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Bike rentals in Yosemite

Old 12-20-14, 01:09 PM
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alexdrozd
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Bike rentals in Yosemite

Hi,
We are flying into Fresno then driving to Yosemite for a week in May 2015. Where is the best place to rent bikes? Would I be better off in Fresno, somewhere along route 41, or is there a place in Yosemite? Looking for more of a hybrid bike as we ride on roads only. Are there areas in Yosemite that are relatively flat or am I just dreaming? I live in Ct so I'm used to hills but my wife and hills don't get along so well.
Thanks.
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Old 12-20-14, 01:15 PM
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Yes, you can rent bikes in Yosemite. It's very popular. They're kind of cruiser bikes, but you're not racing anyway, just for fun. Much better way to see the Valley than a car! Most of the valley floor is quite flat.
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Old 12-20-14, 02:43 PM
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Check the web site for when the rental place opens, as the park concessionaires are sometimes summer only. Valley is about 5+ miles long and pretty flat.
We were there last Sept and the damage from fires was pretty impressive going in from the north/west-over 20 miles of intermittent fire damage. When
we left we went to the Glacier point look out and the forest to the R of Half Dome was still pristine, but since then a fire has burned some of that area as well.
The valley is unaffected however, except for all the streams flowing down sidewalls into the valley are dry, you may have better luck there in May.
If you have a chance drive through the big grove areas of Sequoia NP, which is not too far from Fresno. We drove out of Yosemite to
the south and the forests there are in better shape than from the west/north. FWIW the big trees in Yosemite are pretty pale compared to the big trees in Sequoia NP.
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Old 12-20-14, 03:06 PM
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The only time I didn't ride my bike into Yosemite, I took the bus in from Merced. Back in those days, the bus driver was also acting as a tour guide/historian. It was quite a fun trip. They instituted a new expanded bus service many years ago and it looks to be just about as nice. You'll miss a lot if you choose to drive.

Welcome to YARTS - ABOUT THE YOSEMITE AREA REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
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Old 12-20-14, 03:35 PM
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My sister has a house very near Yosemite and we just did a bit of camping there and brought our bikes. For a cyclist the actual valley area is pretty lousy. There are poor shoulders and a lot of traffic. Fine for hopping on a bike a having a bit of a stroll but it's too small for "serious" cycling. The surrounding areas are great as long as you like long steep climbs on rather poorly maintained roads. The highway entering from the south has roads in really poor condition as well as newly paved stretches. Coming around one bend going downhill I almost lost control when I hit some really nasty rough stuff so if you do some riding on the local highways be careful on tight downhill corners at speed. In general I found the local area to be pretty poor cycling for my particular tastes with plenty of 10-12% grades and a lot of tight twisty roads with no shoulders. I won't be returning to that area with my bike. The only flat areas you'll find are in the valley itself. When you leave it you're climbing.
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Old 12-20-14, 04:03 PM
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I went on Yosemite web site and they say they rent them in the "warmer" months. Not sure if they consider May a warmer month. And they only rent them by the day. Any bike shops nearby that rent for a week?
Thanks for the insight on the riding conditions. Even if we ride the same trails over and over it beats riding in the car. I think I read somewhere there are about 12 miles of trails.
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Old 12-20-14, 05:47 PM
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The biking conditions in the valley are pretty lousy if you're looking for an aerobic training ride, but I found them to be great for being a sight-seeing tourist. Most of the roads have a parallel bike path that connects to almost all destinations in the valley. There will be other sight-seers on the paths so be aware that they might slow down unexpectedly or turn suddenly if they spot a friend or some wildlife. But biking is an excellent way to get around the valley while being able to take in all the sights at a leisurely pace.

Can't help on the operating season of the bike rental service since I've usually gotten to the park by bike and have had no need to rent one.
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Old 12-20-14, 07:45 PM
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Check Yosemite Bike & Sport in Oakhurst, on hwy 41 about 20 minutes from the south park entrance. They have several types of bikes for rent by the day or week, and are a full service LBS, so you should get a good quality, better maintained bike than you might get at the park rental stand. I'd bring something to lock them up, too.

YosemiteBicycle.com
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Old 12-20-14, 10:58 PM
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I've rented bikes in the valley. They'll be available in May. However, as mentioned above, the bikes are cruisers; they come with balloon tires and they're heavy bikes. On the plus side, once you start moving, inertia will keep you going in the Valley, which is fairly flat.

Assuming you are fit, you could ride the entire valley in a day on one of the rental bikes. You could pedal the entire width and length of Yosemite Valley, including every road and all the bike paths. There are probably less than 20 miles of legal riding. The loop road, with a bailout point half-way through, is about 8 miles around.

There is no legal riding anywhere in the park off a road or off a bike path. You'll see signs at places leading to Mirror Lake and Yosemite Falls, etc., where bikes aren't allowed. You don't have to worry about anyone stealing the rental bikes - no one would want one of those behemoths.

So if you want a good workout, you'll need to repeat your rides, or reverse directions on the bike paths (the roads are mostly one-way) if you go with a rental bike from Yosemite. (I've also ridden my fixed gear bike in Yosemite Valley several times; it's the perfect place for fixies.)

The bike paths in Yosemite Valley itself are safe and easy; just watch out for other riders and pedestrians. While the roads in the valley are somewhat narrow, there aren't many and they're mostly two lanes. They're all fine if you're careful.

If you rent a road bike or mountain bike outside the park and bring it with you, then you can sample, as mentioned above, the steep roads leading out of the valley. Those roads lead for miles. However, I've rarely seen anyone ride outside the valley, because all the roads are long and steep and narrow.

• Highway 41 takes you up about 1.5 miles or so out of the valley to the famous Tunnel View. It's a steep climb. After that, it's mostly uphill to Glacier Point. That's about 28 miles from Yosemite Lodge,which is in the heart of the Valley. As per above, the roads are narrow and you'll have to be prepared to have cars and buses slip past you with inches to spare. That would be a good day's ride, and you'd want to be in fit condition.

Highway 41 can also take you about 20 or so miles past the turn-off to Glacier Point to the Mariposa Grove of sequoias. On the way, you'd get an 8-mile downhill ride from Glacier Point to the store/gas station/historic hotel at Wawona, and then another five miles or so uphill to the Grove. That could be an all-day ride, too.

• Highway 120: it's about 11 miles from Yosemite Lodge to the little community of Foresta. There's a steep 4-5 mile uphill stretch and then a wonderful downhill run for a couple of miles to some historic barns (e-mail me privately and if you'd like to know more about the barns and the area). With a mountain bike or a cross bike, you could ride down a dirt road from Foresta into the Merced River Canyon at the community of El Portal. You'd have a long, steep, ride on another narrow road back along Highway 140, up the river canyon, or you could reverse course and head back to Foresta and then down to the Valley.

Or you can continue past the turn-off to Foresta and continue on Highway 120, pedaling up the continuing steep road for a few miles to the store/gas station at Crane Flat. From there, the road leads about 45 miles to Tioga Pass, almost 10,000 feet above sea level.
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Old 12-21-14, 08:07 AM
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You can hire bikes for riding in Yosemite, but why would you want to. The hiking and climbing in that area is second to none. Perhaps hire a bike for a morning's light cruising to recce the area, then put on the walking boots and see much more of the park than you ever will from the road. If your wife doesn't like hills she's not going to thank you for taking her outside the valley.
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Old 12-21-14, 11:27 AM
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Wow! You guys are great! I learned more in these few postings than I could find anywhere online. Icyclist, you really explained it well. I did finally find Yosemite Bike & Sport after calling 3 LBS in Fresno. I am going to reconsider my idea of renting for a week after reading this. Maybe 1 day will suffice and than hike it. Thanks again!
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