Find a Door

My fat bike rides as of late have been slow and frustrating. For awhile we didn't have much snow at all. Then we had some rain and ice, followed by some good snow. But with the ice underneath the new snow was slippery making for one really big wipe out and several rides where my big fat tires just slipped around.

My last two rides have gone kind of like this: push bike through snow, get on, pedal, slip around, tip over, get up, push, get on, pedal, slip around, maybe not tip over this time, pedal, tip, get on, pedal, slip, pedal, tip...and so on.

I was getting kind of scared of getting hurt and really, really frustrated because I wasn't having much fun with my fat bike. On top of that, I'd gotten to the point where I just figured I'm a bad rider. But I was also thinking that maybe, just maybe, I wasn't terrible and I was dealing with some less than ideal snow conditions.

So I figured I'd better talk to Ben, my local bike shop owner guy from Milltown Cycles, just to make sure I wasn't as bad of a rider as I was feeling I was. Or at least to get some encouragement.

As luck would have it, Ben walked into the coffee shop this morning where I also happened to be, so I grabbed him and asked, "Is it the snow or is it me?" My question was cryptic but Ben understood what I was asking. He commiserated with me at the poor snow conditions and confirmed that, yes, the snow is slick underneath.

I breathed a sigh of relief. Whew, I thought, I guess I'm not terrible at fat biking after all. Okay, I'm not anywhere close to good at fat biking but not being terrible is all I'm really after right now.

Then Ben said, "if you keep running into a wall, find a door." Or something like that. Maybe he said, "find a door to go through." The point is, I got Ben's point which was, hey, Myrna, if you're not having fun riding where you're riding because the conditions are poor, find another place to ride so you can start having fun again.

Ben mentioned one way I could "find a door" and have some fun - many of the mountain bike trails have great riding conditions right now and I could ride them. That wasn't going to help me out today, though, as hitting mountain bike trails means hauling my bike some distance and I won't be able to make that happen for at least several days. At least I have something to look forward to, I thought.

But tonight I found another door! The snowplow plowed our grass runway this afternoon creating perfect snow for riding - about 3 inches of well packed snow atop a layer of grass - and Owen and I headed out for a quick ride with no slipping or tipping. The snow was crunchy and made fun noises as we rode through it. I even rode through some deeper snow following snowmobile tracks and managed well.

And as a fog settled in and the moon shone bright, we pedaled our way through the door to fun fat biking again.

Thanks, Ben :)


Excellent advice. I've had some frustrating rides recently, too. Have you tried to lower your tire pressure? I find that going down under 10psi, especially on the rear tire, helps me get through almost anything. The "almost" is ice: nothing helps on ice.
Myrna CG Mibus said…
It's good to know I'm not alone, Christopher! I run my tires pretty low. When I find myself slipping I get off and let out some air. It helps some but I haven't tried lower psi in the back so I'll try that next time. Thanks!

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