Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow Riding

Yesterday, I woke up to 30 degree weather after two inches of new snow fell. We were planning to ride anyway, so it was just a matter of route and equipment that needed to be settled. The snow made the roads dicey, so we decided on the Green Bay Trail. The part of the trail near me was ice and frozen snow under the new stuff and it was bumpy and slippery and threw my mountain bike around. BT's Surly Puglsey, however, was slow and steady and just rolled over it. When we got to sections that were plowed before the new snow fell, my bike did have a speed advantage. Overall, we were out for two hours and, according to his Garmin, we covered 15 miles.

This morning was a different story. We got another five inches of powder last night. Instead of going cross country skiing, we hit the trails again, this time near Harms Woods.

Today, the Surley had it all over the mountain bikes. Again, slow and steady progress. Also, it didn't get thrown around like my bike. The only way we could make any progress on the mountain bikes was to drop the tire pressure way below the recommended minimum of 40 psi. It was grueling, but although colder today, the sun was out and it was a beautiful day.

To give you an idea just how wide the Pugsley tires are, I took this picture. The snow was actually a bit shallower here, but you can see the difference between the Pugsley tire tracks and the mountain bike tracks.

You can see from this photo just how deep the snow was. You can also see how much I was sliding around. It turned out that I had much better success riding through fresh snow rather than trying to ride on places where it was getting packed down by others. The bike got tossed around less and I was able to keep it under control better.

Here's another shot comparing how much more control the Pugsley had over the mountain bike. And, no, I'm not going to entertain any comments about our relative bike handling skills.

It was quite a workout. You had to keep pedaling to keep the bike moving and upright. Even in a low gear, it was still high resistance work and I had to occasionally stop to rest. At the end of the ride, I felt like I had done about 5000 leg presses.

Next time, however, I bring my skis.


  1. Frank, you rock. That's all I gotta say, man.

    I'd say I'm jealous, but I kind of like the mild weather these days.

  2. Thanks, Fritz. I can't tell you how much fun riding in the snow is when the conditions allow for actual riding.