Crusoe on the float

Gary Cziko embarking on his rafting adventure with his Pocket Crusoe, 2011.

By Gary Cziko
My first pedal-paddle-pedal trip using my Bike Friday Pocket Crusoe folding bike and Alpacka Denali Llama packraft.

On a delightfully cool and cloudy early summer morning, I pedaled about 14 miles from my home in Urbana, IL to the Salt Fork River at 2400 E in Champaign County at Lynch Hill Road bridge.

Along the way, I stopped to get the approval of the curious alpaca for my Alpacka Packraft adventure. I then paddled about 7 miles downstream, and then pedaled 17 miles back home. There was one log jam on the river that required a very short portage.

I saw many great blue herons along the way and a large owl as well a various other birds and ducks. I also saw some small animal that I could not identify jump from a log into the river as a I approached.

While a non-folding bike can be carried on the packraft, you have to remove the wheels and it protrudes more on each side interfering a bit with the paddling.

The Bike Friday fits very nicely into the packraft as you can see. I love the way each “vehicle” transforms and is able to carry the other. The packraft inflates and deflates as needed. The Bike Friday folds and unfolds as needed.

This will be the first of many more adventures exploring the streams of East Central Illinois and beyond.

Note: The river flow at the time of my paddle was measured as 68 cubic feet/second and 3.5 feet deep at St. Joseph.

Gary Cziko's raft loaded with Pocket Crusoe, 2011.

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