Winter Riding Fun

It's downright warm today, about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so I decided to get out on my bike and ride. I talked Rose into joining me and soon we were out on our bikes riding down our grass taxiway and out onto the runway (no planes flying today, don't worry).

Ready to go.

Our runway is plowed but there was still about an inch of snow in most places, some places up to four inches deep, but my hybrid handled the snow well enough. Rose's mountain bike was better equipped for the snow covered grass. Still, it wasn't easy to pedal through the snow. Just a few minutes into our ride we were both huffing and puffing and I started to feel the familiar burn in my thighs from pedaling. There is simply nothing better, I think, than riding a bike to get a good workout. Yet, even with the hard effort, Rose and I laughed and smiled as we pedaled. And though I slipped and nearly wiped out on a hidden ice patch, we had a blast.

My winter riding companion, Rose.
 Our taxiway is totally snow-free (Owen keeps it plowed so we can get the plane out). The runway is free of snow in places.

Rose and I rode a mile and she was ready to call it a day. I, however, decided to ride some more so I took off down the runway again. Then I rode the road, nice and flat but wet and icy in places, my rear tire kicked up water and dirt onto my back. I got near my house but wanted to keep going so I hit the gravel road and pedaled about a mile on the hard packed gravel and snow. It was easier than I expected, easier than riding the gravel without snow, actually. After 3.6 miles I called it a ride, wiped down my bike, oiled my chain, and put my bike away.

I'd like to ride more in the winter. I can't believe I'm saying that. I generally stay inside in the winter, and save for a season of cross country skiing when I was in about 7th grade, have never participated in winter sports with any regularity. Yet, I've discovered that I like getting outside to exercise and hope to add to my winter riding/walking/running gear so I can continue to do so. It's expensive, all this outside gear, and I'm exceptionally broke at the moment so I'll have to add to my kit as time goes by and do the best with what I have. That's okay. I have many more winters in my future, at least I certainly hope so!

I'm not sure how much I'll keep riding this winter, in addition to not having all the winter gear my hybrid isn't the best match for snow-covered roads. But maybe someday I'll add a fat bike to my stable - basically a bike with fat tires suited for riding in the snow. (Here's an interesting article about fat bikes) If I do, it might be a Surly Pugsley or maybe a Salsa Mukluk. Sigh. Can't afford one right now but it's good to have a dream.

Several Salsa Mukluks from Milltown Cycles in nearby Faribault.
Do yourself a favor and follow Milltown's blog. It's full of great bike news and fun stuff.

1,000 miles in 2010 Goal update:
886 miles logged. 114 to go.


Loving the Bike said…
I sure hope the weather cooperates with you so that you can reach and beat that goal you've got for yourself.

It's so cool to see you out there making the most of the "warmer" temperatures.

If only you could make your way down South to hang out and get those last few miles in, huh? That would be great.


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