Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Farragut State Park is Grooming for Fat Bikes

Breaking news!  Farragut State Park has just started to groom trails specifically for fat bikes.  We went down to ride and chat with the rangers and here is what I can tell you:
1) Fat bike grooming is new for the park, so are still figuring things out and things will progress as winter evolves. Also, they are still working on getting the trails all ready and signed. Everything should be complete Thursday.
2) Fat bike riding is limited to the North section of the park only, so everything above Hwy 54. Winter trails are somewhat different than the summer trails. Stop in the info center and get the winter trails map...and I would suggest the summer map ($1) as well. 
3) They are grooming the Buggy Loop for fat bikes. There is a groomed trail down the middle of the loop making for Loop A (4 miles), Loop B (6 miles) and the whole Buggy Loop (9 miles).
4) All trails in the North section of the park are multi use. So, while these loops are groomed for bikes, they are also open to walker (yes, we saw several walkers on the groomed trails...bummer), snowshoers, XC skiers, and even, horse buggies or sleighs.
5) You do not need any "trail pass" to ride in the park, but you must have a State Park Parking Pass available at info center for $5 a day or added to you vehicle license at the DMV for $10 annually.
6) Lastly, the groomed XC trails south of the Hwy are NOT open to fat bikes.
Go ride as this is another great fat bike option and think about swinging by or dropping a note to rangers to let them know.  Now go ride...





Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fat Biking off Schweitzer Roundabout

A couple weeks ago snow started to stick in the mountains, and more of interest at Schweitzer Mountain.  A few of us have been riding off the roundabout pretty much every day since.  We have noticed a lot more fat bike tracks and run into a lot more fat bike riders than usual...our group is growing!

Anyways, in an effort to keep the trails around the roundabout open as long as we can, eventually there will probably be more snow than we can keep up with on the trails, we have started packing and grooming the trails.  Which trails?  Oh yeah, specifically Lower Flow, Upper Waterfall and the new Loop Ski- View Ski Trails.  In addition, Schweitzer just ran the groomer down the Future Road so it is all primo.  The Service Road to Smelly Lake has had a lot of recent traffic and is packed and ridable all the way down to the lake.  So, there is a little something for every rider up there right now.  Easy wide trails on the Future and Service Roads, intermediate singletrack riding on Lower Flo and Upper Waterfall and more advanced singletrack riding (mostly because of the big climb) on the Loop Ski-View Ski. 

As of today there is a good 18" of snow in the roundabout area.  Everything is riding great!!  So, go take advantage of it while you can and check back for future updates.

evening snowshoe packing session, working in switchbacks
one of several views of the new Loop Ski-View Ski Trail

Flo Trail

Winter Fat Biking is Here

Yup, it is that time of year.  Snow is pilling up in the higher elevations (and more coming), and so many are parking there "regular tire" mountain bikes and hopping on the fat bikes for some snowy fun.  With this change is seasons, I have updated the Fat Bike page of this blog and put to sleep the Mountain Biking Conditions page...until Spring.

Check the resources and links on that page and feel free to drop me a line if you think something should be added or updated.  As grooming reports and trail conditions get updated I will post them there as soon as I can.  Until then, ride on...

Fat Bike Resources/Opportunities Page


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Global Fat Bike Day +1

It's happening again!

In it's 5th year, Global Fat Bike Day is just like it sounds, a day to celebrate and ride fat bikes. Technically, Saturday (12/3) is the day, but hey, many of us work on Saturdays so we are declared the whole weekend a Fat Bike Holiday. Here is the plan:

* Meet at the Schweitzer Roundabout (across from the fire station). We will have warm drinks and hot dogs to warm your insides and a fire to warm your outsides.

* FREE Surly and Salsa Fat Bike Demos 10-1pm. Ever been fat bike curious? Now is your chance to come try one out. We will have several sizes (sorry no kids), and a short course set up on the groomed service road leaving from the roundabout. First come, first served.

* Group Fat Bike Rides leaving at 1:30pm. Got a fat bike already? We will a few of the trails from the roundabout groomed. Take a intermediate level ride down to Smelly Lake. Or, take one of the more advanced singeltrack ride options in through the woods. There will be something for everyone. Maps will be provided. Need a fat bike for the group ride? Call Greasy Fingers ahead and reserve one of our rentals for $20 (available at 1:30pm after the demos).

Co-sponsored by Schweitzer Mountain Resort, a big thanks to them for that!

Got questions, give us a call 208.255.4496 or shoot us an email at Brian@GreasyFingersBikes.com




Wednesday, November 2, 2016

2016 Annual Veteran's Day Cruiser Ride

This will be the 7th ish annual installment of this very important ride.

Who: Anyone with a bike
What: Ride bikes and drink barley grenades
Where: Meet at Greasy Fingers Bikes N Repair
When: Fri, Nov 11th @ 6pm
Why: (1) cause we are FREE and we can and (2) pay a little homage to those that have served

We'll meet, cruise the bike path out to Dover, do a loop and end at The Hound to warm up, rehydrate and tell wars stories.

For those of you needing some pre-ride tips, bring some lights and a helmet as there may be insurgence.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Deer Ridge/Snyder Creek Ride Report

Ahh, weekend up in the high country of the Purcell Mountains.  We were looking to do the Snyder Creek Trail #205, but weren't really feeling up to ridge riding from the Deer Ridge lookout over.  There were some mumbling of the previous evenings shenanigans.  Anyways, crafted a route starting from the Deer Ridge Trail #350 trailhead, off FS Rd #2517.  I am noticing a lot of numbers on the screen, hope they make sense cause I am starting to get confused.  

Shadow photo bomb

start with a climb



Anyways, I hadn't ridden this Northern section of the Deer Ridge Trail in probably 6 years...if memory serves me right.  It is a rather long shuttle ride, even if you are in the Bonners Ferry area to begin with.  But the 1.75 miles of riding to the Trail #205 intersection was straight up amazing!  Open meadows, fun ups/downs and some great 360 views packed into one short trail.  Then we hit the Snyder Creek Trail for 6ish miles of sidehills and fast descending.  5 trees down for the day, 4 of which we were able to clear.  Trails were in great shape.  And this ended up being a great route if you are looking for a rather easy day of riding (way more descending than climbing).  There is still time for you to do it...but not much.
some of the miles of sidehill on Snyder Creek

cool mossy rock

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Mineral Point/New Mud Lake Trail Connector Ride Report

Cruised out to Green Bay to ride.  The Mineral Point, Lost Lake and Mud Lake Trails are always a solid ride with great views.  These trails also happen to be some of the first to open in the Spring and last rides open into late Fall/early Winter.  Just an FYI as I look at the snow in the hills already.

Anyhow, there is a new trail in the area as well.  Well, not really so much a new trail as a new addition to an existing trail.  The Mud Lake Trail now extends South and across FS Rd #532.  This new connector is .6 miles (according to my bike computer), and ties into the Mineral Point Trail about a 1/2 mile below the midpoint trailhead where the restrooms, picnic tables and viewpoint are located.  The trail is all cut in and clear, but not fully buffed.  It is rideable now (better heading downhill to Mineral Point Trail than trying to go uphill though).  It is pretty rough.  Next year it should be finalized.

This new connector is an awesome addition to the system out there.  It will make for some great new loop options.  As a note, I know we all like to get new trails.  I remember walking and flagging this proposed trail some 6 years ago.  New trails often take a lot of background time and effort before ground is actually broke.  Being patient sucks.  Go check out this trail before snow flies.


here is a view of the fresh trail

Friday, October 7, 2016

Woodrat/Bulldog Point Ride Report

Now Woodrat and Bulldog Point aren't rides I would say you should drive all the way up to Priest Lake to do on their own.  Their mileage isn't long.  However, if you looking for a good half day ride while in the area with some surprising views, and killer climbs, then look no further.


Priest Lake Gold Course

Nonmotorized you say?
As you see from the sign above, the Woodrat Trail is closed to motorized.  However, there was lots of evidence of motos on the trail.  There are many "other" trails in the area that are open to motos that link into this trail.  This ban is somewhat new, to my knowledge, so I also think it is difficult to ask people that have been riding this trail for years to just all of a sudden stop.  Now I am not condoning motos ridding on this trail, nor do I want to see them on the trail.  Just stating that this gonna be a hard ban to enforce.  So, when you ride this trail, expect that you may see some motos or at least evidence of there existence.  As far as I know, Bulldog is also closed to motorized...there were tracks there as well.  None of that ruined my experience.

what a shitty pic of the view
Even with moto traffic, these 2 trails make for a great ride.  The moss carpet covering the forest floor was just blowing up with lush green colors.  The tread was nice and tacky.  Views were amazing as usual...the Bulldog viewpoint is getting pretty overgrown.  I did encounter a few down trees, but nothing major.  Go hit them up!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Bernard Peak Ride Report

Rode Bernard Peak the other day.  Started up the "normal" way, by riding the road up to the Scout Trail.  Let me say that the road is in sweet shape.  I know, you never hear me talking about roads being sweet.  But this road has been in rough condition for awhile.  To jump out your rig and start up that road on a hot day is never fun, but now it is nicely graded and smooth.  The pain is somewhat eased.

Bernard Peak is a classic North Idaho mountain bike ride...whatever that means.  But I will say that is the first "big" mountain bike ride I ever went on back in the day.  It is probably my most ridden of the "big" rides in my rotation.  I try and hit it every year.  I always ride up the gated road and then ride as much trail up and back down as possible.  Everyone I ride with does the same.  However, I always hear from people that read such and such on the interweb that tells them to ride the "open" road up the backside of Bernard and then ride the trail down.  I sure feel sorry for those people.  The trail is a great ride up and down. so do it (yes it is hard).



Anyways, the Bernard Peak Trail is in amazing shape and riding great.  If you have not ridden this year, make a plan and do so before the snow.  You will be glad you did.

And back to the readings on the interweb.  I also hear of people reading that they should ride the Scout Trail when doing Bernard.  I try and ride Scout every few years, it seems to take a few years in between rides for my memory to fade on its suckiness.  I would never recommend going up the Scout Trail to get to the Bernard Trail.  If you really feel the need to work this trail in, I would say ride Bernard and then take Scout down the Farragut.  Momentum helps on the large rocky sections.  And even though I say you are going "down" Scout to Farragut, there is a nice steep climb in there.  After riding up Bernard that climb on Scout can feel like a wall.  Variety is good, so try Scout and formulate your own opinions.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Trail #120 Ride Report

The old interweb has been blowing up recently with talk of a new trail and ending for Trail #120 on the Clark Fork side.  This new reroute would bypass the private property that the previous trail ended on, making for a great shuttle/loop ride again.  The direction of the ride now would be to go up Strong Creek, head south from Round Top to Bee Top and then down the ridge and end on West Spring Creek Road.  I went to go ride and give you all some on the ground reporting.  Here are my findings...

Strong Creek sucks.  No seriously.  It is worse than I have seen before.  ATVs and other motos have nicely rototiller the road.  So, instead of it being just a long 7 mile steep grind with some loose sections, it is now a long steep climb with mostly loose tread and lots and lots of big rocks.  Practice mediation before hand and try to visit your happy place.  Personally, I still think this climb is worth the reward of riding Trail #120.






Trail #120 is in great shape out to the Bee Top Trail connector, which is about 6 miles from Round Top.  I think we climbed over 8-10 trees along the way, but nothing major.  Tread was good and the views were straight up amazing as usual.  Plan on taking lots of pics.  Of course there are still a dozen or so scree crossings, which I think get better and better every year as the path through them gets more worn.


So, in the above picture we have just passed the Bee Top Trail.  The trail goes out to the end of the ridge and then starts the long steep descent back to the valley.  The trail out to this point has always gotten a lot of use which keeps things clear and tread packed.  In the past most would turn around here because of the private property and the fact that the trail down was in terrible condition.  Years of minimal use and no maintenance left the trail very overgrown.  The trail wasn't built that great to begin with and water damage, horses and ORVs further made the tread worse.

Close to the first 2 miles after leaving the ridge will offer just what I have described.  Trail is still very overgrown, hard to see, narrow and slow going.  After that initial descent, you will start to see where brushing has been done and tread rework has begun.  The rest of the descent back to West Spring Road is a major improvement over the trail conditions of the past.  However, it still leaves much to be desired.  Hopefully, work will continue and the conditions will improve.  We ended our day with 21 miles from the Strong Creek Trailhead to West Spring Road.
one of the new bridges
One last word on West Spring Creek Road.  Some maps, and Google, will tell you that West Spring Creek Road runs from Sam Owen to East Spring Creek Road and eventually to Clark Fork.  This is NOT true.  West Spring Creek Road dead ends.  There is not much in the way of a parking lot, nor signage.  Just cross the creek at the dead end and there is the newly built trail.  Take a peak at this Google map and note beginning of West Spring Creek Road off of Denton Road.  Start there and take it to the end...try to ignore all the unfriendly neighborhood signs.

This is truly an epic ride.  It is a big day of riding...and pushing.  It is not for the faint, but if you do tackle it, take your sense of adventure and your camera.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Brush Lake Ride Report

Now Brush Lake is a nice ride.  However, it is the least "epic" of the rides surrounding Bonners Ferry.  So, normally I don't really feel the need to do a report every time I ride it.  However, this time around there was something amazing.  The road to the lake got a major face lift.  I mean major.  The road is now graded to perfection and freshly graveled and oiled.  It is a very nice drive up now.  You could even drive little Kia up there now with no worries.

The fresh new road meant there were lots of people at the lake.  I introduced someone new to the trail.  The ride was good as usual.
creek crossing was refreshing

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Mission/Harvey Mtn Ride Report

The other weekend I went and rode Mission/Harvey Mtn...or Harvey/Mission Mtn...or Arndt Tr.  Anyways, there were a few fresh down trees on the initial climb up to Mission, after that the trail down to Robinson Lake was all clear.  I know I have said it before, but this trail has some of my favorite sidehill riding in all of North Idaho.  The views don't hurt either.  The tread is actually in pretty good shape, a few rocks have been turned up by moto guys...but I have seen much worse.

Once last thing, brakes.  Yes, you will need them and want them for this big descent.  Check your pads and make sure your brakes are stopping, you will be glad you did.  Go enjoy.  BTW, this ride is featured in the ID Panhandle Mountain Bike Trail Guide pg 64...if you haven't gotten one of those yet.

the only crumby pic I took...riding was too good

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Trail #120 Stuff

Trail #120 is one of my top big rides for North Idaho, you can read my last post on the last time I rode it.  Although a great ride with some stunning views, it is a very technical ride which also requires some good physical conditioning.  The biggest hurdle to this ride however, is that the Clark Fork end came out on private property.  Meaning you had to ride up Strong Creek and out from Round Top Mt. as a out and back, killing the idea of an even more epic shuttle ride (or BIG loop).

Then the Idaho Trails Association cut in a new section of trail on the Clark Fork end off of Spring Creek Rd recently.  This new trail connects into a old section of trail that drops down from Bee Top Mt...about now you will be scrambling for your FS map.  This is awesome news!  We will again be able to ride these trails end to end as a shuttle or mega loop with road riding.

WARNING:  Although the "new" section of trail is done and technically all trails now connect, the old trail coming down from Bee Top is in very poor condition.  The tread is very hard, if not impossible, to find in some areas.  In addition, there are many, many trees down on it as I write.  The FS is currently working to saw it out and do some retread.  Once it is clear, the more it starts getting used the more the trail will start getting worn in.  Until then, be a little patient.  It will be epic.



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fault Lake Trail Ride Report

Hot as hell here in North Idaho.  Haven't ridden the Fault Lake Trail in a couple years, and thought it might be a good choice since a dip in the lake is always a refreshing treat.  Now this trail is always a bit of a challenge to ride.  Loose, rocky sections abound and there are a couple tricky root areas.  The last mile is all hiking and I typically ditch my bike in the trees.  There are great payoff though.  The views at the lake are straight up amazing.  And there is a cool rock falls trail crossing.  Oh, then there some very cool views of the rocky Selkirks as well.

All that said, this time around the trail was in the worst shape I have ever seen.  The trail is straight tore up in many areas.  Lots of loose rocks.  Lots of the rocks are big and round, much like you find in creek beds.  And they make the trail more challenging then it was before.  Then the trail is heavily overgrown on the upper half.  Brush is so thick it is almost impossible to get your bars through.  I rarely ever turn around before the end of the trail, but in this case I wasn't having much fun riding.  I was doing more and more pushing.  Then there was the thought of the cold beer waiting back at the car.  I turned around about 1.5 miles from the lake.  I would not go back to ride this trail until some clearing has been done...which in our current state of local trail maintenance seems unlikely.

I passed several groups of hikers, they all complained about the brush but all did make it to the lake.  I also passed 2 different groups of horse back riders (one group was packing gear up to camp).  Then there was the lone ORV rider.  I think you might start to sense why the tread is the way that it is...

Alas, I could show you some of the pics I took of the shitty trail,  But I am not going to.  I will instead focus on the positives..

positive: it was not me that got eaten

one of the rocky stream crossings

Selkirks

Monday, July 18, 2016

Highpoint Trail (aka Ninja)

This blog could also be called "Look at Bike Leaning Against Stuff with Pretty Scenery as a Backdrop."  But then again, so could most of these blogs,  Anyways, went and spent the day exploring the Selkirk Rec District Trails.  Mike K. keeps telling me about all the work him and his crew having been doing to extend and buff the Highpoint Trail (aka Ninja Trail).  Hot damn!  This network of trails is becoming one of my favorite areas to ride.  Many loop options abound.  Check out the map and plan yours...but definitely ride up the Highpoint Trail and check out the views.



Friday, July 15, 2016

7th Annual 6-Pack Alley Cat Ride

Here we go again.  Most dets are on the poster.  2 things that are not: the after party destination and the charity.  Stay tuned here and on our FB page for more info about those.

Friday, July 1, 2016

NEW Mountain Bike Guide Book for North Idaho

Well, 5 years later and this has hit the streets.  Swing by Greasy Fingers Bikes N Repair (or call and one can be mailed to you) to get your copy.  Thanks for supporting North Idaho Trails!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Couple of my Favorite Things (Schweitzer edition)

When it comes to Schweitzer Mountain, here are a couple of my favorite things that happen this time of year.  First, the Roundabout Cruiser Downhill is in a couple weeks.  It is one of the biking highlights of my year.  This is like year 9 or something, I cannot remember.  It is true bike fun.
Then, the Selkirk Shuttle has started. $5 gets you up the hill, and then you get to bomb the many trails back down to the Red Barn.  Need I say more about that?  And don't forget that Schweitzer Resort also happens to open June 24th.  So, lifts will be running, and yes, more trails to ride!  I would suggest you spend some time up there this weekend.

Monday, May 23, 2016

State of the Trails at Mid May

I haven't written much recently.  Work.  Been putting in some training for the Beer Century.  Great rides exploring dirt and gravel roads off the beaten path.  Oh, and been putting in dirt time.  The usual suspects are riding great right now...Syringa, Mineral Point area, Gold Hill complex, Lower Basin, Farragut and Brush Lake.

We had a great snow pack going into April.  But then we set some records for how fast it melted.  Trails that typically wouldn't be open for a few weeks are starting to shows some signs of life.  Looks like much like last year, many trails will be opening a few weeks before "average."  Whatever average means in our current climate mode.  Before you get too excited, there is one thing of note, last winter had some major wind events.  Meaning many trees were knocked down and even when trails melt off there will often need to be a lot of cutting done before they are rideable.

Anyways, here is a list of what I know as of today...I also try and keep the Trails Page as current as possible:

Sandpoint Area: 
Syringa, Mineral, Gold Hill all great right now!
Farragut is cut and clear. Bernard had many, many trees down but is now clear and good to the top.

Schweitzer Area:
Selkirk Rec Trails: Lower Basin (check out new XC trail below swithback #4), Upper Basin, Sidewinder, Upper/Lower Flow and Corkscrew all clear and good.  Huge thanks to Mike K for his efforts up there. Note: shuttle season starts June 4th.
Schweitzer Mountain resort: Summer opening day is June 24th

Newport/Oldtown: trail along lakeside is great along Bead Lake, many trees on North end as you climb to FS Road.

Bonners Ferry Area: Brush Lake trails great...all the others in area are gonna take a while (snow and lots of trees).

Priest Lake Area: Lakeshore Trail just got cut, so trail clear but lots of muddy areas gonna take a while to dry out.  This area has lots of trees down, gonna be a while as trails get cut out.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Cyclofemme de Sandpoint 2016

Year #3 for this ride.  Pretty simple concept here.

Come and help celebrate and encourage women of all ages to ride their bikes here is Sandpoint. This will be a casual group ride out the Dover bike path to the marina and back (around 8 miles round trip).

So, grab your mother, sister, niece, aunt, daughter, BFF, wife, GF, grandmother or whoever and let's ride.

Although this is about women, manbassadors (or men) are also encouraged to come and show support.

We will end at the Pend D' Oreille Winery for refreshments and stories.

This ride is part of Cyclofemme, a global cycling day for women.