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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This last week I got out twice for solo runs on the Upper Clackamas. It was my first experience solo rafting and while it was a little intimidating the first run (first solo run + highest volume I've floated (4000+ cfs), I found I really enjoyed it. Naturally the shuttle was a consideration, but I brought along my bike and just biked the shuttle; strapping the bike onto the raft for the float back to the car. It was a nice workout, but not too grueling, about 12 miles uphill on the bike prior to a 3-hour float. Probably took me a little less than an hour on the bike.

So here's my question. Is there any safety concern with a mountain bike strapped to the back of the frame of the raft? In a flip does anyone see that potentially becoming an entrapment hazard? I don't feel that there is much issue, but a couple friends (non-rafting) felt that it was possible. I'm not sure though if there response was more just a general worry about the idea of rafting solo.
 

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Renaissance *******
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I do solos with a bike shuttle pretty often. But strapping my bike to the back of an OC1 isnt really an option. So I shuttle first. My scenario for the upper part of the Alberton Gorge goes like this. Drive to Cyr with bike and boat. Drop boat and gear at put in. Drive down to the Fish Creek takeout and leave the Jeep. Bike about 20 minutes back up to Cyr. Lock my bike up to the sign. Float down to shuttle rig. Have a beer and pick up my bike on the way home.
My main concern is my boat while I'm on the shuttle. I carry it down to the river and set it off to the side in the tamarisk so it is out of the way but is obviously not completely unattended. Never a problem yet.
I'm not really concerned about the solo aspect of the run because of the pool drop nature of the gorge as well as the fact that there are always other groups around so it's not really solo.
I used to do the same thing when I lived in Durango but I did it with my dog running along side the river. I really like having a bikeable run close by and have been lucky to have one for the last two decades.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I shuttle first too. Not because I have to but I prefer it that way. Here's my routine.

Drive to put in (Sandstone Bridge @ Three Lynx Power Station). Inflate boat and load it up. I tie it to a tree out of the way. I'm slightly concerned about leaving it for an hour, but hoping that nothing bad happens to it.

Drive to take out (Memaloose) and drop of the van.

Bike the shuttle back to the put in.

Here I could either...

A) Lock my bike to a tree and float the river. But this entails a return trip by car (24 miles out of the way driving... 12 miles each way x 2), or...

B) Strap the bike to the raft and float down.

Alternatively its equally possible to avoid the bike on the raft by running the shuttle second. Which would look like the following.

1) Drop the bike off at the take out on the way to the put in.

2) Drive to put in, inflate boat, and raft to take out.

3) Leave boat unattended at take out (instead of put in), while biking back to the vehicle.

4) Load bike onto vehicle and drive to take out.

The second plan (shuttle after rafting) is the same driving and miles, it just puts the bike on the shore while rafting, so possibly slightly safer. But I do prefer getting the biking down before the rafting.
 

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I boat solo and bike the shuttle a lot (Clear Creek, Numbers, Boulder Creek, Royal Gorge, Eagle etc) I also prefer to shuttle first but only because I like dry cloths and cold beer at the take out.

But the question was how safe is it to put the bike on the boat.
Very safe if you NEVER flip. In a flip, on a shallow, rocky river the bike could get torn up and could hang up on rocks. And it could present another entrapment issue if you were under the boat.

I would never carry a bike because I run a small cat that I can combat roll.
Would be impossible to roll with a bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good point about the bike potentially getting hung up on rocks as well. Sad to say I haven't considered that either.

Either way, bike on or off, I plan to continue some solo runs on rivers that I feel confident in.
 

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I leave my bike locked at put in when I do bike shuttle laps. Tearing shit up in a flip is one with, entanglement is another, but I would also be leery of a bike part rubbing a hole in a tube.


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good thinking. I guess I'm coming around to the thinking that floating with a bike strapped on is not such a great idea, unless I'm pretty confident that I won't flip.

Considering that I've never actually flipped a boat on the Clackamas, I will probably continue to run that one with the bike on. But as I run bike shuttles on more challenging rivers I will certainly aim to just leave the bike locked to a tree at the put in.
 

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Chain the bike up at the takeout. Drive up to the put in and launch. Ride back to the car at the end of the float. That's how we always do bike shuttles, anyway.

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There are definitely places that I would never leave my boat unattended. San Jaun comes to mind. Actually I once left my sea kayak hidden deep in the willows at Sand Island while I went to meet Valle's shuttle on a solo to MexHat. Anyway I'm pretty comfortable doing it at my back yard run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'd be more concerned with someone steeling my boat when riding the bike to get the car.
I do suppose that depends on the location to some extent. Whenever solo rafting is involved the boat must be left at either the put it or take out while the shuttle is being biked. Unless I suppose you are able to carry it on your back? My boat is a little too big for that, or else my back is a little too small.

I guess I don't have enough experience with the scoundrels who lurk at the boat launch in the rain for hours just waiting for the unsuspecting boater to head off for a shuttle run :cool: Would suck if someone took the boat while I was on the bike.

I think that I would be way more cautious about that, possibly investing in cable lock to tie up the boat. But then they could still take my oars! Dang it! Anyway, I'd be more cautious if I actually saw anybody at the put it. The only couple times that I have biked so far, I haven't seen a soul. And I can't imagine too many people making the drive out there just to check if there is a raft to steal.

Anyway, here's crossing my fingers and wishing all you shuttle biking, river rafting folks the continual joy of seeing your boat secure when you finish your shuttle.
 

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Never had a problem with leaving boat.
Heavy ass chain for boat then moved to bike.
Never have to bike or boat with chain.
Pick your put-ins, Numbers is a steep log ramp down to a rocky put-in.
Leave boat 20 yards downstream, a thief would have to pull upstream, lift over rocks and then carry up a steep log ramp.
Thieves are lazy and like easy.
 
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