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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,022

    Joanie's winter fat bike park

    Since riding fat bikes in the snow is still a fairly new thing in the bike world and something done on a regular basis only in true snow country (where snow accumulates all though the winter), not many folks get a chance to try it. Today, then, thought I would take you along for a ride on one of the fat bikes in my very own MTB and fat bike park, built on our property, winter style.

    The overall miles in my park is now close to three miles if you connected all the sections, together. In the winter, though, I only keep a little less than two miles open buy either shoveling or using a snow blower or both. Trust me, it is an enormous physical undertaking to keep up with the falling snow for the sake of keeping trails open and ready to ride, but the rewards for me are even greater. Believe me when I say, there is nothing else in the biking world to compare to riding in the snow covered northern forest in the dead of winter. It's technically demanding, always challenging and not without its dangers, but it is also an achingly beautiful and rewarding experience. I love it in a way that's hard to put into words.

    Our snow base is now somewhere between one and two feet, depending on the section of trail and exposure to the wind and sun. In open areas where drifting occurs, you can see that my trails now resemble canyons and we have lots more snow and winter to come.


    Here's a section of the trail with a bridge that we built over what is swampy lowlands in the summer. All filled in with snow and ice, now.


    When snow conditions are right, I'm often able to go for a ride out on the ice on our 77 acre lake. That is an experience all its own, too. On some sub-zero days, I can ride the ice and listen to it moan and groan beneath me. Other than neighbor who might be ice-fishing, I nearly always have the lake to myself. Very easy to imagine, then, that I am riding 50 miles back in the wilderness.


    When snow conditions are not right on the lake for the bikes, there's always XC skiing. The stuff of winter dreams.


    Here I am at the top of a quarter mile down hill run, though the pic doesn't show just how steep it really is. On a good day in the summer, I can max out at over 18 mph, twisting and turning and dodging, perilously, as I drop down the trail. In the winter, with the trail being covered and packed with snow and ice, I'm a bit more cautious, though.


    My husband is not up to the skill level needed to do this kind of trail riding, but I'm never alone when I ride. Star, our Border Collie never lets me ride, alone. Could't ask for a better pal on the trail (and she knows the trail system as well as I do.)


    For riding in the winter, I use a variety of fat bikes setup with different tires to best match the snow and trail conditions, very much as a XC skier chooses the right skis and wax on a given day. Most of my fat bikes are Norco, a Canadian brand. They truly excel for riding in my winter playground.


    Come on up for a ride. Joanie's bike park is always open.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 02-05-2018 at 01:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,406
    I am so jealous of the amount of snow you have!
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,022
    Be glad to send you some. Fairly average snow depth for this time of year. We're just far enough north to have winter temps that rarely get above freezing, so the snow accumulates all winter. Winter sports are a huge part of our economy. We love our snow, up here. We get to play in it all winter long.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,830
    That is gorgeous, NWG! I can imagine the effort to maintain those trails in the snow, but so worth it for you. I am sure Star has a blast also. Thank you for sharing!

    Now, I'll stop whining about having to ride in 50s-60s, when I would prefer even warmer!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,955
    Beautiful photos and beautiful trails! Thanks for posting.

    Around here were there are many people and lots of traffic, snow is just a nuisance. You are in the type of place where you can really enjoy it.

    - 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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,022
    Thanks, all.

    Emily, as we've discussed before, my cold weather riding is all about acclimation. Doing a little bit of riding every day as the season gets progressively colder allows me to slowly acclimate to the cold. No way could I handle these temperatures, otherwise. If you've been experiencing 70s and then drop, suddenly into the 40s or 50s, that would be a challenge for me, too.

    N.Y., yes, you are so right on attitudes toward snow. Up here, it's a huge part of our winter economy, because the snow stays put all winter long. We get skiers and snowmobile people from all over the country. Snow is much appreciated and considered a blessing. When we don't get our snow, people actually get very depressed and upset. Just the opposite of most places. Also helps that we are retired and no longer work, so we don't have to drive in the snow unless it suits us. Even if we had to drive in the snow, no problem, though. Snow removal is an ongoing thing. We have a fleet of snowplows that are always out and working, as needed. Even our roads are designed for snow removal with wide shoulders and plenty of room on either side to pile the snow.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 02-07-2018 at 04:51 PM.

 

 

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