trails. Get to know them. Join their
clubs. Be respectful, as you are using
their trails, not the other way around.
If you are riding on snowmobile
trails, wear highly visible clothing, put
reflective tape on anything you can,
and when you hear machines coming,
get off to the side of the trail and out
of the way. It is their trail, and they
are not expecting a glassy-eyed crazy
person on a bike while they are hauling the mail at 60 miles per hour.
Many mountain bike clubs that are
managing singletrack trail systems
here in the upper Midwest are start-
ing to groom their trails. They have
machines and implements to pack
down the singletrack. This is an amaz-
ing development. When conditions
allow, this creates a surreal experience.
You are literally ripping the fun, fast
singletrack that you rode in the summer, only it is buttery smooth and sight
lines are unlimited. You also tend to
crater if you get off line and into the
deep stuff on the sides, so riding with
friends is a gas. Laughter is often the
loudest sound in the forest during
As I mentioned before, backcountry
fat biking is also starting to happen
as well. The idea that lakes and rivers
turn into ice roads is intriguing, and if
you decide to take that next step, make
sure you learn the basics of safe ice
travel. Go on IMBA.com and check out
the fat bike Best Practices page.
Another thing to remember is that
your speed will be much slower in the
winter. A ride that typically takes you
an hour, depending on conditions, can
run anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours.
Riding speed is incredibly variable and
generally slow as death, so be aware
when you pick your rides. What was
once a quick spin can easily turn into
an all-afternoon ride.
Another thing to keep an eye on is
changing conditions. New snow can
greatly change the tire pressures you
are running. You might start with
R E WINTER BIKE