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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Video of S24O from San Francisco

I realize the title of this blog is Bicycle Camping in San Diego County but I thought I'd include this video for reference purposes to show you how much fun bike camping is.  Here's how it's done up in the Frisco area:

Man, that is some beautiful country!!  Check out the blue Ortliebs on that one guy's bike.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thoughts About Climbing Hills

Something I said in the post regarding selecting routes for bicycle camping has left me pensive.  Basically I said our object as bicycle campers should be to pick relatively flat routes because climbing hills - even those of moderate steepness - is no easy thing when loaded down with camping gear.

I want to re-calibrate that philosophy.  There are at least 2 ways of reconsidering that statement.  

First, difficulty in climbing is partly a function of how much extra stuff you're carrying.  One option: carry less stuff.

Second, what is the physical configuration of your bicycle?  Does it facilitate or complicate the climbing of hills?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Picking a Tent for Bicycle Camping

This is a subject I don't know a whole lot about so the best I can do is relate my personal experience.

As I stated before, a tent isn't absolutely necessary to bike camp.  Some folks make do with what's called a bivy sack (basically a weather-resistant cocoon for your sleeping bag; it also covers your face so no part of you is exposed to the elements).  It seems a bivy sack would be ideal for stealth camping (sleeping in an area not designated for camping) because it's quick... and a quick getaway may be in order when stealth camping.

For longer, impromptu trips I'm thinking a tent plus a bivy sack would be the best way to go.  The tent is wonderful for when you're booked in a campground.  The bivy sack is useful for when you have no choice but to stealth camp.  Weight isn't an issue in carrying both the tent and the bivy sack because MSR makes a bivy sack that weighs next to nothing and fits into a soda-can sized stuff sack:  MSR E-Bivy

So much for bivy sacks.  Our discussion concerns picking a tent.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

How to Plan a Route When Going Bicycle Camping

Let's start with our basic situation.... bicycle camping is fun - yes, it is! - but it involves (a) hauling weight (b) over relatively long distances.  Both parameters present issues.

Neither is particularly burdensome when riding on flat terrain.  But the problems compound exponentially the moment you start to climb a hill.  Thus, the strategy becomes: keep your route relatively flat.

Now, I can already hear the scoffing, the clucking of tongues, from the athletic crowd.  Sticking to "flat routes" doesn't sound very manly, now does it?  No, and if you're simply piloting a bare bike I say climb away!  But we bike campers can be carrying up to 50 pounds of camping gear and thus we are subject to a whole host of unique considerations.

So yes, I'm going to stick with my premise.  The strategy for us bicycle campers is to keep our routes relatively flat.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How to Pack When Bicycle Camping

I haven't been bicycle camping for very long.  There are still so many places in San Diego County I want to visit... every time I take a "spin" on Google maps I discover another park, or country road, or an area that for whatever reason just looks interesting.

The few times I have gone bike camping have been fun but I can see I have much to learn.  For instance, I tended to pack too much stuff... including things I might be able to do without. Today I have my gear list pretty finely honed... although you might feel that I still bring too much.

A basic list.  The key word here is "minimal."  You don't need much.  Basic gear should include the following:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

San Elijo Campground

Well, there's nothing like camping at or near the beach.  The morning I pedaled away from Dixon Lake (Feb. 5, 2011) I thought about riding to San Elijo with the goal of camping there that night.

There were, though, a couple of things I wanted to accomplish on the way.  I wanted to check out Guajome Park as a potential future camping trip and I wanted to ride the San Luis Rey River Trail into Oceanside.

After breakfast and side trip to the bank in Escondido I was on my way.  I followed Mission Ave. into San Marcos where it eventually became S. Santa Fe.  I followed that right on through San Marcos into Vista and continued into Oceanside.  Eventually I reached Guajome Park.  Very nice.  Great camping spots although the emphasis does seem to be on RV campers.

Dixon Lake

This is truly a beautiful location just above Escondido at the same general access point as Daley Ranch.  Warning for cyclists: the last half-mile getting up to this access point is a killer; it's extremely steep!  Loaded as I was with all my camping gear I chose to walk the bike up this hill.  Even at that I was puffing and panting.  YMMV.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Packing a folding bike into a suitcase

Note: whereas not technically bicycle camping, this is still interesting from a "traveling with a bicycle" perspective.  From a post I made to on Nov. 20, 2010:

Possibly this has been covered before. But I think some of you folks will find this interesting.

Wednesday I'm off to San Jose to visit my brother's family for Thanksgiving. I'll get there around 7:30am.

"Should I meet you at the airport and pick you up?" asks my brother. I know there's no damn way he's looking forward to that. So I make my little "announcement."

"No need," said I, exuding a confidence I didn't actually feel. "I'll be bringing a bike and I'll ride from the airport to your place."

"No, seriously, do you want me to meet you at the -"

"Seriously! I'm bringing a bike and I'll ride it to your place."

"It's your funeral."

Camp Kumeyaay

  1. Note: this is from a post I made to Aug. 14, 2010.

    Last week I booked a reservation at Camp Kumeyaay, at the end of Mission Trails bordering Santee.

    I like being prepared, so I loaded the bike Thursday evening with my camping gear (I admit I probably brought too much stuff). Yesterday morning I pedaled to work (from National City to Kearny Mesa). Even though I was loaded down, I clicked down one gear from where I'd normally be and I didn't have any problems, even when slogging up Ulric St. I'm not very strong, so if I can do it we ALL can do it. Here's the workhorse:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The 3 underlying premises to this blog

Premise 1: bicycling as a lifestyle

I do not regard riding a bicycle as a "sport."  I regard it as a lifestyle.  For purposes of this blog that is a very important distinction.

The sports bicyclist.  Ride along the coast on any Saturday morning; you'll see hundreds of them.  They ride very fast, rather expensive bikes.  These sports bicyclists also tend to dress "funny," that is they wear spandex and lots of it.  In bright colors.  They tend to have athletic builds and they enjoy riding in groups... pace groups or what have you.  They are very healthy, very visible, very fast, very competitive.

This, to say the least, does not describe how I ride.

Please note that I do not denigrate, belittle, mock, dismiss, chastise, etc. etc. etc. people who ride for sport.  They are often wonderfully friendly people doing what they love to do best.  I admire their athleticism but I don't aspire to it... at least to the extent that I need to be a fast rider.  I am a strong rider albeit a slow one.  I differ from them purely philosophically... that's all.  Please refer to Premise 3.