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Five Tips for Bicycles and Dinghy's in the San Juan's

     If you limit yourself to places with docks to offload bikes you are also missing out on some of the best places worth exploring.  Learning to haul bikes in the dinghy opens up a world of  onshore expeditions.

     Furthermore, if you are planning to use a dock to unload bikes, and the dock is for whatever reason, ie. crowded or out of service, there go all your well thought through plans, out the window and in the drink.

     Prior to heading out you should experiment with ways to load bikes into the dinghy.  You do not want to learn the hard way what not to do. Poking a hole in the favorite and likely the only inflatable would be the hard way.  I think type four seat cushions will protect an inflatable, but I have never tried it since my dinghy is fiberglass.

     Plan ahead, one time we sewed up huge bicycle bags from tarps to protect our bikes during an extended trip we knew may have salt water cascading over us.

  • Bring your old bikes if possible, saltwater means rust. Flush and wash asap afterwards.
  • I accept that I will be wading in ankle deep water when reaching shore, so I wear sandals.
  • Bike chains, pedals and spokes will get snagged, be patient and  super careful not to do damage while transporting and untangling a mess.
  • I bring a tire patch kit, basic tools and pump.
    • plus I use that anti leak slime stuff in all my tubes.
  • Many of our bike rides end up as hikes where we leave the bikes unattended so we bring a cable and lock.  It's not that I don't trust people, I just don't want to risk walking miles and miles back to the boat.
Bikes stacked in dinghy for going ashore
Going ashore we took two at a time, which meant three round  trips for four people.  Upon coming back, Ryan suggested we try stacking all four bikes which meant only two trips.  Count them, it worked fine. The dinghy is a nine foot Livingston.