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  1. #1
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    Anyone fat bike the Apostle Islands?

    Can anyone who has done this provide any info or if anyone is local to the area, how much snow is on the lake? Is it fat-bikeable. I want to check out this area by bike and do some touring around the islands if possible.

    Lake Superior Sea Caves Open For First Time In 5 Years | Wisconsin Public Radio

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    I grew up here, and I'm actually here visiting family... There is about 3-4 inches on the lake, more in spots where it drifted... I was wishing I had my fatbike as it's rideable for sure, might have to do a little pushing, but overall should be great!

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    Not to put ice on your fire, but Apostles governed under not bicycle-friendly NPS rules. Conditions around those islands involve currents and highly variable, unforgiving snow/ice conditions. Be ready to outlaw and/or use extreme caution. Just sayin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pramann View Post
    Not to put ice on your fire, but Apostles governed under not bicycle-friendly NPS rules. Conditions around those islands involve currents and highly variable, unforgiving snow/ice conditions. Be ready to outlaw and/or use extreme caution. Just sayin.

    Gottcha. I'll come prepared...

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCheesehead View Post
    I grew up here, and I'm actually here visiting family... There is about 3-4 inches on the lake, more in spots where it drifted... I was wishing I had my fatbike as it's rideable for sure, might have to do a little pushing, but overall should be great!

    How is the ice road out to Madeline Island?

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    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-200...l1-sec4-30.pdf

    http://www.nps.gov/apis/planyourvisi...PIS-map-07.pdf

    2nd link shows park jurisdiction. Includes 1/4 mile from shore around all islands/shore.
    This is new item for Ranger Rick and I have no idea what their actual reaction/policy is because if you don't want the answer, don't ask the question. Just indicating what well might be the case. Either way, there is a newfound interest due to ice conditions and everybody and their brother on a fatbike now and someone will be setting precident I am sure.
    Last edited by pramann; 01-21-2014 at 01:08 PM.

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    The ice road is good and riding around the island would be great, a trek out to the sea caves would be a good idea.. I wouldn't worry too much about riding around the islands, just keep an eye on wind directions and ice conditions, it can change quickly.

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    Snowmobiles are allowed, that would make it hard to see bicycles being banned.

    However, much of the national lakeshore is wilderness and thus completely off limits to assembled bikes.
    But the mainland, Sand island, Basswood Island and the harbor area at Stockton Island are not wilderness, nor is the water between the islands even part of the park.

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    sea caves have been getting a lot of visits, so there is a super firm and wide trail packed, unless it just snowed or blew in. past the end of the caves it was not rideable last weekend.
    the taller clifs had bare ice at their base covered only with a bit of windblown snow. once past that it was the standard deep snow of old ice.

    it also get's very busy on weekends. we got started riding around 4 pm on a windy, day while it was snowing and it was still busy. by the time we rode past the beach though most of the crowds had left and there was plenty of room to ride around.

    Anyone fat bike the Apostle Islands?-icecavesfatbike.jpg

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    awesome photo, gotta make it up there
    Mongoose product development

  11. #11
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    Nps

    Quote Originally Posted by pramann View Post
    Not to put ice on your fire, but Apostles governed under not bicycle-friendly NPS rules. Conditions around those islands involve currents and highly variable, unforgiving snow/ice conditions. Be ready to outlaw and/or use extreme caution. Just sayin.
    If NPS over there is the same as Michigan, a bicycle is considered a "wheeled vehicle" under the federal code. I found out the hard way, my 1 year probationary period ended last November after being written up for riding the beach along the waterline. No tracks allowed in a nature preserve, even the beach.

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    I have biked the Apostles often. I grew up in the area and have been living here for quite some time. The NPS doesn't allow biking on the islands themselves, that's a huge no no. Also, you need a permit to camp, even you are camping on the ice. Legally, you can bike on the ice. That's what they told me anyway.
    Long story short, biking, skiing, or whatever on Lake Superior, especially when your going beyond a mile from shore (like getting out into the islands) is not a weekend warrior activity, or even intermediate. Many many things can go wrong very quickly.
    When I travel on the ice here, out into the islands, I tow a pack raft, I carry a back up sleeping bag, ice picks around my neck, a life jacket underneath my clothing, ice axe on the fork of the bike, food for a week, compass, gps, a pack shovel, tent, rope, paddles, etc. etc. I basically plan on spending a week out there even if it is just a sub 24. What if the ice blows out? That happens, and has happened, with people on it. Hence the raft.
    Sometimes it's really good riding, sometimes it sucks terribly. Like you begin to wonder why you didn't just use skis.
    Meyers beach is actually one of the worst places to start a bike trip. The ice is always pack ice and hard to ride, and the idea of rounding the peninsula and being that exposed to the open lake is a little crazy, but has been done. A group of intrepid people from the area made studded tires for their bikes in the 90's and biked to every island. They never camped, only did day trips. There was good, smooth, clean ice that year. This year is a variety.
    Once you get out into the islands there are certain places that must be avoided, mainly where there are currents. Your not really going to know where those are unless you have traveled the waters when there is no ice. There are large pressure cracks every two miles or so, often these are covered with water, so you'll find yourself wading through these. It's very unnerving, walking through water on top of ice near a large crack. If your lucky, you might even get an open lead. Yes there can be standing water even when it's 0 degrees out. The ice never stops moving, ever, and your relying on it.
    So besides all that it's pretty good riding in the Apostles. Bring a marine radio, it will give you the weather. Pay attention to the wind. If it starts snowing you can't see ****. You are traveling in a marine environment. Don't drop your mittens if it's windy. If your going to camp, have yourself a practice over nighter or ten before you venture all the way up here.

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    This is what I would do for a day trip from Bayfield. I'd check the weather, then check the modis website : Lake Superior MODIS Imagery
    I'd bring a marine radio, check the weather often. Avoid the South Channel, North end of Madeline, North end of Stockton, sand spits, river mouths, and docks. A lot of fun can be had just hanging out at the closer islands. A circumnavigation of Basswood might take you all day. It's three miles to the island, and about twelve to go around, plus your three back to Bayfield. Any large rock formations should be approached with caution. Everything should be approached with caution. If you were to fall through the ice and needed help, call the Madeline island fire department, or Bayfield fire. 911 calls in the area are sometime received in Gran Marais, MN. Even after you've made the call, it could still be along time before help shows up. Be nice to ice fisherman, don't forget to wave, they know more than you do. A snowmobile isn't necessarily a noisy gas hog: it's a logical form of transport to 90% of the population up here. Some of the people you see ice fishing have been fishing out there for many, many, many generations. If they are native this is their home, not yours. If your going to visit a fishermans shanty the least you could do is bring a beer... and make sure it ain't fancy. Anything in a bottle that's not hard alcohol would draw unwanted stares from other shacks. The only thing they'll ask you is where's your fishing gear and they won't be impressed by your bike or it's tires.

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    One last note then I'll shut up. If you see someone ice fishing don't assume it is safe to travel there. Ice fisherman will often take incredible risks to try and get fish.

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    Sorry I did not see this post before I posted my own, BIKES are banned from Ice caves here, Snowmobiles are ok because they are good and we are bad.

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    Just checked the A.I. website. This person is correct. That is a new rule this year.
    Last edited by Starroute; 02-05-2014 at 04:46 AM.

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    Don't believe the rules have changed in several decades, its just Ranger Rick has begun enforcement due to popularity of fatties and year's unusual good ice conditions. Bikes can go anywhere snowmobiles/ATV's can, you just can't legally put in at Meyers Beach or anywhere within the National Lakeshore. You would need to put in further west (Corny) or east, and park your bike 1/4 mile offshore. Riding on lake is legal 1/4 mi away from the included islands and shore.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by pramann View Post
    Don't believe the rules have changed in several decades, its just Ranger Rick has begun enforcement due to popularity of fatties and year's unusual good ice conditions. Bikes can go anywhere snowmobiles/ATV's can, you just can't legally put in at Meyers Beach or anywhere within the National Lakeshore. You would need to put in further west (Corny) or east, and park your bike 1/4 mile offshore. Riding on lake is legal 1/4 mi away from the included islands and shore.


    So as soon as the bike hits ice, we're OK as long as we don't touch island shoreline?

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