get a sense of the terrain under the wheels, but if you want to turn off your brain, stand tall, look ahead and let the Torque do its thing, you’ll fire out the exit of tracks of practically any steepness and severity unfazed.

One area where this 29er seriously differs from its predecessor (and, to an extent, from the MX CF Torque) is that it’s definitely not as manoeuvrable or as responsive to sudden inputs of body language – for example, when initiating a lean angle to cut through turns.

It also feels as though the suspension sweet spot keeps your centre of gravity marginally higher than on the old 650b-wheeled Torque.

Both these factors mean it sits marginally higher through turns and flat corners, and it isn’t as easy to load the chassis in the mid-stroke to switch direction, pump hollows or bounce back off the rear end for extra acceleration in the apex of turns.

Smooth arcs, rather than acute angles, are the way to maintain speed, then, and the whole bike feels soft, forgiving and smooth rather than taut and springy.

Testing the latest carbon Torque earlier in the year, the frame felt absolutely bombproof, but transmitted a lot of terrain feedback through hands and feet. This isn’t the case here.

This may be a consequence of the alloy frame being better-damped, the bigger rear wheel, or the different shock and fork feeling slightly less supportive – it’s hard to say.

The Fox Float X2 damper now attaches directly to the seatstay tip.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

What is clear, though, is that there’s less of the harshness and sense of a slightly fatiguing, rattly, vibration-laden ride apparent on the beefier carbon chassis.

Instead, the AL rides silently, even through the roughest sections and with puncture-defying higher tyre pressures, despite its lower-tier suspension.

This might make it the better latest-generation Torque to take somewhere such as the Alps or your local bike park for non-stop, hand-wrecking, arm pump-inducing uplift laps.

How does the Canyon Torque 29 AL 6 compare to rivals?

Canyon is right on the money with the new Torque when it comes to pricing and spec.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

As a 650b-wheeled bike-park rig, Canyon’s previous-generation Torque had a unique, distinct set of attributes that saw it rule on jumps and man-made features, fizzing over with energy and tautness.

This new model is totally sorted, but being smooth and composed, rather than super-agile, it fails to transcend the crowded marketplace of similarly capable long-travel enduro rigs.

It’s still a sorted package, though, and you can’t argue with the price or spec here.

It’s unlike two long-travel chameleons in this category that balance super-enduro capability with a taut, responsive ride quality; Propain’s Spindrift and the Evil Wreckoning – the German bike blending high-speed enduro smoothness with corner-slicing attitude, and the latter popping and hopping off every trail feature more like the previous-generation Torque.

Canyon Torque 29 Al 6 bottom line

Solid is very much the defining word for the Torque 29 AL 6.
Mick Kirkman / Our Media

A solid package in every sense of the word, Canyon’s Torque AL 6 has got your back in the gnarliest terrain, pedals well and has great kit.

It’s a tad heavy and doesn’t quite have the taut, responsive attitude of the MX CF version, though, or that bike’s ability to encourage flicking off every little rise, lip and berm.

Source link

Big perks for big spenders: World of Hyatt Business Credit Card review

Big perks for big spenders: World of Hyatt Business Credit Card review – The Points Guy

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source link

Hotel Review: Grand Hyatt at SFO

Airport hotels, long decried for dreariness and lack of imagination, are finally having their moment. I’ve always been a fan of airport hotels, and I’ve written much about them: how accommodating travelers in transit is among the purest forms of hospitality; how it’s more exciting than it may seem to stay right in the midst of a large international airport; how airport hotels can be prized for their 24-hour, “timezone-less” feel.

But even with my fascination with airport hotels wasn’t quite ready for the Grand Hyatt at SFO. Perched right on the inter-terminal AirTran line at San Francisco International Airport, the Grand Hyatt is the closest hotel to the terminals at SFO. While other airport hotels are close, they’re still a wait and a shuttle ride away, and when you’re on a short layover time for eating and resting is at a premium.


It’s also nice that the Grand Hyatt brand was selected by SFO (which owns the property; Hyatt operates it under contract) when the property was announced in 2016. Grand Hyatt sits between the upper-upscale and luxury tiers in the Hyatt brand family, so guests could expect lots of high-end fittings and original art from the get-go—nice touches to have, breaking up a long travel day (Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport also opted for the Grand Hyatt brand for its own in-terminal property).

From its dedicated AirTran stop, it’s down the escalator and into the light-filled lobby with the catbird seat right above SFO’s international terminal. It’s difficult not to be distracted by a widebody airliner lazily taxiing past behind the front desk agent during check-in, but the process is fast and friendly.

I arrived just before the restaurant, Quail & Crane, was due to close for the evening, so they were even proactive enough to take my bags upstairs while I dashed down one level to have a bite before capping off my evening. Hyatt takes food quite seriously, so it’s always a treat to have time to dine-in, and a quick nosh on tangy fried chicken wings and a decadent crab fried rice while watching the aircraft movements through the two-story windows was quite rightly in order.

My junior suite was actually a corner suite, with views over the aircraft apron, neighboring Burlingame, and the San Francisco Bay. Rooms, which are well, soundproofed, seem designed to embrace, rather than ignore, aircraft activity. I suppose being owned by the airport meant the hotel was designed with an idea of place—keeping travelers engaged in the notion that their stay is part of a journey.

Waiting on the bed to welcome me was a little plush airplane with a friendly smile. More for the kids, perhaps, but the staff must have intuitively figured out my love of any cute amenity that works as a personable antidote to the oftentimes isolating feel of traveling. Guests are also encouraged to take in the views with the binoculars and guide to aircraft spotting set on the table next to the divan nearest the window facing the terminal.

The piéce de resistance, however, was the deep soaker bathtub in the suite’s massive bathroom—also situated right next to the window for plane spotting. Oh, what heaven for aviation enthusiasts!

Those same large bathrooms with marble fittings, adorned with potted bamboo plants, also have rainfall showers (the low-flow water pressure was a minor quibble considering California’s ongoing issues with water), and hi-tech Japanese commodes that with more dashboard settings than many automobiles.

In short, rooms have all the amenities one would expect from Grand Hyatt, and those also happen to be perfect for short stays by weary travelers: minifridges, Nespresso machines, free bottled water in reusable metal bottles (and reuse I did—having forgotten my own water flask, one of the bottles was indispensable during my two weeks in French Polynesia), robes, and slippers—even a yoga mat rolled up in the closet for in-room stretching.

For breakfast, there’s room service, the 24-hour Twin Crafts Market for grab-and-go or grab-and-sit (it also offers bar service in the evenings), or Quail & Crane. Having enjoyed it so much the night before, it was a no-brainer for me, so it was back to the “big window on the planes” for some good coffee, crispy bacon, and a well-turned omelet.

On my return journey, I had a nearly-six hour layover after an overnight flight—right in that space where it’s just slightly too long to be comfortable camped out in the terminal, but not quite long enough to justify the expense and schlep of getting a day-use room at a hotel. But I’d enjoyed the Grand Hyatt so much on my outbound journey, and knew it was just minutes away on AirTran, so I happily paid the $169 plus tax (which gets you six hours between certain times during the day) to get several hours of sleep before my onward flight.

Hello, new favorite.

The Takeaway

Right in the terminal, this deliciously upscale hotel has all the right amenities for weary travelers on short stays.

The Math

I’ve seen overnight rates from around $291 plus tax.

Instagrammable Moment

Those soaking tubs are sure to get some attention.


World of Hyatt

Good to Know

Day-use rates aren’t available online – call the hotel directly for availability.

Guests arriving from off-airport property have a separate entrance on the lower level.

Dining outlets have a fine selection of vegetarian options, as well as non-meat substitutes.

Source link

Allianz Travel Insurance Review – Forbes Advisor

Allianz OneTrip Basic Plan

This is Allianz’s most budget-friendly comprehensive travel insurance plan. Here are the coverage types you’ll find with OneTrip Basic:

  • Up to $10,000 trip cancellation coverage
  • Up to $10,000 trip interruption coverage
  • Up to $10,000 in travel medical insurance
  • Up to $50,000 emergency medical transportation coverage
  • $500 for baggage loss or damage
  • $200 for baggage delay, after 12-hour waiting period
  • $300 travel delay ($150 daily limit), after six-hour waiting period
  • 24-hour hotline assistance
  • Epidemic coverage endorsement

Allianz OneTrip Prime Plan

This policy is similar to the OneTrip Basic plan except it has higher coverage limits and a few more bells and whistles. For example, you’ll get access to Allianz concierge services to assist with travel needs such as booking restaurant reservations.

Plus, you get free coverage for one child under age 17 traveling with you. Additionally, you can choose to get a flat payment of $100 per day under travel delay benefits, and you won’t be required to provide receipts.

Here are the coverage types you’ll find with OneTrip Prime:

  • Up to $100,000 trip cancellation coverage
  • Up to $150,000 trip interruption coverage
  • Up to $50,000 emergency medical coverage
  • Up to $500,000 emergency medical transportation coverage
  • $1,000 baggage loss or damage coverage
  • $300 baggage delay coverage, after 12-hour waiting period
  • $800 travel delay ($200 daily limit), after five-hour waiting period
  • 24-hour hotline assistance
  • Concierge service
  • Epidemic coverage endorsement

The OneTrip Prime offers the following upgrades:

  • OneTrip Rental Car Protector. This provides primary collision coverage for a rental car.
  • Required to Work. This adds trip cancellation and interruption coverage for work-related emergencies that are covered by your policy.

Allianz OneTrip Premier Plan

This plan includes many of the coverage types as the OneTrip Prime plan, but you’ll get higher limits for most coverage types.

  • Up to $100,000 trip cancellation coverage, including NOAA hurricane warnings as a covered reason
  • Up to $150,000 trip interruption coverage
  • Up to $50,000 emergency medical coverage
  • Up to $1,000,000 emergency medical transportation coverage
  • $2,000 baggage loss or damage coverage
  • $600 baggage delay coverage, after 12-hour waiting period
  • $1,600 travel delay ($200 daily limit), after three-hour waiting period
  • 24-hour hotline assistance
  • Concierge service
  • Epidemic coverage endorsement

In addition, you’ll get optional coverage types that can appeal to the more adventurous traveler:

  • SmartBenefits. You can opt to get a fixed inconvenience fee of $100 per person per day if your trip is delayed for a problem covered by your policy. You won’t need any receipts, just proof of delay.
  • Sports Traveler. If you miss a sporting event due to a problem covered by your policy, this covers prepaid sporting fees up to the maximum amount specified in the plan.
  • Sporting equipment loss. This pays to replace or repair your sporting equipment for problems covered by the policy.
  • Sporting equipment rental. This reimburses you up to $1,000 if you have to rent replacement sporting equipment in case your equipment is lost, stolen, delayed or damaged.
  • Vehicle return. This pays to have your personal, leased or borrowed vehicle returned to your primary address if you are unable to drive due to a problem covered by the policy.
  • Adventure & Sports Exclusion Change. This waives the coverage exclusion for certain activities such as caving, repelling, spelunking, bungee jumping and diving at depths greater than 30 feet for free diving and 100 feet for scuba diving. This coverage is automatically included in your policy.
  • OneTrip Rental Car Protector. This add-on provides primary collision coverage for a rental car.

Allianz OneTrip Emergency Medical Plan

This plan pairs travel medical coverage along with post-departure benefits such as travel delay, baggage delay and lost baggage. It is designed for those who haven’t paid much in non-refundable deposits.

  • Up to $50,000 emergency medical coverage
  • Up to $250,000 emergency medical transportation
  • Up to $2,000 baggage loss and damage coverage
  • Up to $750 baggage delay, after a 12-hour waiting period
  • Up to $1,000 travel delay, after six-hour waiting period
  • Up to $10,000 travel accident coverage, cash payment for death, loss of limbs or sight due to a covered travel accident
  • 24-hour hotline assistance
  • Concierge services
  • Epidemic coverage endorsement

Allianz OneTrip Cancellation Plus Plan

This travel plan is designed for domestic travelers on a budget who need trip cancellation insurance, and interruption and delay coverage but who don’t need medical insurance and don’t want baggage coverage.

  • Up to $5,000 trip cancellation coverage
  • Up to $5,000 trip interruption coverage
  • Up to $150 travel delay coverage ($150 daily limit), after six-hour waiting period
  • 24-hour hotline assistance
  • Epidemic coverage endorsement

Allianz OneTrip Rental Car Protector Plan

This plan is designed for folks who want coverage for rental cars during their trip.

  • $50,000 collision damage waiver, which covers costs or your rental if it’s stolen or damaged in an accident covered by the policy or while it’s parked
  • Up to $1,000 trip interruption coverage
  • Up to $1,000 baggage loss or damage coverage
  • 24-hour hotline assistance

Source link

Here’s why, at least once in your life, you should travel solo – The NAU Review

One of the scariest moments of my life was stumbling out of a plane in Frankfurt, Germany, jet-lagged, knowing about three German words, flummoxed by public transit (perks of growing up in a small town?), with a phone that didn’t work and useless money in my wallet. I was 31, traveling internationally by myself for the first time and in that moment really regretting this life choice.

It took a good night’s rest, some German pastries and taking a train to the city where I was born to realize how much I loved it and that, while traveling alone is (still!) scary, it’s also incredible. For Plan a Solo Vacation Day, allow me to tell you—yes, even you, you big ol’ extrovert—why you should travel solo at least once.

You may also discover a deep and abiding love for sunsets and spend actual hours sitting on city walls, seawalls, beaches, patios, boats to watch the sun go down. This is from Oia, the northern edge of the Greek isle of Santorini and home to some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Tourists pack that edge of the island and cheer when it slips out of sight into the Aegean Sea.

You don’t have to share. Not your food, not the narrow beds and not time behind the wheel on the autobahn—it’s all yours. So stretch out, eat the whole bag of cookies and enjoy the accelerator in that little German car that shifts into sixth gear as effortlessly as a warm knife slicing through butter. It also means you don’t have to share the embarrassing story of how you didn’t know how to shift into reverse in cars with six gears because you’ve always driven a car with five gears and you had to ask a random guy on the street where all the gears are in German cars.

Now, you should share that story. Moments like that are what make travel memorable. But you don’t have to share it, which makes it a quirky traveler’s tale instead of an epic fail. 😃

To that end—there are no witnesses when you do something dumb. Like the times—yes, it’s plural—when I got stuck in an elevator. (In my defense, in old buildings in the Mediterranean region, they are very small and the doors don’t open automatically.) Or when I accidentally booked a hostel 200 kilometers away from where I was staying. Or the time I ended up at the train station and not the beach and actually thought the map was wrong. (I … might not know right from left without thinking through which hand I write with.)

The only person you have to worry about having fun is you. You know what I did not enjoy at all? The Louvre. I wasn’t alone on that trip, and I didn’t leave as early as I wanted—but I left earlier than my travel companions wanted and none of us were happy.

BMW land shark
And German car museums, like the BMW Welt in Munich. 

Which leads to …

You only go the places you want. My first trip abroad, with my mother and sister, we went to so many art museums. It’s Europe! You see the art. Well, it turns out I hate art museums. I don’t “get” art. Give me a museum on chocolate, cheese, football (soccer for the Americans), communist sculptures, history or leprechauns and I am set.

You get to go at your own pace. Ever gone hiking with someone so much slower than you that you spent most of the hike waiting for them? Ever been that person? You know what I mean. It’s fun to power up that mountain. It’s also nice to take a rest day. And it’s amazing to rent a bike and go on a self-guided “Sound of Music” tour of Salzburg without worrying if someone else is nerdy enough to sing “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” while you go.

a goat
My people: an inquisitive Dutch goat. Not my people, though it was a fun night: the big-city Irish folks who took over the small town where I went to hike for the yearly matchmaking festival the next time over. I did meet a man. It was not meant to be.

It’s easier to make friends when you don’t have any built in. If you haven’t guessed by now, I am an introvert and am super into spending time by myself and not talking to people. But I’m not a total hermit, and I like a little human interaction every now and then. And not having a travel companion has allowed me to strike up conversations with travelers in buses and hostels, to say yes to that dinner invitation from the vegetable peddler in Athens, to chat with guides on small tours or surfing lessons that were unexpectedly private. (Pro tip: You get a lot of private tours when you travel during the off season because no other tourists are signing up. In fact, if you want a mostly-solo trip with a little human interaction, look into small group or walking tours, cooking or some other kind of a lesson or my personal favorite—food tours. If you’re not already booking food tours on trips, start immediately.)

I’ve also spent a delightful morning with a friendly cat at a pineapple plantation. You gotta find your … people, in a manner of speaking.

Now, will being alone mean you get approached more, especially as a woman? It’s definitely possible. But I’ve never felt unsafe traveling alone. The same rules apply—be alert, pay attention to your surroundings, avoid dark alleys, walk with a purpose, try to keep your face as grouchy as possible so people don’t want to approach you. (Not advised if you, like me, are constantly lost and need directions. You do need to be able to switch from get-lost face to please-help-me-nice-stranger face quickly.)

Heidi atop Mt. SinaiYou get to experience things quietly and let the grandeur of the moment sink in.

In August, I went to Egypt. It’s the kind of trip that feels like the culmination of an entire life; I knew more about King Tut and the pyramids than I did about American history until my teenage years. I climbed Mt. Sinai in the middle of the night, beat the other tourists to the top (thank you, living at 7,000 feet!), and I had a beautiful, quiet 10 minutes of solitude on top of that mountain that is sacred to three religions. I was alone inside pyramids—which, after a frighteningly real nightmare about mummies 30 years ago, was a noteworthy accomplishment all by itself. So much of the world’s history happened in Egypt, and I got to sit quietly and reflect. I highly recommend it.

That also means …

A commemorative plaque, in English, from Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oświęcim, Poland.
A commemorative plaque, in English, from Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oświęcim, Poland.

You get the quiet when you most need it. One of the times I have been most grateful to be alone was on the bus back from Auschwitz. I needed time to decompress, to consider the emotions I felt and the stories I heard, and to weep. I didn’t want to talk. I needed the solitude for my own emotional health. I felt the same at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum and the Bosque Redondo Memorial. I wished it had been an option on the U-Bahn back from Dachau, the longest-running concentration camp in Germany, but I unwittingly sat next to two Americans who wanted to talk about Dan Marino.

You feel empowered. I learned public transit and city layouts. I can say “thank you” in a bunch of languages. (If you learn no other words, learn “hello,” “please” and “thank you.”) When you travel alone, you have no one else on whom to rely. It is definitely scary and sometimes uncomfortable. I have been lost, I have been unsure of what to do next, I have waited for a bus that I wasn’t sure was going to come and gamed out how to hitchhike back. I

Women in the rain on a double-decker bus
My sister and mother on a summer day in London.

have cried. I have felt stupid asking for help. And I’ve been lonely. But traveling solo is a rush unlike anything else I’ve ever done.

Now, I get it—traveling solo is not for everyone. And I’ve had some amazing moments traveling with people—my mom and sister and I laughed until we cried after getting dumped on while on the top of a double-decker bus in London. My mom and I occasionally remind people about the mama bear and cubs who strolled right past our bus window in Denali. The time my best friend and I bottomed out kayaking in East Texas would have just been sad on my own. And you never have to awkwardly ask a stranger to take your picture in front of whatever beautiful and/or historic place you’re visiting.

Two women in Denali
Awkward photo. My mom and me in Denali National Park in Alaska. It is mid-summer. Fun fact: Denali doesn’t have trails. You just (very carefully) strike out on your own and talk loud enough to keep the bears away. If you do that solo, you just end up talking to yourself or singing Hamilton songs.

But give it a whirl. You might find a whole new person who can confidently stride into a restaurant, ask for a table for one and then promptly pull out a book so strangers don’t try to talk to you.

Happy planning!




Heidi Toth is assistant director of NAU Communications and avid solo traveler. Her favorite place to travel is Germany. Have questions or want to share travel stories or pictures? Email

Source link

Airlines review services to Ukraine amid threat of war | News

After Dutch KLM cancels flights, Ukrainian charter airline SkyUp redirects a flight due to leasing company’s concerns.

Some airlines have canceled or diverted flights to Ukraine amid warnings from the West that an invasion by Russia is imminent as Kyiv says it will keep its airspace open.

Russia denies it intends to invade Ukraine despite massing tens of thousands of troops near the Ukrainian border and denouncing the West of “peak hysteria”. A call between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin failed to result in a breakthrough on Saturday, with the US warning Russia of crippling sanctions for military aggression.

Western leaders are pushing back against Russian demands that the US-led NATO alliance withdraw from Eastern Europe and never expand into Ukraine.

Reflecting the concerns of Western powers, Dutch airline KLM has cancelled flights to Ukraine until further notice, the company said on Saturday.

Dutch sensitivity to potential danger in Ukrainian airspace is high following the 2014 shooting down of a Malaysian jetliner flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur as it flew over a part of Eastern Ukraine held by Russia-backed rebels. All 298 people on board died, including 198 Dutch citizens.

The Ukrainian charter airline SkyUp said on Sunday its flight from Madeira, Portugal, to Kyiv was diverted to the Moldovan capital of Chisinau after the plane’s Irish leasing company had revoked permission for it to cross into Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s government on Sunday allocated 16.6 billion hryvnia ($592m) to guarantee the continuation of flights through Ukrainian airspace, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said.

“This decision will stabilise the situation on the market of passenger air transportation and will guarantee the return to Ukraine of our citizens who are currently abroad,” he said on social media.

Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry held an emergency meeting aimed at maintaining foreign travel and keeping the country from becoming more isolated in the heat of the crisis.

“The airspace over Ukraine remains open and the state is working on preempting risks for airlines,” the ministry said after the meeting on Sunday.

Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry acknowledged that “some carriers are facing difficulties linked to fluctuations on the insurance market.

News agency Interfax-Ukraine said Ukrainian insurance companies had received a notification from reinsurers that airlines were not covered for war risks.

Travel warning from dozen countries

The United States, its Western allies and other nations have been scaling back or evacuating embassy staff and have advised their citizens not to travel to Ukraine amid the standoff.

In addition to the US, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Japan, Latvia, Norway, Slovakia, Israel, Italy, Germany, Turkey and the Netherlands are among the countries that have advised their citizens to leave Ukraine and not to travel there.

The diplomatic drawdown has touched the staff of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) monitoring mission in Ukraine, which has been following the eight-year conflict across Ukraine’s Russian-backed separatist-held east that has killed more than 14,000 people.

However, images on social media and reports suggested that convoys of its white SUVs were leaving various parts of the conflict zone as staff moved to comply with their respective governments’ travel advisories.

Source link

Review: Officers Didn’t Violate Policy in Traffic Stop | Ohio News

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Police say a standards review has concluded that two Dayton officers did not violate departmental policy when they pulled a driver who said he was disabled from his car during a drug-related traffic stop last fall.

The Dayton Daily News reports that the department’s professional standards bureau used a third party to investigate whether officer’s actions during the Sept. 30 traffic stop involving Clifford Owensby aligned with the department’s policy at the time.

Owensby, who said he does not have use of his legs, said he felt helpless when he was removed from the car to the ground and handcuffed before being placed in the back of a police cruiser. Police said the officers were part of a narcotics investigation and saw the car leaving a suspected drug house. Due to that and the driver’s “felony drug and weapon history,” a K-9 team was summoned for a “free air sniff” that, under department policy, required occupants to leave the vehicle for their safety and that of the dog, police said.

Chief Kamran Afzal said last week that both the request for a free-air canine sniff and the traffic stop didn’t violate departmental policy, but both officers violated a policy regarding the muting of body cameras and one made a comment deemed unprofessional. They received a training memo regarding the violations.

The department is reviewing its policy to ensure that it is in accord with the Americans with Disability Act and will seek improvements in officer training and education as well as in building trust within the community, Afzal said.

Political Cartoons

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source link

Travel news latest: Fresh calls to scrap testing ahead of Covid travel review

Israel has announced it will reopen to visitors from countries it considers ‘medium-risk’ next week, after being shut to all foreigners since November 28.

The Health Ministry said from January 9, foreign travellers from 199 countries will be allowed to enter if they show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid.

However, Britain along with the US, UAE, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mexico, Switzerland and Turkey remain on Israel’s red list. Visitors from those countries require special permission from a committee to enter.

The border reopening comes despite rising cases in Israel.

Source link