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  1. #1
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    Road bike on Catalina Island?

    Hey guys, my family and I are going to go to Catalina tomorrow for the day, and I'm not much of a beach goer, so I thought that there might be some fun rides on Catalina island. Now, I have no idea if there are any good roads for a road bike on the island, and from what I've seen, they prefer mountain bikes over there. Just wondering if anyone knows if I'd be able to take a road bike over there and get some good rides in?

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    I just went a few months ago, but did mostly hiking rather than biking. I do remember there being a good paved route from Avalon proper over to Pebbly Beach - you can either take the nearly flat route directly along the water or take Wrigley which has a few hundred foot climb to it, then dives back down to Pebbly Beach. Could make a nice loop out of it, but it wouldn't be more than 3-4 miles, I'd imagine. You can also take Avalon Canyon Road for some distance, it heads uphill into the interior of the island, then you'd have to turn around and ride back down, and that wouldn't be more than a mile or two each way. Other than that, it'd just be riding around on very short streets, interrupted by stop signs a lot, and jockeying for position with golf carts, everything else out there is dirt roads. I haven't been to Two Harbors for a good ten years, but I have no reason to believe they've paved much of anything over there, so a road bike is completely out there.

    You can get an idea of the elevation profile of Wrigley from the very last part of this track. The 10 mile mark is right about at the top of Wrigley, and we joined it partway up the backside of its hill, it goes from sea level, up, and back, it tops out at about 400 feet: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/85925512

    All that said, the Wrigley route is beautiful and reasonably steep (at least to hike over, we went over that hill after finishing off a 10 mile hike around Avalon), so I'd consider it worth a spin or two.

  3. #3
    Gr8 day 4 hill repeats JustMe's Avatar
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    A quick search on "Catalina Island" would have provided this.
    "Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work." - Samuel L. Clemens 1908 letter

  4. #4
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Really? You've been there many times? Taking a road bike to Catalina makes about as much sense as taking your dog to a strip club--even if they let you, it's only going to less fun for you, and probably not very good for the dog either.
    Rent a mountainbike somewhere here on the mainland (the renters they have on the island suck), then pay the $7.00 fee to take it over on the ferry, then pay the ~$35? Catalina Island Conservancy fee. A lot of trouble, but entirely worth it IMO:








    Have fun!

  5. #5
    Half Fast mwandaw's Avatar
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    calamarichris - Your pictures are great!

    On the other hand, they crack me up. In the spirit of the "Empty Road Ahead" and "Pictures of Your Bike Near Water" threads, you could start a new thread titled "Pictures of Your Bike Laying on its Side"
    Not slow, not fast, but Half Fast!

  6. #6
    Senior Member LawnChair's Avatar
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    Really? You've been there many times? Taking a road bike to Catalina makes about as much sense as taking your dog to a strip club





    What if it's a "seeing eye dog"

  7. #7
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LawnChair View Post
    What if it's a "seeing eye dog"
    You're right. At least a dog would feel more at home, since they walk around nude all the time.
    How about Taking a road bike to Catalina makes about as much sense as taking your blind friend to a strip club. ?

  8. #8
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Thanks Mwandaw. There ain't many street signs to lean your bike up against on de island mon...

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    Senior Member LawnChair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calamarichris View Post
    Thanks Mwandaw. There ain't many street signs to lean your bike up against on de island mon...

    Those are some nice pics. I do the Two Harbors to Avalon ride at least once a year. With the exception of one year it has always been a favorite ride. One year I was making great time and decided to venture off the main road onto a separate trail. This trail went for several miles and then just ended. Rather than go back I ended up hiking my bike over a mountain peak and down a mountain ridge. Several hours later and without a drop of water I finally made it back to the main road. By the way the Catalina Conservatory frowns heavily on this type of activity. Stay on the main road and have a great time.

  10. #10
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    Haha thanks for all of the help everybody. I did decide to bring the bike and will be riding in a couple of hours. When I got here, my family rented cruisers and the bike shop that they rented from provide me with a map with differed level paved routes on it. We shall see how it goes shortly!

  11. #11
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Please do report back on how much fun you had. And pictures too!
    (This should be funny...)

  12. #12
    Oh Snap, not again... atmdad's Avatar
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    He can get a short climb up to the HogsBack Gate but I think that will be about the extent of his riding.

  13. #13
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    Y'all Are right. The ride was Extremely short, but still, being the first time riding outside of my home city, I had fun exploring new scenery. There where a few decent climbs that I hit a few times (from lack of being able to do anything else). I wouldn't really recommend the ride to any hardcore riders, but for a beginner just trying to get some neat rides in, it was pretty enjoyable



    Only felt obligated to taking one picture on this short ride to show the family. So here it is;

  14. #14
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    I bet the little native kids were all gathering around your bike: WTF is that mister? We've never seen a bike like that before... Is it for real?

    Sorry for poking fun. We're just jealous because you got to go there while we're all stuck in the crowds, lines, traffic, and filth of the mainland.

    Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play...? How was the rest of your island time? Find any excellent restaurants?
    Pulling up the old pictures from earlier this year have whet my appetite for another Castaway weekend.


    Seriously, next time, rent a mountainbike and take it over there. The fire roads are really something special--they ride right on the spine-ridge of the island and you see ocean on your left, ocean on your right, and it's like you're straddling the island like a gargantuan horse. [Right Mouse] click this images and select [View Image]. The forum shrinks it down and doesn't do it justice:
    Last edited by calamarichris; 08-18-11 at 10:09 AM.

  15. #15
    On your right
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    Just got back -- took a a mountain bike and rode to the airport, the fireroads, part of the Trans-Catalina trail to the Botanical Gardens. Lots of climbing. Even though the road to the airport is paved, the upper part is too rough for a road bike. You need the $35 annual pass to go past the gate on Stagecoach at the Chimes Tower turnoff and they won't give it to you unless you have a mountain bike.

    That said, if you took a road bike, you could ride a scenic 10 mile route with 5 climbs and 1100 ft of vertical on nice pavement and without having to spend the $35. Here's a rough description of the route:

    - Up Stagecoach to the top of the Zipline
    - Down Chimes Tower above Descanso Beach
    - Up Country Club to Catalina Resort & Spa
    - Down past 1st Tee of Golf course
    - Up Avalon Canyon Road to Botanical Gardens & back down
    - Up Wrigley past Inn at Mt. Ada (Wrigley Mansion) and down other side to industrial area
    - Turn around and climb the hill you just came down and then descend back into town.

    Very scenic and steep, seems longer than it is. I never got tired of it.
    Last edited by Daves_Not_Here; 08-18-11 at 10:44 AM. Reason: fix typos

  16. #16
    Oh Snap, not again... atmdad's Avatar
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    All this talk has got me pining to go back as well...

    "like you're straddling the island like a gargantuan horse"

    Very nice analogy Chris.





    Not exactly 4 star dining, but taking a break at the airport for a couple of cold ones and a Buffalo Burger hits the spot.



    Some of the views of Avalon are quite impressive.


  17. #17
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Thanks Dad. Great photos!
    After the airport, it starts to get interesting and the traffic assuages dramatically.
    There are dozens of bison down around Little Harbor, and the West end of the Island (a bit of a stretch from Avalon, but still doable) is a magical, post-apocalyptic, people-devoid place. The fire-road between Two Harbors and Parsons, is nice and flat and hugs the shoreline in a series of switchbacks that seems like it's never going to end. It's probably only 3 or 4 miles by boat, but it's closer to 8 miles on that sillystring road!



    Parsons Landing:

  18. #18
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    thanks for letting me see all of the pictures! I'm not much of a mountain biker, but if I do ever happen to go back to Catalina, I'll make sure to rent one!
    yes, it was funny, all of the people seeing a road bike in Catalina. I had a few people come up to me on the ferry and ask questions, it seemed like they where interested in taking their roads bike there. But I told them that the roads where not the best, and there isn't much road in general haha. Other then biking, the trip to Catalina was great, it was just a day trip. We went at 8AM and came back at 4PM. We rented a cabana at one of the beaches and just lounged around all day. It was such a pretty place, and for the most part, it didn't even feel like America, it felt like I was in the Caribbean or something lol

  19. #19
    Senior Member JSMaxwell's Avatar
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    Amazing what you run across on the internets. I worked with these people 15 years ago. I don't think I've seen Dan for 13 years, and I never knew he could ride a bike more than a few blocks w/o his dog pulling him.



  20. #20
    Senior Member JSMaxwell's Avatar
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    From my annual trip to the isthmus.

    Leaving the front porch;

    IPhone Pictures 003.jpg

    Arriving in little harbor:

    IPhone Pictures 004.jpg

    Leaving little harbor for Middle Ranch:

    IPhone Pictures 005.jpg

    Top of Cape Canyon:

    IPhone Pictures 006.jpg

    At the airport before the ride back to little harbor and the isthmus:

    IPhone Pictures 014.jpg

    This was in July. I don't have mountain bike shoes (I borrowed the bike). I used old style look pedals shoes and kept getting stopped out on the last bit between emerald bay and parsons. The road gets steep and loose and the wheels would spin out. Too steep for me to re-start clipped in. So...I've never actually made it to parsons. Stopped here every time:

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/101576051

  21. #21
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    I made it to Parsons Landing from Avalon and back, but it was getting dark by the time I got back to the Hermosa Inn in Avalon.
    Long, long day on the trails.



  22. #22
    Oh Snap, not again... atmdad's Avatar
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    Whoa, J, it has been a long time.

    When I had a dog strong enough to pull me down the street why not take advantage of it.

  23. #23
    Senior Member JSMaxwell's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=calamarichris;13150214]I made it to Parsons Landing from Avalon and back, but it was getting dark by the time I got back to the Hermosa Inn in Avalon.
    Long, long day on the trails.

    I am impressed by your ability to ride across the channel like Dash Incredible.

  24. #24
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Heh-heh. I turned on my computer in Newport to see how far away from the ferry terminal I'd parked my truck. The computer was off during the crossing and it didn't count the ~22 miles in my total.

    But I have kayaked to Catalina a from San Pedro a couple times. My fastest time was just a tick over 5 hours.




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