Biking Highway 2
Given the heat plus all the smoke in the air I haven't felt much inclination to hike, but I have been driving my bike up to Highway 2 and doing sections of the road in the vicinity of Dawson Saddle.
I most emphatically DO NOT recommend you do this on weekends or holidays. Highway 2 sees a lot of street racing on those days, and you simply do not want to be on a bicycle anywhere near the area then.
On weekdays, however, the place is a ghost town.
I admit in my younger days I thought biking was for those whose sad lowly mountains didn't hold snow in summer; I've mellowed, a tad, and come to appreciate how much fun it is to ride a trail on a modern mountain bike—or an empty highway through the mountains.
Biking Highway 2 affords you the opportunity to survey the many extraordinary ridgelines and gullies of the San Gabriel Crest, as well as appreciate what a foolish and wonderful road they built back in 1934. 1934! God bless the builders of the past. We owe them a great debt.
Generally speaking I like to bike up and then coast down, so park either at Vincent Gap or Islip Saddle, bike up to Dawson Saddle, and then cruise back to your car at your leisure.
Note that there is a very fine trail on the crest, so hike-n-bike opportunities abound in this part of the 2—ie, you could stash your bike at Dawson Saddle, park below either Baden-Powell or Islip, hike the crest, and then bike back.
You could also bike from Islip Saddle to Cloudburst Summit (Waterman), or of course join up these segments in whatever fiendish way you can conceive. It's good clean road biking in the mountains. What more could you ask for?
UPDATE: apparently the racers do come out on Friday, though in much lesser numbers, so beware. They do tend to stay lower on the 2, I noticed, and were more active in the morning.
— August 17, 2021
Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents
Dan Conger August 18, 2021 at 5:34 pm
Really glad you are still getting out there. Hope the family is well!
Brad Brown August 30, 2021 at 11:18 am
Ditto to Dan’s comment. Glad to see your getting after it despite personal loss. I went through a similar loss in ‘08 during that economic crunch, lessons learned, and climbed out of that so have faith in the hard work ethic that’s permitted your great mountain successes. Speaking of climbing, Bob and I will be visiting Split mnt 9-13/14/15 so hopefully will be sending summit pics out in near future. Miracle that I’ve recovered enough from
6-24 cancer surgery to allow sufficient training to take on this challenge at age 70. We did Cactus to Clouds 10 weeks after last surgery in ‘17 so I’m practiced at recovery/training strategy. Fortunate to be doing this as a luxurious 3 day trip similar to our Langley success, which cuts down the vert/day equation. Our 2019’s, 24 hour Whitney lap (complete with scared wife’s SARS report) serves as a reminder of what can happen on short notice, late season, no acclimation trips for us seniors. Anyways all the best to you and fam.