I’ve had an amazing time this winter on my Pugsley, the 14th winter of riding on the purple beast. I’ve gotten out most every weekend and some weekdays after work for most of the year. We received a lot of snow in late November and December. That snow pack has survived a mostly mild winter and warming temps the last three weeks. Each week I expect it to be the last week, but enough snow is hanging on to keep me out on the Pugsley.
We’ve had warming and then cool downs that get well below freezing. I didn’t expect to be able to ride this weekend, but realized it would still be possible. There’s still snow to ride.
But I’m choosing not to ride snow today despite the temps staying below freezing all day. Really it’s perfect out right now.
We’ve had the usual freeze/thaw cycle that we get this time of year. It creates icy spots on the trails where ice flows form or spots that get a lot of direct sunlight. It’s the only time of year I could benefit from studded tires on my fatbike. I’ve never gone to the expense because there is so much riding I can do throughout most of the winter where I have no need for the security of studded tires. Last weekend I figured studs would only have been needed for about 5% of the distance I covered. That amount is easy enough to ride, or push, my bike around.
With some light rain and drizzle earlier in the week combined with more melting, I expect more ice. Most years I just head out. Sometimes you just have to get out and see for yourself if it’s rideable. If I start falling down because of ice I just turn around and go home.
This year I’ve decided that tactic would be irresponsible. With the local hospitals gearing up for an influx of COVID-19 patients, the last thing they need is to use resources to treat me and a broken bone.
As hard as it is to not ride snow when there is snow to be ridden, I’m choosing not too.
That doesn’t mean I won’t be out on dry roads or out on dirt or gravel when the snow is gone. My plan moving forward is to be more aware of the conditions and take fewer risks.
Ride your bike and stay safe.