Saturday, January 26, 2013
Sitting here watching the rain come down and the slushy, shitty mess that it is making outside, got me thinking about a recent ride. This ride didn't really involve any pre-planning. It wasn't big or epic. We didn't really set out to do a particular route. We didn't have any time constraints. We just set out on our bikes to ride...and it was awesome. It made me realize that often times you can get so involved in planning the next "big ride" that you forget how fun it can be to just go mozying around and exploring areas right in you back yard that you may have neglected for a while.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Crap, 2 cool local fat bike events and they BOTH happen to fall on the same day! The other of course being the Groundhog Day Mountain Bike Festival I posted earlier.
Can you say "home court?" IN!
Can you say "home court?" IN!
Friday, January 18, 2013
Monday, January 14, 2013
Saturday, January 12, 2013
IMBA has come out with some Fat Bike "Best Practices." Common sense goes a long ways, but here are some great guidelines nonetheless. Skate skiers are generally high-strung, so probably not a good idea to do things that could send them over the edge...they do carry long sharp poles. In the end, we all (whether classic skier, skate skier, snowshoer, snowmobiler, snow hiker, wildlife, fat biker, etc) have to play in the same sandbox, or snowbox in this case. Be an advocate for courteous trail users.
Fat Bike Best Practices
Yield triangle design by Jake Hawkes/Grand Targhee Resort.
Regarding equipment, what is the bare minimum I need to ride on snow?
- Wide tires — deep snow coverage often requires tires wider than 3.5 inches
- Tire pressure will usually be less than 10 PSI
- You will not leave a rut deeper than one inch in the snow
- You are able to safely control your bike and ride in a straight line
- You have permission to ride from the land manager
DO NOT RIDE, especially on groomed nordic and snowmobile trails, if you can't meet all of the requirements above.
Best Practices for Riding on Nordic Trails
- Only ride at ski areas that allow and encourage biking.
- Yield to all other users when riding. Skiers don't have brakes but you do!
- Ride on the firmest part of the track.
- Do not ride on or in the classic tracks.
- Leave room for skiers to pass (don't ride side-by-side with all of your buddies blocking the full trail).
- Allow the track time to set up after grooming and before riding.
- Beware of alternative days for bikes and for skiers.
- ONLY ride a purpose-built fat bike, not any old mountain bike. Tire tread must be wider than 3.7 inches.
- Be an ambassador for the sport: stay polite, educate other riders, discourage bad behavior and follow the rules.
- Help out and get involved by joining your local nordic club.
- Donate money for trail grooming.
Best Practices for Riding on Snowmobile Trails
- When riding on snowmobile trails, use a front white blinker and rear red blinker at all times. Wear reflective material on both the front and rear of your body.
- Stay to the far right of the trail and yield to snowmobiles.
- Know and obey the rules of your local land manager. Understand that some trails may be on private property and might not be open to alternative uses.
- Be prepared. Winter travel in the backcountry requires carrying proper gear and dressing properly. Be self-sufficient!
- Use extreme caution when riding at night. Be visible and always use lights.
- Be friendly! Fat bikers are the newest users and the snowmobilers you encounter might not be welcoming. Be courteous and open to suggestions.
- Help out by supporting your local snowmobile club.
- Donate to trail grooming and maintenance efforts.
Best Practices for Riding on Natural Terrain and in the Backcountry
In the right conditions, a fat bike can be the ultimate winter backcountry travel tool. Frozen conditions and minimal snow coverage (1-5 inches) means access to areas that are impassible during the warmer months. But just because you can ride somewhere doesn't mean you should. Be aware and be prepared.
- Do not trespass! Know whether or not you are on private property. Obey ALL land manager rules. Some land parcels are closed to bikes whether you are riding on a trail or not.
- Do not ride through sensitive wildlife habitats. This may be especially important on beaches or in places where animals hibernate. Learn about the area you want to ride in before you ride there.
- Do not disturb wildlife. Many species survive on minimal diets during winter. Stressors or the need to move quickly can deplete their energy stores.
- Learn safe ice travel. Riding on frozen water can be extremely dangerous. Is the ice thick enough to support you? Take ice fishing picks and a length of rope when riding on lakes and rivers.
- Understand changing conditions. New snowfall or warming temperatures can make the return trip much more difficult. Tire tracks can be covered, hard snow can turn to slush, rivers can start to melt. Always know the forecast and be aware of how changing conditions might alter the safe passage of your route.
- Be prepared. Carry provisions in case you have to stay out longer than planned.
- Let people know. Make sure someone else knows where you are going, when you left and when you expect to return.
- Learn to share. Be aware that your tracks might attract other riders. Understand that "your" route might not remain a secret for long.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Greasy Fingers Bikes N Repair hosted a free fat bike demo day at Indian Creek Campground this past Saturday. It was part of Idaho's Parks Free Ski and Park Day. XC Skiers, snowshoers and fat bikers descended on the park to use the trails and learn a little something.
The weather was awesome with lots of sunshine. I have to admit the fat bikes were the most popular activity. Everyone wanted to try them. The XC trails had only been groomed twice this season and hence, were still kinda soft. We kept the bikes off them as not to damage the track for the skiers. No worries and as we have had several snow covered loops down by the lake and through the empty campground.
Here are some pics of the day...
|lots of empty chairs, as everyone wanted to ride|
|Fast Eddie showing his "happy finger"|
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
So, it is 2013. A new year and yes, it is official, fat biking is now allowed at Schweitzer on the groomed XC trails. I went and tried the process and rode my fatty and it went something like this.
Walked in, and there is a line of fatties begging for you to rent them and go hit the trails. How much. $15 for 1.5 hours.
I got my own bike. ALL riders whether renting or riding your own bike much check in at the Source before heading out on the trails. The trail crew makes a determination each morning on trail conditions and whether they are conducive to fat bikes or not.
Then, you must sign a little "protocol agreement" before you go out for the first time. Check and check.
Got my map and ticket, attach to bike and I'm off.
As with most local trails, these are multi use. Please respect other users and Schweitzer rules. Stay to the outside of set classic ski track (pay attention as this could be on left or right side of groomed trail). In other words, stay on the small section, normally 3-4 feet wide, of groomed trail. Skate skiers don't like tire tracks, much like mountain bikers don't like motorcycle ruts.
|see how there is no indentation left by my tire? perfect!|
This is one great asset for fat bikers. Thank you Schweitzer Mountain. Be an ambassador: ride, respect and more riding opportunities will abound.