Diversion Diary | Up Fish Creek Without A Saddle

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Hannah’s partner, BK, lives in the USA, and lockdown has kept them apart. Each week, she brings us some lonesome ramblings, plus a selection of internet finds. This week she covers the next big cycling trend: bike fishing.

I am walking a tightrope of anxiety. We’re on the countdown to BK getting on the plane to the UK. There are many many things that could go wrong. He could miss his connecting flight. He could get sick. His family could get sick. There could be a second lockdown that stops all the flights. He could get caught up in a protest, put in a jail cell, and be locked up and catch the virus and probably travel insurance doesn’t cover all that. There could be a complete end of days breakdown of the social fabric of the USA. Yes, I’m catastrophising, but the world seems like a pretty catastrophic place right now.

The anxious thoughts are not helped by the fact that BK is currently road tripping across half of the USA to pick up a bunch of retro bikes (definitely not crap old bikes) that he bought at an auction before it became clear that a global pandemic was about to happen. I’m trying to convince myself that this is all going to be fine because he is wearing a mask and has loads of alcohol sanitiser and avoids indoors (apart from bike shops, because they are an irresistible draw) and he wants to get on that plane just as badly as I want him to. And breathe. It’s going. To. Be. Fine.

As part of convincing myself of this (quite-probably-entirely-false-sense-of-positivity-ARGH) I am trying to enjoy the road trip because I know that BK enjoys them and I like it when he’s happy. I know his road trips are fun – we did one for our first date (how’s that for an all-in first date? Skip the coffee, the cinema, the dinner – just go on a road trip). So I’m trying to focus on the fact that I’m looking forward to seeing what bike treasures he has got, and following the things he finds along the way. You can see what he’s up to too:

His road trips involve avoiding the big interstate roads where possible, instead passing through small towns with bike shops to see what ancient junk treasures they might hold, riding trails, and fishing. When it comes to trash bikes, he’s a magnet – he finds all sorts of useless unusual stuff wherever he goes, even in the bike racks outside local libraries and shops. When it comes to fish, his track record is far poorer. In fact, pretty much the only fish he ever catches are the really hungry ones right up in the very highest lakes in the mountains. The ones that have lived such sheltered lives that they’re too sweet and innocent to know humans want to eat them. This seems to have little effect on his enthusiasm for fishing, and he has spent a fair amount of time trying to persuade me of its merits.

Almost certainly the only fish he’s ever caught:

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Yep, matches my bike. Golden trout.

A post shared by Kevin Dwyer (@fahzure) on

I have zero interest in fishing. I don’t like to eat fish. I don’t like to see their mouths spiked with hooks. I get horribly sick on a boat. As far as I can tell, in the UK fishing involves sitting around in lots of waterproofs, surrounded by biting flies. However, the US version seems to be much more like sun bathing with your feet in a cooling stream and a fishing pole as a prop to make it look like you’re doing something. I think I could get into that, as long as I didn’t actually catch anything.

BK is convinced that bikes and fishing are the perfect combination, that bike-fishing, piscary-packing or #endurofishing are the next bike niche just waiting to take over the bike industry. It turns out that there are quite a few bike and fishing related videos to be watched on the internet. Their gentle pace, with golden hour footage, gently babbling waters, and atmosphere of quiet optimism and patience are just what I need right now.

How To Carry a Fishing Rod on a Bike

A method for carrying your rod that takes no account of bushes and undergrowth. Now, you can worry about ripping your rear mech off one side, or your rods off the other – yay! I find the production of this gently amusing, it’s a bit like the freak inventions section of Eurobike. I like this video too because quite early on it tells you to skip the first half of it. Excellent production.

The Rod and Road

If you’re looking to identify what the next bike trend is going to be, then looking to Salsa and Surly has historically been a good move. Things have a tendency to start out as freak niches with them before ending up being entirely mainstream. So maybe BK isn’t wrong, because Salsa is all over the bikes and fishing thing. We just need Shimano to join up its fishing and cycling arms.

Touching the Sun

Deep Country Fishing

I can’t quite believe I watched a 20 minute fishing video, but I did. If ever there was anyone who was looking on the bright side of life, it’s this guy. This is my kind of fishing: nice scenery, plenty of sunshine, and endless optimism. I have absolutely no idea what’s being talked about in sentences like ’I’m going no indicator with this zebra midge’, and even when he’s pointing out the fish 10 minutes in I can’t see them. But the water looks so inviting, I just want to jump right in, and the sound of the river is really soothing. Obviously, on my ride back down the hill after swimming I’d be really careful, wouldn’t wear only my bikini, and definitely wouldn’t crash. Not like last time…

Fishing Bicycle Wrecks

I’m going to tuck this one in the middle here just because it’s a touch distressing to watch and you might need some soothing fish footage to help you recover. That said, I’d quite like to operate the grabber – way better than those arcade game versions.

Wasatch Back Triathlon

Eric Porter has way too much energy. But maybe I’m just jealous. Calderfornia is pretty amazing, but look at the fun I could be having if I lived in Utah. Actually, the ride to the fishing looks like the best bit of this big day out – nice singletrack trails and no actual fish caught!

Late Season Ice Fishing

This is both fun, and terrifying. There is no way I’d be putting an enormous electric drill in a bike trailer with my kids because they would definitely press the button to turn it on. I also don’t think I could handle the anxiety of letting my kids roam all over a pile of (hopefully) frozen lake. But there’s plenty to make you smile about, and maybe it’ll prompt you to grab the kids and hit the trail.

Fat Bike Ice Fishing

This makes it into the list because of the soundtrack. Plus, if I could overcome my horror of being on a frozen lake (you’ve seen the public service announcements, yes?) I think there might be some appeal on sitting out on the ice in the sun. Certainly, my beer would be cold. And look, another Salsa. Maybe this fish bike thing is the Next Big Thing?

Cheerful optimism, boundless hope, happiness in the face of failure, time outdoors, and bikes. Maybe I could learn to like fishing. Or at least learn from it.

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Comments (4)

    Bike fishing eh? Sounds kind a cool!

    Back in the 80’s I used to bike fish all the time.

    I was too young to drive so used to tie my rod to the top tube of the bike and had a tackle box attached to the pannier on my road bike.

    We used to drown maggots for hours at the local river near Brighouse (Cooper bridge) – I don’t remember many fish of note caught, but it was a great way to spend a day.

    The ride back up the hill with the all the extra weight didn’t bother me then – at least there were no fish to carry!!

    I fish and Mountain Bike, but combining the two things isn’t exactly easy, my Stumpjumper is NOT very conducive to having having fishing tackle (or anything else actually) attached to it! However this could mean I have to look for a “fishing bike”, my wife is rolling her eyes in exasperation, maybe an e-bike with panniers and a proper top tube to attached the rods, I can feel an interwebby search coming on …………….

    I have a friend who has lived in Amsterdam his whole life… Once while I was visiting, I asked him how deep the Canals are, he answered: “Three meters. One meter mud, One meter, bicycles, and one meter water”.

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