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.
Actually many of the trails are riding great without the benefit of studded tires (Hartley for one) despite the recent warm-up and wet weather. There is a nice layer of granulated snow on top of the hard pack in many area. But I understand and respect the rationale behind your decision.
My hardest falls have been this time of year. One was on a day exactly like today; an inch of fresh snow hiding all the icy spots. I hit one without warning. I banged my shin really hard. At the same time I bent my chainring somehow. Still not sure how that happened. I’ve never broken a bone while fatbiking, but I did ride most of last winter with bruised ribs from falling two different times on the same side. I don’t fall often, but when you hit ice you go down fast and the landing is hard. I don’t bounce like I used to when I was younger.
I get it. I broke ribs this past August in a fall (on single-track trail while running) and have been cautious since then. It was a long recovery. Had a hard and sudden dismount late this fall due to black ice and haven’t bike commuted much since then.
Agreed on the bouncing part. I simply don’t anymore!
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Nice to hear you’ve been riding and enjoying yourself this winter. Another set of great photos, especially that last one. Good example of all the wonderful trails and riding you can do while feeling like you’re away from everything yet still be a stone’s throw from the city.
Any update on your decision to upgrade the Honda or the Brompton? Curious minds want to know……… Stay safe and healthy.
I took a really long time making the decision on which project to do. I only committed 3 weeks ago. I announced it on my instagram account. I might do a post on the blog about it. Thanks for checking in.
Thanks for the post. The story with the words is satisfying. I’ve been riding on wet roads all winter and am learning how to take those corners slower, especially the bumpy ones.