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Thread: Winter riders

  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Winter riders

    I was wondering how many avid winter riders we may have in Anchorage,(and vicinity).I have my bike ready to go! New set of Nokian extemes,lights etc.Which are the better winter trails?Also has anyone ever riddin on cambell creek? Was wondering of it froze solid enough for that once winter sets in.

  2. #2
    Reputation: aka bubba's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Looking forward to my first winter riding season.
    Checking Out The Big Phenomenon

  3. #3
    Beware of Doggerel
    Reputation: Adam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    good to hear

    Glad I'm not the only one who's already thinking about winter riding. Good trails around anchorage are easy to find. There are plenty of multi use trails that get groomed and firm up real nicely. Also many of the non groomed trails get packed from snowshoes and walkers. You won't have any problems finding places to ride.

    Out of town you can just head out from Big Lake or Point Mac. There are miles and miles and miles of snowmachine trails out there, but it is possible to get lost.

    I wanna say I'm sorry for stuff I haven't done yet, things will shortly get completely out of hand --T.M.G.

  4. #4
    Alaska Turner Mafia
    Reputation: EndoRando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by jeff1962
    I was wondering how many avid winter riders we may have in Anchorage,(and vicinity).

    Which are the better winter trails?

    Jeff, you'd be amazed how many winter bikers there are around Anchorage. The true enthusiasts don't let a little snow and colder temps stop them, they just adapt. You'll see winter specific bikes as well as clothing and equipment. I ride mostly along the hillside trails in winter, and it's a rare day when I don't see another biker out. There are plenty of packed trails in that area, and around the bog from North Bivouac parking lot. Just be sure not to ride on trails that are designated as XC ski only, like the lighted loop or Spencer Loop. The ski club spends a ton of dough grooming those and they rightfully don't want their grooming efforts ruined by dog tracks or bikers creating ruts. All multi-user and skijoring trails are fair game, and there are plenty of those to be had, all the way up to Powerline Pass if you want. The hillside is super for its variety, you can choose to hillclimb for a workout, or stay in the relatively flatter lower elevations for mileage, or mix it up. It's all good!

    Quote Originally Posted by jeff1962
    I have my bike ready to go! New set of Nokian extemes,lights.

    Most paved bike paths get plowed fairly quickly and commuting or running errands by bike can be a lot of fun too. This is where your studded tires will mostly come into play. Intersections can get pretty glazed and those tires are your best safety item. Good choice buying the Nokians, they'll last for years.

    Use plenty enough lighting to be seen by vehicles too, not just to aid you in seeing the path. I use a flashing red light on my seatpost to be seen from the rear, and a handlebar light to be seen from the front. My pack usually has a ton of reflective material as well.

    On the trails flotation that comes with large tires is more important than the traction that comes with studded tires. The serious winter bikers around here use the widest tires and rims they can fit into their frames to ride on top of the snow and not trench. It's usually not icy so studded tires aren't necessary, but large volume is. Unless we get icy conditions you'll find yourself plowing and wishing for float. Any bike shop can help you out there.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeff1962
    Also has anyone ever riddin on cambell creek? Was wondering of it froze solid enough for that once winter sets in.

    I think it was the winter of '95/'96 that was a real deep freeze, and we didn't get any substantial amounts of snow until about February. Nels and I rode up frozen Campbell Creek from Lake Otis upstream to the Spencer Loop bridge. That was a rare year though, because there's usually too much snow to allow that. Even that year there were areas of open water, however it was shallow and easily skirted. That was a fun ride but it truly was a rare occurrence. I even rode up the Twenty Mile River that year because conditions would allow you to go way back into the valley any place you liked. All the lakes in the area freeze solid enough to ride on though, and rio even puts on a race at Goose Lake featuring a course plowed down to the ice. It's called the Frigid Bits, give it a try this winter! It looks like a fun time. Watch this board for postings about planned events.

    Deceleration Trauma is my middle name

  5. #5
    Reputation: qayaq_alaska's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Winter riding...evolution

    Good synopsis from Rando.

    While we don't have dedicated ski a/o bike trails here in rural needs are very similar.

    I probably have a need for the use of studded tires ~10-15% of the season. Mostly early-on prior to any big snow dumps and occasionally when the wind whips river-ice conditions to bare. Both resulting in 'glare-ice' riding conditions. Thats when Nokians are of use...however, when really good glare-ice conditons are present, I'm usually speed skating anyway so...

    The rest of the season 'fat-tires' are the only way to go...period!

    The sport has evolved enough now that you almost have to have a quiver of wheels if you want to maximize your riding for the different least a set of Nokians and Endos!

    Matching your equipment to winter trail conditions is not something new...many of us on this board cross-train in various winter sport...don't ask how many pairs of cross country skis I own
    "The pursuit of truth and adventure is far more noble a task than looking for work",

  6. #6
    FatBike Fiend
    Reputation: Wildfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004

    I concur

    Living here in the Matanuska Valley, we do most of our riding on snowmachine trails in the winter. There are literally thousands of miles of snowmachine trails out here leading to lots of places it's impossible to ride a bike to in the summer. I've been riding as much as I can in the winter for over 20 years and I've really just scratched the surface of riding destinations. Some of the true classics out here include the Knik Glacier and the Iditarod trail but there are many, many more. Most of the winter riders out here are riding the new crop of fat tired bikes which have really expanded where you can go and I usually can get by without studded tires, though I do have a spare wheel set with Freddie's Revenge studded tires for when it gets really icy after a thaw. A typical ride out here is usually about 90% packed snow with short intervals of ice but we usually get enough dust from the wind swept gravel bars on the rivers to give a hint of traction on the icy patches. I get a real kick out of being able to negotiate the ice without studded tires, but I do manage to put in a few painful crashes every winter doing it. I know in Anchorage that snow machines aren't allowed on most of the trails so your results may differ but I'm sure you'll find that winter riding is a huge amount of fun. It's not just for crazies any more!

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