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Electric bikes on White Mountain Peak?
#58005 08/29/20 10:37 AM
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I'm thinking of taking my parents up to the top of a California 14er for their anniversary, either this year or next year. Problem is, they're in their 70s, aren't in good shape, and haven't hiked in years.

So I came up with the idea of renting electric mountain bikes and having them reach the summit that way. But before I go ahead with that plan, I have two questions -

1.) Is it legal to ride an electric bike past the locked gate? There's a ban on vehicles but a tolerance of regular bikes, so this seems to be a grey area.

2.) Is it considered unsportsmanlike (for lack of a better word) to ride an electric bike on that trail? I can imagine an exhausted hiker looking back, seeing two people fly by him/her, and yelling "cheaters!" in frustration.

Re: Electric bikes on White Mountain Peak?
Big Pine #58007 08/29/20 01:59 PM
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I don't know about the legalities of riding a bike on the trail, but I've seen a few electric mountain bikes lately on some local trails I've been on... mostly going uphill. smile Amazing how much it seems to help on those longer climbs.

Can't see why anyone would have a problem with it but someone will, of course. Just yell out. "If you ain't cheatin', you ain't winnin'! laugh

Last edited by MikeH; 08/29/20 02:01 PM.
Re: Electric bikes on White Mountain Peak?
MikeH #58008 08/29/20 03:35 PM
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Your plan gets my vote, at least in terms of reasonable, sportsman like conduct. There is always someone who will draw a cheat line in a different place than you. Not long ago, I was told that camping stoves were cheating in a national wilderness. Whatever.

My only word of caution would be that all of the risks of AMS are still very real and very present. You should really bring your A game when you do this as the potential effects of the altitude and symptoms of AMS will not just creep up slowly. I have no idea what the ramifications are, but stay on your toes.

And please post a trip report. Good luck!

Last edited by Goose; 08/29/20 03:36 PM.
Re: Electric bikes on White Mountain Peak?
Goose #58009 08/29/20 09:36 PM
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Big Pine, you should go try it yourself first on a mountain bike. I did a lot of years ago. Granted my bike had zero suspension, but I remember how incredibly rough and rocky the descent was. We walked/pushed the bikes to the summit. And then one of the bikes blew a tire on a sharp rock on the way down, so we had to walk it out.

I cannot imagine a couple of people in their seventies who aren't in very good shape managing to climb or descend that White Mountain with a mountain bike. They might be able to do the first 5 miles where the road isn't as bad, but that final climb....

Re: Electric bikes on White Mountain Peak?
Big Pine #58010 08/30/20 11:39 AM
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Why not take your parents to Hawaii instead? I bet they'd enjoyed that a lot more.

Re: Electric bikes on White Mountain Peak?
Steve C #58011 08/30/20 11:43 AM
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Thanks for the responses, everyone!

Originally Posted by Goose
My only word of caution would be that all of the risks of AMS are still very real and very present. You should really bring your A game when you do this as the potential effects of the altitude and symptoms of AMS will not just creep up slowly. I have no idea what the ramifications are, but stay on your toes.

And please post a trip report. Good luck!
Neither my parents nor I have ever ridden any type of bike (mountain bike, road bike, dirt bike, etc.) above 11,000', so this will definitely be a new experience. We're planning on staying two nights in Mammoth to acclimate. I don't know whether the ride will happen this year, but if not, we'll definitely do it next year and will post a trip report afterwards.

Originally Posted by Steve C
I cannot imagine a couple of people in their seventies who aren't in very good shape managing to climb or descend that White Mountain with a mountain bike. They might be able to do the first 5 miles where the road isn't as bad, but that final climb....
Good point.

I guess we have two choices when we get off the bikes at mile 5. Option 1 would be to lock the wheels of the bikes to each other, leave them a few feet off the trail, and unlock them on the way back down. Option 2 would be to attach our daypacks to the bikes and walk/push them to the summit. I'll probably go with option 2 if they're still feeling good at that point.

Re: Electric bikes on White Mountain Peak?
Big Pine #58012 08/30/20 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Pine
Thanks for the responses, everyone!

Originally Posted by Steve C
I cannot imagine a couple of people in their seventies who aren't in very good shape managing to climb or descend that White Mountain with a mountain bike. They might be able to do the first 5 miles where the road isn't as bad, but that final climb....
Good point.

I guess we have two choices when we get off the bikes at mile 5. Option 1 would be to lock the wheels of the bikes to each other, leave them a few feet off the trail, and unlock them on the way back down. Option 2 would be to attach our daypacks to the bikes and walk/push them to the summit. I'll probably go with option 2 if they're still feeling good at that point.

Prior to attempting this you should (at a minimum) take your parents out for a local "day ride" on your bicycles of choice. Pick a route that includes some surfaces and slopes similar to what you might expect on White Mountain. Verify that they are comfortable doing this. The consequences of a fall while on White Mountain would not be good. Over the course of the last 20 years I've ridden thousands of miles on road bikes (including the Mammoth Grand Fondo - Piccolo: 42 MILES - 2015 and 2017), but due to shoulder issues (right shoulder replaced in 2013) I finally had to abandon this pursuit. This year, I tried mountain biking (riding position is different enough that I thought it would not bother my shoulder) - full suspension, and loved it. However, with mountain bikes, if you ride long enough, you will crash. It's the nature of the beast. My crash occurred under very modest circumstances. 10 mph, transitioning from the trail to a grass field (the trail was under construction), and the front tire lost traction in the grass over hard pack. Two broken ribs and a mild concussion later I decided the risk of injury overshadowed the joy of the ride.

Last edited by John Sims; 08/31/20 10:41 AM. Reason: spelling
Re: Electric bikes on White Mountain Peak?
Big Pine #58058 09/09/20 10:50 AM
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I just recently rode my E-BIKE to the top of White Mountain Peak. When I got to the trail head there was a person connected to the research station there and we talked about if it was cool to ride the e-bike on the trail or not. He said

he see's people do it from time to time and thinks it is a great way to go. So I went for it. I ride a lot and for the most part the trail/old road is not bad. There are some tricky parts of the trail that need to be dealt with like some ruts

and rocky areas. Especially about 2/3 of the way to the summit there is a short steep rocky decent. Going down was testy for sure but going back up was a bear. You have to push the bike up a rocky steep section and as you know

these bikes are not light. And as far as pushing the bikes to the top of the peak that's probably not going to happen. As long as they have a full charge when they start they should be able to get to the top. Just be prepared for the

push back up the one short steep section. It is a fun ride, kind of like riding on the moon. Best of luck.

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Re: Electric bikes on White Mountain Peak?
Temecula41171 #58059 09/09/20 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Temecula41171
It is a fun ride, kind of like riding on the moon. Best of luck.

Might be more like Mars right now. frown

Re: Electric bikes on White Mountain Peak?
Big Pine #58060 09/09/20 04:18 PM
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Using an electric bike to pitch a camp at the summit of White Mountain Peak would be the
ultimate Whitney altitude acclimitization plan! Could jog around up there after a while.

Do this aggressive training plan right before Whitney while on White Mountain Peak:

One hundred push-ups!
One hundred sit-ups!
One hundred squats!
And then a 10 kilometer run! (around building on peak)
Every single day!

and you will likely kick Whitneys butt.

Last edited by jaym; 09/09/20 04:34 PM.

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