Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Click the "Create Account" button now to join.

To disable ads, please log-in.

Shop at TeamEstrogen.com for women's cycling apparel.

Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    676

    Staying in bike shape

    To disable ads, please log-in.

    Given my lifelong love of bicycling, there's been only a few times in my life when I actually got out of bike shape, meaning having to start from scratch to build up my endurance and ride any distance. Staying in bike shape was an automatic, even, when using the bicycle was my only means of transportation, something I've done several times in my life.

    Now that I am retired, though, staying in bike shape has come and gone a bit more than I would like. Part of the problem is where we live in the north woods of Wisconsin where winters are long (yes, we has snow flurries, this morning) and cold. That's meant staying indoors and working out on the trainer during the winter months, but let's face it, pretty hard to keep your enthusiasm up sitting on a trainer, month after month. Just not the same thing as riding outdoors.

    All that changed, though, earlier this spring when I got my first fat bike. Oh, I've been biking in the snow for decades, way back when it was considered a bit eccentric even in the biking community. Yup, that was me, studded tires, tire chains and all, but riding in the snow under those circumstances was more out of necessity than out of fun. It was work and every outing felt like I was going on expedition.

    Enter the fat bike. Riding in the snow and over ice is now quite practical, but even more important, it's fun. Where were these bikes when I need them? An unexpected bonus is that I now have a more year round outlook on my biking and that's given me a committment to do more biking of all kinds. As a result, I've been bundling up, as needed, and hitting the road bikes on a daily basis for the last month.

    My one hour a day on the road bikes adds up to about 100 miles plus on a weekly basis. That's no great shakes compared to what I've done when I was younger and it's pretty anemic by some standards, but at my age (I'll be 67, next month), it's enough to give me the option of doing any one of a 12 mile, 25 mile or 45 mile loop anytime I want. I also mix in some fat bike work on access and fire roads on our daily runs with our dogs, so even more bike time.

    It feels so good to be in bike shape like this, but it feels equally as good to be doing something I have always loved so much and not have to restrict it to our short warm weather season. Hope all of you have found a way to stay in bike shape, too.

    My north woods, a road biking dream. Come for a visit.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    548
    I loved reading this! Glad you found a solution to keep you happily riding all year in what looks like a beautiful area! Thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,204
    An inspiring read! Glad you found an outside winter weather exercise that you enjoy so much. Fat bikes ftw!!! I can also easily see the enhanced positive moods it’s giving you through your words….
    Improving mental stability and supporting optimal cognitive functioning is a great benefit of our exercising too! I see that as an important part of doing better in my working life.

    Now if you just had fewer mosquito’s in the summer I’d be on those wonderful looking roads in a healthy heartbeat this summer

    +1 on thanks for sharing
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,956
    Glad you found something that works well for you!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    676
    Thank you, all.

    No mosquitoes, today, on my outdoor, one-hour ride - not with a cold north wind and snow flurries. Yup, not unusual for mid-May. Still loved it, though. Hubby had a hot latte waiting for me when I got back home. He's a keeper.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    478
    I totally understand where you are coming from. I just got my fat bike at the end of Feb. I only got to do a handful of snow riding but, had a blast. I even take mine on some singletrack trails this Spring/Summer as it is just a blast to ride. I have noticed I am a stronger rider than I was last season (just doing the trainer indoors) at this time. Love my Fatty
    2012 Trek Lexa SL
    2012 Giant TCX2
    2015 Trek Remedy 7
    2016 Trek Lexa C
    2016 Specialized Hellga-Fat Bike

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    676
    Oh, I do the indoor trainer thing, too, but only when absolutely necessary. Seriously, though, it is good training to stay in shape. In some ways better than actual riding and some ways not as good.

    Yeah, those fat bikes. A pro at our local bike shop says he has all but retired his 29er and uses his fat bike for year round riding on our MTB trails. He's way out of my league, but I can see his point.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,135
    So... it feels more stable than studded tires?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    676
    Quote Originally Posted by Geonz View Post
    So... it feels more stable than studded tires?
    Yes, the fat bike does feel more stable in the snow under most conditions, given the tire width is twice or more the width of a mountain bike tire. I have done a lot of riding in the snow, with and without studded tires, so I can also tell you that riding in the snow is also very much a matter of snow and road conditions, meaning there may be times when you are better off with the studded tires. Not all snow riding is the same. For instance, I did a lot of winter commuting on hardpack snow and ice on city streets and the studded tires were just the ticket. It was an 8 mile commute, so probably a bit easier to do with the skinnier tires. 8 miles would have been a long haul with those big monster fat bike tires. For the mostly fresh snow we have around home, up here on our rural roads, though, the fat bike rules. It's also just a blast to ride, anyway.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 05-24-2016 at 06:32 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,854
    I read recently (from someone who tried it) that fat bikes don't handle well on fresh snow, and are more appropriate for packed down, groomed trails. But it sounds like that has not been your experience?

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    676
    Not exactly, because there are so many different kinds of snow conditions when riding, so it's hard to make blanket statements. Handle well on fresh snow compared to what? What kind of fresh snow and so on?

    Sometimes it's actually fun to ride in the snow with an ordinary mountain bike or even a cyclocross bike. On a fresh snow/first snow up to 3" or so over solid pavement or gravel where a standard MTB tire can get down through the snow and get good traction with the hard road surface, beneath, you sure don't need a fat bike. I found that a standard MTB tire or even a 700x35 road tire with good tread worked great. Some of my best memories where early mornings when I was the first to ride down a street after a fresh 3" of snow. Pure magic! Same kind of high I get when cross country skiing in a perfect snow.

    When the fresh snow still wasn't too deep, but was on top of a rutted, icy snowpack, below, things got a LOT trickier. If the tires were still getting down through the snow to the harder snowpack, below, and the pack wasn't too icy or rutted, standard MTB tires still did a good job. If the underlying pack was too icy and, especially, too rutted or unstable, I found that the studded snow tires really helped. It was those icy ruts and sometimes broken up ice pack that I couldn't see after a fresh snow that were the killer. Always had to be on my guard because I could never know just when the bike would fly out from under me when it hit a rut, below, in the wrong way or the pack gave way without warning. For sure, big fat tires on the fat bike handle icy ruts better than any MTB tire I've found, yet. I would have been first in line to buy a fat bike, back when I was winter commuting, but that was just before fat bikes hit the scene.

    When the snow got over 6" in depth, especially if it was a wet snow, riding the MTB though the snow turned into real work and even after dropping the tire pressure as low as I could safely go for the sake of traction, I got a lot of fishtailing and spin outs on the rear tire. Again, this is where I find those big huge fat bike tires work better precisely because they don't drop as deep through the snow. A 6" or even 8" snow is still a pretty reasonable ride for the fat bike. Still work, for sure, but nowhere near as much fishtailing as with MTB tires.

    Definitely a LOT less work to ride a groomed trail in the deep stuff with the fat bike, like you say, though. No argument, there, none at all. Breaking trail with a bike or cross country skis is always more work than riding a groomed trail. I even ride or ski a snowmobile track when I can find one for the same reason.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 05-24-2016 at 11:17 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,135
    THanks! I'm figuring you prob'ly have a higher fishtailing tolerance than I do... but I'll think about when I would be riding on what kind of snow and when it would be most fun... the "not dropping down so hard to the ice below" is big.

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •