I've had a Mukluk for about a year. Loads of beach riding, even more trail riding. This year, I need to ride it on snow.
Except I live in Australia.
I grew up in regional New South Wales, and currently live in Sydney, and as such have almost never seen the snow let alone have an understanding of it as a trail condition....
I have the opportunity to get down to our snow fields this year, in the Victorian Alps, and am DYING to get the Muk down there..... But I have a few questions for the experienced.....
I have heard, that our snow tends to get epic crust, and in general is quite firm. Am I gonna be able to just ride wherever? Or am I going to need to research snow mobile routes? If someone is able to do a quick google search of Victorian snow conditions and tell me what they think, that would be AMAZING... I did and it meant nothing to me...
What the hell should I wear? It's not gonna get much colder than -5 celcius (23? F) during the day, and I usually ride flat pedals on the Fat Bike anyway.... Help!
Thanks in advance for your help guys.
I've found the only way to be sure is to try it. If you can walk on it without sinking too deep, you're probably ok. We don't have snowmobiles or skiers grooming the trails where I live and the temps are not real low.
Be prepared to do a bit of trudging if it's soft. It's amazing how a small incline will feel like a mountain when it has 4" of soft snow on it. Ultra low gearing is useful.
Don't overdo the warm gear - you'll get hot on the bike, but carry a warm jacket, beanie, and dry gloves and put them on as soon as you stop (don't wait until you have cooled down and stick the sweaty gloves inside your jacket so they stay warm)). I generally wear a thin base layer (IceBreaker merino) and a Rab Vapourise jacket (Lightweight Pertex, highly breathable and lined with a very thin fleece type material). This works down to -20ºC for me so long as I have something warmer to put on for stops. It's best if you can carry your gear on the bike (eg strapped to the bars) rather than on your back because a backpack crushes the airspaces and you sweat more then - which you won't appreciate when you stop. It's a good idea not to work too hard so you can minimise sweating.
Oh, and footwear! Snow will dribble down into your boots, thoroughly wet them and then freeze unless you seal the top. Warm wool socks, preferably merino. (I usually wear Keen sandals with long merino waterproof socks (SealSkinz) plus a thin liner sock, also merino. These can handle all day in wet snow and stay warm so long as the SealSkinz are sized so that they are not tight.)
To whet your appetite
(In the last photo you can see my pedal strikes every revolution - singlespeed is hard work in this stuff)
As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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