Biking and Hiking

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Biking & Hiking

Two Wheels, Two Feet - Using them together

It's a sunny summer day. The question arises for the active outdoor enthusiast/motorcyclist. Shall I ride the motorcycle today, or go hiking? Heaven knows we can't mix the two because how are we going to get our hiking gear to the point of entry and keep our motorcycle gear from getting stolen?

Pick the right location and you can do both. There are plenty of safe spots you can ride to, lock up your gear, get several hours of hiking in and then enjoy the ride home. But first let's talk about what to wear.

Begin by slipping into your hiking shirt and shorts. Then simply slide your riding gear over it. Most gear including leather, textile and air gear will slip right over your hiking apparel. You'll carry your hiking shoes on the bike. Plan to wear motorcycle boots during your ride like any sane rider would do.

Pack your hiking shoes, hat, sunscreen, maps and trail snacks into a good sized saddle bag, tail pack or day pack. It's time to hop on your bike and enjoy the ride.

Photo: These four gents and the photographer hiked up Red Top on a lovely day for a gorgeous view of Mt. Rainier and the Stuart Range. The photo taken inside the fire lookout tower. That's Rainier on the left.

Once you've arrived at your destination, your going to likley want to strip out of your riding gear and put on the hiking gear. Now…what to do with all that riding gear:

Hard Bags: Hard bags are a great investment because quality models provide good security allowing you to lock up your valuables and leave them with your bike for the day. Look for bags that mount solidly to your bike and are lockable

Cable Locks: PacSafe makes a series of cable locks that range from 29 inches to eight feet long. One option is to run a cable lock through the pant leg of your pants and the sleeve of your jacket. This will allow you to lock the gear together either to your bike, or for storage in a suitable location (which we will discuss in a moment). You can also use cable locks to lock your helmet to the bike, or lock items like saddle, tank and tail bags down to the bike.

Zipper Locks: PacSafe comes to the rescue again with a series of zipper locks that allow you to lock zippers together to keep criminals out and your gear intact. Of course these are more so deterrents as everyone knows a true thief who wants something will get it. But in a public parking lot during broad daylight – that's probably not as likely.

PacSafe Mesh Storage: PacSafe makes cable mesh storage units you can put items into from 55 to 120 liters in size. These can be closed off and used for secure storage. Even better yet, there day packs use a similar mesh unit internally.

Location, Location, Location – In the world of biking and hiking, location is everything. If you choose to go to a desolate area you may be robbed, no doubt. Select a popular destination with plenty of visitor traffic. This will detour thieves from monkeying with the locked down gear on your bike. Better yet, pick a hiking location with an open ranger station. If you ask nicely most rangers will allow you to store your gear in the facility, just be sure you understand their hours of operation and plan accordingly.

Here's a list a few places to consider

10 places to bike and hike to in Washington

  • Red Top Lookout - Located just off Highway 97 near Blewit Pass. Park at the parking area below the fire overlook and climb to the top. Great views from here.
  • Peoh Point - Just south of the town of Cle Elum, ride up the ridge. Riding a trail bike all the way to the radio tower is possible, but for the rest of us, park the bike in the parking area just south and hike out. Once there you'll have views of all three Cascadian finger lakes - Keechelus, Kachess and Cle Elum.
  • Hurricane Ridge – Has a full service visitors center on top with plenty of hiking trails for hours of outdoors fun. Stow your gear with the ranger and enjoy the day.
  • Mt. Rainier – Similar to Hurricane Ridge, Mt. Rainier has not only a full service ranger station at Paradise, but a hotel that's open 24 hours a day. Ask nicely and stow your gear there until you need it on your return. Alternate hiking locations include the Ranger stations at Sunrise on the east, or below Mowich Lake on the Northwest side.
  • Mt. St. Helens – Plenty of busy parking areas and hiking trails no matter where you decide to launch your hike from.
  • Mt. Si/Little Mt. Si – Both these locations feature well trafficked parking areas at the trail heads.
  • Elwa Hot Springs - Located on the Olympic Peninsula you'll park in the designated lot and walk in about 7 miles each way. Hot springs along the trail make for a nice treat at the end.
  • Hoh Rain Forest - Just east of LaPush on the Olympic Penninsula, the Hoh features lots of trails and is the jumping off point for those going up to Mt. Olympus.
  • Beacon Rock, North Bonneville - Park the bike down on SR 14 and climb to the top for a panoramic view of the Columbia River Gorge
  • Mowich Lake - Park on the north side of Mt. Rainier heading south from Carbonado. You can hike around the lake or continue further.
  • TM/Summer 2008, Revised 2014

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