Friday, January 25, 2013

A Gift of Snow

 We were gifted with about 2 to 3 inches of fresh powder snow today.  I managed to get out to play for a while.

 I started out riding the trails on our property.

 Which lead to county forest trails.  Rode some of them too.

 Under about 4 to 5 inches of loose powder snow lays a layer of ice from an earlier rain storm this year.  On some of the bigger climbs traction can break loose while standing.  Not much of a problem, as it didn't happen often.

 My neighbor to south of us must have braved the frigid temps and went out for a walk yesterday, as the human tracks were not there the day before.

 I also rode some of the sand township roads today. Can't see any sand now and will not for a while.

 Back on to the forest trail.

 This is a deer stand on our property for hunting Whitetail deer.  There are sides and such for the stand, but they are not on now.  Our two boys are good hunters, although I do not hunt very much anymore.

 The view from the stand.

 More of our trails.

 I had started the ride with light snow and the temp at about 10°F.  I wore my colder riding gear, but didn't need it.  I stripped off the sweater after about 15 minutes and didn't need the goggles either.  The rides earlier in the week were all below the zero and with this ride at 10°F, that meant a temperature change of about 20 degrees.  Now 20 may not sound like much, but think of the difference, say in summer, of between 80°F and 60°F.  
I was out for 2 hours and 25 minutes.  The riding was a little more strenuous because of the added snow, but not bad.  Before I wheeled the bike from the basement, I set the tire pressures to 7 pounds.  It seemed to work OK.  I wonder if the tire pressure changes much from indoor to outdoor.  Anybody ever check that?

AND...Good luck to all those doing the Arrowhead 135.

Lets get outdoors and have some fun!

PS...Thanks for reading and commenting.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Isn't it Great!

 Yesterdays temperature was coldest of the far.  We registered -26.7°F (-32.6C).  I am lucky in that most days I can choose the time I ride.  I waited until the thermometer read -2 and made a dash for it.  Turns out that temp was the warmest of the day.  

By looking at tracks, I can see that as of late it has been just me and the critters on the county forest trails out back. I don't mind.

We have trails on our property and today I rode most of them.  The pictures of the bike and myself are on those trails.  I think it was about three years ago my Dad and Mom blessed me with the gift of my Dads snowmobile.  I use the snowmobile to pack the trails.  With the addition of the Fat-bike (N + 1 = the number of bicycles one should have with N being the number you presently own) these packed trails are perfect.  I wish now I would have packed some of the public access trails also.  Thing is, now I know for the future.  

People talk and call names for riding in the winter, family included.  I don't mind.  In fact, I take it as a compliment.  For those people I suggest...The next time you go out in the cold or snow, whether it be walking to your car, getting the mail or walking the dog.  Put on hat and gloves.  Dress warmly.  Slow down.  Relax.  Look around.  Take it in.  Isn't it great.
I am going to end the post today with a shout out to Scott.  If you still read this stuff, I hope all is well with you and the family.  I hope you are staying warm and making some herringbone tracks in the snow!!

Lets get outdoors and have some fun!!    

PS...Thanks for reading 

Monday, January 21, 2013


Our daughter is home from college and has a job while on break...good worker by the way.  So seeing how it was -17°F this morning, I was up 5 AM making sure the vehicles would start.  It was her car that didn't start but I partially blame myself for that.  We didn't plug it in.  When I tried to start it I don't think I did that right either.  But I had it running before she had to leave for work.  The bicycle had no problem starting though.  For my families benefit I rode the back trails so people didn't see me.  hehehe  

It was a choice of either riding the dreaded indoor trainer or brave the elements.  I chose the elements.  That trainer is the most motivational tool there is for getting me outside to ride.  The Fat-bike riding conditions in our area are nothing short of great.

It was at 10 below 0 on the Fahrenheit scale (-23C) when I left for the ride at 10:45 but only 8 below when I rolled back in to the house at 11:40.  It was warming up.  Tomorrow will be colder.  I added a sweater and goggles to my regular cold riding gear.  I was not one bit cold, but I messed up when I stopped to take the last picture.  I just slid my goggles down and snapped the picture, but when I slid them down I was breathing on them.  That created ice which made it difficult to remove and ride, so I cut the ride to just less than an hour.

When I got home I headed to the basement to stock the wood stove and load this drivel up. I think my job for the next couple of days will be similar to REO "Keep the Fire Burnin".  

Lets get outdoors and have some fun!!

PS...Thanks for reading.  :-)  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fabtabulous Riding

 Early in the morning before daylight we heard snow hitting the window.  I wondered then if it would help the Fat-bike bicycling conditions.  We ended up with just a covering of around an inch.  There is not a better way to find out than getting out and trying it. 

 Because of the recent rain, a blanket of ice covers almost everything.  Even the deer have trouble navigating.  If I stopped and walked anywhere, it was slippery.  

 But...with about 7 lbs of air in the fat tires, the bike worked awesome.  

 One of the trails went by a logging job.  The harvesting machines that made these piles have been out of here for a while.  They will now bring in chipping machines to chip the piles into trucks to haul it out.
 I have witnessed deer fall on ice before, but here is proof.  These deer were crossing this little trail.  One slipped and fell, which turned them back the direction they came.  I thought that it was kind of funny that they turned back after they fell.

 I rode around two lakes nearby our home.  This one is called Spider Lake.  This particular lake got me thinking.  We have many lakes in our surrounding area.  I mean lake after lake after lake...lots of lakes.  Of all the lakes in the area, two of my friends have died on this little lake. I was just thinking "what are the odds."  The one friend I had bicycled with and had numerous interesting conversations.  He lived on this lake.  Just over 3 years ago during a family gathering they were playing hockey.  He fell, fractured his skull and passed away a short time later.  He was 49 :-(

 Another friend was here fishing a few years ago with some friends.  He and I had made a trip to Canada fishing along with fishing the local lakes...and when I was still drinking, we drank together. Anyhow, the friends went to the local tavern to buy beer and he stayed to fish.  When they returned, he was lying on the ice the victim of a heart attack.  There happened to be a Life Flight helicopter flying near by.  When they landed the helicopter, it fell through the ice approximately where the above picture shows.  They are fortunate, or unfortunately landed in the shallow part anyhow.  It took about a week before they finally got that helicopter out of there.  

 This duck didn't make it south for the winter.

 For those that know about geocaching, this is one of our hides. It is near the little carry in access to Spider Lake.  This is the link to the cache page.

 As of late, we have had one lone Grey Wolf on our trail cameras.  I think he was out today also.

Another little nearby lake I cycled around today.  This one is Webb Lake.  I was out for 2 1/2 hours and although there were some ice spots, the conditions could not have been much better.

Lets get outdoors and have some Fun!!

ps...thanks for reading and the comments!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Getting Out!

 The road and trail conditions have changed dramatically in the last week around this neck of the woods.  We had a stretch of unseasonably very warm weather which resulted in rain/freezing rain which turned a lot of the surfaces to glare ice.  That much rain in these parts in January is unheard of. But now the long range is looking for some very cold temps coming up.  I see reports of days not getting above 0°F and night time temps near -30°F.  One day is suppose to be -27°F with 23 mph we are talking winter...just without snow.  

 I went from riding the Fat-tire on trails like these

 to riding the fixed gear on the ice covered roads like this one.  Covered with black ice.  Paying close attention to every move.  Feeling great to be out at near 20°F.  Knocking out 2 hour rides.  The wind blowing some snow around.  The studded tires doing their job.  Priceless!!

If it looks like the river runs downhill, it does.  Because of the downhill it surprised me that the Moose River was frozen over.  

 The road was clear of ice for the most part on the crossing of the Bird Sanctuary.  Although I fought some wind getting to this point, the ride across this open area with the wind square at my back was delightful.

 I do this ride to meet my wife when she finishes work, so this time of year means the sun sets on my ride there.

This is a little trout stream that is frozen over for the most part. 

Lets get outdoors and have some fun!!

ps...thanks for reading and the comments. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Winter Attire

I have been asked many times about what I wear in the winter to stay comfortable.  I know there are better clothing options available, but I have used these for a few years now and it works for me.

 I first put on my standard pair of bike shorts.  I then put on a pair of Ironclad long underwear. I also have a pair of 100% Polyproylene that I switch out with the Ironclad. Someday I would like a pair of smart wool, but these work fine...just don't get too close.  Next goes on the Danner Quarry wool socks up over the long underwear bottom to hold them in place...the light colored socks shown two photos below.

 For the weather from about 10° to 35°F, I wear the above over the long underwear.  The shirt on the left is a thin 100% cotton turtle neck shirt which goes over the underwear.  The pants are a Nike brand thinly lined of combination Poly/Cotton/Nylon which go over the underwear bottoms.  The Jacket for those temperatures is a The North Face Summit Series.

 Over the tan socks, I put on another pair of Danner Pronghorn socks that go over the pants to keep the pants from catching the chain.  On the Fat-Bike I am using Fyxation flat pedals, so I have been using my Merrell Legacy hiking shoes.  These are great shoes and work well so far, but the deep snow would go over the top.  If I knew I would be in deep snow, or was going to ride in the very cold, I have a pair of 8" Danner Pronghorn boots I would wear.  If I ride the fixed gear, I have a pair of Sidi Diablo winter biking shoes I wear.  The bad on those is I have Shimano SPD mounted on them.  IMO they are not the ideal cleat for winter use, but every bike except the 9:ZERO:7  Fat-Bike has SPD.  If I was to do it again, I would switch to Egg Beaters (Potato Mashers).  I have so much SPD now, it's hard to switch...but someday I may.  OK, back to clothes.  I put some cotton in the ears to keep the cold out and then a balaclava.  I have two balaclavas (helmet liner) for different conditions. One is thin and the other a little thicker.  Because the thin one rolls up to very little, I carry it along most of the time and wear the thicker one.  I have a Sugoi helmet cover I usually use.  If I start to get heated up, the helmet cover is the first to go, then if more cooling is needed the helmet liner gets adjusted or changed out to the thinner one.  If I need more cooling I carry a thin pair of gloves and switch those out next.  I find the head and hands can make a huge difference for myself.  I do have goggles, but rarely use them...hard blowing snow or extreme cold are when the goggles go on. 

If the weather is above 35°F, I wear a different outer layer than listed above.  I have a set of The North Face Flight Series that work nicely.  They are wind stopper and breathable.  I almost always ride by myself, but if I was riding with a group where I may get pushed harder, the Flight Series would be my choice in even a little cooler weather.  I also wear the thinner helmet liner here.

Now I know there are areas I could upgrade, but I have been on many long rides (not talking over night here) and had no issues. I do carry chemical hand warmers, matches/lighter, dryer lint, tool kit with a pump, along with food and water just for the simple fact that I am many times in what some would consider in the bush.  I think if a person starts out riding close to home the worst that could happen if you feel chilled is you need to shorten the ride and head for home.  If you carry a cell phone, phone a friend if you are worried.  I find riding anytime it is a great time and being out in the winter enhances that feeling.  The feeling of being alive!!  Also, night time in the winter is great for skiing and biking.

Lets get outdoors and have some FUN!!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


First of all, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  I had been riding 5 or 6 days a week and some of those rides were 3 hour rides.   Then in a bit of bad news I was forced off the bike for 15 days...bummer.  I am back riding for now and got out late this afternoon on the fixie for a ride.  The temperature was nice for this time of year at about 25°F.  I feel good to have the clothing nailed down for temperatures around that mark.   I wish I could put into words how nice it was to get back on the bike today.  Unbelievable.  It reminds me of the old absence makes the heart grow fonder saying. 

The back roads this year have been covered with ice because of a stretch of unseasonably warm weather with freezing rain, which created a fair amount of ruts.  Ice ruts.  When I bought the studded tires a few years ago, I went with the Nokian Hakkapelitta 240.  I bought this model because the studs wrap around the tire and when the road are ice covered with ruts, the studs on the side are nice to have.  Hopefully tomorrow will have me on the snow bike again. hehehe        

Lets get outdoors and have some fun!!

Thanks for reading and the comments!