Bicycle Touring California’s Eastern Sierra

I recently did a two-day bike tour between California’s Eastern Sierra Nevada and the White Mountains. It was a fun, new way to explore a landscape that I have come to love.

The route covered over 90 miles. We started in Bishop, took Highway 6 to Benton, passed through Benton Hot Springs, rode the beautiful Benton Crossing to Highway 395, and then returned to Bishop via the twisty Rock Creek road.

Our first day was an uphill struggle along Highway 6 against 20-25 mph winds. The effort was worth it. That night we camped under a crisp and bright, night sky far away from the sounds of any road or town. The temperature dropped into the single digits, but zero-degree down bags and sleeping bag liners kept us warm.

The winds abated the next day, which took us through some gorgeous landscapes. We bicycled deserted roads; climbed steep, snow and ice covered grades; and raced downhill through a narrow, wooded canyon.

I now find myself planning lots of bicycle tours around the Eastern Sierra and Great Basin. It really is an amazing way to see and experience the country.

As far as gear goes, here is some of what I used:

  • Giant Express (my friend rode a DB cyclo-cross bike)
  • Panniers that I borrowed from a friend
  • 15 Degree MH Ratio Down Bag with a synthetic liner
  • An accordion-style sleeping pad and inflatable Vaude pad
  • JetBoil MiniMo stove and lots of coffee
  • Yellow, reflective “construction worker” safety vest

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