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Photo by Colt Fetters
Fatbikes and winter riding will surely change your perspective about what is possible on a bicycle.
Fatbikes are all grown up. They are more numerous in shops and magazines, and most importantly, they've become more common in the wild. Yet you may not have seen anyone riding a fatbike this year, because that rider was likely exploring the river bottoms, snowmachine trails, gravelly lakefronts, or abandoned singletrack trails where you don't yet ride. But you can change that. With the growing range of options and increased availability of fatbikes, there is, more than ever, a fatbike for every rider.
It's been nearly two decades since we commenced research on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, and we've run off-pavement tours for fat-tire enthusiasts since the 1980s. But it took the vision of Adventure Cycling cartographer Casey Greene to add a third element to create what just may be the perfect triad: backcountry, bicycle travel, and natural hot springs.
Last week to celebrate the release of our newest mountain-bike route, and our first-ever route featuring singletrack, we announced a giveaway for two complete Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route (IHSMBR) map sets. Randomly chosen from the hundreds of comments on last week’s blog post, the winners are ...
We know you're as excited as we are to get out and ride the Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route (IHSMBR) this summer. Adventure Cycling Cartographer Casey Greene, creator of the IHSMBR, supplies a closer look at the singletrack options.
This winter we will attempt our most ambitious winter cycling trip. We have titled it “Fatbike to the Arctic.” We intend to ride the Iditarod Trail as far as Norton Sound and continue north across the Arctic Circle and on to Kotzebue. If all goes well we will continue on to Point Hope, North America’s longest continually inhabited community.
Jenn recently sat down with Adventure Cycling Cartographer Casey Greene to chat with him about the project that has been occupying his time for much of the last year, the exciting new Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route.
Winter is coming, and that means adjusting our cycling wardrobes to include some slightly warmer apparel. But just because it's winter, doesn't mean you can't keep touring! Chillier temperatures at night require fluffier sleeping bags and warmer fires. Here are equipment tips for staying warm and toasty on your next overnight ride.
Made famous in large part by the fabulous documentary Ride the Divide and its subject, the unsanctioned, winner-takes-nothing-but-bragging-rights Tour Divide race, which runs the route's entire 2,774 miles, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route has received incredible media coverage over the last few years. The route's solitude and beauty is accessible to cyclists of all kinds. Watch this video to see why you might want to ride the Great Divide.
After becoming a papa in August of 2012, my drive to race bicycles and train for racing literally disappeared over the remainder of the year. I missed my old hobbies of photography, fly-fishing, and nature study. In many ways, my old favorite hobby of wilderness travel — backpacking — had been disregarded for all the time on the bike. But thankfully, there is a way to combine the two!
Well in the midst of some adventure chatter, and a libation or two, I said what the heck, and I signed up for the 2013 Togwotee Winter Classic! I decided on the 25-mile race. Bill had great time at last year's race, although that race was a bit of a slog with soft snow contributing to a slow course on which most of the 35-mile racers needed 6 hours or more to finish. I was definitely hoping for firmer conditions this year.
A peculiar looking fork, Salsa's Enabler first caught my eye a few years ago when introduced as their rigid 29er "adventure fork." It has since become the stock fork on their Mukluk line of fat bikes and it is becoming a go-to option for a fatbike frame build. While putting together a fatbike build earlier this winter, I took an opportunity to purchase one and put it to use with my setup. Although I haven't tested it to it's fullest potential for overnight adventures and gear hauling, it has steered wonderfully so far and I have thoroughly enjoyed some of the features of this unique fork.
Through all four seasons and twelve months of 2012, I rode a fat bike, exclusively. I commuted through a winter in Alaska, toured south through Canada, followed the Great Divide Route and the Colorado Trail, and eventually settled into New Mexico for the winter -- all on big rubber, all on an old, purple Surly Pugsley. But I don't need big tires for every ride, and I have built a Velo Orange Campeur frame into a capable urban commuter, touring bike, and light dirt-road machine. However, with the opportunity to spend a few days riding out of town this past week I immediately knew which bike to take.
According to presenters from QBP this weekend at the second annual Fat Bike Summit, there are around 10,000 fat bikes out in the world today. They expect that number to double in the next twelve months. Where will they be used? What is the future of fatbiking?
As I was ringing in 2013, I found myself contemplating the best adventures of 2012. By far, at the top of my list was the big adventure in my own backyard: a self-contained (together with Bill ) bike-packing trip to the top of a few high points near Missoula, MT.
I glanced back, squinting into the blinding snow, to make sure Bill was still riding behind me, the snow was getting heavier and visibility was much worse than when we had started earlier that day. But there he was, right on my tail with the biggest grin on his face. The riding was wonderfully quiet with a fresh two inches on the ground and piling fast. "This is awesome", I heard him say, as my Surly Nates made fresh tracks. I couldn't help but laugh.
The loop sounded awesome, 160 miles of single track and logging roads around Missoula, MT, typically accomplished in 24 hours, hmmm .... well, maybe not?
The plan was to drive 4 hours north, take a right up Graves Creek, then hopefully make it to the Clarence Creek Trailhead before the storm hit. From there we'd skin up to Stahl Peak Lookout in the dark, and the next day head to Mount Wam Lookout. Then, back to the 4WD Durango which would be able to make it downhill, 15 inches or not.
Now that spring has officially arrived, many of our thoughts are turning to summer adventures. Most of us may still be stuck at our desks, but there's an online game to help fuel the stoke (and mentally prepare for the hardships) of bicycle travel. Ray Swartz recently created "Armchair Bike Touring" to virtually recreate the experience, complete with scenic photo stops, broken spokes, and endless snacking.
On a mountain bike, space is often at a premium. One of the most effective places to cut both space and weight on a bicycle camping trip is your shelter. Even light solo tents usually weigh two to three pounds and take up quite a bit of space. Bivy sacks can feel claustrophobic and don't always provide the best protection from the weather. A great method is to use a SilNylon or polyethylene "tarp," rope, and stakes to construct a barrier from the elements.
Who makes the smallest pack-size solo tent? If you're traveling lightweight and only carrying two pairs of shorts maximum, how do you prevent saddle sores? What's the weather like on the Colorado Trail in August? Find out!
While the Rocky Mountains and West Coast have a greater range of possibilities for long-distance trail rides than other regions, there also are good options for dirt touring with mountain bikes in the Midwest and eastern United States. The following article details five routes to get off the highway and into a new adventure.
It's the end of the year, which seems to me to be a great time to make a list. The following is a list of the top 10 routes on which to take a mountain bike trip in the American West.
Imagine an overnight bicycle trip in the northern winter, perhaps on a nondescript snowmobile trail in the woods near your town. Moonlight illuminates a thick powder coat of snow on the trees, so much so that you don’t even need to use a headlight, despite the inky hue of the sky. The squeak of packed snow under your tires indicates the level of cold — probably about 5 degrees F and dropping. But you’re not concerned. You have warm boots, warm mitts, and panniers full of winter camping gear. You’ve been riding hard and working up body heat for several hours, ever since you left work on a nondescript evening in December, to venture into a black-and-white world that few ever see.
I’m just going to admit up front that I think hot camp food is overrated. It’s messy, time-intensive, and often less appetizing than most people are willing to admit (Freeze-dried entrees are not tasty. They’re just not.) Yes, if you have the time, it can be fun to cook up a big elaborate meal on the trail. And yes, hot food does warm the soul after a long day in the saddle (until it’s time to do the dishes.) But sometimes it’s also nice leave the stove, fuel, and mess kit at home and save time, space and arguably weight by packing cold meals (unless you eat only freeze-dried food).