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MTBing on Catalina, Feb 26 & 27th

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MTBing on Catalina, Feb 26 & 27th

Old 03-31-16, 10:18 AM
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MTBing on Catalina, Feb 26 & 27th

Been busy and haven't had time to post these pics from our Catalina trip last month.
Avalon is a wretched little overpriced tourist town with mediocre food, and an anti-bike bias--you have to walk your bike everywhere in town, even when it's deserted, and you're not permitted to lean your bike on any structures--only in the authorized bike racks. We're staying in Two Harbors next time.
You also have to buy an MTB pass from the Catalina Island conservancy, and you can only ride on the authorized fire roads, not on the Trans-Catalina Trail, which is reserved for hikers only. You'll only see maybe 8 - 10 cars all day, but three of them will be the Island rangers, and they will stop you if they can't see your MTB pass on your handlebars.
Still the views were lovely and the ride was fun.

The climb up out of Avalon is paved, but you probably wouldn't want to bring a road bike here.





Bison!



And Bald Eagles!







The East End of the Island, just north of Avalon is steeper than the rest of the island, but with steeper climbs come grander views.

Last edited by calamarichris; 03-31-16 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 03-31-16, 10:31 AM
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But Avalon is for the birds.






Went by memory for these shots, and got pretty close to the same spot.
Feb 26, 2016


Apr 23, 2011


Feb 26, 2016


Apr 23,2011


Despite Avalon (blech), the strict pass enforcement, and the lack of singletrack, we're definitely going back again this year, but staying at Two Harbors next time, even if we have to camp.
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Old 03-31-16, 10:32 AM
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Middle Ranch Road was a new experience for me. They have the eagle sanctuary and bison wandering around there.


Met this cool dude TJ who was riding pretty hard up the hill for a guy with platform pedals




The road back down. The crowds, noisy golf carts, and overall blech of Avalon make you appreciate the solitude of the rest of the island.

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Old 04-01-16, 01:35 AM
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nice pics. have been wanting to mtb the island for a while but the pass (i think it was $75 for one year??) was kinda the deciding factor as
to why i haven't done it yet. if i thought i'd make it over there for 4-5 days of riding, i'd have done it by now but can't see myself schlepping
over the channel 2-3 times or spending 4+ days there in one fell swoop to ride there. $75 for 1-2 days of riding just seems kinda steep for me
and would cut into my beer budget
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Old 04-01-16, 05:12 AM
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The Conservancy Membership and bike pass are $35/ea. Honestly? You'd run out of roads after 3 days. It's not that big of an island.
When I went there back in 2011, I rode all the way from Avalon to the farthest west trail terminus where bikes are permitted, a mile or two past Parsons Landing, and back to Avalon in one day. It was about 80 miles and 13000 feet of climbing, but that was the full length of the island.

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Old 04-01-16, 07:26 AM
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Great ride report. I've been wanting to do this for a long time. Do you have a Strava (or similar) for this ride? Are there any technical sections? How much is the fee to bring the bike on the ferry? Thanks!
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Old 04-01-16, 11:46 AM
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I can't speak to the fee on the ferry as I've only been by private boat. As far as technical riding...there is no legal technical stuff. There is some very steep stuff. Climbing out of Avalon by going east on the graded road instead of the paved road shown in the pics one feels as if they are climbing forever, yet never more than a 1/2 mile from Avalon. Way west there is some stuff that is super steep, as in, we were riding with a US National track champ and he was killing us, but he walked some of the climbs.

My next trip will be with a cross/gravel bike, and I second the notion that Avalon is an S-hole. Isthmus is very nice and laid back.
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Old 04-01-16, 02:03 PM
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$35 for the membership isn't bad...i can support that. dunno where i got the $75 figure from. will probably just do a loong daytrip vs an overnite.

hiked some of santa cruz island to the north (out of ventura harbor) last year but all i could think of was "wish i had a mtb." not allowed on santa cruz island.

did you rent the mtbs in avalon? if so, any recommendations?
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Old 04-01-16, 10:19 PM
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You can rent bikes in Two Harbors. The dive shop at the head of the pier rents bikes, kayaks, dive gear, etc. I've been going to TH for 40 years, but I've never done a ride there. I just did my first MTB ride last week, and seeing these pictures, now I want to ride Catalina.

Biking Two Harbors | Visit Catalina Island
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Old 04-03-16, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by bowser29
Great ride report. I've been wanting to do this for a long time. Do you have a Strava (or similar) for this ride? Are there any technical sections? How much is the fee to bring the bike on the ferry? Thanks!
No real technical sections. Tough there are some steeper, rockier climbs on the East End, northeast of Avalon.
We left our computers at home. It was more about the pleasure & siteseeing, than the cocktail part bragging rights & numbers.
I think it was either 12 or 7 dollars per bike to take them on the ferry.

I can see why it's not more popular among the real mountainbikers. But we're roadies & siteseers, so fire roads and pretty views are right up our alley, even if it is a little bit of a PITA to get your bike there and registered.
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Old 04-03-16, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ooga-booga
$35 for the membership isn't bad...i can support that. dunno where i got the $75 figure from. will probably just do a loong daytrip vs an overnite.

hiked some of santa cruz island to the north (out of ventura harbor) last year but all i could think of was "wish i had a mtb." not allowed on santa cruz island.

did you rent the mtbs in avalon? if so, any recommendations?
We brought our own bikes. Most bike rental places rent junk (don't honestly know about Catalina rentals, as we didn't check.) Riding out of Two Harbors would certainly be better. Getting out of Avalon is a PITA.
IMO, getting there on the first boat and leaving on the last boat is only going to get you 6-7 hours tops. You need more time than that, especially if you're climbing up out of Avalon.
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Old 04-04-16, 03:01 AM
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awesome, looks like a lot of fun
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Old 04-04-16, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
No real technical sections. Tough there are some steeper, rockier climbs on the East End, northeast of Avalon.
We left our computers at home. It was more about the pleasure & siteseeing, than the cocktail part bragging rights & numbers.
I think it was either 12 or 7 dollars per bike to take them on the ferry.

I can see why it's not more popular among the real mountainbikers. But we're roadies & siteseers, so fire roads and pretty views are right up our alley, even if it is a little bit of a PITA to get your bike there and registered.
not interested in bragging rights and numbers. just want to use your route as a guide. thanks anyway
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