Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Since my last post, over a month ago, the weather has been slowly getting tamer. Although we have experienced one or two good snowfalls, with the temperatures sliding up and some early spring rain, that deep, deep base that was here for most of the winter, has nearly disappeared. Over the past 5 days, I've been on 4 road rides already. I have to say that riding my fat bike in the snow this winter has been a blessing, and something that has helped me from getting cabin fever. I haven't had this much fun in winter since I was cross-country skiing regularly back in the late '80s. But truthfully, I am so done with winter! I can't wait for those warm days of summer, feeling the air rushing across bare legs and arms, as the tires make that sweet hum along the old farm roads of this beautiful state we live in. After a long, cold and snowy winter, road bike season is finally here!
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Today I went on a pretty special ride. First, I met up with my friend, Tom. Then we rode together to the Kletsch Park dam on the Milwaukee River, to meet up with a few other fat bikers. Our plan was to put in at the dam and ride the river north.
I can't recall the last time I had this much fun. The sun was out. The single track at Kletsch is in great shape right now, and the snowmobilers have packed down some great track for us. Then Nick Ginster supplied a great chili feed and bonfire afterwards.
What a perfect day!
Saturday, February 8, 2014
I honestly don't remember the last time we had a winter like this in south-eastern Wisconsin. Maybe sometime in the '80s. Maybe sometime in the '70s. Maybe even as far back as the '60s. But for the most part, what has made this winter unusual, it seems, is that there has been a constant exchange of new snow and very cold temperatures. And it's the cold that has allowed the snow to stick around. For many of us, it seems like we're experiencing the kind of winter we remember as children. And for myself, as this has been my first winter riding a fat bike, it has proven to be exactly that. On those days we receive a fresh snowfall, I feel just like a kid again, and can't wait to get off school...uh, work...and go play in the soft, fluffy, fresh snow!
Monday, January 20, 2014
These are some of my observations from last Saturday's fat bike race:
The first thing that became obvious to me (before I got too tired to notice anything obvious!), was that my 4.8" tires were a clear advantage over the bikes that ran the more common 3.7" tires. I was able to ride over/through more of the ruts and soft, washed out areas without dabbing. I witnessed this several times from riders I was following during the first lap.
However, as I grew more tired of hauling the extra weight of the Moonlander (and it's heavier wheels) around on the second lap, I then began to notice the advantage of having a lighter bike, as a few of these same guys could throw the bike around and maneuver it through the mess. Maybe if a guy is heavy and strong (especially in the upper body), the Moonlander would offer the best advantage. His weight would also require a wider tire to minimize sinking.
But if the rider is light, agile, and experienced in quicker bike maneuvers (such as a BMX rider), the lighter machine might be the better choice. One particular rider was popping up his front end in areas where (with my heavier bike and lack of skill in bike maneuvering) I would try to roll over or plow through the same conditions.
In general, the wider tires offer less of an advantage in the groomed conditions that are more common in organized events, but instead would still be the best (choice) in the worst conditions.