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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack on: November 04, 2008, 05:53:22 PM
chuckc1971


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« on: November 04, 2008, 05:53:22 PM »

I have a 260+ mile trail in mind that includes sections that are hike only. There are also sections that are fairly steep with steps, ravine cuts, etc. that will require hoofing it. I have yet to decide whether I will try to use road, gravel road, etc. sections and connect rideable trail sections together or whether I will try to hike those sections pushing/carrying my bike. Or, maybe I will do a combination of both. The two sections that are hike only for sure are 20 miles and 35 miles in length. I am unsure yet how many other sections I will have to hike yet: still researching.

I have seen a fair number of pictures of people carrying their partially disassembled mountain bikes on backpacks. Mike Curiak is pictured in a relatively recent mtbr.com thread doing just this and using his wheels like trekking poles. My question to you guys is how is this done or done well? What type of pack is used? Anything special? How is the bike attached to the pack? What kind of distances did you hike? How successful were you? What would you change?

Thanks for any help!
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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #1 on: November 04, 2008, 07:38:18 PM
ScottM
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2008, 07:38:18 PM »


The Arizona Trail crosses the Grand Canyon (no bikes), but you can carry through (~24 miles). So I've experimented with different ways to strap it to my back.



That's with camping gear, food, etc, though, and using the same "backpack" I used for the previous 700 miles on the AZT.  That pack was the Osprey Atmos 25.  It was the best setup I've used for bike carrying.  Take the wheels off and use regular old nylon straps to tie the frame and wheels to whatever attachment points you can find (carrying wheels in the canyon would be a bad idea -- let one slip and your ride is done!).

Mike Curiak and I have also done some bike carrying in Colorado. He used a single strap that hooked near the bottom bracket (not tied to his pack, but the bike still sat on top of the pack). He had to take off a pedal to get it to be remotely comfortable.  Not sure he was completely happy with it, but we did hike ~9 miles with a lot of vert (that was the longest hike, there were a couple other shorter ones).  For those trips I was using the Osprey Talon 22 -- not as much support as the Atmos pack, but still workable.

IMO, actually strapping your bike to your back is only worth it if the regulations actually require no use of bicycles (the rule in the canyon is that the wheels cannot touch the ground).  Otherwise I'm not sure it's worth the time/effort to set it up.  If you can get away with pushing it it's usually the course of least resistance.

But... I don't know what kind of hike-a-bike you're talking about.  Care to share what trail you're contemplating?  It sounds mighty interesting...

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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #2 on: November 04, 2008, 07:59:41 PM
chuckc1971


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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2008, 07:59:41 PM »

Thanks Scott.

The trail in question is the Sheltowee Trace in my home state of KY.

http://www.sheltoweetrace.com/

http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/boone/recreation/sheltowee.shtml

I will have to look into the legality of pushing vs. riding a bike.

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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #3 on: November 05, 2008, 07:44:15 AM
frejwilk


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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2008, 07:44:15 AM »

Maybe it's just me, but for a 260mi route with 55mi of hiking (especially 20 and 35mi straight!), I'd be looking hard for ways to ride around!

I've done many overnight rides where the ratio of hiking to riding is high. But it's usually much shorter walking segments. The only times I've actually strapped my bike on to a pack were for an organized one day event. Most folks there use a stripped external frame backpack. It works really well for carrying, but not so good for riding. Assuming the riding segments were evenly spread out, I might be tempted to sacrifice pack comfort for 60-80mi of riding vs 35mi of walking.

Just me of course.

FW
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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #4 on: November 05, 2008, 10:02:53 AM
ScottM
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2008, 10:02:53 AM »

The trail in question is the Sheltowee Trace in my home state of KY.

I will have to look into the legality of pushing vs. riding a bike.


Interesting trail. I think I may have read a trip report from someone (attempting) to ride this before.  Do you know of anyone riding it yet?

I registered on the forum so I could get the GPS data:



The yellow areas are wilderness, and it seems there's only one on the route -- and it's only about ~3 miles long.  So, please let us know what you learn about legality of *possessing* a bike vs. riding it on the other sections that are "hike only".  In wilderness you aren't allowed to have a bike, but other places (national park for example) you can sometimes have a bike but just can't use it.  Sometimes when the FS says a section is "closed" they really just mean "not recommended."

What time of year are you planning this trip?  Let me know if you need any more ideas on bike carrying.
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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #5 on: November 05, 2008, 10:44:50 AM
chuckc1971


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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2008, 10:44:50 AM »

Thanks for the replies guys.

Frejwilk, I am still in the planning stages of this and your suggestion may be what I end up doing.

Scott, I am looking into an answer to your question of trail access. You have to remember, this trail covers three ranger districts and also goes into northern TN. The USDA Forest Service link in my previous post tells you what is allowed. Unfortunately, there is no corresponding map to the section that is hike only. And, the website you found has nice topo maps for the whole length, but is divided up by county instead of the method the Forest Service link mentions. It's well known that riding is not allowed in the Red River Gorge area which is the 20'ish mile section in the Cumberland Ranger District. I am also finding that the section in TN will likely be hike only.

As to time of year, most dependable dry weather without being oppressively hot/humid is early to mid-Fall. It's been spectacular this year, but you run a greater risk of rain into late October and November. Fall colors should late October there. So, likely late September to late October. I still haven't decided.

As to whether someone has ridden it, I am unaware of anyone that has biked the entire (legal or otherwise) length. Several sections of it are commonly biked. The whole area is full of singletrack, doubletrack, ATV trails, firebreaks, forest service roads, etc.. So, the ability to route around the closed areas may require some recon, but should be doable if I decide not to hoof it.
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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #6 on: November 05, 2008, 11:04:29 AM
ScottM
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2008, 11:04:29 AM »

I dug a little deeper and found the trip report I was thinking of.  Back in 2000:

http://placeswepedal.biowheels.com/2000/01/08/our-unprecedented-journey-across-kys-sheltowee-trace-trail/

Pics:

http://www.biowheels.org/Home/PhotoAlbumn.asp?ArticleID=103

At one point they had to take their bikes apart to squeeze between two rocks!  It sounds like a pretty adventurous route, which is why that report stuck in my mind.  Far more adventurous that the GPS line and topo maps would seem to indicate.

They did it in January!  Hmm.  I'm intrigued.
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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #7 on: November 05, 2008, 12:57:40 PM
chuckc1971


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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2008, 12:57:40 PM »

That is a great read! Eleven days of riding in January. Considering the temps, terrain and bushwhacking they had to do, I bet it can be done in less time during the Fall.

I do think some of the sections they rode, specifically close to the southern terminus were, or now are, closed to bikes.

From what I have read, the northern sections are now in the worst shape compared to the southern ones. Also, Caney Loop and nearby trails have been nearly destroyed by horses. 

I do have a few buddies in the area who I plan to either help out with restocking or likely could chaperone me through various sections of the Sheltowee.

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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #8 on: November 05, 2008, 02:32:57 PM
ScottM
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« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2008, 02:32:57 PM »

I do think some of the sections they rode, specifically close to the southern terminus were, or now are, closed to bikes.

I'll be curious to hear what you find out WRT how much is open to bikes.

I do have a few buddies in the area who I plan to either help out with restocking or likely could chaperone me through various sections of the Sheltowee.

I suppose you could hike without the bike if you've got someone meeting you, right?  But for the good of those of us that might want to do it w/o friends in the area, you should figure out the bike detours.  Smiley
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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #9 on: November 05, 2008, 02:57:48 PM
DaveC


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« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2008, 02:57:48 PM »

The "Fat Man's Misery" section they mentioned is a very popular tourist trail, a route up to the top of a ridge behind a sandstone fin, 2-3' wide gap going uphill for 50ish yards.  They were damn lucky to not get busted there, its barely a mile from the trailhead.

I've hiked most of the Sheltowee north of the Red River in the gorge itself.  The sections along the creek bottoms would be pretty rideable.  The sections up on the hills I recall as difficult to follow on foot, and steep as hell. 

Keep us posted!
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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #10 on: November 05, 2008, 03:09:23 PM
chuckc1971


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« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2008, 03:09:23 PM »

I will post back on this thread what I find out.
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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #11 on: November 13, 2008, 11:54:43 AM
Eric


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« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2008, 11:54:43 AM »

Packs with "beaver tails" like the older Dana designs do a decent job, you can shove the cranks into the flap, then use the side compression straps to run through the wheels. those particular packs are outdated and heavy though...
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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #12 on: November 13, 2008, 06:35:20 PM
chuckc1971


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« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2008, 06:35:20 PM »

I am leaning toward connecting road, gravel road and hopefully some other trail sections together instead of hiking. If it was 5-10 miles of hiking vs. 30+ miles of riding highway, I would consider the hiking. But, as others have stated, it would be quite a hike/carry.

Re: the "beaver tailed" pack, I did find one modern ultralight pack that just might work for this purpose.

http://moonbowgear.com/1trailgear/1Custom%20packs/Powerpacks/1powerpac.html

You can buy this with or without the bivy sack. I sent the link with the most pictures/descriptions. Personally, I am looking at camping hammocks. 
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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #13 on: November 13, 2008, 06:40:36 PM
ScottM
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« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2008, 06:40:36 PM »

Yeah, seems like some detouring makes sense.

Did you find anything out WRT legality of possessing a bike on some of those trails?
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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #14 on: November 13, 2008, 06:54:24 PM
chuckc1971


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« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2008, 06:54:24 PM »

Did you find anything out WRT legality of possessing a bike on some of those trails?

The ranger or whatever his title is indicated in an e-mail to me: "Within Wilderness, Congress has banned any type of motorized or mechanized travel.  A mountain bike is considered mechanical and therefore not permitted in a federally designated Wilderness."

So, for the Red River Gorge, I am SOL. I'm good until I get to then Southern Terminus which would mean simply 30+ miles of road riding. So, I think I will just end it at the southern most bike-allowed trail section.
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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #15 on: November 13, 2008, 07:42:59 PM
Eric


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« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2008, 07:42:59 PM »

Chuck - this could be debated, read deeper... mechanized TRAVEL.  you are not using it for travel. it is just a piece of metal on your back no different from an external backpack.

that should be your argument.
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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #16 on: November 13, 2008, 07:47:27 PM
chuckc1971


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« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2008, 07:47:27 PM »

Eric,

I am sure I could carry it, but I wouldn't be able to push my bike as ScottM suggested. As far as debating mechanized vs. bicycle, you are preaching to the quire.

Back to beavertail packs, look what I found on a hammock forum:

http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/showthread.php?t=2479

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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #17 on: November 14, 2008, 07:40:44 AM
ScottM
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« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2008, 07:40:44 AM »


I've dug fairly deep into this issue, and the possession of a mechanized travel device is prohibited in wilderness areas.  It's even signed that way at the boundary of some WA's (e.g. the first WA on the Colorado Trail).

Now, it is debatable as to whether any ranger you might run into would be inclined to raise a stink about someone carrying a disassembled bike on their back.  Clearly you are following the spirit of the law in that case.  You'd have to meet a pretty anal one to actually write you up.  With that said, I worked as a wilderness ranger one summer, and my boss would have emphatically been one of those types.

Chuck -- I'm curious about the non-wilderness areas that are closed to bikes.  There's only one WA on the route, so what about the other sections -- would carrying / pushing a bike through be OK?
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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #18 on: November 14, 2008, 08:25:21 AM
FeloniousDunk


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« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2008, 08:25:21 AM »

Back to beavertail packs, look what I found on a hammock forum:

http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/showthread.php?t=2479



Wow, that thing's super nice.  I'm messing with hammocks too.  I've thought about the bridge style but there is a big hurdle I can't get over when travelling by bike.  That is the hiking poles.  I'm not going to carry my hiking poles, and I'm not sure it's worth buying and carrying some other purpose built pole.  Have you figured that one out?

Oh, btw, I know one of those guys from that trip report.  He's an Ashevillan now. 
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  Topic Name: Carrying a bike via a backpack Reply #19 on: November 14, 2008, 06:25:30 PM
Eric


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« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2008, 06:25:30 PM »

that is a crazy pack, brilliant design effort.
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