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  1. #1
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    Confidence & fat bikes

    For the past three years, I've lived in what is probably the most amazingly great city in the world in terms of urban access to huge amounts of trails: Anchorage, Alaska. I live less than two miles from the Campbell Tract, and very close to the Hillside trail system in Chugach State Park, a park nearly the size of Rhode Island.

    The Mukluk I bought last winter gives me enough confidence to venture off-road for the first time ever. I have no idea if other fat bikes are this way this is the only one I've owned but damn it feels good to know I can ride right over just about anything. Except moose. And bears.

    I'm slow (~6-7mph avg today on mostly flat terrain) on trails but I don't care this thing is just fun to ride. Slow is better in many places around here because of moose anyway. Even with my slowness I still came up on a moose way too fast today... it was about 10 feet off the trail and I didn't see it until I was passing it. Moose are surprisingly dangerous, especially during calving season, which is nowish. I haven't lived hear long enough to not be freaked out by being that close to an animal that could kill me, so it was an exciting ride.

    I'm going to see a lot more of Alaska because of my Mukluk. Here's hoping I don't get killed by wildlife.

  2. #2
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    Great that you are out exploring! I always say 'If you dont Crash you aren't going fast enough!'

  3. #3
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    toss on a bear/moose bell.. to let the large critters know that you are coming. when I am out exploring on my pug, i sometimes hear a "big foot monster truck announcer" echoing in my ears.

    I am scouting new lines for the trail systems around here, I tend to flag a proposed line in the winter while on marquettes, and now ride it a few times on the pug before deciding to set to work..

    hope you stay on the pleasant side of those critters you encounter.

  4. #4
    local trails rider
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    Maybe your American moose are bolder than our European variety?

    The rare occasions when I've come across them, they've usually started crashing through the bushes to get away from me. Two exceptions, though, but I was walking those times: a young one that paid no attention to me, and a cow with two big (yearling?) calves that just shepherded her children out of sight and came checking to see what I was doing.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  5. #5
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    Bears we understand, but here in Scotland we are wondering why USA riders are so concerned by one of these.




    "Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
    O, what a panic's in thy breastie!...."

    (It helps if you can understand a Scottish accent )
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 5736' Highlands, Scotland

  6. #6
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    ^^^
    That is funny stuff right there
    Riding.....

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Maybe your American moose are bolder than our European variety?

    The rare occasions when I've come across them, they've usually started crashing through the bushes to get away from me.
    Quote Originally Posted by twright205 View Post
    toss on a bear/moose bell.. to let the large critters know that you are coming. when I am out exploring on my pug, i sometimes hear a "big foot monster truck announcer" echoing in my ears.
    At least in Anchorage, moose don't fear humans. At all. We see moose in town regularly. A friend of my wife had a moose give birth in her front yard last week, in town. Close encounters with moose are a part of life here; stompings of humans are rare but do happen a few times a year. Alaska is different, y'all.

    These moose are not frightened by a bear bell I had one jangling away the whole 10 mi ride, attached to my handlebars. The two moose I saw noticed the bell but didn't care one bit.

    The Campbell Tract is also home to both black and brown bears. Yes, brown (grizzly) bears. Anchorage has a population of urban brown bears, thanks to amazing parkland and surrounding wilderness.

    You can see why an inexperienced biker and life-long city boy like me might not want to venture out. But the Mukluk makes the biking easy, leaving only the wildlife to worry about.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Bears we understand, but here in Scotland we are wondering why USA riders are so concerned by one of these.
    Ha! More like this:


    IMG_2096 by paynetc, on Flickr

    That moose was about 20 feet from a busy walking/jogging/biking paved trail (the Chester Creek Trail) last month.

    Moose are scary mostly due to size it's hard to tell from pictures, but they're huge.

  9. #9
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by paynetc View Post
    stompings of humans are rare but do happen a few times a year. Alaska is different, y'all.
    I think the moose is the most dangerous animal we have around. I don't think people often get stepped on but they flatten a good number of cars every year - and the people inside.

    random photo found on the internet:

    Confidence & fat bikes-big_kolariauto.jpg

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  10. #10
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    A couple of hundred moose are hit by cars every year that probably is the most dangerous thing. Still, stompings happen juuuuuust enough to keep me vigilant.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    I think the moose is the most dangerous animal we have around. I don't think people often get stepped on but they flatten a good number of cars every year - and the people inside.

    random photo found on the internet:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	big_kolariauto.jpg 
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    I think Moose would say the same thing about humans. By far the most dangerous animals they have to deal with.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by paynetc View Post
    The Mukluk I bought last winter gives me enough confidence to venture off-road for the first time ever. I have no idea if other fat bikes are this way this is the only one I've owned but damn it feels good to know I can ride right over just about anything. Except moose. And bears.
    I know it's not exactly what you were getting at, but related--the fat bikes have made my wife (especially) and me more confident riders. I can't tell you how many obstacles I've hit successfully for the first time on my fat bike only to transfer those skills to my other bikes later. My wife is even better than I am with regard to pushing her limits on her Pugs.

    Something about the huge traction, and relatively low center of gravity makes these bikes very confidence inspiring.

  13. #13
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    I was figuring the bell would alert them to your presence since my guess, and it's only a guess a startled large critter is potentially dangerous one... didn't think the bell would scare them away, simply prevent a surprise encounter..

    anyways,, good luck

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flat Again??? View Post
    I know it's not exactly what you were getting at, but related--the fat bikes have made my wife (especially) and me more confident riders. I can't tell you how many obstacles I've hit successfully for the first time on my fat bike only to transfer those skills to my other bikes later. My wife is even better than I am with regard to pushing her limits on her Pugs.

    Something about the huge traction, and relatively low center of gravity makes these bikes very confidence inspiring.
    If only I could get my wife to ride a fat bike... she's not interested. She's got an Electra Super Deluxe cruiser that she loves for the paved paths, but I can't convince her to even try a fat bike.

    Interesting on the skills transferring. I hadn't considered that.

  15. #15
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    Speaking of bears, a few of the singletrack trails at Kincaid Park on the other side of town were closed today due to a moose kill.

    This is the sort of thing that would have freaked me out three years ago.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by paynetc View Post
    Speaking of bears, a few of the singletrack trails at Kincaid Park on the other side of town were closed today due to a moose kill.

    This is the sort of thing that would have freaked me out three years ago.
    Really? Rode out there last night and it was absolutely beautiful. There were so many people out, didn't see any moose though.

    Speaking of confidence, I was pleasantly surprised to find it was no problem to hit all the tabletops and jumps. I don't think I'd do the same thing on a 29er rigid, just way too harsh. Was super fun to go down L Train!
    "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.

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    I haven't hit Kincaid yet; I probably will before the summer's out. But I live real close to the Campbell Tract and Far North Bicentennial, so it's super easy to get there and to all the trails up the Hillside. Lots of riding to do!

  18. #18
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    Confidence & fat bikes

    Oh ya dood, wicked moose up here. They don't seem to bother humans too much. Less than I would think the way gofers and gapers stop on the side of the road telling their kids to get closer for a picture. I had one momma stare me down while with her young. The biggest problem is if one has an established route on our trails in the winter. There was an AGRO moose that scared some hikers for a while going into one of the white mountain huts. Deep snow is hard for them too. LNT practice says that if you are noticed by the animal, than YOU are to close. Not for you, but for the animal. My dog scares off most animals while I'm hiking, it's the portly porcupine that I worry about, and I almost creamed one the other day on the fatty.

    But yeah, they are huge, run 30mph, and are stealthy silent in the woods. If they want you, they can have you.

  19. #19
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    This thread makes me glad I live and ride in Australia, where the only things that kill you are things you have no hope of seeing before they strike. Ignorance is bliss.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schott View Post
    But yeah, they are huge, run 30mph, and are stealthy silent in the woods. If they want you, they can have you.
    AGRO moose would make a great horror movie.

    Now that the trees are greened up, the moose are also surprisingly hard to see on the trail. It certainly is a learned skill. My father-in-law and his wife just visited from Indiana, and they couldn't spot moose at all. They even had trouble spotting this moose and calf:


    Moose and calf on the north shore of Goose Lake by paynetc, on Flickr

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevob View Post
    This thread makes me glad I live and ride in Australia, where the only things that kill you are things you have no hope of seeing before they strike. Ignorance is bliss.
    I'm strangely tempted to get into a "my home is more dangerous than your home" contest, but the multitude of ways to die in Australia probably has us Alaskans beat.

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  23. #23
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    MooseBearWolf, that's really what we have in AK. Thing about moose is they are as big as horses and not afraid to take out humans they feel are threatening their young.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    MooseBearWolf, that's really what we have in AK. Thing about moose is they are as big as horses and not afraid to take out humans they feel are threatening their young.
    We have quite a few moose in my part of VT but I've never heard of anyone having issues with cows and their young. In the fall, the bulls can be downright aggressive and I've heard several first hand stories about people getting charged by them just for being there. For the most part, moose just don't seem to care one way or the other about people. I never worry about them except when driving at night.

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