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  1. #1
    Nev
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    Likely moving to Anchorage. Need advice.

    Hi.

    52 yr old Nev here. Wife accepted a job in Anchorage, no idea when I'll be able to follow, but will. Need to figure out what bike(s) to bring vs put into storage. Any bike/riding advice or perspective you can provide will be most appreciated.

    Mountain biking:
    My preference is for long flowy single track. Not real into technical stuff but I don't mind it. Enjoy climbing and long miles just pedaling. I have:
    -A geared hardtail that is my baby. Custom Carl Strong I turned 650b.
    -A Soulcraft 29er single speed, rigid fork.
    -Singular Gryphon drop bar 29er currently set up fixed single speed. I could switch this to geared.

    -What are the trails like
    -Is full suspension better up there?
    -Trails single speed friendly?


    Road biking:
    I have a sweet old school Litespeed vortext, full dura ace, etc. that I rarely ride. I also have a Milwaukee fixed gear single speed I ride more than any other bike.
    -What's the road riding situation up there? Bike friendly, safe?
    -Pretty hilly or mix or...?

    Misc:
    -What's the flatish gravel or dirt road riding situation. Any? I'd be open to switch my Singular to gears for this.
    -Liking the idea of finally having a reason to try (buy) a fat tire bike, winter riding. Is it big up there?

    All comments welcome. Thanks.

  2. #2
    just a guy
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    I'm not giving advice on which bikes to bring or store, but here's some context on what you'll be able to ride:

    Anchorage has two areas of developed, flowy singletrack: Kincaid Park and the Hillside ski area. Kincaid is the bigger trail system, and is relatively flat (all climbs are short, few are steep); it's pretty ideal for rallying a singlespeed. Hillside is either climbing or descending. It's fast, but it's flowy and non-technical. Outside of town there are a handful of longer trails (13-40+ miles) that are all rideable a singlespeed (though you might want an easier gear than you'd use in town), but you'd not regret having gears and a fork with a bit of suspension. There are lots of folks riding full-squish rigs up here, but I'm not one of them. They aren't strictly necessary, but it probably helps to smooth out rocks and roots along some of the longer trails.

    Fat tire riding is huge here. There are lots of options, including the trails and trail systems I mentioned above. If you're here through the winter and you like riding, you'll probably end up buying a fattie.

    The road riding is ...fine. Like everywhere, some drivers are jerks, as are some cyclists. There's a network of off-road paved trails that has decent coverage of the Anchorage bowl, and there are solid neighbourhood routes that will allow you to get most places while avoiding some of the bigger roads. Anchorage is a pretty flat city that's bordered by mountains, so you should have no trouble finding as many or as few hills as you want.

    The gravel road options aren't great. The road system isn't very broadly developed outside of the cities and the highways that connect them. There are a few amazing options, e.g. the Denali Highway and the Denali Park Road. Either of those requires a long drive to the start, and the Highway requires a car shuttle so long that you probably only want to do the ride as an out and back or as a car-swap with a friend coming from the other side.

  3. #3
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    Take your SS and then buy a Fat bike

  4. #4
    Nev
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    Thank you. And Thank you.

    OK single speed.

    Sounds like my Milwaukee should come with me as well for fixed road miles around Anchorage. It'll accept fenders no prob. I don't want to loose my fixed gear miles.

    Fat tire: In.
    Question: purchase here and bring up inside a car to save $$ or buy up there? I'll certainly support the local lbs when I get there, but open to max out savings when possible.

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    just a guy
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    Where and when to buy depends on how attached you are to a specific bike or type of bike. There are lots of folks riding fat bikes up here, and every year lots of people upgrade to new rigs. If you just want to buy something to ride, you should have no trouble finding something decent, used, and in Anchorage. If there's a specific bike you want, you might look out of state first. Depending on where you're coming from, it might make sense to buy up here either way. You'll probably find more options here than you would in most other places.

  6. #6
    Nev
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    Quote Originally Posted by plainoldchris View Post
    Where and when to buy depends on how attached you are to a specific bike or type of bike. There are lots of folks riding fat bikes up here, and every year lots of people upgrade to new rigs. If you just want to buy something to ride, you should have no trouble finding something decent, used, and in Anchorage. If there's a specific bike you want, you might look out of state first. Depending on where you're coming from, it might make sense to buy up here either way. You'll probably find more options here than you would in most other places.
    Where's a good place to look for used? Either there, shops, or online forums? My wife will be heading up first. None of what I've posted includes her bike needs, and she'll want something for sure. Her daily fixed gear bike will not work up there. We'll likely ride year round. Trails, whatever. Fat tire winters sound great. Have plenty of lights ready to go.

    I have in-laws in Anchorage. (Curiously, girlfriend before my wife was also from Anchorage.) Have been up many times. Most often Anchorage is a stop-over on the way to my in-law's place in a village up on the Kobuk. I saw some fat bikes at the airport in Kotzebue a couple years ago. Can't imagine where they'd ride outside town.


    Thanks,
    Nev

  7. #7
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Sell all your bikes.

    Buy a nice somewhat light fat bike.

    Get the gear that's required (pogies, XC ski pants, cold weather camelback/frame bag, baclava, etc.)

    Then worry about what to do in the next summer. You can build up a set of 29er wheels for the fatbike if you really really want a 29er hardtail (that's how I set mine up in the summer).

    Personally, I'm getting beat to hell riding my XC 29er with 100mm fork in some of the local XC races. I really want to build up an XC FS bike for these and the longer 100+ mile races we have.

    Mostly, I ride my fairly light 160mm AM bike and am really happy on the rides I do. Last season I was on a 160mm 29er. You don't need quite this much travel for our awesome epic trails on the peninsula, but it doesn't hurt much at this bike's weight and I occasionally use the bike at the DH park and down south, where it comes in handy. One could get away with a 29er XC bike with a dropper post, but some of those are a little harsh and most people would probably do best with 120-130mm of travel. Trails on the peninsula have some awesome downhills that are fun with a good amount of suspension. People do ride them with hardtails, but it's more rare and usually less serious riders. As an example, it's something like 38 miles one way from Hope to Cooper Landing via the Resurrection Pass trail, that's a pretty good amount of distance to be pounded on a rigid or front-suspension bike, let alone if you were to do an out-n-back.

    The fat-bike in the snow is a totally different animal than in the dry or summer, the tires absorb a lot of impact and the snow usually takes of the rest. You just don't move fast enough to need suspension IME (and I'm a suspension junky). In the winter, the tires turn easily, while in the summer, especially on pavement, they tend to "self steer". I also find in the summer the crazy gyroscopic force keeps you from turning sharp at speed and forces the bike up on the berms towards the outside of the turn. Some people like riding the fatbikes in the summer, I don't. One thing to remember though, you CAN ride a fatbike in the summer. It's not like a snowboard where it just flat out doesn't work in the summer. That's one of the great things about the fatbike, it can do it, it may not be optimal, but neither is a 40lb freeride bike on an XC ride, yet you can do it and can have fun.

    And you want studded fat tires for the fat bike. They are expensive, but it's one of the few places where it's absolutely worth every penny.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  8. #8
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nev View Post
    Where's a good place to look for used? Either there, shops, or online forums? My wife will be heading up first. None of what I've posted includes her bike needs, and she'll want something for sure. Her daily fixed gear bike will not work up there. We'll likely ride year round. Trails, whatever. Fat tire winters sound great. Have plenty of lights ready to go.

    I have in-laws in Anchorage. (Curiously, girlfriend before my wife was also from Anchorage.) Have been up many times. Most often Anchorage is a stop-over on the way to my in-law's place in a village up on the Kobuk. I saw some fat bikes at the airport in Kotzebue a couple years ago. Can't imagine where they'd ride outside town.


    Thanks,
    Nev
    Anchorage mat-su mountain bike buy-and-sell facebook page for one.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  9. #9
    Nev
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    Invaluable information. Thank you!

    Wife wants her fixed road bike. Sounds like the paved trails and neighborhoods offer enough riding. I'll bring my fixed roadie as well. Can't live without it.

    So, hmm...feeling like I'll bring two fixed gear road bikes (strange), and my single speed, and will be finding a way to acquire two use fat bikes when I'm up there, for year-round use.

    Everything subject to change. Appreciate it all.
    Thanks

  10. #10
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    As Jayem said and if you want to ride in the winter, you will want studded tires on any bike you want to ride.

    Not familiar w/ studded tire options for road bikes, but...

    Schwalbe Ice spiker pros are great for the mountain bike

    And 45nrth Dillinger 4 or 5 are the go to for the fat bike.

  11. #11
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    Paved trail worth noting is Girdwood to Bird. 26 miles round trip. Gravel road that gets overlooked often is Palmer Creek road out of Hope. Solid elevation gain. Check out the MTB project app too. Good descriptions, elevation profiles, directions, ratings etc...
    To prepare for a race there is nothing better than a good pheasant, some champagne and a woman.

  12. #12
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    If gravel-road biking is your thing, an often overlooked opportunity is to ride the gravel roads throughout the undeveloped troop training areas of the Army base (JBER) that is right on the edge of Anchorage. I would venture to guess that there are more gravel road miles available within JBER than all the rest of the Municipality of Anchorage combine (Knik river to Girdwood). JBER biking?

  13. #13
    sluice box
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    For gravel grinding trail of blue ice in Portage Valley and then Byron Glacier Trail up to the moraine is a fun out and back. It is very flat and could be done easily on a ss. I think I have some Schwalbe Marathon Winter HS396 in 700x40 or 29x2.0 I forget at the moment not using them and they are hanging in the garage. PM me if you need some good commuter tires, I'll look and make sure I have the size right tonight.
    ptarmigan hardcore

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayJay View Post
    If gravel-road biking is your thing, an often overlooked opportunity is to ride the gravel roads throughout the undeveloped troop training areas of the Army base (JBER) that is right on the edge of Anchorage. I would venture to guess that there are more gravel road miles available within JBER than all the rest of the Municipality of Anchorage combine (Knik river to Girdwood). JBER biking?
    I'm not sure I'd say overlooked, I've just found it difficult to be legit about it in that you have to register for multiple areas. This alone can prove difficult in that some areas of a desired route will not be open or the isportsman site doesn't make the multiple area selection process easy either.

  15. #15
    Nev
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    Sorry for not checking back in sooner. It's official, for the wife anyway. She starts her new gig Sept 24 in Anchorage. She'll drive her beloved VW Eos (hardtop convertible) up to Tacoma, we'll ship the car from there and she'll fly up. No way her other beloved converted fixed gear Fuji will fit in her car. I'll be shipping that up. Must decide whether to cardboard bike box it up, or in one of my Performance Bike hard bike boxes that I was going to sell. Maybe I could just sell it up there.

    Me? I'll be following soon as I can. Likely will be months. For sure I'm bringing my fixed Milwaukee road bike, can't live without. I'll drive then ship up a Honda Ridgeline that'll hold as least one bike (in addition to stuff). Going back and forth between my Soul Craft rigid single speed or geared Strong hardtail.

    Will be selling our house here in the HOT TX housing marketing and moving into (tiny) rent free accommodations. A portion of our savings (why we're doing this) will go toward acquiring fat bikes for sure.

    I assume I should bring our lights, yes?

  16. #16
    Nev
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    Appreciate this, overly! But too early. When I finally get up there I'll reach out.
    Thanks

  17. #17
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    Nev-
    I think some of the AK auto transporters insist no belongings in the vehicle during shipment, might be worth checking before your plans are too set. When I moved up, I shipped up a pallet load of bikes and wheels/parts from TX using;
    https://www.gopackagingstore.com/loc...nchorage/ak101
    If you get a shipment set-up with the Anchorage branch, they will arrange for your a local drop-off shipment point.

  18. #18
    Nev
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    Getting close...

    Current mental plan:
    I'll bring two bikes: My fixed gear road bike that accepts large tires and my SS 29er. We'll buy two fat bikes when I get up there.

    I'll ask more annoying questions once I arrive*


    *Or likely before

  19. #19
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    Of everything stated so far, if you take one piece of advice, make it the studded tire recommendation.

  20. #20
    Nev
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    Quote Originally Posted by sushi cowboy View Post
    Of everything stated so far, if you take one piece of advice, make it the studded tire recommendation.
    OK I'm here.
    I brought my geared hard tail, not the SS. If I regret it I'll have a new rear wheel built.

    Yesterday in REI I saw they have all sizes of studded tires, including 650b. Guy said they'd get me out riding all over town and even trails. True? I'm right next to the Campbell Creek trail that's groomed. As long as I'm out pedaling I'll be happy. Worth the price? How much riding will they give me?

    Also any shop recommendations will be appreciated. Who best to start feeding my $$ to? All my tools, stand, supplies are in storage in TX. I'll need wrench help for a while.

    Thanks

    Next up is a fat bike once I start working

  21. #21
    sluice box
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nev View Post
    OK I'm here.
    I brought my geared hard tail, not the SS. If I regret it I'll have a new rear wheel built.

    Yesterday in REI I saw they have all sizes of studded tires, including 650b. Guy said they'd get me out riding all over town and even trails. True? I'm right next to the Campbell Creek trail that's groomed. As long as I'm out pedaling I'll be happy. Worth the price? How much riding will they give me?

    Also any shop recommendations will be appreciated. Who best to start feeding my $$ to? All my tools, stand, supplies are in storage in TX. I'll need wrench help for a while.

    Thanks

    Next up is a fat bike once I start working
    If you are a do it yourself kind of guy, Off the Chain Bike Collective behind the Taproot on Spenard has open shop hours Wednesday and Thursday evening and Sundays with tools and a modest shop rate of $5 hour. I like all the shops in town but I find myself between Speedway and The Bicycle Shope the most just because they are close to home and work.
    ptarmigan hardcore

  22. #22
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    Oops, wrong thread.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  23. #23
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nev View Post
    OK I'm here.
    I brought my geared hard tail, not the SS. If I regret it I'll have a new rear wheel built.

    Yesterday in REI I saw they have all sizes of studded tires, including 650b. Guy said they'd get me out riding all over town and even trails. True? I'm right next to the Campbell Creek trail that's groomed. As long as I'm out pedaling I'll be happy. Worth the price? How much riding will they give me?

    Also any shop recommendations will be appreciated. Who best to start feeding my $$ to? All my tools, stand, supplies are in storage in TX. I'll need wrench help for a while.

    Thanks

    Next up is a fat bike once I start working
    I recommend Paramount to my co-workers and I've yet to hear any bad stories. They've set up plenty of my friends and co-workers on bikes and don't pressure you at all. Speedway and Chain Reaction are good shops, but they tend to have pricier stuff and less selection and are for a bit more winter-educated shopper IMO.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  24. #24
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    So did you bring the Gryphon?

  25. #25
    Nev
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    Quote Originally Posted by samwe View Post
    So did you bring the Gryphon?
    No. And the more I learn and talk to people the more I regret that decision. I brought my geared hard tail. I also have the new Fatback Corvus. Think I'm going to show up at the Frigid Bits 6 Hour ride tomorrow. I'll do one lap and see how things go. I'm too new to the weather/temperature/fat bike scene up h ere for any more. Plus I'll be on my own.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nev View Post
    No. And the more I learn and talk to people the more I regret that decision.
    That sucks! I ride a Fargo, so I am interested in drop bar mountain bikes.

  27. #27
    Nev
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    Quote Originally Posted by samwe View Post
    That sucks! I ride a Fargo, so I am interested in drop bar mountain bikes.
    Where, when seasonally and how are you riding it? It's conceivable for me to send the hardtail back and get the Gryphon back up here, whether I keep it single speed (currently fixed) or gear it up.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nev View Post
    No. And the more I learn and talk to people the more I regret that decision. I brought my geared hard tail. I also have the new Fatback Corvus. Think I'm going to show up at the Frigid Bits 6 Hour ride tomorrow. I'll do one lap and see how things go. I'm too new to the weather/temperature/fat bike scene up h ere for any more. Plus I'll be on my own.
    Did you make it out? It was a good ride, nice soft, but not too soft, conditions. Little bit of snow though to make it interesting.

    Likely moving to Anchorage. Need advice.-g0054993s.jpgLikely moving to Anchorage. Need advice.-g0155161s.jpg
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nev View Post
    Where, when seasonally and how are you riding it?
    I commute all year from Eagle River to Anchorage, but on the weekends I take the kids out to Kincaid for single track, or other nearby places. I am planning to ride the Denali park road this summer.

  30. #30
    Nev
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Did you make it out? It was a good ride, nice soft, but not too soft, conditions. Little bit of snow though to make it interesting.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Yep, I was there. I was on the Corvus in a yellow jacket. Rode the casual group and enjoyed some great single track. Did the Paramount ride on Thursday. Today I did the 10 mile loop at the Eagle River Icy River Rampage. I should've done the 20 but would've baked. Overheated. I need to dial in my upper body clothing better, and hydration/water situation.

  31. #31
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    Sell them all and buy fatbikes! The bottom line is that you can always sell your bikes. Houses are a different story. Be very careful where you buy a house in that town. It makes all the difference in your happiness.

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