Touring - hiking or biking, hmmm
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04-11-06, 06:59 PM
I've been going back and forth all winter about weather I wan't to do a long tour or a long hike this summer. I enjoy touring and bikes in gereral, but I also like walking a lot. I've never done anything more than a day hike with a pack either.
I keep on debating these two, knowing the most logical thing would be to do the hike, but with the cost of good gear and stuff I thought I should ask on here. I can imagine that
carrying 50 pound on my back versus on the the bike could breed some contempt in me for my choice.
So, if you ever hiked a lot and are a bike convert, or do both, I would like to hear your opinion on the general ups and downs of both.
04-11-06, 07:32 PM
I hiked the Appalachian Trail in '93, now my knees are gone and I've gone to a bike (several, I should say). Hiking is great, but I wish I would have started bike touring earlier. Carrying a 50lb pack for many days is not fun. Biking with 50lbs is MUCH easier and you'll see more and meet more people! Not to mention covering more distance.
I would consider the bike tour first. If you have not done more than a day hike---I would suggest camping on a long weekend a few times first. That heavy pack gets heavier after the first hard day. Also if you get hurt or sick, its easier to bike out than hike out.
I still go camping (by bike of course) but my long distance hiking is over.
I dont think anyone here has any contempt for you by asking questions. Asking for advice is a pretty smart thing to do imho.;)
04-11-06, 07:55 PM
Some advantages of hiking:
- No vehicule to break
- Less gear to carry (no tools, helmet, etc)
- More in tune with the natural environment
- No need for roads
- No cars!
- Easier to travel by plane/train/bus
- Less worries about how much you stink
Some advantages of biking:
- Covers more terrain
- Easier to carry more gear, food and water or can carry cheaper but heavier equipment
- Usually easier to resupply
I have done a few 4-5 day hikes and lived out of a backpack for months at the time. I once dreamed of doing long hikes like the Appalachian trail but no more. I do add a few day hikes to my bike trips. I will probably add 2 to 5 days hikes in future bike tour as well. It's easy to carry a backpack on top of the rack or you can use things like panpacks. One thing hiking has taught me is how to get the most out of the equipment. The two things I like less about biking is the bike itself. I'm not a very good mechanics. The other is being tied to the road so much. Future bike tours will include more dirt roads.
04-11-06, 08:07 PM
I was pondering the same question. I was planning to either hike the California portion of the PCT or bike the entire pacific coast line. In the end, I opted for the bike ride because it would save me 2 months (+/-) in time yet still provide the same rush (if not more). I am planning to do the PCT next year.
04-11-06, 08:07 PM
For years I have done both. I tour all summer every summer, but also do quite a lot of hiking. I've hiked Yosemite from the Valley to Tuolumne on the John Muir Trail. I've hiked across the Grand Canyon 4 times. I've hiked Great Basin, Bryce, Zion, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff, Jasper, Mount Robson, Kluane, Wrangell-St. Elias, and Denali. And those are just the national parks. When I say hiking - many times it is two or three days out. I take a light Kelty hiking pack on my back rack. I can convert to hiking mode in an hour or so.
Here's last summer's trip across the Grand Canyon:
Best - J
04-11-06, 08:24 PM
I find they're two very different experiences. Hiking is all about getting away from everything, it's almost refreshing when you cross pavement. Biking is about seeing the heartland, the small towns, and most of all about enjoying the ride.
04-11-06, 08:55 PM
BikeBuddha sums it up pretty well - they are different experiences. I used to backack in the Sierras quite a bit and love the solitude and proximity to wildlife. That is the joy of backpacking - you will see and experience things that are not available from a highway or even a back road. Total self-sufficiency, well, more or less - the Sierras and Cascades are actually fairly well travelled in the summer months. But if you haven't backpacked, I would try it, perhaps with a friend at first.
Bike touring tends to be more road and civilization-oriented, although as some have mentioned, there are overnight offroad adventures possible, most notably the GDMBR in the Rockies, and some other routes in the west, especially on BLM land and in some of the national forests. I've built up an old mtn bike to do some off-road camping this year and may get in a section of the GDMBR or just go up to Idaho. From where you are in Portland, there is a lot of forest road camping available to the east of you both in the Cascades and further out in the National Forest lands between John Day and LaGrande.
One advantage in all of this is that most of the gear is useable for both types of adventures. Don't buy new gear - a lot of people sell hardly used stuff on Craigslist and in PDX that will be a goldmine. Plan on building up the gear you need and trying various types of camping in the years to come.
04-11-06, 08:56 PM
Jamawani - what do you do with your bike and leftover gear while you are off backpacking? Leave it locked up in camp?
04-11-06, 09:04 PM
From Yosemite Valley, sure hike. From Portland: to the coast and south via bike. :)
04-11-06, 10:11 PM
I lock my bike to a tree. In bear country there might be bear boxes in a nearby campground - otherwise, I hang my two front panniers where I normally store my food.
I've done a lot of hiking, including hiking the Appalachian Trail.
I've also done a lot of riding over the years, including several tours.
They're very different experiences. I would say that the main advantage to hiking is that you are getting about as basic as you can get. I enjoy biking more on a short term basis, like 1-5 days, and hiking more on long term trips, like 10 days to several months.
The most fun is loading up the RV, complete with internet access and satellite TV... ahh, that's living! :)
But that's just me. Shirley you have an idea which you'd rather do? Keep in mind that you can always enjoy the other choice next time around.
Why not do both?
I did that frequently in Australia. We'd cycle to a nice place to hike, then hike, then continue cycling, etc., etc..
04-12-06, 10:21 AM
Depends on the kind of scenery you like to see. I love both, but hiking is a little harder (at least with a full pack to lug), and need more concentrated scenery. I prefer to get out there on longish days on a bike, and see more of what there is to see. But then the traffic can get to be an annoyance.
Hiking is better for wildlife viewing, but biking is better for meeting people and having a nice chat at a wayside stop. I think for me hiking is much more solitary, biking more social. How alone do you want to feel.
04-12-06, 11:40 AM
One thing to remember, when you are hiking and stop moving your legs, you stop. When you are riding and stop moving your legs, you are still moving. :)
Who was told by his LBS that the LHT will be in tomorrow.
04-12-06, 11:50 AM
I usually carry a pair of lightweight boots and two pairs of wool socks on my bike tours. I always have a daypack strapped to my rear rack, so the transition from biking to hiking is easy. However, I only do day hikes on my tours.
04-14-06, 07:59 PM
I think I will try to do both this summer. Im feeling a little bit frantic about getting out of the city for a while. I've feel like i've been stuck here not having a car, and want to maximize my summer.
I had in mind the oregon leg of the PCT for a hike. Might try to do this first and then bike out to the alvalord desert. Has anyone done this area of oregon by the way? steens mountain area? There are town(s), still It seems pretty remote.
04-14-06, 10:39 PM
Like many, I've cycle-toured and I've spent weeks-at-a-time backpacking. Like Jamawani, I especially like to combine bike touring and hiking, except that when touring I have always confined my hiking to day-hikes of up to 10 or so miles. I bring along a pair of light-weight trail running shoes which work great for day hikes. Bike touring this way I've been able to tour and hike all over California, Arizona, New Mexico, Southern Utah, Colorado, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida...well, you get the idea.
Amazingly, after all these years I've never done a c2c tour, so this is the year! Beginning May 10 I will launch from my home in California and, by way of a 6,000 mile route that includes four western Canadian provinces, 17 national parks, and much hiking, I will quietly pedal into Washington, DC, sometime in September.
So, with all of that having been said, I suggest hike 'n bike on the same tour.
My all time favorite outdoor trip was a hike thru the Milford trek in New Zealand, several days thru mind-blowing scenery. Voted best hike in the world by many.
But since my car accident in 2001, i now have a bad back and i found that what's great about cycle touring is the bike carries the burden of the weight. Its up to my muscles to haul my gear, not my bones.
I've done a couple long backpacks (a good portion of the Long Trail in VT, and the entire John Muire Trail in California), as well as a bunch of weekenders in NH.
I started cycling (commuting, day rides) after some knee troubles, then gradually converted to longer distance cycling. You can tie day hikes in with cycle touring relatively easily, and overnite & longer backpacks with a bit more thought.
I'm bringing along an "ultralite" backpack so I can do some short treks (also handy as a carryon, to haul laundry in etc etc). The nice thing about ultralite packs is that they are load rated bellow 20 or 30 pounds-you can't carry much by default.
I start my Europe to Asia tour in 4 days! Cheers!
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