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Old 10-21-2009, 06:48 PM
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Default Biking the Cranberry

I spent a few days in West Virginia last week and made a point to visit the Cranberry River as a result of the good write up it received in the book "The Fly Fishers Guide to Virginia". That book also covers key waters in West Virginia.

The book made an offhand comment about the fact that the Cranberry has exceptionally limited access as a result of the gates on the well improved forest service road at both its north and south entrances. The book went on to recommend that if you want to get away from the heavily pressured areas near the campgrounds that huddle close to the gate, but you should get a bike and use that to put some real distance between you and everybody else.

I did not have a bike and I was commenting on this to one of my friends as I prepared to go out on this trip. He recommended that I go by thrift store and I would probably be able to pick up a marginally acceptable bike for a bargain basement price. What the heck? I did that, swallowed my pride, and picked up the only thing available - a girls 10 speed that was a little bit small for me and hoped it would be ok. I tuned it up to make sure all the gears worked and then threw it in the back of the truck.

I rolled into the parking lot at the southern entrance, got rigged up, organized the bike and headed off down the forest service road. It was a little bit awkward given the bike's size, but after I became accustomed to riding the thing, I was able to put a significant amount of distance between myself and the parking lot. I started to fish about 4 miles in and had reasonably good luck, but nothing to really brag about.

Along about 10 o'clock in the morning, I noticed other bikers coming in and was surprised to see how many of them they were and how well they were prepared. I learned that a true "Cranberry biker" has tricked out their bike with baskets to carry gear along with PVC tubing with a slot cut out of the middle to slide their rod (with reel attached) down the pipe. They bounce down the road with two rod/reel combinations ready to go at a time. And were talking about good old boys here -- the salt of the earth type of person do you expect when you go to West Virginia. I had a number of good chats with many of these guys and they pointed me at the better spots on the River.

Of course, the best places to go were farther in and since I was going to fish the Williams River that afternoon, I did not have time to explore the entire length. Many of these guys had 24 speed rigs that clearly were not purchased in a thrift store like my marginally acceptable 10 speed was.

Anyway, a lesson learned ... and I'll turn this thing back into the thrift store so some kid can get it for Christmas. It only cost 20 bucks and that was a bargain price -cheaper than renting - given the great day I had on the Cranberry.

Typical stretch of River:
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Here's the bike in all of its embarassing purple glory:

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Old 10-21-2009, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: Biking the Cranberry

Switch,

I have been using my Fuji Sundance to reach more remote areas along rivers and creeks since I bought it in 1984. I found a rod rack about 1999 and that simplified things. The panniers and trunk are vintage 84' as is the handle bar bag. All together I have about 3600 square inches of cargo space and can carry two rod tubes.

Don't cut yourself out of a great way to reach the outback mountain bikes are great for getting there. Bikes work good in Alaska too.

Ard

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Old 10-21-2009, 10:51 PM
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Default Re: Biking the Cranberry

Switch: NIce fishing report, sounded like you enjoyed the adventure on the Cranberry.

Larry
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:17 AM
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Default Re: Biking the Cranberry

That is a sweet bike.

Yes, one of the things I decided was that I need to get a real bike. I can use that on the towpath on the C&O canal on the Upper Potomac, the trail into the C&R area on the North Branch of the Potomac, and the Yawk up in PA... even places like the Rappahannock under the I95 bridge are bike accessible!
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Old 10-22-2009, 09:38 AM
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Default Re: Biking the Cranberry

Switch,

We had a thread a while back where people disclosed sources for buying the rod racks now. The fellow who made mine no longer can be found, I guess he quit the business. Some research might turn one up for you. They make it nice because the rods are both protected and out of the way while you ride. Because they are welded aluminum they stay in place and don't come loose when you are bumping along on a path. Hope you can come up with a good system.

Ard
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Old 10-22-2009, 09:57 AM
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Default Re: Biking the Cranberry

Before next spring, I'll have a kayak, and I'm already plotting out some bike shuttle trips: Drive to the take out, take the bike off the roof rack and lock it to something. Drive the boat to the put in, take the boat off the roof and launch. Float and fish down to the bike, take the yak out, lock it to a tree and ride the bike back to the Forester, load the bike and drive to the boat.

Anybody else tried this?
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Old 10-22-2009, 10:13 AM
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Default Re: Biking the Cranberry

I use to ride an old woman's 3 speed that I got at the dump for my fishing adventures.
That is before I destroyed it riding through saltwater

I found that the girls style was much easier to mount and ride while wearing waders
Having a dump quality bike worked out well too.
I'd ride to where I wanted to fish and then just prop it up against a tree.... no lock necessary.
One time I walked by where my bike had been stashed and noticed it was missing. Not that I really minded too much....it was no big thing.
When it was time to leave, lo and behold, my bike had been returned.
I guess it just wasn't worth stealing
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Old 10-22-2009, 10:24 AM
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Default Re: Biking the Cranberry

Great report Steve,Super bike Ard...I went fishing by bike when I was a little child and tied my reed rod on the frame
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:17 PM
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Default Re: Biking the Cranberry

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCliff View Post
Before next spring, I'll have a kayak, and I'm already plotting out some bike shuttle trips: Drive to the take out, take the bike off the roof rack and lock it to something. Drive the boat to the put in, take the boat off the roof and launch. Float and fish down to the bike, take the yak out, lock it to a tree and ride the bike back to the Forester, load the bike and drive to the boat.

Anybody else tried this?
BigCliff: The wife and I did a half day float on the Green River the other day and that is exactly what we did, used my mtn bike as the shuttle. Works like a champ. I did a half day float on the Colorado River last weekend, but the only road in that section of the river is hwy I-70 (four lane interstate) so I hauled my motorcycle down on the pickup to use for the shuttle, but the motorcycle is a pain to use as a shuttle because you have to unhook the trailer to load or unload the bike, but in a pinch it will work.

Larry
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Old 10-22-2009, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: Biking the Cranberry

Big Cliff,

Post a map so we will know where to pick up a Kayak or Bike. That sounds like a good plan.

Frank
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