Mountain Bike Touring / Backpacking in SoCal

11:18 a.m. on August 19, 2011 (EDT)
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My 11 year old has asked if he and I could do a mtb/backpacking trip for a weekend. The concept is mountain biking on permitted trails and fire-roads only (no paved roads at all), setting up camp, and hiking/backpacking to more remote areas (bike locks to secure bikes). Anyone have experiences with a trip of this type in SoCal? Good, bad, worse? Routes? Any advice and/or sharing would be greatly appreciated!

4:33 p.m. on August 19, 2011 (EDT)
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I never was a fan of schlepping a kit on my cycle, it seemed like combining the worst aspects of both hiking and biking.  I found having a non-rider who could drive the "support" vehicle was the best solution.  Approach it essentially like car camping, except the cyclist ride sections of the trip as they desire instead of riding in the vehicle.  This way you are not leaden down with equipment when riding, and you also have a method to deal with break downs that may otherwise be a real nuisance.  Many venues can be enjoyed in this manner, for example Holcomb Valley (near Big Bear Lake), Joshua Tree NP, Cleveland National Forest, and Anza Borrego Desert are other venues I can think of offhand that can be enjoyed in similar fashion.

Ed

7:04 p.m. on August 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks Ed. I can pack ultralight, so the kit isn't a burden. My kid is up for anything and will camp on just a ground sheet in the winter. I really appreciate the tips on locations.

5:51 p.m. on August 21, 2011 (EDT)
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For the past almost 30 years I have been doing bike/hike touring. I have never had or learned how to drive a car. (Had a Moped when I was 16 in 1972)

I took up bicycle touring in September 1982. Started bike/hike touring in 1986. I ride secondary roads, forestry roads, Rails to Trails routes and bike trails where accessable.

I have carried not much more than 12 lbs of gear on backpacking trips for 30 years, so the move to bike touring was easy. I meet so many bike tourers who carry so much stuff! Might as well be driving.

I use homemade panniers made from Exmayonaise buckets. They are square and are 12 inches X 18 inches. Sturdier than nylon bags, plus they hold water, become seats and tables and even double as food caches for long hiking trips up to 2 months in length when I can place them out ahead of time along hiking routes.

My next trip I am going north from Flagstaff to Cameron AZ then hiking for a week down the Little Colorado to the main Colorado and back. Then up to Lee's Ferry and then a backpacking trip up the Paria to the AZ/UT border and back. Then on north to Jacob Lake and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to explore Powell Plateau, etc. I will be on the road/trail for about 6 months ending up in Jackson Hole WY.

"Go Light" is the key

12:16 a.m. on August 31, 2011 (EDT)
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Love it Gary. You're correct about going light. Looking forward to your trip posts! I've seen pics of your panniers - very resourceful.

I have some similar containers that would serve the same purpose. Might consider it. I also have an mtb kid carrier trailer that I could easily modify to carry gear. It's rated to carry up to 120 lb, so lot's of flexibility.

Ed,

I understand your feelings about the combo of worsts, if you will, but I love the pain of mountain biking and tough climbs - either on the mtb or hiking. Can't explain it...

 

12:08 p.m. on August 31, 2011 (EDT)
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Pulling a loaned B.O.B. trailer once on a tour from Wyoming to Arizona in 1996 I went from Panguitch Utah up to the Cedar Breaks. It was a nearly 4000' climb up the road from town to monument, with the trailer it seemed very hard, I finally was walking pushing the bike and trailer. When I got to the first lookout at around 10,500 feet I realized why it had been so hard. Thats one of the highest points I have ever bicycle toured to. Shortly afterwards I sent the trail back to my friend and went back using my bike racks.

2:36 p.m. on August 31, 2011 (EDT)
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XterroBrando said:

I understand your feelings about the combo of worsts, if you will, but I love the pain of mountain biking and tough climbs - either on the mtb or hiking. Can't explain it...

 

Consider joining the special forces, they need beasts like you!  :)  I love pushing it too, but also love speed on wheels.

Ed

8:24 p.m. on August 31, 2011 (EDT)
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When I tour I like to go as light as I do when I hike. And with the bike carrying all the gear its much easier. I usually carry no more than 15 lbs not counting the bike.

11:44 p.m. on August 31, 2011 (EDT)
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"Consider joining the special forces, they need beasts like you!  :)  I love pushing it too, but also love speed on wheels."

Ed

Funny, that's what my wife has said. Maybe she wants me in harm's way.

July 24, 2014
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